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Sicily - Assault on Sicily, 10 July 1943 (OL)

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Sicily - Assault on Sicily, 10 July 1943 (OL)

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Date Posted:October 9th, 2005
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Description: The landings took place in extremely strong wind conditions, which made the landings difficult but also ensured the element of surprise. Landings were made on the southern and eastern coasts of the island, with the British forces in the East and the Americans towards the West.

Four airborne operations were carried out, landing during the night of the July 9-10 July, as part of the invasion; two were British and two American. The American troops were the 82nd Airborne division, making their first combat parachute jump. The strong winds blew the dropping aircraft off course and scattered them widely; the result was that around half the US paratroops failed to make it to their rallying points. British glider-landed troops fared little better; only 12 out of 144 gliders landing on target, many landing in the sea. Nevertheless the scattered airborne troops maximised their opportunities, attacking patrols and creating confusion wherever possible.

The sea landings, despite the weather, were carried out against little opposition, the Italian units stationed on the shoreline lacking equipment and transport. The British walked into the port of Syracuse virtually unopposed. Only in the American centre was a substantial counterattack made, in exactly the point where the US Airborne were supposed to have been. On the 11 July Patton ordered his reserve parachute regiments to drop and reinforce the centre. Unfortunately not every unit had been informed of the drop, and the transports, which arrived shortly after an Axis air raid, were fired on by their own Navy, losing 37 out of 144 planes by friendly fire.

Thx to wiki.

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