Chapter 7
From HUSKY to AVALANCHE: May--Mid-August 1943

Although TRIDENT did not settle the role the Mediterranean was to play in long-range European strategy, the need for deciding the size, timing, and direction of immediate operations in the Mediterranean became urgent. One effect of TRIDENT Was to speed preparations for the invasion of Sicily. By the close of the conference, operational planning for HUSKY was taking final shape. The Germans had at last been defeated in Tunisia, and the Allied headquarters in Algiers could turn its full attention to Sicily. Pantelleria had been accepted as an intermediate objective, an ad hoc, or modified, HUSKY had been rejected, and a full-scale operation had been projected in accord with a plan developed by General Eisenhower's staff. The final outline plan for Sicily, approved by the CCS on 13 May during the TRIDENT meetings, provided for British and American assaults against southern and southeastern areas of the island. On 22 May, while the CCS were still at the conference, General Eisenhower confirmed 10 July 1943 as D Day.1

Launching HUSKY

Early in its planning for HUSKY, General Eisenhower's combined planning staff had concluded that the most important need was to capture suitable airfields and ports to maintain the armies after the landings. By early May General Eisenhower and his deputy, General Alexander, had decided to concentrate the assault against the southeastern group of airfields and to seize Catania, Palermo, and other important ports later on. As usual, the landing craft bottleneck presented a problem. The outline plan called for eight seaborne assaults on approximately a hundred miles of coast line extending from just below Syracuse around the southeast tip of the island to the west as far as Licata. British troops were to assault the southeast coast, U.S. troops to land farther west in the vicinity of Gela and Licata. General Eisenhower chose 10 July, which occurred in the second quarter of the moon, as the target date offering sufficient light during the early period of the night for parachutists' landings and complete darkness after midnight for the naval force operations.2 With the objectives and timing


definite, the tempo of preparations for launching the campaign was stepped up both in Washington and abroad.

As a part of the advance planning for HUSKY, the British arranged for a body, made to appear to be that of a British courier, to be washed ashore on the Spanish coast. In the corpse's pouch were plans for an attack upon Greece under the code name HUSKY and for a second attack in the western Mediterranean. According to the planted information, only a feint would be made against Sicily. The Germans in due course received word of the body and the plans and reinforced the Peloponnesus and Sardinia.3

The close of the Tunisia Campaign led to a radical change in the situation in Italy. The defeat in North Africa convinced many Italian leaders that Italy should get out of the war, but Hitler remained adamant in his determination to fight both the Russians and the Anglo-Americans. With their hopes for a political settlement quashed, the Italians were placed in a precarious position. Their military weakness made them acutely aware of the dangers of attempting to break their alliance with Germany, for swift retaliation might follow. On the other hand, they wanted to stop fighting. As they wavered between Scilla and Charybdis, they aroused the suspicion of Hitler. On 20 May he decided to take no chances and directed the German staff to prepare a plan for German control of northern Italy in the event of Italy's defection.

By mid-June, the German commanders in Italy concluded that Italian morale was hopeless and that little could be expected in the way of resistance unless German forces were brought in. The Italian military staff conceded the truth of the German position by permitting and requesting German aid. As German troops entered Italy in increasing numbers during June and the early days of July, the Italians' freedom of action decreased.

Thus, on the eve of HUSKY, German forces controlled the northern approaches to Italy and were firmly ensconced around Rome. If the Italians defected, the German commanders would be in a position to evacuate their forces from the south to a defensive line along the northern Apennines. Were the Italians to continue the fight, the Germans contemplated defending all of Italy. All signs pointed to an Allied attack upon Sicily, but the Germans were forced to be prepared for a number of eventualities. The next move depended upon the Allies--and the Italians.4

The uncertainty in the relations between the two European Axis partners was not unwelcome to the Allies, but the German reinforcement of Italy and Sicily was hardly encouraging. To the Allies, HUSKY represented months of preparation. It developed as a unique combined undertaking, involving mounting, assembling, and supplying assault forces from tour widely separated areas--the United States, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and North Africa. It required the organization and dispatch of one task force from the United States, the assembly in the theater of a gigantic


Allied armada, and the launching of an ambitious amphibious operation. HUSKY also represented the first large-scale Allied venture in airborne operations. To maintain equal status between U.S. and British forces, special arrangements for command and administration were required. In the process, HUSKY ushered in an experiment in military government for occupied enemy territory. All of these experiences were to furnish valuable precedents for the management and conduct of subsequent combined operations.

The preparation and execution of this whirlwind campaign, which lasted only thirty-nine days (10 July-17 August 1943), pointed up the fact that much operational planning hitherto performed in Washington was shifting to large theater headquarters. The development of the replacement system and of the standing operating procedure for convoy loading and dispatching troops to the field made much of the work of operations officers in Washington routine and automatic. At the same time the tendency for an increasing number of General Marshall's plans and operations assistants to go overseas to serve on the theater headquarters staff as observers, liaison officers, planners, and active participants in the operation became even more marked.5 The chief Army planner, General Wedemeyer, during a tour of extended temporary duty in the North African theater, joined General Patton's staff and at the latter's request analyzed the entire operational plan for HUSKY. Wedemeyer went so far as to ask for and receive command of a regiment and participated in the initial fighting in Sicily.6 This leaven of practical experience with amphibious operations, needless to say, was to serve the Washington Army headquarters in good stead in subsequent planning for the highly operational phase of the war.

While some of its representatives were busily engaged in theater planning, the Washington Army headquarters completed arrangements for dispatching the 45th Infantry Division and the 82d Airborne Division.7 The combat-loaded 45th Division was a task force in miniature, for whose preparation the Washington headquarters had already had intensive experience in mounting and moving the Western Task Force for TORCH. The 82d Airborne arrived in the North African theater in May, followed a month later by the 45th Division. General Marshall's operations staff examined General Eisenhower's troop lists in terms not only of available units, ships, and escorts but also of the effect on other prospective operations, particularly on the build-up in the European theater for


the projected cross-Channel operation.8

The contrast in the totals of American strength divided between North Africa and the United Kingdom in the summer of 1943 drove home the need to hold the line so far as possible and to use troops already in the Mediterranean for HUSKY. By 1 July 1943, just ten days before HUSKY was launched, the strength of U.S. forces in the North African theater was estimated by the Washington planners at over 528,000, while U.S. strength in the United Kingdom was only about 160,000.9 Meanwhile, replacements had to be sent to the active theater, and the War Department took steps to correct deficiencies in the replacement training program in the zone of interior. It opened replacement depots on both coasts, increased capacities for training infantry and field artillery replacements, augmented training periods, and made provision for more small unit training.10

To match British arrangements, the War Department also took a significant step in organizing U.S. forces for HUSKY. Learning of the apparent British intention to designate General Montgomery's Eastern Task Force for HUSKY as an army, General Hull, then Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, suggested on 13 May to Marshall the advisability of designating General Patton's Western Task Force--then set up as a corps--also as an army. General Hull was concerned lest world opinion conclude that American contribution to HUSKY was much less than that of the British--a conclusion contrary to the facts in the case. General Marshall thereupon conferred with Field Marshall Dill, who confirmed the British intention. At the same time, the War Department operations staff learned of General Eisenhower's favorable disposition to Hull's proposal. As a result, on 17 May the Chief of Staff cabled General Eisenhower that the designation of General Patton's force for HUSKY was to be the U.S. Seventh Army.11 General Montgomery's Eighth Army comprised seven divisions, while General Patton's Seventh Army was given six divisions--the 1st, 3d, 9th, and 45th Infantry Divisions, the 2d Armored, and the 82d Airborne. The 9th and part of the 82d Airborne were to be held in reserve in North Africa; the rest were to, be used in the first assault.12 The Seventh Army became "the first United States field army to operate as a unit in the war."13


To provide fighter cover, a major problem in the operation, General Eisenhower had decided to subject the island of Pantelleria, almost equidistant from Tunisia and Sicily, to a heavy Allied bombardment well in advance of the assault on Sicily. Before an amphibious assault, the severe air attacks were supplemented by naval bombardment. The island surrendered after a few rounds of small arms fire were exchanged with the landing forces on 11 June. Next day Lampedusa, a smaller island some distance to the south, also fell. These attacks marked the first successful Allied effort to conquer enemy territory principally by air action.14

A month later, on 10 July, the Allied ground forces went ashore in Sicily. U.S. troops participated in the assault on the south coast of Sicily as the Western Task Force (Seventh Army), the attacks coinciding with those launched by the Eastern Task Force (Eighth Army) on the southeast end of Sicily with British forces from the Middle East, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. Making the assaults for the Americans were three reinforced infantry divisions--the 1st, 3d, and 45th--and the 2d Armored Division. The 1st and 3d Infantry and the 2d Armored Divisions were mounted from North African bases. The 45th, trained amphibiously in the United States, had spent five weeks at sea and required a brief conditioning in North Africa before its participation in the initial assault. Airborne operations were carried out by the 82d Airborne Division before and after these landings--not without some unfortunate mishaps.15

Though the Seventh Army encountered bad weather conditions, the landings on the whole came off without serious opposition. The remarkable performance of the celebrated DUKW--a product of American ingenuity--in unloading over the beaches solved the problem of large-scale supply until suitable ports were captured.16 Soon the ports of Licata, Syracuse, and Augusta were seized. On 22 July, elements of the U.S. 2d Armored and 3d Divisions, moving with great speed, met at the outskirts of Palermo, and Palermo surrendered without resistance. Early in the morning of 17 August, patrols of the U.S. 3d Division entered Messina not far in advance of patrols from the British Eighth Army. The campaign was over. In the closing days of the operation the strength of the U.S. and. British Army forces in Sicily was almost evenly balanced--168,427 American and 168,268 British.17


At Casablanca, seven months before, the Combined Chiefs of Staff had set as the objectives of the Sicily Campaign: to make the Allied lines of communication in the Mediterranean more secure; to divert as much German strength as possible from the Soviet front during the critical summer period; and to intensify pressure on Italy. General Eisenhower's conclusion was, "The operation achieved all these and much more."18 The invasion of Sicily, accompanied by heavy bombing on the Italian mainland--especially of the marshaling yards in the Rome area on 19 July-dealt crushing blows to Italian morale and led directly to the overthrow of the Fascist regime.19 On 25 July King Victor Emmanuel announced the resignation of Mussolini and charged Marshal Pietro Badoglio with the task of forming a new government. Italy had taken the first step toward withdrawing from the war against the Allies.20

Aside from their effect on Italy, air attacks from Mediterranean bases served as a prelude and warm-up for the five groups of B-24's that were withdrawn from HUSKY on 20 July, the day after the attack on Rome, in order to prepare for a raid on the Ploesti oil refineries in Rumania on 1 August 1943. Ploesti, with its rich resources of natural oil of great importance to the German war machine, had long been a favorite target in U.S. military planning. Its special attraction was the prospect of slowing up German operations on the Eastern Front and thereby offering immediate help to the USSR. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, American planners had studied the possibility of bombing Ploesti, and in the late spring of 1942 an ineffective attempt--by a special air group under Col. Harry A. Halverson--had been made by AAF planes from the Middle East.21

In the spring of 1943 a new plan had been developed by the Air Staff in Washington--a project for a low-level mass attack based on Bengasi. General Arnold and his planners heartily supported the plan, which was presented at TRIDENT and approved by General Eisenhower and the CCS early in June.22 In order not to deprive HUSKY of bomber support, it was agreed by all that the North African air force should provide only two groups of B-24's for the operation (known successively as STATESMAN, SOAPSUDS, and TIDALWAVE) and that the remainder should be obtained by transferring two groups of B-24's (the 93d and 44th) from the Eighth Air Force and temporarily diverting one group (the


389th) scheduled to move to the United Kingdom.23 Arriving in the Mediterranean at the end of June and beginning of July 1943, these groups joined the 376th and 98th groups.

The raid on Ploesti of 1 August was not a complete success. The loss of men and planes was heavy--532 (dead, prisoners, missing, or interned) of the 1,726 airmen and 54 of 177 planes, 41 of them in action. Much damage was inflicted on Ploesti's refining and cracking installations, reducing the production of lubricating oils, but the Germans soon repaired the damage. AAF historians, analyzing the results after the close of hostilities, have concluded that "though the over-all damage was heavy it was not decisive."24

Planning Post-HUSKY Operations

The progress of HUSKY inevitably raised anew the question that had been left in suspense at TRIDENT--what was to be the next strategic move? Should large-scale activity in the Mediterranean be closed down, and resources and strength be husbanded for the major operations in northwest Europe? The conferees had agreed to eliminate Italy, but how, where, and when had been left undecided. Should the Allies cross the Strait of Messina and seize the toe of Italy? Should they capture the heel at Taranto, or possibly land higher up the west coast? Or should they limit themselves to occupying Sardinia, as the U.S. Chiefs of Staff had favored? Churchill, who had come to TRIDENT with his heart set on an invasion of the Italian mainland, was disappointed in the vagueness of the agreement on Italy.25 As he confided somewhat later to General Jan Christian Smuts:

Not being satisfied with this, I requested the President [at the close of TRIDENT to send General Marshall with me to North Africa and there upon the spot to convince Eisenhower and others that nothing less than Rome could satisfy the requirements of this year's

Before he left Washington, Churchill explained to Roosevelt that he would feel awkward in discussing post-HUSKY policy with the Allied staff in the theater without the presence of a high-ranking American representative, lest he be charged with having exercised "undue influence." Obviously, if he could persuade Marshall--the strongest and most influential American military protagonist of an early cross-Channel operation as well as the theater commanders to back an invasion of Italy after Sicily, the Prime Minister would have gone a long way toward realizing his immediate goal in the Mediterranean. At the President's request, General Marshall agreed to defer a trip to the Southwest Pacific in order to accompany the Prime Minister and his staff.27 The transaction between the President and the Prime Minister prompted Marshall's rueful remark,.


that "he [Marshall] seemed to be merely a piece of baggage useful as a trading point."28

Algiers Conference, 29 May, June 1943

A series of meetings with General Eisenhower and other high-ranking Allied military leaders in the Mediterranean followed at Algiers in the week of 29 May-3 June 1943. Among those present were Generals Sir Harold Alexander, Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, and Sir Alan Brooke, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, Maj. Gen. Walter B. Smith, Brig. Gen Lowell W. Rooks, and General Sir Hastings L. Ismay. Toward the close of the week General Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, who had been on a tour of the overseas theaters, arrived at Algiers to join the Chief of Staff at the meetings.

Churchill and Marshall acquainted Eisenhower with the TRIDENT decisions, explored with him the progress of the HUSKY preparations and the implications of the projected cross-Channel operation (ROUNDHAMMER) for Mediterranean operations after HUSKY, and exchanged views with him on the merits of various possible post-HUSKY operations. At the outset General Eisenhower expressed the view that if the Allies were going to knock out Italy, they should do so immediately after HUSKY with all available means. If HUSKY proved to be an easy undertaking, the Allies should go directly into Italy rather than to any of the Mediterranean islands.29

The Prime Minister drew on all his eloquence to reaffirm the position he had supported at TRIDENT. He insisted that he had no desire to interfere with a cross-Channel attack projected for 1944, but he wanted to take full and immediate advantage of all opportunities offered by the capture of Sicily. His "sincere wish and hope" was that the United States and Great Britain could go directly from HUSKY into Italy. He declared that "his heart lay in an invasion of Southern Italy." To Churchill, the choice of southern Italy over Sardinia represented the difference between "a glorious campaign and a mere convenience."30

In reply, General Marshall emphasized that he was not arguing against the broad commitment made at TRIDENT to aim at the fall of Italy but, he stated, the Allies would have to select the particular operation in the Mediterranean to follow HUSKY with great care in order to ensure that it be based on a close calculation of requirements and of actual conditions to be faced. The "ball" and "toe" of Italy were only a small part of the mainland, and operations on the mainland might, in the final analysis, result in great drains on Allied shipping and other resources. Before a decision could be reached on post-HUSKY operations, it would be necessary to estimate German reaction to HUSKY in order to determine


GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER AND GENERAL MARSHALL during the Algiers Conference, 3 June 1943
during the Algiers Conference, 3 June 1943.

Whether there would be real resistance to an Allied landing in southern Italy, Whether the Germans would withdraw to the Po, whether the Germans could organize and handle the Italians effectively, and what readjustments they Would make on the Soviet front. The information could be secured, in General Marshall's opinion, after the initial phases of HUSKY were completed.31

General Marshall thus continued to show the cautious attitude of the U.S. military staff toward large-scale ground operations in the Mediterranean. Pending the outcome of HUSKY, he recommended that the Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, prepare for various Mediterranean operations. The logical approach, lie suggested, was to set up two forces, each with its own staff--one to train for an operation against Sardinia and Corsica, the other for an operation against the mainland of Italy. When the HUSKY situation became sufficiently clear to make a decision on the next step, the necessary air strength and vital resources could be assigned to the force carrying out the plan adopted. As a result of General Marshall's recommendations, General Eisenhower modified the view lie lead first offered. He would designate


two separate headquarters, each with its own staff, to plan post-HUSKY operations. One would plan for operations against Sardinia and Corsica; the other for operations against the mainland of Italy, particularly the toe and the ball. If Sicily collapsed quickly, he would cross the Strait of Messina and seize a bridgehead on the mainland.32

The conference ended, as it had begun, without a clear-cut decision on post-HUSKY operations. The conferees simply concluded that General Eisenhower should send his recommendations to the CCS during the early phases of HUSKY. In effect, as the Prime Minister summed it up at the close of the meetings, "post-HUSKY would be in General Eisenhower's hands." The Prime Minister had to take what comfort he could from his impression that all were agreed that Italy be eliminated from the war as soon as possible, and if differences arose over the particular course of action recommended by General Eisenhower, they would be settled between the two governments. General Marshall had won his way on postponing a final decision.33

Decision To Undertake AVALANCHE

Meanwhile, in Washington General Marshall's planning assistants kept one eye on the progress of HUSKY, the other on post-HUSKY planning. In examining recommendations for Mediterranean operations after Sicily, they took the same cautious stand Marshall had taken against Allied embroilment in large-scale ground action in Italy. Their yardstick was the likely effect of any Mediterranean operation on the main effort in northwestern Europe. One recommendation to which they objected was that advanced on 3 July by General Arnold for invading Italy in the fall of 1943 in order to occupy the Ravenna-Ancona area.

Arguing purely from the Air point of view, the Air Forces chief dwelt on the advantages of gaining a base area in northern Italy from which the German controlled industrial centers of southern Europe could be bombed, thus supplementing the Combined Bomber Offensive from the United Kingdom and paving the way for an invasion of the Continent., On the other hand, alternative operations--against Sardinia, Corsica, or the Iberian Peninsula--promised only limited results for air operations.34 The Army planners objected that should the enemy offer strong resistance after HUSKY, a sufficient number of Allied divisions and adequate means would not be available to occupy the northern portion of the Italian boot. It was their hope, however, that the measures finally adopted to eliminate Italy would yield a base area for broadening air operations against German-controlled Europe35 In fact, so important did they consider this aim that they were opposed to allocating U.S. heavy bombers to Turkey--then


suggested by the British Joint Staff Mission in Washington--on the ground that the airplanes could be more effectively used in operations based on Italy.36

The Army planners also raised objections to a concomitant recommendation of the British Chiefs of Staff that the Allies occupy the toe and ball of Italy. In presenting their proposal, the British declared that "all means at our disposal" should be used to eliminate Italy from the war, and thereby contain as large a German force as possible in the Mediterranean.37 Col. George A. Lincoln of the War Department's operations staff argued that the toe and ball had little military value in themselves. If the Axis Powers chose to resist, a commitment of limited Allied forces available against Italy would not necessarily afford the best method of containing German forces in the Mediterranean or of bringing about the collapse of Italy. On the other hand, air operations from Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica might pave the way for the later disintegration of Italy. In any event, the seven divisions scheduled for transfer from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom must be sent. A major operation in Italy must be avoided so long as there was a "reasonable" chance of executing OVERLORD. A realistic decision by the CCS on post-HUSKY plans, Colonel Lincoln concluded, must be based on General Eisenhower's appraisal of Axis reaction to HUSKY and of probable Axis reaction to a post-HUSKY operation, on a reliable estimate of resources remaining after HUSKY, and, above all, on over-all strategic considerations.38

Pending the response to HUSKY and the final decision on post-HUSKY operations, the Army planners heartily approved the flexible concept of operations embodied in General Eisenhower's unfolding plans against Sardinia, Corsica, southern Italy, and various combinations thereof. In this theater planning, the seizure of the toe or ball of Italy was to be followed by an overland advance to occupy the heel and thence northward to capture Naples. To ensure that post-HUSKY Mediterranean actions would not become extended, the Army planners sought to keep the wherewithal limited to that already allocated to the area, exclusive of planned withdrawals for other operations. On the other hand, the British were anxious to increase the means and strength available to General Eisenhower for an invasion of the Italian mainland in force.

Success of the initial assaults on Sicily soon began to bring the interrelated questions of objectives, resources, and timing to a head. At first the vital resource in immediate question was combat loaders. At the close of June General Eisenhower had asked for the retention of nine combat loaders that TRIDENT had not definitely allocated to other theaters. Within a week after the initial landings the British urged that General Eisenhower to be given a free hand in respect to shipping--especially combat


loaders--the resulting loss to be absorbed by BOLERO or the Pacific. The Army planners resisted. They called for General Eisenhower to adjust his projected requirements for combat loaders for post-HUSKY operations to those remaining in the Mediterranean after the withdrawals for BOLERO, BULLFROG (operation against Arakan coast, Burma), and the Pacific were met--as originally planned. In a meeting of the CCS on 16 July General Marshall forcefully backed his planners' point of view on the distribution of resources, observing that losses of combat loaders in the initial HUSKY operations had been slight.39

Up to this point General Marshall's attitude toward an invasion of Italy had been a cautious "wait and see." He now proposed that a bold amphibious attack on Naples be seriously considered. Presumably his stand was influenced--in part at least--by a 15 July report from his intelligence staff on the exploitation of HUSKY. G-2 indicated that Italian combat power had deteriorated to the point where the Allies could assume calculated risks in dealing with Italy. To exploit their advantage, the Allies would be justified in taking prompt action against the Italian mainland. G-2 recommended the Naples area as the most promising target for an Allied invasion and called for studies to be made of an operation to capture Naples and then move on to Rome.40 Reasoning along the same lines, the Chief of Staff suggested on 16 July that the CCS consider launching an amphibious attack on Naples after HUSKY on the ground that if the HUSKY outlook continued favorable the Allies would be justified in taking a bolder move and "some reasonable risk in this direction."41 Sir John Dill took up Marshall's suggestion at once, and on the same day the CCS cabled General Eisenhower their acceptance of his current strategic concept for post-HUSKY planning purposes and their interest in the possibilities of an amphibious operation against Naples in lieu of an attack on Sardinia.42

In London Churchill received the report of General Marshall's 16 July proposal to the CCS with "evident. delight." Secretary of War Stimson, then on a visit to the United Kingdom, was greatly disturbed to find, in the course of conversations with the Prime Minister on 17 July, that Churchill interpreted Marshall's support of a bold move against Naples as an endorsement of his whole Italian policy. Stimson hastened to point out that Marshall had probably proposed the Naples operation only as a short cut designed to hasten "the completion of the Italian adventure" so that there would be no danger of interference with preparations for the cross-Channel operation. On 19 July the Secretary, talking with Marshall via transatlantic telephone, asked for a clarification of views. He reported his impression that the Prime Minister, subject to his "very strong desire" for a march on Rome, was sincere in his promise to support OVERLORD. Stimson informed Marshall of the


assumption he had made regarding Marshall's position--that Marshall had suggested the move against Naples in order to hasten the drive on Rome, permit more time for the cross-Channel operation, and preclude the danger of a long, slow march "up the leg" that might eliminate the cross-Channel operation altogether. The Chief of Staff reassured the Secretary of War: "You are absolutely correct. This is exactly what we are after."43 On 22 July Stimson told Churchill of his talk with Marshall and confirmed his interpretation of Marshall's support of AVALANCHE (code name for attack on the Naples area). He made clear that Marshall and his staff were as firmly in favor of the cross-Channel operation as ever.44 Thus it appears that General Marshall's proposal of 16 July signified no sudden new interest on his part in extended, large-scale ground action on the Italian mainland. Far from supporting a departure from the fundamental strategy hitherto espoused by the Army staff, he was seizing on the possibility of the Naples attack as a device to gain all the advantages of a position in Italy--as far north as Rome--as quickly and as cheaply as possible, thereby ensuring rather than impeding the success Of OVERLORD. Whatever Marshall's reasons, the possibility of bolder action in the Mediterranean found British staff circles no less enthusiastic than the Prime Minister.45

In Washington and in the theater, planning for post-HUSKY operations henceforth took AVALANCHE seriously into account.46 On 18 July General Eisenhower requested the approval of the CCS to carry the war to the Italian mainland immediately after the capture of Sicily. In the light of the current state of Italian morale this appeared to him to be the best course to achieve the twin objectives of forcing Italy out of the war and of containing the maximum German forces. His planners, he pointed out, were re-examining the proposition of an assault on Naples.47


On 20 July, on the basis of a message drafted in the War Department, the CCS cabled their approval.48

Once more the British raised the question of augmenting General Eisenhower's resources-this time to ensure completely the success of AVALANCHE. On 19 July--and more definitely on the 21st--they proposed that nothing be moved out of the Mediterranean until Eisenhower had stated his requirements for the proposed invasion of the mainland. Acknowledging that a stand-fast policy might delay scheduled operations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, they felt that the elimination of Italy from the war would be worth the price. To some extent the British proposal affected combat loaders. Since those slated for the Pacific and BOLERO-SICKLE had already left, Burma operations in all likelihood would suffer the most. The main items in immediate question now appeared to be aircraft--bombers and troop carriers and possibly also destroyers. To the British, the situation called for immediate and even unilateral action. They proceeded to issue a "stand-fast" order on movements of their own troops, shipping, and other resources from the Mediterranean, urging the Americans to do the same.49

Once more the Army planners raised objections--this time on the ground that JCS support of AVALANCHE was not intended to imply any increase in the means available for post-HUSKY operations. Col. Frank N. Roberts reasoned that General Eisenhower's forces for post-HUSKY had already been augmented at the price of some disarrangement of BOLERO.50 A further increase of means might postpone or cancel operations projected for other theaters--an unacceptable departure from TRIDENT strategy. The JPS went so far as to contend that unless the British went through with the planned withdrawals of combat loaders for BULLFROG, the American LST's (landing ship, tank) for that operation should be sent to the Pacific.51 General Marshall took the same position as his staff in arguing before the CCS on 23 July--that General Eisenhower had the means with which to capture Naples and that "reasonable hazards" could then be accepted in the Mediterranean. If additional shipping and other resources were furnished, OVERLORD as well as Far East and Pacific operations would be jeopardized.52 To General Marshall and


the JCS, AVALANCHE would have to be a calculated risk.

In the midst of these exchanges, Washington received the dramatic news of the fall of Benito Mussolini (25 July), and on the following day the JCS and the CCS met in special sessions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were more eager than ever for quick action to knock Italy out of the war. General Marshall now viewed the British proposal as "conservative and orthodox." As he saw it, the situation in the Mediterranean had become different from that envisaged at TRIDENT. Italian resistance was weak. The Allies already possessed Palermo. Allied casualties in Sicily, except for airborne troops, had been very light. As a result, he believed that more Allied forces would be available in the Mediterranean for offensive operations after HUSKY than had been thought possible. The operation against Naples as then conceived was no longer a "calculated risk." A timely operation against the mainland at Naples would greatly strengthen the hand of the new Italian Government in freeing itself from its German partner. In view of the developments during the previous twenty-four hours, it appeared to Marshall that late August, then considered the time when a "fleeting opportunity" to invade the Italian mainland would occur, was much too late. Observing that 60,000 men over and above the TRIDENT agreement would be available for post-HUSKY operations, the JCS adopted the same arguments before the GCS. To the British, the JCS voiced particular concern over the progress of preparations for operations in Burma. Current successes in the Mediterranean had, they asserted, by no means eliminated the need for the Burma operations already agreed upon.53

On 26 July the CCS agreed that General Eisenhower should plan to mount AVALANCHE as soon as possible with resources already available to him. Some carrier-borne air support, however, would be made available to him for that operation from British sources.54 Over and above the exceptions already made, the Americans remained reluctant to retreat from their original decision not to send reinforcements from the United States for AVALANCHE or any other post-HUSKY Mediterranean operation. Nor did they want the scheduled withdrawals from the Mediterranean for other operations interrupted. To make up for the weaknesses in long-range fighters for the AVALANCHE landings, the British themselves actually allotted four of their escort carriers and a light fleet carrier and gave General Eisenhower three of their bomber squadrons scheduled for early departure from the theater.55

On 26 July General Eisenhower, meeting with his staff in Tunis, ordered the preparation of two alternative plans for operations against the mainland of Italy: BUTTRESS (invasion of Calabria) and AVALANCHE. On 27 July he cabled the CCS that a decision as to which of these plans should be put into effect should be possible in a few days--as soon as the military significance of the recent political


changes in Italy had become sufficiently clear56 On 28 July he in‚formed the CCS that the availability of shipping and landing craft made the launching of a formal AVALANCHE by 9 September 1943 a definite possibility. To exploit the situation immediately in the event of a complete collapse of Italy, his staff was also preparing an ad hoc AVALANCHE of about one division. He emphasized the difficulty of the air problem in AVALANCHE--the lack of bases close enough to provide fighter cover for the initial assault and the need to neutralize enemy airpower and disrupt enemy lines of communication. He stressed the need for haste in HUSKY in order to secure the necessary airfields and a "reasonable bridgehead" in the BUTTRESS area and thereby prevent the Germans from transferring their reserves directly to the scene of a landing in AVALANCHE.57 On 2 August General Eisenhower confirmed the fact that a lodgment would be required in the BUTTRESS area before a bold stroke such as AVALANCHE could be attempted.58 He had still to determine the exact character of the landing on the toe. The choice now lay between two planned operations--BUTTRESS and BAYTOWN (an operation across the Strait of Messina near Reggio) as the forerunner of AVALANCHE. While the final decision was to be postponed until the time of the next big Anglo-American conference, QUADRANT, the breaching of the Continent via the "soft underbelly" was close at hand.


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1. (1) Eisenhower rpt, Sicilian Campaign, pp. 1011. (2) Chs. II and III, above. (3) Msg, Eisenhower to WD for CCS, etc., 22 May 43, CM-IN 15551 (24 May 43), NAF 224, Item 1b, Exec 3.

2. Eisenhower rpt, Sicilian Campaign, pp. 10-11.

3. For an interesting account of this deception, see Hon. Ewen Montagu, The Man Who Never Was (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1954).

4. For an account of German and Italian plans and preparations for Italy during the pre-HUSKY period, see Smyth, Sicilian Campaign and the Surrender of Italy.

5. For a summary of the role of War Department staff officers overseas from 1943 onward, see Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. XV.

6. (1) Pets ltr, Wedemeyer to Handy, 4 Jul 43, with Tab 16 in ABC 381 HUSKY (1943), 1-B. (2) Pers ltr, Patton, CG Seventh Army, to Marshall, 18 Jul 43, with Tab 16 in ABC 381 HUSKY (1943), 1B. (3) Pers ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 21 Jul 43, Case 38, Book 11, Exec 9. (4) For a discussion of General Wedemeyer's participation in HUSKY, See Cline, Washington Command Post, pp. 296-99.

7. (1) BIGOT-HUSKY msg (originator OPD), Marshall to FORTUNE Algiers, 3 Jun 43, CM-OUT 1397. (2) BIGOT-HUSKY msg (originator OPD), Marshall to FORTUNE Algiers, 5 Jun 43, CM-OUT 2250. (3) Msg (originator OPD) Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 Jun 43, CM-OUT 300. All in Item 6, Exec 3. (4) BIGOT-HUSKY msg, Eisenhower to OPD (Attn North African Theater Sec), 31 May 43, CM-IN 16 (1 Jun 43), Item 7, Exec 3. (5) Ltr, Maj Gen Troy H. Middleton, CG 45th Div, to OPD, 31 Jul 43, sub: Comments and Recommendations, 45th Div Task Force, OPD 371 ETO, 106. (6) Ch. II, above.

8. BIGOT-HUSKY msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 29 May 43, CM-OUT 12639, Item 8, Exec 3.

9. Memo, Col Alexander D. Reid, Chief European Sec Theater Gp OPD, for Gen Handy, Gen Hull, and Col Bessell, 23 Jul 43, sub: Effect of TORCH and Subsequent Diversions Upon BOLERO, Paper 36, Item 1c, Exec 3. Colonel Reid noted that, based on Casablanca figures, U.S. strength for 1 July 1943 had been projected irk the United Kingdom at 456,000 and in NATO at 407,700, thereby indicating the build-up in NATO in excess of that in the United Kingdom even more sharply.

10. Memo, Handy, ACofS OPD, for CofS, 6 Aug 43, sub: Replacements for 1st Infantry Div, Case 59, Book 11, Exec 9.

11. BIGOT msg, FORTUNE via AFHQ Algiers to Middle East for FORCE 545, FORCE 343, War Office, WD, etc., 12 May 43, Case 12, Item 1c, Exec 3. (2) Memo, Hull, Actg ACofS OPD, for CofS, 13 May 43, sub: Br Twelfth Army, Case 9, Item 1c, Exec 3. (3) Msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 15 May 43, CM-OUT 6885. (4) Msg, Marshall to Eisenhower (info copy OPD), 17 May 43, CM-IN 10837. (5) Msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 17 May 43, CM-OUT 7288.

12. (1) CO Hq Bull No. 1/1, London, October 1943, "Notes on the Planning and Assault Phase of the Sicilian Campaign by a Military Observer," OPD 381 ETO, 217. (2) Memo, Ferenbaugh for ACofS OPD, 29 Sep 43, sub: Brief of the Hist Rcd, Provisional Corps, Seventh U.S. Army, for the Period 15 July to 20 August 1943, OPD 381 Africa, 151.

13. Eisenhower rpt, Sicilian Campaign, p. 32.

14. A detailed discussion of the operation and significance of the air attack on Pantelleria and Lampedusa is contained in Craven and Cate, AAF II, pp. 419-34. See also Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, II, Operations in North African Waters, October 1942-June 1943 (Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1950) (hereafter cited as Morison, Operations in North African Waters), p. 279.

15. (1) Memo, R. A. Meredith, Hq AGF, for CGS Second, Third, and Fourth Armies, etc., 31 Jan 44, sub: Amphibious Operations Against Sicily, OPD 381 ETO, 251. (2) OPD brief of rpt of Operation of II Corps in the Sicilian Campaign, incl to memo, Ferenbaugh for Handy, 13 Oct 43, sub: Rpt of Operation of II Corps in the Sicilian Campaign, OPD 381 ETO, 130. (3) Notes Covering Observations Prior to and During HUSKY Operations, Gen Wedemeyer [1 Aug 43], Case 35, Book 11, Exec 9. (4) OPD brief of rpt Comdr Center Attack Force on Operation HUSKY, 30 Aug 43, OPD 381 ETO, 77. (5) Pers Itr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 17 Aug 43, Case 37, Item 1c, Exec 3.

16. The DUKW, a 21/2-ton amphibian truck, soon popularly known as the "Duck," was used to move cargo from ship to shore, and later moved in simultaneously with assault troops, thereby increasing the mobility of attacking forces.

17. (1) Msg, 15th Army Gp to WAR (info copy OPD), 21 Aug 43, CM-IN 15816. (2) Strength of Forces in Sicily, 10 Aug 43, based on msg, CM-IN 15816 (21 Aug 43), Case 91, Book 11, Exec 9.

18. Eisenhower rpt, Sicilian Campaign, p. 31.


19 The decision to bomb the marshaling yards of Rome was taken only after careful consideration by the Allied authorities. Military as well as political considerations determined it. Rome was not only the capital of Fascist Italy, it was also the center of the Italian system of communications. The decision and the operation are discussed in: (1) Craven and Cate, AAF II, pp. 463-65, 479; (2) Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1948), pp. 168-69; (3) Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 828-29; (4) Smyth, Sicilian Campaign and the Surrender of Italy.

20. A full discussion of the role of the U.S. Army in the planning and execution of the Sicilian campaign is to be presented in Smyth, Sicilian Campaign and the Surrender of Italy.

21. The Halverson Project (HALPRO) is discussed in Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning: 1941-42, pp. 139, 141, 246-47, 250.

22. (1) Min, 83d mtg CCS, 13 May 43. (2) OPD brief, title: Notes . . . meetings CCS, 19 May 43, Tab 2, Folder 1, Item 10, Exec 5. (3) Min, 3d mtg held at Gen Eisenhower's villa, Algiers, 3 Jun 43, Official TRIDENT Conf Book. (4) Memo, Wedemeyer for CofS, 8 Jun 43, sub: Operations of Red Air Force Subsequent to SOAPSUDS, Paper 16, Item 1c, Exec 3.

23. The Prime Minister, with his usual sensitivity to the use of appropriate code names, liked the change in code name from SOAPSUDS to the more elegant TIDALWAVE. So did the President. "May they grow bigger and better," he declared to the Prime Minister in late June (Msg No. 296, President to Prime Minister, 28 Jun 43, WDCSA ETO (Super Secret)).

24. This brief account of the Ploesti raid is based largely on Craven and Cate, AAF II, 477-84. Quote is from p. 483. See also Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 160-61.

25. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, p. 810.

26. Msg, Prime Minister to Gen Smuts, 16 Jul 43, quoted in Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 36.

27. Min, 6th mtg CCS at the White House, TRIDENT, Official TRIDENT Conf Book.

28. Quoted by Stimson, in Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, P. 428.

29. (1) Min, 1st mtg held at Gen Eisenhower's villa, Algiers, 29 May 43, Official TRIDENT Conf Book. (2) General Eisenhower's willingness to go directly to Italy aroused fears among some of the American planners lest the Allies be committed to a major operation in the Mediterranean before the JCS had an opportunity to pass on it. Informal memo, L.J.L. [Lt Col Lawrence J. Lincoln] for Gen Wedemeyer, and appended "Summary Minutes of Meetings-Eisenhower's Villa, Algiers, 29 May 43," with CCS 223 in ABC 384 Post-HUSKY (14 May 43),I.

30. (1) Min, 2d mtg held in Gen Eisenhower's villa, Algiers, 31 May 43. (2) Min, 1st mtg held in Gen Eisenhower's villa, Algiers, 29 May 43. Both in Official TRIDENT Conf Book.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Min, 3d mtg held at Gen Eisenhower's villa, Algiers, 3 Jun 43, Official TRIDENT Conf Book.

The Algiers Conference is treated from the viewpoint of two of the principal participants in Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 166-68, and Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 816-30.

34. JPS 223, 3 Jul 43, title: Comparison of Various Post-HUSKY Operations in Relation to Allied Air Capabilities.

35. OPD brief, title: Notes . . . 83d mtg JPS, 7 Jul 43. Comparison of Various Post-HUSKY Operations in Relation to Allied Air Capabilities (JPS 223), with JPS 223 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I.

36. (1) Memo, Handy, ACofS OPD, for DCofS, 3 Jul 43, sub: Heavy Bomber Squadrons for HARDIHOOD II. (2) OPD draft Itr, DCofS for Air Marshal Sir William L. Welsh, Br Joint Staff Mission, incl to memo, Handy for DCofS, 3 Jul 43, sub: Heavy Bomber Squadrons for HARDIHOOD II. Both with JPS 169/D in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I

37. CCS 268/1, 6 Jul 43, title: Post-HUSKY Operations North African Theater.

38. OPD brief, title: Notes . . . 10lst mtg CCS, 9 Jul 43, Post-HUSKY Operations North African Theater (CCS 268/1), with CCS 268/1 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. OPD action officer was Col. G.A. Lincoln.

39. (1) OPD brief, title: Notes . . . 102d mtg CCS, 16 Jul 43, Post-"HUSKY" Operations North African Theater (CCS 268/2), with CCS 268/2 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. (2) Min, 102d mtg CCS, 16 Jul 43.

40. Memo, Gen Strong, ACofS G-2, for CofS, 15 Jul 43, sub: "HUSKY" Exploitation, Case 15, Book 10, Exec 8.

41. Min, 102d mtg CCS, Jul 43.

42. Msg, CCS to Eisenhower and Br COS, USFOR, London, 16 Jul 43, CM-OUT 6683, FAN 165 (info copy OPD).

43. (1) Tel conv, SW and Gen Marshall, 9:05 A.M., 19 Jul 43, Paper 2, Book 11, Exec 9. (2) Incl to ltr, Stimson to Hopkins, 4 Aug 43, no sub, SW files, White House, 36. The inclosure contains Stimson's report to the President of his overseas trip in July.

44. Incl to ltr, Stimson to Hopkins, 4 Aug 43, no sub, SW files, White House, 36. A detailed discussion of Stimson's negotiations and conclusions drawn from his visit to England in the summer of 1943 is contained in: (1) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 429-38, and (2) Rudolph A. Winnacker, The Mediterranean Versus the Channel, 1943, draft MS, OCMH files.

45. For the British staff views see: (1) CCS 268/6, 21 Jul 43 title: Post-"HUSKY" Operations North African Theater; and (2) J.P. (43) 265, Rpt by Br Joint Planning Staff War Cabinet for Br COS, 21 Jul 43, title: The Exploitation of "HUSKY", with CCS 268/3 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. The British joint planners here recommended AVALANCHE in place of an operation against the heel (MUSKET) as "a sounder and more decisive operation.

46. General Marshall's staff planners, keeping the Chief of Staff alert to studies exploring his proposal, followed the progress of negotiations between the CCS and General Eisenhower. For an example of the staff planners' briefing function, see memo, OPD for CofS, 17 Jul 43, sub: "HUSKY" Exploitation, with JCS 417 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. OPD action officer was Colonel Roberts. The memo referred to a study of a Naples operation being conducted by the JWPC. The study is contained in JCS 417, 19 Jul 43, title: Rapid Exploitation of "HUSKY."

47. Actually, General Eisenhower and AFHQ planners had long been impressed with the desirability of promptly seizing the port of Naples, but they had been considering the project as the culmination of an overland advance from the south, in exploitation of BUTTRESS and GOBLET (operations against the toe of Italy to capture Reggio on the Calabrian peninsula, and against the ball of Italy near Crotone, respectively). Hitherto they had not considered a direct assault upon Naples feasible because of such problems as the anticipated shortage of landing craft and insufficient fighter cover for the operation.

See: (1) BIGOT-HUSKY msg, Eisenhower to WD for CCS, and to War Office for Br COS, 30 Jun 43 (info copy OPD), CM-IN 434 (1 Jul 43); (2) Smyth, Sicilian Campaign and the Surrender of Italy, Ch. II, "Preliminary Planning of Attack on Italy;" pp. 32-33; and (3) Allied Force Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander's Dispatch, Italian Campaign, 3 Sep 43-8 Jan 44 (hereafter cited as Eisenhower rpt, Italian Campaign), p. 12.

48. (1) Min, 69th mtg CPS, 20 Jul 43. Original draft of message was submitted by Colonel Roberts of OPD, acting Army Planner in the absence of Gen Wedemeyer during HUSKY. (2) Min, 97th mtg JCS, 20 Jul 43. (3) Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 20 Jul 43, FAN 164, CM-OUT 8200 (info copy OPD).

49. (1) CCS 268/3, 19 Jul 43; CCS 268/6, 21 Jul 43; and CCS 268/8, 24 Jul 43. All entitled Post-HUSKY Operations. (2) For a detailed discussion of the logistical debate and preparations in connection with planning for the invasion of Italy, see Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1943-45, MS draft chapter, "The Invasion of Italy," OCMH files.

50. Colonel Roberts served in the Military Intelligence Division in 1941 and on temporary duty with the Army forces in the CBI in early 1942. He joined the Strategy Section of OPD in July 1942.

51. (1) Col Robert's draft reply to CCS 268/6, 22 Jul 43, with CCS 268/6 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. (2) His conclusions were echoed in the JPS report to the JCS-JCS 421, 23 Jul 43, title: Post "HUSKY" Operations North African Theater. Both papers were drawn up as suggested replies of the JCS to the British Chiefs' proposal (CCS 268/6).

52. Min, 103d mtg CCS, 23 Jul 43.

53. (1) Min, sp mtg GCS, 26 Jul 43, with CCS 268/9 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. (2) Min, sp mtg JCS, 26 Jul 43, with CCS 268/8 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. (3) CCS 268/9, 25 Jul 43, title: Post-"HUSKY" Operations North African Theater. CCS 268/g was a memo by the U.S. JCS.

54. (1) Min, sp mtg GCS, 26 Jul 43, with CCS 268/9 in ABC 384 Post HUSKY (14 May 43), I. (2) BIGOT-AVALANCHE msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 26 Jul 43, CM-OUT 10374, FAN 175 (info copy OPD).

55. Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 38.

56. BIGOT msg, Eisenhower to AGWAR for CCS and to USFOR for Br COS, 27 Jul 43, CM-IN 19362, NAF 300 (info copy OPD).

57. BIGOT msg, CinC, Algiers to AGWAR for CCS and to USFOR for Br COS, 28 Jul 43, CM-IN 20257, NAF 303 (info copy OPD).

58. BIGOT-AVALANCHE msg, CinC, Algiers to AGWAR for CCS and to USFOR for Br COS, 2 Aug 43, CM-IN 1142, NAF 307 (info copy OPD).

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