Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-45

Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-45

Simon Forty
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
Beginning with the invasion of Sicily this book takes the reader by photograph from the foot of Italy in 1943 to the very top and border with Austria in 1945.

Most of the photographs in this edition of the Images of War series are American as their photographic coverage of the war was much greater than that of other Allies. However, this book does indeed capture all the participants from US, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, France and Poland to mention the main parties. There is also a mention for Brazil who sent a Battle Group late in the war.

The book opens with a very constructive Introduction which lays out the issues and reasons for invading Italy. This followed by seven Chapters covering the Italian Campaign.

Chapter One: Setting the Scene. Which does as it says and describes the ending of the North African campaign then looks at the terrain and opposing forces and how these were met and overcome.

Chapter Two: Sicily – Operation Husky and the invasion of the Island of Sicily, after fooling the Germans into believing the Allies would invade Sardinia and Corsica first. The problems that the airborne drop encountered with poor delivery by inexperienced pilots meant a great loss in men drowned as they were released or dropped over the sea. Although the airborne assault was almost a disaster, the lessons learned were very usefully put into practice on D-Day the following year. The battle through Sicily is well documented and easy to follow. There are many good photographs showing troops in action, but there are also ones showing squaddies enjoying the delights of the local cafes and wines.

Chapter Three: The Invasion of Italy. Much debate was held by planners on where best to land troops but finally these were decided and the plan was to land at the toe of Italy rather than further up the coast due to the length of the logistics train required. This part of the book takes the Allies from southern Italy to the Gustav Line and Cassino.

Chapter Four: Cassino and the Gustav Line. The Germans had prepared extensive defences to fall back on and the Allies found themselves held up at the Gustav Line. The story of Cassino and the destruction and taking of the monastery is well known but here we have the photographs from that campaign with some excellent pictures of Goumiers from Morocco fighting with the Free French.

Chapter Five: Moves on to the landing at Anzio and how close that came to failure due to a lack of drive by the Commander. From there, when the Allies finally broke out of the beachhead and made for \Rome there are pictures of the taking of the Capital with General Mark Clark missing the opportunity to encircle the Germans and destroying large parts of their army. Instead he felt it better served by him being seen as the man who liberated Rome!

Chapter Six: Takes us beyond Rome, still chasing the Germans pushing north until winter rains and cold stopped the campaign once it has reached the Bologna area. It carries on in Spring to the final scenes of the war in Italy.

Chapter Seven: Endgame, sees the opening of the Allies spring offensive with the British and Commonwealth troops pushing forward into the North Italian plain. On 2nd May 1945 Field Marshall Alexander took the surrender of all Axis forces in Southern Europe and the war in the Mediterranean area ended.

The book is completed by the ever present “Further Reading” which each Images of War book gives so that if readers are caught by what they have seen in these photographic books they can get a more in-depth study from the books listed.

3.5 Mr MRHs.

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