Sicily (July 10-17, 1943)/Italy (September 3-16, 1943) and the Italian Campaign (July 10, 1943- May 2, 1945)

The Italian Campaign began with Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, July 10-17, 1943. Sicily was used as the amassing point from which the Allies launched the invasion of Italy from September 3-16, 1943. Two invasion points of the Italian peninsula were targeted: Salerno in Operation Avalanche and Calabria in Operation Baytown. Operation Baytown, carried out by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and the Eighth Army’s XIII Corps on September 3, 1943, invaded the “toe” of Italy by crossing the Straits of Massina to Calabria. Operation Avalanche, carried out by American Lieutenant General Mark Clark and the US 5th Army on September 9, 1943 was tasked with taking Naples and driving east across the peninsula to cut off enemy forces to the south. Italy surrendered to the Allies on September 8, but Germany swiftly took control of opposing the Allied forces. What followed were harsh months, the Allied forces slowing overtaking the Italian peninsula, but taking heavy losses due to mountainous terrain and poor fighting conditions. US forces under Lieutenant General Clark took Rome on June 4, 1944. From Rome, Allied forces moved north toward the Gothic Line, the last major German defensive line, which ran from the coast along the Apennine Mountain chain to the Adriatic coast south of Rimini. Operation Olive was launched August 25, 1944, with the Eighth Army and 5th Army penetrating the Gothic Line, although a decisive breakthrough was not achieved. In December 1944, Lieutenant General Mark Clark of the 5th Army was promoted to command of the 15th Army Group, succeeding Field Marshal Harold Alexander as the commander of all Allied ground forces in Italy. Allied High Command ordered the priority for the Italian campaign shift to pinning down as many German forces as possible for the remainder of the war, rather than continuing the offensive Allied forces had captured the Po Valley in northern Italy when German forces in Italy finally surrendered on May 2, 1945, two days after the fall of Berlin.

 

 

Battles - Italy

Thanks to our writers and researchers who prepared these WWII NarrativesJosh Pierson, A.J.Allen, Don Bourgeois, Alisha Hamel, Sarah Holcomb

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