After a shaky victory in North Africa during the dark days of World War II, the Allies debated where to launch their next offensive. In the spring of 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met at the Casablanca Conference to decide if the Allies should stay in the Mediterranean. After much debate, the Italian island of Sicily was finally selected as the gateway into Hitler’s so called “Fortress Europe.” Operation Husky was born.
The Sicily Campaign was the first joint amphibious operation of World War II, and brought together commanders like George S. Patton, Bernard Montgomery, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harold Alexander – men whose leadership ultimately won the war. But you’ll learn how the infighting between these men threatened the success of the invasion right from the start.
In this compelling episode of “War Stories with Oliver North,” you’ll learn what happened during the first American airborne invasion of World War II. You’ll meet courageous paratroopers like Edwin Sayre, Timothy Dyas, and Delbert Kuehl who fought off German tanks but tragically saw 81 fellow paratroopers and 60 C-47 pilots and crewmen shot down in one of the worst friendly fire incidents in history.
It would take 38 days of non-stop fighting in some of the roughest terrain of the European Theater to secure the island of Sicily. But this Allied victory was bittersweet. In what is regarded as one of the biggest blunders in military history, you’ll see how 120,000 German and Italian troops under the command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring escaped right under the Allies’ noses across the Messina Strait. These enemy troops lived to fight another day in the Italian Campaign and extended the bloodshed in World War II.