An Italian seaplane on a Sicilian beach guarded by a British soldier
Picryl description: Public domain image of a bomber aircraft, military aviation, air forces, free to use, no copyright restrictions.
The Allied invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky, began before dawn on July 10, 1943, with combined air and sea landings involving 150,000 troops, 3,000 ships and 4,000 aircraft and 600 tanks. Allied troops encountered little resistance. The Axis defense of Sicily was weakened by losses the German and Italian armies had suffered in North Africa, in casualties as well as the several hundred thousand troops captured at the end of the campaign. On July 25, the day after Mussolini’s arrest, Italian troops began withdrawing from Sicily. As July turned to August, Patton, and Montgomery and their armies battled mostly against German troops pushing the Axis forces until most were trapped in a northeast corner of the island. After 38 days of fighting, the U.S. and Great Britain successfully drove German and Italian troops from the island. On August 17, 1943, Patton, expecting to fight one final battle, was surprised to learn that the enemy forces had disappeared. The battle for Sicily was complete, but German losses had not been severe, and the Allies’ failure to capture the fleeing Axis armies undermined their victory.