The Allied landing in Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II. In this operation, the Allies attacked and captured Sicily from the Axis forces. Thus, they opened the way towards continental Italy.
Operation Husky consisted of a main amphibious invasion together with an operation by airborne units from the Allied forces. The land forces of the Allies were mostly formed of Americans, Canadians and British troops. Thus, the United States mobilized their 7th Army. Great Britain had the 8th Army, while Canada sent the forces of the 2nd Army. The Allies landed on the south of the island.
In Sicily, Patton and Montgomery, two equally egocentric personalities, fought together in the same campaign. Rivalry between them was inevitable. Also, the Allied war effort had nothing to gain when, later, the egos of Generals Mark Clark and Omar Bradley were added to this extremely flammable mixture.
The island was defended by the Italian 6th Army, under the command of Alfredo Guzzoni. This army included the 12 and 15 Corps, made up of elements defending the coast of the island, four front-line divisions and the 14th Panzer Corps. The latter was made up of German troops. The Axis had 350,000 soldiers stationed in Sicily; however only one-third were Germans. The Germans were tricked by the Allies concerning the landing place. The Allies had launched a spy operation which convinced the Germans that the Allied landing would take place in Greece. In consequence, the Germans redirected a large part of the forces stationed in Sicily, to Greece.
The actual landings took place in conditions of very strong winds, thus were very difficult. But the weather also furnished the element of surprise. The American parachutists landed behind the enemy’s defensive lines. The troops which landed on the beach met with a very weak opposition from the Italians, who had been weakened by the Allied naval bombardment. Due to the inclement weather, many troops landed in the wrong place, in the wrong order, and up to 6 hours late. The British entered the Siracuse port without meeting any resistance. The Canadians met some determined Italian troops, which gave them trouble.
After a week of fighting, General Patton decided to capture the capital of Sicily, Palermo. He captured the locality Agrigento, with the help of reconnaissance forces. Then, Patton convinced Harold Alexander to let him continue towards the Sicilian capital.
On the southern part of the island, the British were having trouble capturing Messina. Montgomery suggested to Patton that the 7th Army take the city, since it was in a better position. The Axis forces, under the control of German General Hans Hube, prepared a strong defensive line around the city. The good training of the Axis forces in this area allowed them to make a progressive retreat towards continental Italy.
The Mediterranean and the Suez Canal could now be opened as maritime routes of the Allies, ending the period of sending supplies through the Cape of Good Hope. This meant, as General Alan Brooke estimated, that an Allied fleet of over a million tons was released to be used in other areas of the world. The success of the invasion also contributed to the removal from power of the dictator Benito Mussolini.