In the summer of 1943, the United Nations began Operation HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily. The Eagles over HUSKY – the airmen of the Allied air forces – played a crucial role in the assault. The Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica provided a significant part of the Axis force meant to defend the island and throw the Allies back into the sea. The Allied air forces foiled this effort and inflicted losses on a German Air Force badly needed on other fronts. Raids on mainland Italian railway transport crippled Axis resupply efforts. The same strikes brought pressure on the Italian state to denounce Fascism and join the Allied side. Army commanders relied heavily on tactical air power to destroy Axis forces in Sicily. The result was a strategic victory which forced Nazi Germany to stand alone in defense of southern Europe.
Most histories of the campaign focus on the escape of German forces across the Strait of Messina. Eagles over Husky challenges the notion that the Allied militaries bungled total victory in Sicily. It assesses one of the greatest air battles of the Second World War. This is a topic that has been relatively unexamined by historians of the campaign, who tend to focus on army matters. Eagles over Husky tells the integrated story of the air war waged during the Battle of Sicily. The author draws upon experiences, perspectives, and sources from both Allied and Axis camps to inform the analysis and enhance the narrative.
About the Author
Eagles over Husky is Alexander Fitzgerald-Black’s first book. He has a Master of Arts in Military History from the University of New Brunswick and is a Master of Arts in Public History candidate at the University of Western Ontario. His research interests include air power in the Second World War, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean, and Canadian military history. Alex lives in Canada with his beautiful wife, Lindsay, and their adorable mini-poodle, Chase.
Table of Contents
List of Photographs vi
List of Maps ix
List of Tables x
Aircraft Nomenclature xi
Prologue: Tunisgrad xv
1 From SYMBOL to HUSKY 25
2 An Air Offensive of Unprecedented Dimensions 39
3 The Climax of the Air Superiority Battle: The Landings and Advance Inland 66
4 Air Power for Strategic Effect: Breaking Italian Fascism and the Etna Line 103
5 Of Straits and Narrows: The Allied Air Forces and the Axis Evacuation of Sicily 133
I Order of Battle: Mediterranean Air Command, 10 July 1943 170
II Order of Battle: Luftflotte 2 (Italy, Sicily, Sardinia), 10 July 1943 177
III Order of Battle: Regia Aeronautica (Sicily), 10 July 1943 180