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United States Military Academy Library

Operation Husky

This guide is intended to assist cadets with their HI 302 writing assignment.

Introduction to Operation HUSKY, the Allied invasion of Sicily, July-August, 1943

"Following the German withdrawal from North Africa, and the agreement between the United States and Great Britain to assault ‘Europe’s soft underbelly’ in lieu of a cross channel invasion in 1943, a combined British, Canadian, and American force landed on the island of Sicily on 10 July 1943.  While the British and Canadian forces fought up the eastern side of Sicily, American forces in Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s 7th Army drove northwest across the island to liberate the coastal city of Palermo, before turning east to link up with the British at Messina on 17 August.  The Allies took Sicily in thirty-eight days, providing a base for future operations on the Italian mainland." [Source: West Point History Department HI 302 WR Sicily Paper Memo, 12 Jan 2017]


Prior to starting your research, familiarize yourself fully with the assignment instructions and any specific guidance you have received from your instructor.  Follow those instructions.  The contents of this help guide are relevant to all HI 302 sections with a WR2 assignment on Operation HUSKY, the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, but some instructors may have provided cadets in their section(s) with specific additional and/or modified instructions.  Therefore some of the resources on this help guide may be also linked from any written guidance you received, but in many cases this guide provides additional explanatory notes, etc. for those resources as well as additional ones.

Starting Your Research

Before you conduct research with primary source materials, you will need a general understanding of the basic course of the campaign.  Read several scholarly secondary sources to gain an overview of the general course of events, the overall strategic setting, the commanders and units involved, and the main issues each side faced.   By doing so you will gain an understanding of the historical context of the primary sources you will examine.

A very general overview of the Sicily campaign is available in the relevant section of your textbook, West Point History of Warfare.  After reading that you should, of course, move on to more detailed scholarly secondary sources.  Several useful ones are available from the U.S. Army Center of Military History.  Reasonable next steps are Andrew J. Birtle's study, cited and linked below, and chapter 5 in Robert Citino, The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012). [You can use Scout or the USMA Library catalog to locate a copy of this book].

Once you have identified a research question and specific topic for your paper, it may be helpful to read more deeply on parts of the campaign relevant to your topic.  A useful secondary source for this stage is Garland's and Smyth's Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, the Center of Military History "Green series" volume on the Sicily campaign (see under "Additional Secondary Sources"  tab at the top of this page.

Geography and Terrain

As you read introductory material to familiarize yourself with the campaign and as you conduct your research in primary sources, you will find it helpful to refer to maps.  Additional detailed maps are available in both the shorter work by Birtle and in the "Green Series" volume by Garland.


"Campaign In Sicily, Allied Plan And Axis Dispositions, 10 July, 1943" map from USMA History Depart Atlas collection:

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