The War Illustrated No 161 Vol 7 August 20th 1943

iiovanni Castroreile# Tortorici Jrancavijlff- " lV T.-.u“ \0WF- f/%ur( b^lister i a j JULY fulfilled its promise of being one of the most eventful months of the war. Ths collapse of Mussolini and of the Fascist regime was the most sensational event of the month, certainly accelerated if not brought about by the military events. The opening of the German summer inoffensive Russia, which for a few days looked dangerous, revived Axis hopes, but they were quickly damped by the remarkable Russian defence. While the battle in the Kursk salient was at its height and its results still uncertain, :ame the amazingly successful invasion of Sicily, marked by the wonderful perfection of he Allied preparations and the skill shown in the planning and execution of one of the most difficult operations in warfare. Then followed the Russian offensive on the Orel front,to prove how completely the German offensive had failed. There had been Russian offensives in the summer in previous years, but they had all had a defensive or diversionary purpose to check the full development of German offensive strategy. Here, however, was a Russian summer offensive which marked a definite recovery of the initiative lost temporarily at the end of the winter campaign. It is not surprising that Hitler had no reserves to send to Mussolini’s assistance, nor .that in the circumstances Mussolini decided to quit the sinking ship leaving Badoglio the task of saving what he could from the wreckage. SICILY At the time I am writing fat the end of July) the military situa­tion in Sicily is clear enough, but the further development of political events in Italy may aifcct .immensely the normal course of military action before this article is published. Up to the present the Allies have to their credit the great achievement of having in the course of three weeks successfully landed a large army in Sicily and of having secured possession of more than three-quarters of the island. What they occupy provides them with an admirable base for further operations, having several good ports and a considerable number of airfields. But the enemy, having deliberately abstained from risking German troops in defence of the western part of the island, has concentrated them in its North-East corner, where they are holding avery strong position covering approaches to the’Straits of Messina. With three and a half German divisions and two or three Italian divisions which maybe of belter quality than most of those met within Sicily the enemy should have sufficient troops to offer determined resistance on a front which is little over fifty miles long in a straight line especially as much of the front could probably be lightly held on account of the nature of the terrain. The position also atrords excellent observation. 'T'he Allies arc now in contact with the enemy almost along his whole front: British troops on the right and Canadians in the centre after having been engaged in stiff fighting with the Germans in their advance. The Americans on the left who have just come up into line have had less fighting, ONE MAN AND HIS DOG .Cherished personal possessions, including pets and musical instruments, were carried by many Italian prisoners, one of whom waits on the beach with his dog for the boat th a twill carry him captive from Sicily. Pkoto, British Official: Crown Copyright BATTLE O F THE SIC IL IAN TIP, showing how the Allied Armies moved off on August I, 1943. During the following week C atania, A lderno and Bronte had fallen to the Eighth Army the Americans had taken T roina and advanced beyond AS. gata. Courtesy of The Sews Chronicle to heavy artillery and air attacks with pro­bably numerous local operations to secure favourable starting positions and better observation. Up to the present the enemy has been receiving reinforcements, probably at least sufficient to replace casualties. That, owing to-developments in Italy, may become more difficult, but it is safer to assume that the numerical strength of his forces will be maintained though the morale of his troops may deteriorate under bombardment. THE BATTLEFRONTS THIS YOUNG OFFICER of the famous H e rm ann Goering Division was included in the first batch of prisoners from Sicily to be landed in Britain. Note the distinctive arm le ton his sleeve. Photo, .NP .A.but much larger distances'to go and have presumably to develop new bases at the ports captured in the west of the island in fact,' they are ready to lake part in a major opera­tion. It is clear that should the enemy continue to hold his ground here a full-scale, carefully prepared attack would be required to dislodge him, and days or even weeks may elapse before it could possibly achieve decisive results. Meanwhile, the enemy is being subjected by Maj.'Gen. Sir Charles Gwynn, K.C.B., D.S.O,
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