Operation Husky

Operation Husky: The Canadian Invasion of Sicily, July 10–August 7, 1943

Neither the British nor the Americans sought Canada’s involvement in invading Sicily. It was public clamouring at home and backroom politics by generals overseas that pushed Prime Minister Mackenzie King to insist that Canada’s soldiers be sent into harm’s way. Consequently, Operation Husky became a baptism of fire for 1st Canadian Infantry Division and 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade.

Added to the invasion force at the last minute, the Canadians sailed from Great Britain through U-boat infested waters to join more than two thousand ships off Sicily’s shores. Allied commanders feared disaster on the landing beaches, but July 10 went well and the troops were solidly aground by day’s end. From their beach, code-named Bark West, the Canadians marched inland on the extreme left flank of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army. As the Italian troops facing them crumbled, some soldiers thought the invasion would prove little more than a hard walk under a blazing Sicilian sun through the island’s rough interior.

But as the Canadians entered the increasingly mountainous country west of Mount Etna’s towering volcanic cone, elite German troops rushed to meet them and illusions of a swift victory were quickly dashed. Suddenly they faced a determined and skilful foe, even as the division led Eighth Army’s advance across the island. In a brutal battlefield christening, these Canadians learned how to not only survive but win in combat.

Meticulously researched from personal diaries, military records, and interviews with veterans, Operation Husky dramatically retells the story of a campaign in which the courage, skill, and sacrifice of some twenty thousand Canadians brought the nation its first World War II army victory.

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The Globe And Mail

“This volume and, indeed the entire [Canadian Battle] series, can only cement Zuehlke’s position as among our foremost chroniclers of Canada at war.””

Daily Graphic

“Zuehlke’s attention to tactical detail is a signature of his work. From first-hand accounts of veterans combined with official military records, the author paints vivid battlefield portraits with his prose.”

About the Author

Mark Zuehlke is an award-winning author generally considered to be Canada’s foremost popular military historian. His Canadian Battle Series is the most exhaustive recounting of the battles and campaigns fought by any nation during World War II to have been written by a single author.

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