Another addition to the very popular Images of War series, with a mass of outstanding and rare images. The author covers campaigns in Sicily and Italy as the Allies slogged their way North, using amphibious and airborne assault to bypass the German lines – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Images of War, Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-1945, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives FILE: R3225 AUTHOR: Simon Forty PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Mediterranean Theatre, Sicily, Italy, Anzio, Paestum, Salerno, Straits of Messina, amphibious landings, airborne forces, trench warfare, Gustav Line ISBN: 1-52676-620-5 PAGES: 144 IMAGE: B3225.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yy7zuc2a LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Another addition to the very popular Images of War series, with a mass of outstanding and rare images. The author covers campaigns in Sicily and Italy as the Allies slogged their way North, using amphibious and airborne assault to bypass the German lines – Very Highly Recommended
The North African campaigns concluded in humiliating defeat for the Germans and the next logical Allied step was to cross the Mediterranean to Sicily, before launching an assault on the Italian mainland. It was to prove a long hard slog North and it is debatable whether these campaigns should be called the Second Front or the Third Front, the air battles over Germany having already started as the Anglo-American bomber fleets worked up to round the clock bombing of Germany with raids of up to 1,000 bombers devastating German cities and military targets.
Churchill described the assault on Italy as being the ‘soft under belly’ as he sold the campaigns to the US who wanted to wait until they could launch an invasion of France from the British ports. Churchill probably never ever saw the Italian territory as a soft target but he was determined to land on enemy held shores as soon as possible and the North African victory placed the Allies in a good position to attack with air and sea superiority. The Torch landings in North Africa had already provided a useful training exercise for Sicily and Italy and there were already ships and some landing craft available in theatre.
Sicily was taken but the Germans had been allowed time to evacuate a reasonable number of troops across the Straits of Messina. That made resistance stiffer when the next landings were made on Italy. It has become popular for historians to regard Italy as a costly sideshow but it was a vital contribution to taking the heat off the Red Army after Stalingrad, as was the bombing campaign on Germany. Churchill understood how hard a landing in France could be and the Dambusters made one important contribution in forcing the Germans to take manpower and materials away from building the Atlantic Wall to rebuild the dams hit by 617 Squadron with ‘bouncing’ bombs. It also meant they were forced to strengthen other dams across Germany and divert anti-aircraft artillery to defend them. The main bombing campaign was also to draw large numbers of guns and men away from the Eastern Front in an attempt to stop the Allied bombers. War production was seriously damaged and required yet more resources diverted from other battle fronts. The invasion of Sicily and Italy just made matters so much worse for the Germans as they moved men and armour and guns away from the Red Army to slow the Allied advance in Italy.
When the Normandy landings were ready, the Germans had already been weakened and the Red Army had taken advantage to maintain a steady advance towards Berlin. The Italian campaigns and bombing raids on Germany therefore played a crucial part in the winning of the war.
The author has produced clear text in introductions, captions and extended captions to fully exploit the outstanding images.