Operation 'Husky':

Operation 'Husky', the Allied landing on Sicily, is in its final stages of preparation, the troops involved now gathering in Malta. The island will be defended by a 240.000-strong mix of Italians and German Sixth Army troops under General Guzzoni. The huge Allied landing force has at its disposal 200 warships, 300 transports and 2.000 landing-craft. Of the AlIed troops eventually involved, there will be 250.000 British and 230.000 Americans under the command of Eisenhower and Alexander. The latter will control l5th Army Group which indudes Patton's Seventh and Montgomery's Eighth Armies. In comparison with the Axis forces, who are dispirited by their withdrawal from North Africa, the Allied troops indude battle-hardened men whose morale is high in the wake of recent successes. By deception and diversionary tactics the Allies have convinced Hitler that an operation will be mounted through Sardinia and he has sent an airborne corps to the South of France for that reason. This is one occasion when Mussolini is more aware than the Fuhrer - he is certain that Sicily is to be the target, but, again, is unwilling to challenge the German High Command. The invasion begins after dark with airborne landings which are affected by high winds and faulty execution; gliders are released too early and many fail into the sea. But enough troops get ashore to start the process of disrupting the defences of the island.