Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is coolbert:

Thanks to "AFTER THE BATTLE" magazine issue number # 77 and the article by Karel Margry:

Extracts and my commentary.

Operation Husky.

The allied invasion of Sicily during the Second World War [WW2]

Some superlatives that are surprising:


* 3,300 allied ships in the invasion armada.

In contrast, 5,000 ships involved in the Normandy D-Day invasion]

* Allied paratrooper units used for the first time in large size contingents. Brigade size.

German and allied paratroopers all jumping into Sicily into opposition of one another. That former as reinforcements.

* Seven allied divisions landing simultaneously on the first day of the operation.

In contrast, six divisions landing simultaneously on 6 June.

Slightly more than a month required to clear Sicily of all Axis forces.

The allied invasion of Sicily NOT however a complete success.

German and Italian forces able to conduct a very well done reverse amphibious operation, crossing the Strait of Messina to safety, all men and impedimenta in totality accounted for.

YET ONE MORE HISTORICAL INSTANCE OF THE SUCCESSFUL REVERSE AMPHIBIOUS OPERATION. Amphibious operations generally agreed upon as that MOST difficult of all military operations, the reverse amphibious WHILE UNDER PRESSURE EVEN THAT MORE SO!

"Kesselring's evacuation of Sicily, which began a week earlier on 10 August, was perhaps the most brilliant action of the campaign. In spite of the Allies' superiority on land, at sea, and in the air, Kesselring was able to evacuate not only 40,000 men, but also 96,605 vehicles [way too many], 94 guns, 47 tanks, 1,100 tons of ammunition, 970 tons of fuel, and 15,000 tons of stores. He was able to achieve near-perfect coordination between the three services under his command" [the wiki]

"Between August 1 and 17, the Germans evacuated a total of 39,995 troops [including 14,773 wounded, 9,789 vehicles, 53 tanks, 163 guns, 16,791 tons of equipment and 1,874 [tons] of fuel and ammunition." [THE INVASION OF SICILY]

"During that time, the Italians using three steamers, one train ferry, and ten motor-rafts, also withdrew an estimated 59,000 troops, 227 vehicles, 41 guns and 12 mules." [THE INVASION OF SICILY]

It can be argued [??] that crossing the Strait of Messina was more of a river crossing than an amphibious operation? The strait only two miles [3.2 kilometers] across but also very treacherous waters.

German military planners for the crossing of the Strait of Messina having mustered and gathered at that most crucial point masses of anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA] and conventional tube artillery that latter used in the coastal defense mode of fire.

That German officer whose mission was to protect the crossing of Messina able to accumulate from various sources:

"500 guns of all calibers, including four batteries of 280 mm coastal guns, two of 170 mm guns and some 150 German 88 mm and Italian 90 mm dual-purpose guns."

Allied efforts to stop the crossing of the strait lackadaisical and haphazard, even almost non-existent, refusing to press the issue. Timid!!

[within the military context the use of the word TIMID pejorative.]

Husky however, deemed a qualified success, perhaps more so than qualified.


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