Memorial Register Italy 3, WW2, Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily

opposition and with few casualties. The Italian army made little serious attempt to oppose the landing. On the left of the Eighth Army front was the 30th Corps with No. 40 and No. 41 Royal Marine Commandos on the extreme left the 1st Canadian Division on the west side of the Pachino peninsula the 51st (Highland) Division astride the peninsula, and the 231st Infantry Brigade just north of the peninsula. On the right the 13th Corps had on their extreme aright drop of the 1st Air Landing Brigade Group immedi­ately west of Syracuse during the night of 9th/10th July who had orders to capture the Ponte Grande the important bridge across the Anapo and so secure the approach to the city from the south. Immediately to the south of this a force consisting of No. 3 Commando and No. 1 Special Raiding Squadron were to land at Cape Murro di Porco and capture coastal batteries there then the 5th Division to capture Avola and protect the Corps bridgehead from the west and south-west. The 13th Corps on the right met with greater difficulties than did the 30th Corps and in particular the airborne troops were unfortunate as the gale and anti-aircraft fire forced many of the gliders down into the sea or wide of their objective. Sixty of the one hundred and forty gliders employed landed in the sea and from those that reached land small groups of men ranged over some sixty miles of coastline. Almost a quarter of the force were killed wounded or missing but the remainder succeeded nevertheless in preventing the destruction of the important Ponte Grande so that Syracuse was taken on the first day. In the cemetery at Syracuse are buried those who lost their lives in the landings and during the first part of the campaign. On 10th and 11th July there were landed in Sicily 81660 troops and 294 tanks of the Eighth Army and 81521 troops and 360 tanks of the U.S. Seventh Army. Eighth Army casualties of all kinds were some 800 of which 500 were suffered by the Air Landing Force. By 12th July the Eighth Army was in possession of the south-east corner of the island and had linked up with the Americans the following night they took the port of Augusta. Now the 13th Corps were advancing northwards along the coast toward Catania and the 30th Corps north-westward towards Caltagirone, Enna and Leonforte. Resistance was increasing however the 30th Corps were upheld at Vizzini on 13 th July and the 51st Division did not succeed in taking the town till the following afternoon and on the 13th Corps front some of the stiffest fighting of the whole campaign developed at the Primosole Bridge over the River Simeto on the approach to Catania. The 1st Parachute Brigade were brought into capture this bridge and establish a small bridgehead being dropped late on 13th July. Less than one-fifth landed at the right time and place (about one-third being taken back to their starting-point in North Africa) there was strong resistance the advance of the main forces from the south through Carlentini and Lentini was delayed and not until 17th July was a bridgehead over the Simeto established. But the parachutists had succeeded in preventing the destruction of the bridge. iv
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