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Operation Husky - Allied Invasion of Sicily 75th Anniversary - Set

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  • 10.07.2018
  • Photography courtesy of Heritage Malta - Designed by MaltaPost
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About Operation Husky - Allied Invasion of Sicily 75th Anniversary

When the Allied forces captured the Italian territory of Pantelleria, they shifted their focus on invading the strategically located island of Sicily. The operation leading to the invasion of Sicily was thereafter codenamed "Operation Husky". In preparation for this large-scale assault, Malta harboured an increasing number of British and USA warships as well as numerous aircraft in newly built landing strips across both Islands.

The Allied invading force contributing to "Operation Husky" consisted of US forces led by General George Patton, the British under by General Bernard Montgomery, as well as support from the Canadian Infantry Division. Spitfires based in Malta were instructed to provide air-support to protect the Allied armada as it neared Sicilian shores.

A British secret operation named "Mincemeat" had led the German naval war staff to mistakenly believe that the Allied landings were intended to take place on the Greek west coast. A corpse dressed as a Royal Marine Officer was intentionally placed in the sea off the coast of Spain. A briefcase containing misleading information was attached to him, deceptively confirming the Allied landings on the Greek west coast. Nevertheless, occupying Sicily was the Italian Sixth Army of approximately 190,000 Italian troops under General Alfredo Guzzoni, and 40,000 German troops of the XIV Panzer Corps. Operation Husky was initiated on the night of July 9 when Allied forces parachuted on key position on the Sicilian shores.

Objectively, "Operation Husky" achieved its purpose and was considered a success. The Allied forces had grouped and advanced to capture a significant beachhead area. The Eight Army continued to drive north and the Seventh Army covered the Eighth Army's left flank and overthrew the remaining Axis forces on the island.

Even though the Allied assault was significant, the Axis implemented procedures that evacuated around 52,000 German troops, 62,182 Italian troops and over 14300 vehicles. Nevertheless, "Operation Husky" led to notable loss of units for both sides. The Italian military had reported a death toll of 4,325 soldiers, 32,500 wounded and over 115,000 captured. The German force lost 4,678 soldiers, while 13,500 were wounded and 5,532 were captured. Comparingly, "Operation Husky" led to 25,000 Allied units being killed, wounded or captured.

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