During the early morning of July 10, 1943, Operation Husky, the largest amphibious landing in military history, was about to take place off the island of Sicily. H-Hour for the first wave of assault troops was 0245. As landing craft advanced toward the island, they were engulfed by a 40 miles per hour gale storm. The soldiers later named the storm “Mussolini wind.”
Due to these extreme weather conditions, the enemy was caught off guard. However, ground landings and paratroopers were also significantly impacted, with numerous small landing craft and gliders crashing. Despite the deleterious circumstances, many were able to land and make headway against the enemy.
The Sicily Invasion was for many American soldiers their first experience in combat. Only the 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions had previously seen combat. Both they had participated in the North African campaign.
Operation Husky’s logistical plan was complex. It involved, in the initial stages, battlefield coordination between American and British forces. The landing zones covered one hundred miles with over seven divisions spread out from the Gulf of Gela to the Gulf of Noto. This was the largest area covered during an invasion.