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The landing of 1943 in Sicily, Husky Operation

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  • 1 Istituto dIstruzione Secondaria Superiore Michelangelo Bartolo

    Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni, Meccanica, Liceo Tecnologico (ITIS), P.N.I., Socio-Psico-Pedagogico (Liceo) Viale A. Moro - tel. 0931592725 fax 093146320 96018 - Pachino (SR) www.istitutobartolo.it e-mail

    sris01400g@istruzione.it

    THE LANDING

  • The present project, thought in the light of the present international situation and created considering the cultural and anthropological historical reality of

    our school, has been inserted in the didactic-disciplinary programming investing both the technical and humanistic disciplines. With it, we wanted

    our students to direct their attention on the historical events, which had as a

    focal point our territory, and we placed it in a perspective that does not

    simply contemplate our local history but opens it to a perspective of national and international analysis.

    The centrality of our territory and the events happened in it, induced some

    teachers to elaborate the present project trying to reconstruct the history and historiographic-anthropological knowledge beginning from an event, near, not only in space, but also in time, if not that of our fathers, surely that of

    our grandfathers and of the many others that carry scars and memories of

    their experiences of those days. The project aims to create/consolidate/strengthen in the young generations the historical

    Memories, to save the still alive collective Memories of the old generation

    and the people who have made and make the history of this part of Sicily.

    The objective was that of making the new generations understand that without Memory there is no future, that History is always contemporary

    because it teaches us the present and that only remembering it will be

    possible not to repeat the same errors.

    Coordinators of the project and editors of the issue: Eng S. Giannitto email: s_giannitto@hotmail.it Eng S. Minardi email: sebami@tin.it Teachers of electronics at the I Istituto Superiore M.Bartolo of Pachino Prof.ssa Rosalba Savarino Teacher of Arts at the Ist. Compr. La Ciura of Portopalo Prof. ssa Enza Scifo and Prof.ssa Rosalba Scifo

  • The days to remember

    Nine months after the German invasion of Poland, on 1st september 1939, Italy came into the war alongside Germany on 10th June 1940. Convinced that the war wouldnt last long and that the Hitlerian Germany would have won the war, the Duce thought that Italy could make the thousands of dead soldiers weigh heavily during the peace conference. Until the first half of 1942, the axis Rome-Berlin recorded numerous military successes. Between the end of 1942 and the beginning of 1943, the course of the second world war changed.

    The Italian-German troops were defeated:

    23 October 1942 in El-Alamein 20 November 1942 in Bengasi 23 January 1943 in Tripoli 2 February 1943 in Stalingrad 15 May 1943 in Tunisia 11 June 1943 the island of Pantelleria surrendered 12 June 1943 Lampedusa was occupied

  • The landing of the allies in Sicily was by now imminent!

    On 24th June 1943 Mussolini asserted in the presence of the Directorate of the National Fascist Party:

    Italian people must be convinced that it is a question of life and death . As soon as these people try to land, they must be stopped on that which sailors call shoreline. And if by chance they should penetrate, the reservoir forces-, which there are must attach these individuals, destroying them from the first to the last man. So that it can be said that they have occupied a piece of our native land, but they have occupied it remaining for ever in horizontal position, not in vertical position.

    From the monthly report by the Service Attendance of the Commando of 16th Army Corps - District - of Piazza Armerina commanded by Gen. Carlo Rossi, in defence of all of the East of Sicily:

    In various areas of the sector of the Army Corps, the enemy launched intimidatory and anti-fascist leaflets, of which I enclose copy. Dispositions have been given for an effective action against propaganda. The 140th coastal regiment points out newly presumed auscultations on behalf of civilians, of the clandestine radio transmissions. 29th June 1943

  • The invasion of Sicily was decided on 18th January 1943, five days before the victorious entry of the British troops in Tripoli, during the conference of Casablanca between Roosevelt and Churchill. The coded name of the landing in Sicily was the Husky Operation.

    D-day was established for 10th July 1943 at H hour (at 02:45), confiding in a favourable moon. The moon, in fact, would set a little after midnight, the sun would rise at 04:45 AM.

    7 divisions were used during the invasion (after a year 5 in Normandy), 3 English, 3 Americans and 1 Canadian. The plan foresaw that:

    The 7th American Army of Gen. George S. Patton would land in the gulf of Gela, it would direct towards north and west, and would conquer Palermo and then turn towards east along the northern coast towards Messina.

    The British Army of Gen. Sir Bernard Montgomery, would land in the extreme South-eastern part and from there would go back towards north, it would occupy Syracuse and Catania, in order to finally reunite itself with the Americans in Messina.

    Gen. Eisenhower, who in 1953 would become president of the United States, was nominated Commander in head of the allied forces for the entire operation.

  • The Army Corps of Gen. B.L. Montgomery

    The13rdArmy Corps (5th and 50th Infantry Division)

    Targets : landing in Cassibile and

    Avola. The 30th Army Corps (Gen. Sir

    Oliver Leese) Targets : possession of the air-port

    of Pachino; substitution of the 13rd

    Army Corps in the control zone of Avola; maintenance of the Iblei Mounts on the Ragusa-Palazzolo Acreide

    road; contact with the 7th American Army in the Comiso area.

    1) The 231st Brg Malta (Brg.R.E.Urquhart): The 1st Btl Dorset The 1st Btl Hampshire The 2nd Btl Devon

    Targets: landing in Marzamemi

    2) The 2nd Army Brg (Brig.R.Richards): Targets: in support to the landing in Marzamemi

    3) The 51st Div Highland (Magg. Gen. D.N. Wimberley): Targets: to land on the isle of Capo Passero at Punta delle

    Formiche in formation with the 154th, 152nd and 153rd brg

    4) The 1st Canadian Div (Magg.Gen.G.G.Simonds: Targets : to land on the Costa dellAmbra with 1, 2 3 brg of

    infantry 5) The 1st Brg Special service (Brig. R.L. Laycock):

    40th/41st Commandos of English navy; targets: before the other units, to land in the west further than

    Punta Castellazzo.

  • The Italian defence

    The Italian defence of the coast from Capo Ognina near Siracusa, to Punta Braccetto, near S. Croce Camerina (132 Km), was entrusted to the 206th Coastal Div under the command of Gen Achille dHavet, badly equipped and insufficiently trained.

    Gen. Achille dHavet

    Italian soldiers in piazza V. Emanuele

  • THE INVASION

    Of the 22 convoys (with 1600 British ships and 945 American ones), that left from several ports of North Africa and of the Middle East, only 3 were intercepted by 5 German submarines with a loss of 6 ships.

    The before night of the landing, the weather got worse: a strong wind rouse and the sea became rough until there was a

    moment that they thought to postpone the landing. In spite of the adversities it was decided to continue the operations and

    at the first lights of dawn of July 10, the storm stopped.

    The 9th July 1943 - Anglo-American gliders pilots and parachutists were launched:

    Before the hour X, a substantial launch of parachutists and special troops were sent to conquer airports, bridges and points in the Gela area and in the south of Syracuse.

    From Tunisia 226 cargo planes took off with 3405 American parachutists from the 82nd Airborne American Division on board.

    128 cargo planes took off from North Africa with as many gliders and 1600 men a board from the 1st English Airborne Brigade;

  • Due to the strong winds and the errors of the routes of the 354 airplane, 233 returned to the bases without having completed their mission.

    In order not to remain victims of the enemy antiaircraft the American parachutists were forced to quickly jump down from the planes.

    Of the 226 airplanes employed by the Americans only 26 launched men on the target, the others were dispersed on a large zone up to Vittoria, Comiso and S. Pietro di Caltagirone.

    Due to some errors made by the antiaircraft about 23 American aircrafts were mistaken for the enemy so determining the loss of 500 men.

    Also for the English this undertaking had tragic developments. Thrown about by the strong winds, and having panicked by the heavy antiaircraft, the pilots uncoupled the gliders and about half of them fell into the sea.

    Of the 128 gliders with 1200 English parachutists launched: only 12 gliders and 160 men landed near the bridge on the river Anapo and were able to seize it, the others landed disastrously far from the target.

    The reaction of the Italian antiaircraft caused the pilots to prematurely uncouple 69 gliders in the sea and so causing hundreds of men to drown in front of the Sicilian beaches.

    Some gliders sank in the port of Siracusa, four landed in the district area of Cavarra of Portopalo, many gliders hit in the dark against cliffs, buildings, trees and other obstacles. In spite of the huge losses the allied parachutists, dispersed behind the Italian lines, however succeeded, acting in small grou