Italy in WWII
-- The Allies' Greatest Blunder of World War II
by Irwin J. Kappes
Much has been written by military analysts about the conceptually faulty
OPERATION SHINGLE—the Anzio beachhead in January, 1944. But the story that has
been overlooked is the naval aspect of the operation, which was a resounding
On the 50th anniversary of the Anzio landings, the office of the Chief of Naval
Operations released a statement reading, in part: "A half-century ago American,
British, Dutch and Greek naval forces landed soldiers of the American and
British armies on the Italian coast. German resistance was unexpectedly
powerful and rapidly increased in strength. For four months the invaders
battled foul winter weather, heavy bombing and artillery fire to sustain the
Anzio beachhead. Throughout this long struggle on the Italian littoral, our
troops were strongly supported by naval gunfire, airpower and a shuttle of
ships and craft that braved air and submarine attack to deliver reinforcements.
Late in May 1944 the main Allied advance linked up with Anzio's defenders, and
Rome was liberated a few days later. In what many consider a land battle, there
were a total of 17 ships lost: ten British and seven U.S. Navy. In this action,
166 American sailors were wounded and 160 made the ultimate sacrifice in the
cause of freedom.
Operation Husky: The Allied
Invasion of Sicily, 1943
by Thomas E. Nutter
HUSKY (1) was an operation born in controversy. During
the so-called Second Washington Conference in the early summer of 1942, an
acrimonious debate raged between the British and their new American allies over
the future strategic course of the war against the European Axis powers.
General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, espoused
the view that the Allies could successfully confront the European Axis only by
means of an amphibious invasion of Western Europe, and that consequently no
operations which might detract from this goal should be undertaken.
Eisenhower attended the Casablanca Conference only briefly. On January 15,
after a harrowing journey in which his B-17 lost two engines, and he ended the
trip in a parachute harness, he reported on the progress of the campaign in
Tunisia. The decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff first came to his
knowledge when he received his copy of the official minutes of the conference.
Eisenhower had anticipated that the Allies would pursue some further action in
the Mediterranean at the end of the Tunisian campaign, so that even before the
Casablanca Conference his staff had been tentatively planning an operation
against Sardinia and Corsica.