With the expulsion of German and Italian armed forces from North Africa in May 1943, Allied forces in the Mediterranean prepared to jump ninety miles across the sea to strike Sicily and thus launch the first blow against Europe’s “soft underbelly.” This is the story of that jump, a story which includes the high-level decisions of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Casablanca Conference, the planning in Washington, London, and in the theater, and the subsequent fighting on the island.
Before landing in Sicily, the Allies had hoped that a successful island campaign, coming hard on the heels of Allied victories in North Africa, would cause Italy to abrogate its Pact of Steel with Germany and pull out of the war. How this Allied hope was fulfilled—the politico-military diplomatic negotiations, the ambiguities, the frustrations, the culmination in Italian surrender—is also part of the story.
A wealth of Allied documentary material, of captured German and Italian records, and of primary and secondary published material dealing with the period has been available to the authors in their attempt to reconstruct the crucial events of the spring and summer of 1943. Although their narrative focuses on American participation in these events, it does not neglect the important role played by Great Britain. The enemy side of the campaign and the Axis strategies and policies are also presented in full measure.
This volume itself has an interesting history. It was begun some years ago by Dr. Smyth when Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony was Chief of Military History and it is a pleasure to testify to the stimulation and guidance which he offered; to acknowledge the assistance and encouragement given by Dr. George F. Howe and Dr. Sidney T. Mathews, colleagues in the then Mediterranean Section; to recall the helpful critical comment proffered from time to time by Dr. Hugh M. Cole, then Chief of the European Section. Mr. Detmar Finke and Mr. Israel Wice were unflagging in their aid in the search for materials.
At a later stage Colonel Garland joined the staff of OCMH and took over the responsibility for the work. The volume thus is a product of joint authorship. Colonel Garland tells the story of the Sicilian Campaign. Dr. Smyth narrates the story of the Italian surrender. The combined work submitted by the authors ran to excessive length and Mr. Blumenson was called in to assist in condensing and revising portions of the manuscript. He contributed materially to its final structure and form.
In the later stages of the work this volume benefited from the assistance rendered by many individuals. Conspicuous among these have been Mr. Charles MacDonald, Chief of the General Histories Branch of the Office of the Chief of Military History, who guided the project during its last four years, and Mrs. Magna E. Bauer, of the same branch, whose exhaustive research in German and Italian records provided the authors with an invaluable series of studies on the enemy’s defense of Sicily.
The authors have also benefited from the help of other colleagues in OCMH, notably Brig. Gen. William H. Harris, Col. Leonard G. Robinson, Lt. Col. Joseph Rockis, Dr. John Miller, jr., Lt. Col. William Bell, and Lt. Col. James Schnabel. Many thanks are due also to David Jaffé, senior editor of the volume; B. C. Mossman, chief cartographer; Mrs. Loretto Stevens, assistant editor; and Mrs. Norma Sherris, photographic editor.
During the research stage, invaluable help was provided by Mr. Sherrod East, Chief Archivist, World War II Division, National Archives and Records Service, and certain of his assistants, Mrs. Lois Aldridge, Mrs. Hazel Ward, and Mrs. Frances J. Rubright. Without their willing and cheerful aid, this project might well never have been completed.
Although these individuals contributed much to the final product, the language used, the interpretations placed on the events, the conclusions reached, are the authors’ own. No one else bears this responsibility.
Albert N. Garland
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
Howard McGaw Smyth
15 June 1963