‘Operation Husky’ was the codename for the invasion of Sicily in 1943. The Operation began on the night of 9/10 July. It was a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign. It was the beginning of the Italian Campaign. ‘Husky’ was launched during bad weather, with strong winds which made the whole operation very difficult, but on the other hand, it also surprised Axis defenders.
The Axis lost over 29,000 soldiers (killed or wounded) and 140,000 were captured as POWs. The invasion had also substantial consequences on the Eastern Front. From the Battle of Kursk, the Germans had to withdraw part of their troops to Italy. The Germans managed to evacuate over 100,000 men and 10,000 vehicles.
We have put together this epic photo gallery to give you a closer look at this operation. Enjoy!
A British soldier reads up on Sicily, the target for the next Allied invasion, July 1943. Photo Credit. Royal Air Force glider pilots and pilots of towing aircraft are briefed before the airborne invasion. Photo Credit. The Allied commanders of the campaign photographed in Tunisia. Front row, left to right: The Commander-in-Chief, General Dwight Eisenhower, The Air Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Air Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder; the Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Ground Forces Commander, General Alexander and the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Andrew Cunningham. In the back row are the Hon. Harold MacMillian MP, Brigadier General W B Smith and Air Vice Marshal H E P Wigglesworth (on the extreme right). Photo Credit. Map of the Operation Husky. View of the dockside of Sousse Harbour, Tunisia. Landing craft are loaded with vehicles and equipped in preparation for the invasion. Photo Credit.
L.S.T’s lined up and waiting for tanks to come aboard. Two days before the invasion of Sicily. A jeep is loaded onto an American WACO CG-4A glider before Operation Husky. July, 1943. Photo Credit. Handley Page Halifax A Mark V Series 1 (Special), EB139 NN, of No. 295 Squadron RAF based at Holmesley South, getting airborne from Portreath, Cornwall, towing Airspeed Horsa glider LG723 to Tunisia, during Operation BEGGAR: the transit of Halifax/Horsa glider combinations from the United Kingdom to North Africa by units of No. 38 Wing RAF, in preparation for the Operation Husky. Photo Credit. A wrecked U.S. Army Air Force Waco CG-4A glider (s/n 42-73623) in Sicily in July 1943. An Airborne Division Horsa glider, after landing off course nose down in a field near Syracuse. Although unsuccessful in achieving their primary objectives, the Airborne forces did cause considerable disruption behind the lines. Photo Credit. The Sicily Landings 9-10 July 1943: A small section of the vast armada of ships which took part in the invasion of Sicily as photographed from landing ship headquarters HILARY at dawn of the first day of the invasion of the island. Photo Credit.
Troops from 51st Highland Division unloading stores from tank landing craft on the opening day of the Allied invasion of Sicily. 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. U.S. Navy LCVPs from USS Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13) landing vehicles through the surf at Gela, Sicily, on 10-12 July 1943. The truck in the center appears to have stalled.
U.S. and British troops landing near Gela, Sicily. 10 July 1943. British troops wade ashore during the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. During the Allied invasion of Sicily the Liberty ship Robert Rowan (K-40) explodes after being hit by a German Ju 88 bomber off of Gela, Sicily, Italy. 11 July 1943.
British ship HMS Warpite of the coast of Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit. A British Universal Carrier Mark I comes ashore during the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943. Photo Credit. German soldiers on the beach with Tellermines in their hands. Photo Credit. Two bombers Savoia Marchetti S.M. 79 of the Regia Aeronautica flying over the southern coast of Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Two German soldiers with machine gun camouflaged between cactuses on Sicily. July 1943. Photo Credit.
German troops in Sicily in the summer of 1943 preparing to fight with the Allies. German troops of the 29th Panzer Division near the Strait of Messina. Summer 1943. German soldiers maintaining the Panzerkampfwagen III N (Sd.Kfz.141/2). July 1943. Photo Credit. Machine gun crew takes a position in a vineyard and securing standing troops. Photo Credit. German artillery crew in action with their 7,5cm cannon. Photo Credit.
Men of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, advance past a burning fuel store on Pantelleria. Left to right: Lance Sergeant A Haywood, Private C Norman and Private H Maw. Photo Credit. British dummy tanks on the Catania Plain. Photo Credit.
A German Mk III tank knocked out during the fierce street fighting in Centuripe. Photo Credit.
American troops advance through a damaged street in Randazzo. Photo Credit. Personnel of a Beach Balloon Detachment bring gas cylinders ashore at “Cent” Beach near Scoglitti, Sicily. Photo Credit. US soldiers in the vicinity of Gela. in the background destroyed German aircraft. 12 July 1943. British wounded being treated, and Italian prisoners of war waiting to be evacuated from the beach on the first day of the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo Credit.
Anti-aircraft FlaK-38 20mm and its crew near Etna, Sicily. 1943. Photo Credit. Destroyed palace after Allied bombing in Palermo. July 1943. Photo Credit. The British Army in Sicily 1943 Men of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders advance along a road near Noto, 11 July 1943. Photo Credit. Wrecked and damaged Italian fighters outside bomb-shattered hangars at Catania, Sicily, under the scrutiny of an airman, shortly after the occupation of the airfield by the RAF. Photo Credit. Crew from the tank “Eternity” check their vehicle after landing at Red Beach 2, Sicily. 10 July 1943. Panzer VI ‘Tiger I’ in a city in Sicily, Italy. 1943. Photo Credit. Remains of the Italian Navy armed train “T.A. 76/2/T”, destroyed by USS Bristol while opposing the landing at Licata. A 4.2-inch mortar of 1st Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment in action near Adrano. 6 August 1943. Photo Credit. Map of the advancing lines of the Allies in Sicily during Operation Husky. British Sherman tank advancing near Catania, Sicily. 4 August 1943. Photo Credit. Men of the 6th Inniskillings, 38th Irish Brigade, searching houses during mopping up operations in Centuripe, Sicily. August 1943. Photo Credit. Civilian resident of Misterbianco, near Catania, paints the slogan ‘Viva England’ on a wall after the village had been occupied by the Eighth Army. Photo Credit. A German Panzer III Ausf M moves along a dusty road in Sicily, August 1943. Photo Credit. A British self propelled ‘Priest’ gun in action against the town of Palazzolo. The ‘Priest’ was a 105mm Howitzer mounted on an American M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage and was first used at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Photo Credit.
Gunners of 66 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery in action on the slopes of Mount Etna at dawn. 11 August 1943. Photo Credit. General Patton during conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Lyle Bernard near Brolo.
The first Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire lands at an airfield, converted from a wheat field, watched by Sicilian farmers who are working on the harvested wheat. Photo Credit.
A Martin Baltimore of the Tactical Bomber Force of the North West African Air Forces, flying over its target by a road in Sicily, while bombing retreating German forces heading for Messina. August 1943. Photo Credit. Bombs bursting on the docks and harbour of Pantelleria, as seen from on board the cruiser HMS ORION, in preparation for the allied invasion of the island. Pantelleria, Sicily, 1943. Photo Credit. The successful German rear guard action towards the end of the campaign enabled over 100,00 Axis troops and a large quantity of equipment to be evacuated to Italy from Messina. An aerial photograph shows one of the last German ships to leave Messina on fire after being bombed by the Royal Air Force off the Sicilian coast. Photo Credit.
A Sherman tank passes a tram in the Via Garibaldi during the entry into Catania. 5 August 1943. Photo Credit. A captured Italian 305mm gun being fired at night by the British during the Battle for Catania. This was the biggest gun used during the campaign. Photo Credit. Chandelier flares light up an Allied airfield during a night raid by Axis bombers. Bombs are bursting and a column of smoke rises into the night sky from a fire. Photo Credit. General Bernard Law Montgomery is bid a jolly farewell by Lieutenant General George S. Patton. An Airport at Palermo, Sicily, 28 July 1943. Italian soldiers of the 206th Coastal Division, taken prisoner by British forces after the landing in Sicily. Typical of the second-rate equipment issued to the Coastal Divisions, they are wearing Adrian helmets, rather than the more modern M33 helmets. General Keyes and the General Molinero together arriving at Palermo in order to sign the surrender of the city.
Italian gunboat ‘Geniere’ lies on its side in Palermo Harbour after being hit by a bomb, 23-26 July 1943. The Americans entered Palermo on 22 July, cutting off 50,000 Italian troops in the west of the island. But the mobile Axis forces, including most of the Germans, escaped to the north-east corner of the island. Photo Credit. A huge dump of German Teller mines captured by the Americans near Roccopalunba during their drive on Palermo. Photo Credit.
Damian is a history geek that’s working for War History Online for almost a decade. He can talk about the history and its chain of events for hours and is 100% legit fun at parties. Aside of history, geography and etymology of all things are no less exciting for him! An avid video game player, meme distributor, and your comment section moderator all in one. Mythologies of all cultures are fascinating to him, Greek, Nordic, Slavic – you name it, and he’s in!
In his spare time, assuming he has some left, he gives it all to his family, enjoying morning walks, a good book, an exciting FPS, and a long nap…or a few. Definitely a cat person.