Operation HUSKY (1943)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 2, 1943)

San Stefano falls in push along coast

10,000 prisoners, half of them Nazis, taken by Americans

Screenshot 2022-08-02 055007
Gains in air, on land and sea were scored by Allied forces in Sicily and Italy, with British and U.S. planes and warships striking at Italian cities and shelling the coasts. In Sicily, Americans captured San Stefano in the drive on Messina while the British 8th Army deepened its bridgehead before Catania. U.S. planes bombed Naples, and British warships struck at two places on the top of the Italian toe and one point on the sole (inset map).

Allied HQ, North Africa (UP) –
Allied armies have launched an offensive to crush Axis resistance in northeastern Sicily, smashing forward on the entire Messina bridgehead front of more than 60 miles despite strong enemy opposition.

An official announcement said that “Allied forces in Sicily have started an offensive,” with the U.S. 7th Army under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., capturing 10,000 more prisoners – half of them Germans – and driving 12 miles into the enemy’s northern flank. The north coastal town of San Stefano and the town of Mistretta, six miles south of San Stefano, fell to the Americans, as did Castel di Lucio, Castel di Tusa and Matta Pettino.

Reports steady progress

Today’s communiqué reported steady progress on all sectors despite strong counterattacks, which were repulsed.

The communiqué said:

Assoro, Nissoria, Nicosia, Mistretta and San Stefano are in our hands.

The network of roads in enemy hands was greatly reduced by the new advances and the remaining roads are being pounded day and night by Allied airplanes.

The latest bag of Axis prisoners increased to about 87,000 the number of Axis troops taken during the entire Sicilian campaign.

Crushes counterattack

The famous British 8th Army, veteran of El Alamein and Mareth in Africa, crushed a strong Axis counterattack on the southern side of the Mt. Etna Line, and Canadian troops pushed forward in heavy fighting to the south of the American columns.

Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, commander of the 8th Army, told his troops that “we will now drive the Germans out of Sicily,” and praised the Americans for seizing “more than half of the island in record time.”

Axis losses high

Axis losses on all fronts were reported heavy. The heaviest fighting was said to have taken place in the Assoro and Nissoria areas of central Sicily. There the Canadians faced the toughest German motorized elements in a difficult mountainous region where the Axis was contesting bitterly for every foot of ground.

The new American drive gave the 7th Army possession of the last important north-south road held by the Axis leading to the central part of the island. The road runs south from San Stefano through Mistretta and the Caronia Mountains to Nicosia.

The American advance of 12 miles brought the 7th Army within 70 miles of Messina along the north coastal road.


Völkischer Beobachter (August 3, 1943)

Gescheiterte Durchbruchsversuche

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 2. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Der eigene Angriff an der Miusfront brachte weiteren Geländegewinn. Die beherrschende Höhenstellung wurde erreicht und im Sturm genommen. Die Sowjets erlitten hier besonders hohe Verluste an Menschen und Kriegsmaterial. Südöstlich von Orel sind die mit starkem Panzer- und Luftwaffeneinsatz geführten Angriffe der Bolschewisten unter Vernichtung von zahlreichen Panzern blutig abgewiesen worden. Die Luftwaffe griff an den Schwerpunkten der Kämpfe mit Kampf- und Nahkampffliegergeschwadern ein. Sechs Transportzüge und ein Panzerzug wurden getroffen. An der Kandalakschafront stellten deutsche Grenadiere im wegelosen Urwald zwei feindliche Bataillone und zersprengten sie.

An der sizilianischen Front setzten die Briten und Nordamerikaner besonders im Mittelabschnitt der Front ihre Angriffe fort. Alle Durchbruchsversuche scheiterten jedoch an der hartnäckigen Abwehr unserer Truppen unter schweren Verlusten für den Feind.

Ein überraschend geführter Gegenangriff brachte wichtiges Gebirgsgelände wieder in unsere Hand.

Schnelle deutsche Kampfflugzeuge versenkten im Hafen von Palermo einen Munitionsdampfer von 5000 BRT., acht weitere große Transporter wurden schwer getroffen. Im Hafengebiet selbst entstanden Brände.

Deutsche Jäger und Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe vernichteten gestern über der italienischen Küste sechs, Bordflak der Kriegsmarine ein feindliches Flugzeug.

Am 1. August versuchte ein amerikanisches Bombergeschwader von etwa 125 viermotorigen Flugzeugen, einen geschlossenen Angriff auf das rumänische Ölgebiet durchzuführen. Deutsch-rumänische Luftverteidigungskräfte traten ihnen rechtzeitig entgegen und zersprengten den feindlichen Verband so wirkungsvoll, daß nur 60 bis 70 Flugzeuge zu einem zersplitterten Angriff kamen. Von diesen wurden 36 viermotorige Bomber abgeschossen. Viele weitere erhielten so schwere Beschädigungen, daß auch von ihnen ein Teil auf dem langen Rückflug über See mit Sicherheit verlorengegangen ist. Die verursachten Schäden in den Angriffszielen sind nicht bedeutend.

Über dem Reichsgebiet fanden keine Kampfhandlungen statt.

Über dem Atlantik wurde ein feindliches Großflugboot im Luftkampf weit auf See zum Absturz gebracht.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 3, 1943)

Foe forced out of 3 important towns by drive

Yanks push toward Mt. Etna; Canadians threaten enemy flank at Catania; 8th Army smashes ahead
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied troops captured three more important towns in a general advance on a 65-mile front in northeastern Sicily today and fought fiercely over rough mountain country for the knockout punch against the wavering Axis armies.

Americans of the 7th Army, who conquered the entire western half of the island in a lightning campaign, captured the important Axis defense point at Troina after a 12-mile drive from Nicosia and pushed eastward toward Bronte at the base of Mt. Etna.

Canadian forces to the south of the Americans drove forward seven miles and took Regalbuto from the German 15th Panzer Division and provided a good wedge for the Allied attack on the Axis flank at the western end of the Catania plain.

8th Army attacks

The British 8th Army, attacking the length of the southern front, captured Centuripe, six miles southeast of Regalbuto.

The Americans also took Capizzi and Cerami while racing up the winding road to Troina, and a headquarters announcement said they had cleaned up at least 12 small villages.

Units of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 7th Army that captured San Stefano on the northern coast were moving eastward along the coastal road and were reported within 60 airline miles of Messina, nearing San Stefano.

Capture bridgehead

The Canadians and the British had driven a large bridgehead into the Catenanuova sector, just southwest of Regalbuto and north of Ramacca, from which they could start rolling down the Catania plain.

The American advance threatened to tear apart the Axis defense around Mt. Etna. From Bronte, they would be able to branch out north and south on the road encircling Etna.

U.S. troops had reached a densely-wooded district. Resistance by the Germans and Italians had stiffened and most of the Allied gains were made by infantry, because of the rugged terrain and the fact that the retreating Axis had blown up toads and bridges.

Feel out Axis strength

The British 8th Army carried out a series of artillery engagements and were advancing from Ramacca, feeling out the enemy’s strength.

Capture of Troina and Centuripe was first announced by Prime Minister Churchill in the House of Commons. Military observers in London said that the Allied offensive threatened to crush all Axis resistance in Sicily within a few days.

Allied air fleets increased their direct support of land troops with attacks on harbors, communications and front positions.

The British were engaged in patrol activity and artillery shelling in the Catania area along the east coast of the island.

Allied troops were fighting their way uphill at many points and were sweltering from the hot sun and intense humidity. The battle was one of foot-slogging and slugging at close quarters after artillery had laid down barrages.

British Wellingtons took over the offensive against Italy’s big supply and reinforcement port of Naples, blasting its docks, railway yards, harbor installations with hundreds and blockbusters, while medium and fighter bombers strafed and bombed troop concentrations and supply roads.

Blow up dumps

A dispatch from an advanced Allied airdrome said the Germans were blowing up the remaining forward dumps in the Mt. Etna region, an indication that they do not hold out much hope of prolonged resistance. An unusually large number of Axis ship was also reported gathering in Messina Strait, but there was no immediate sign of whether these were to be used for an escape attempt or to reinforce the faltering armies in their last stand.

Relays of Kittyhawk bombers with escorts of Spitfires attacked the ships in the narrow strait and it was believed likely that Allied motor torpedo boats would also join in the raids.

Blast enemy harbors

The Allied air forces concentrated on enemy harbors in Sicily through which supplies have been reaching the Axis, road and rail transport in the northeastern part of the island and against enemy trenches and gun emplacements.

U.S. medium bombers blasting at Adrano, 18 miles northwest of Catania while other planes dumped explosives on Randazzo, 27 miles northwest of Catania. Both are important Axis communication centers. U.S. fighter-bombers made low-level attacks on the docks at Milazzo, Messina and Reggio Calabria, the latter across the Messina Strait in Italy.

In all yesterday’s air operations, six enemy planes were destroyed and seven Allied planes were missing.


Yanks capture key hill from Nazis in Sicily

Americans forced to rout German soldiers individually
By Richard Mowrer

Northern Sicily, Italy –
The Americans late yesterday took another hill. It was a hard one to take, a long ridge nearly 1,000 feet high that drops sharply to the sea on Sicily’s northern coast.

Our fellows call it Lucky Ridge because in the seesaw fighting of control of the heights preceding our final attack yesterday, our artillery observation post up there had to clear out five different times and never lost a man in the process.

Yesterday’s attack, though, was different. The Americans were up against Germans and had to climb a steep hill under fire. Fortunately, our artillery gave them good support and now we hold Lucky Ridge, which had given the Germans a wonderful view of our territory along the coast and which now gives us a view of still more hills that we are going to have to take.

Ferret out Nazis

This is mountain warfare. The fighting consists of sniping with every arm from pistols to big 155s. The Germans have to be ferreted out almost individually from caves and rocks.

The only good road is the coast road from Palermo to Messina and, as the Germans retreat, they blow up bridges, cause rockslides to block the road, or blow up the road where it winds along the steep cliff’s edge to the sea.

This morning, we climbed Lucky Ridge. It is stony and steep, even if you follow a rocky mile trail part of the way up, but at least we did not have to crawl to the top under enemy fire the way our fellows did yesterday.

Find trouser leg

Getting on toward the town, we came upon somebody’s trouser leg with somebody’s leg was that of an American drab uniform. It had been cut off, presumably in order to bandage a leg wound.

A few yards farther up, we saw what had happened. An American rifle was leaning against an olive tree. Another one was on the ground at the foot of a steep sort of bluff about eight feet high. At the foot of the bluff, we found the remnants of an American first-aid kit. Near the remnants of the first-aid kit was an empty container for American hand grenades.

We climbed up to the top of a six-foot high bluff and saw the rest of the story – a dead German. Apparently, the hand grenade had got him.

Come upon grave

Farther up Lucky Ridge, we found a shallow hole, dug under an olive tree. In the hole were a bloodstained German-Italian dictionary and a Mauser rifle and ammunition but no German. But then, five yards off, we found his grave: A mound of earth with stones on top of it, and a piece of shingle marked “German soldier.”

Nearby, in the shade, some of our fellows were getting ready to move forward. Then we saw the German prisoner. He was stripped to the waist and bareheaded. He had been burying the German dead of Lucky Ridge. He said he was 18 and had been in the German Army since the age of 16, in the Polish, French and Romanian campaigns and at Stalingrad.

This was worse than Stalingrad, he said.


G.I. shoes and dog tags identify bomber survivor

Otherwise Ohio sergeant looks like native after passing through enemy lines in 15-day trek
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

Mistretta, Sicily, Italy – (July 31, delayed)
The slender fellow was a blond, wore G.I. shoes and dog tags but the rest of him looked native Sicilian, including the green-checked shirt.

He told Capt. Paul Gale as the officer came out of his headquarters here:

Honest, captain. I’m an American. Here, see my dog tags. I’m in the Air Corps.

Capt. Gale took the fellow to a casualty clearing station. He identified himself as Sgt. Arthur P. Rohr, 21, of Lewisville, Ohio, and downed five plates of sauerkraut, a whole chicken and a bottle of wine.

Then he said:

Boy, I was lonely. For 15 days, I was lonely.

Only survivor

He had lived with Sicilians, slept on hillsides and moved through enemy lines for 15 days before he met the advancing Americans.

He is the only survivor of a bomber lost near Mt. Etna, and he doesn’t know how he managed to get out. The plane caught fire.

He said:

I ran to escape through the trap and pulled the release but it wouldn’t open. I jumped on the hatch, which you aren’t supposed to do because if you go out that way you might get caught in the slipstream. I guess that’s what happened to me.

Head aches

He must have struck his head on the fuselage because he remembered nothing more until he awoke with the sun high in the sky. He was on a mountain slope. His head ached, was cut and bloody. Near him was his tangled parachute. How it opened he doesn’t know.

He said:

I started out to find my ship, but the Italians beat me to it. I finally saw it. It had crashed all night, but a lot of Italian soldiers were around it and some more were digging a big hole a little distance away. I looked around and then decided to get the hell out of there.

Starts south

St. Rohr started south toward the British line. Unable to speak Italian, he tried a single word on a native he met. It was “aqua.” He got both food and water and that night, he slept on a hillside.

He said:

I tried to sleep but it was cold. I was lonely, boy, I was lonely and I thought about back home on the farm and my girl, Martha Owen, down at Hastings, West Virginia. You may not think there’s a God, but I’m telling you, I thought about Him plenty.

He stayed there for seven days and the Italian who first had fed him, continued to feed him. Hearing guns in the distance, he started off toward them. An Italian shepherd gave him the clothes he reached Mistretta in – “and the pants were so dirty they could stand by themselves.”

Meets deserters

He said:

I cruised around in the mountains and met two Italian deserters heading for the American lines. We made a three-day hike and those Italians like to have walked hell out of me. They were going too fast.

One day he ran into a family of Sicilians who helped him.

The father of the family heard about the Americans reaching Mistretta and brought Sgt. Rohr in on a mule.

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Völkischer Beobachter (August 4, 1943)

Neuer Terrorangriff auf Hamburg

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 3. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Am Kubanbrückenkopf wurden mehrere Angriffe der Sowjets blutig abgewiesen. Der eigene Angriff nördlich Kuibyschewo wurde erfolgreich fortgesetzt. An der Donezfront brachen mehrere mit schwächeren Kräften geführte feindliche Angriffe zusammen. Im mittleren Frontabschnitt, vor allem südwestlich Orel, setzte der Feind seine Durchbruchsversuche unter Einsatz neuer starker Infanterie-, Panzer- und Fliegerkräfte fort. Unsere heldenhaft kämpfenden Truppen wehrten alle feindlichen Angriffe ab und gewannen, von der Luftwaffe unterstützt, vorübergehend verlorengegangenes Gelände im Gegenangriff zurück. Abermals wurde eine große Zahl von Sowjetpanzern vernichtet.

Auch südlich des Ladogasees traten die Sowjets nach heftiger Artillerievorbereitung mit starker Fliegerunterstützung erneut zum Angriff an. Sie wurden in harten Nahkämpfen und zum Teil im Gegenstoß unter schweren Verlusten abgewiesen.

An der Ostfront verloren die Sowjets am 1. und 2. August in Luftkämpfen und durch Flakabwehr 227 Flugzeuge.

Auf Sizilien standen unsere Truppen besonders im mittleren Abschnitt der Front in schweren Abwehrkämpfen. Unter sehr hohen blutigen Verlusten und erheblichem Materialausfall brachen die Angriffe zum Teil in Nahkämpfen zusammen. Eine vorübergehend in eine Höhenstellung eingebrochene feindliche Kampfgruppe wurde im Gegenstoß zurückgeworfen.

Auch im südlichen Abschnitt der Front hat die Kampftätigkeit wieder erheblich zugenommen. Schnelle deutsche Kampfflugzeuge griffen in die Erdkämpfe ein und bombardierten Panzer- und Kraftfahrzeugansammlungen des Feindes im Raume von Nicosia.

Der Feind verlor gestern im Mittelmeerraum 21 Flugzeuge.

Nach vereinzelten Tagesvorstößen feindlicher Luftstreitkräfte in die besetzten Westgebiete und an die norwegische Küste bombardierten die Briten in der vergangenen Nacht erneut das Stadtgebiet von Hamburg und die weitere Umgebung. Wieder entstanden Verluste unter der Bevölkerung und erhebliche Zerstörungen. Nach bisher vorliegenden Meldungen wurden bei diesen Angriffen 27 feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen.

Bei einem überfall britischer Torpedo- und Bombenflieger auf ein deutsches Geleit schossen Sicherungsfahrzeuge und die Bordflak von Handelsschiffen zehn Flugzeuge ab. Weitere vier feindliche Flugzeuge wurden von Einheiten der Kriegsmarine über dem westeuropäischen Küstengebiet vernichtet.

Der am 2. August gemeldete feindliche Luftangriff auf das rumänische Ölgebiet erweist sich mehr und mehr als ein schwerer Mißerfolg. Die Verluste des Feindes haben sich bisher auf 52 gezählte Abschüsse erhöht. 15 feindliche Bomber sind nach Auslandsmeldungen auf neutralem Gebiet notgelandet. Damit ist nach unseren Feststellungen allein über die Hälfte des gestarteten Verbandes nicht zurückgekehrt. Der wirkliche Verlust des amerikanischen Bombergeschwaders wird aber noch weit darüber liegen.

Gescheiterte Durchbruchsversuche auf Sizilien

dnb. Berlin, 3. August –
In Sizilien entwickelten sich neue örtliche Kämpfe auf der ganzen Front zwischen Catania und San Stefano. Am nördlichen Küstenstreifen tasteten sich die nordamerikanischen Verbände nur mit großer Vorsicht weiter vor. Sie stehen immer noch im Vorfeld der deutschen Widerstandslinie und haben die Gefechtsberührung mit ihr noch nicht herstellen können. Trotz Einsatz von Minensuchtrupps hatten die vorfühlenden Nordamerikaner empfindliche Verluste durch hochgehende Sprengladungen.

Auch südlich Catania waren die Briten wieder aktiver, ohne jedoch an unsere günstigen Verteidigungsstellungen herankommen zu können. Unsere Artillerie brachte die Vorstöße schon im Vorfeld der deutsch-italienischen Linien zum Scheitern. Die heftigsten Kämpfe spielten sich am mittleren Abschnitt im Raum nordöstlich von Enna ab. Den wiederholten, vom Feind gerade hier mit starken Kräften unternommenen Durchbruchsversuchen traten unsere Truppen in energischen Gegenstößen wirksam entgegen. Am Vortage hatten sich hier Kanadier durch Einsatz erheblicher Kräfte und unter Hinnahme beträchtlicher Verluste einer Höhe bemächtigen können. Am 1. August traten jedoch unsere Verbände überraschend zum Gegenstoß an und warfen den Feind aus der Bergstellung wieder heraus. In den harten, durch die ungewöhnliche Hitze erschwerten Kämpfen hatten die Kanadier sehr hohe Ausfälle.

Der Feind hat aber seine Absichten, unsere Front nordöstlich von Enna zu durchstoßen, um dadurch die unangreifbaren Stellungen am Nordrand der Ebene von Catania in der Flanke und im Rücken zu fassen, noch keineswegs aufgegeben. Im Laufe des Nachmittags griff er daher mit frischen Infanterie- und Panzerverbänden, die durch starkes Artilleriefeuer und zahlreiche Fliegerstaffeln unterstützt wurden, den langgestreckten Bergrücken hart nördlich der Linie Gerbini – Enna an verschiedenen Punkten an. In mehrstündigen erbitterten Kämpfen, die auch die Nacht über andauerten, schlugen unsere Truppen, denen Luftwaffenverbände helfend zur Seite standen, den Feind immer wieder blutig zurück.

20 Flugzeuge abgeschossen

Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Dienstag lautet:

In Sizilien dehnte der Feind seine Angriffe auf den Südabschnitt der Front aus, wo heftige Kämpfe im Gange sind.

In den Gewässern Südkalabriens kam es zu einem Gefecht zwischen unseren Schnellbooten und feindlichen Einheiten, die abgewiesen wurden.

Die Stadt Neapel und Umgebung sowie zahlreiche Ortschaften auf Sizilien und Sardinien waren das Ziel feindlicher Luftangriffe. Sechs feindliche Bomber wurden von der Bodenabwehr abgeschossen, darunter zwei über Neapel, zwei über Messina und zwei über Cagliari. Zwei „Spitfires“ wurden von deutschen Jägern über Sizilien zum Absturz gebracht.

Zwölf zweimotorige Flugzeuge wurden über Sardinien im Verlauf von wiederholten Luftkämpfen von den tapferen Jägern unseres 51. Sturms vernichtet.

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The Pittsburgh Press (August 4, 1943)

Axis lines ripped apart, collapse in Sicily near

Yanks seize another city, drive within 55 miles of Messina
By the United Press

Two major Allied victories appeared to be ripe for the plucking today – the smashing of diehard Axis resistance in Sicily and the capture of the key German defense bastion of Orel on the Russian front.

Land, sea and air assaults in Sicily were rolling back the Etna Line and ripping apart the defenses of the Messina apex of the big Italian island. Military sources believed the end of the campaign was near, and said it would probably be as sudden as the Axis collapse in Tunisia.

Russia reported that a German army, estimated at 250,000, was in general retreat from the Orel salient, and a gloom-laden Nazi communiqué told of powerful Red Army attacks all along the southern front. It barely mentioned Orel, but clearly intimated that more bad news was brewing on the Eastern Front.

By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-04 002747
Allied troops push ahead in Sicily, with Americans capturing Caronia, near San Stefano on the north coast, and driving on westward towards Messina, only 60 air miles away, and British Imperial forces now occupying Agira and Catenanuova on the Mt. Etna front. There were indications the Axis might seek to make a stand on a line from San Agata on the north coast to Cesarò, 16 miles to the south. Allied warships were pounding enemy attempts to reinforce their lines.

Allied HQ, North Africa –
A terrific Allied land, air and sea bombardment was levelled today against the receding Axis defenses on the northeastern tip of Sicily as American doughboys captured Caronia on the northern coast and drove six miles beyond it to within 55 miles of Messina.

U.S. and British warships up to cruisers shelled enemy reinforcements and supplies moving up to the front along the northern and eastern coasts, while heavy concentrations of land artillery hammered at German and Italian defense positions. Allied planes kept up unrelenting attacks on the whole Axis-held area.

British forces on the central front have smashed a German tank thrust and resumed their advance, it was announced. British, U.S. and Canadian troops were driving hard through the mountains toward the foot of Mt. Etna, threatening to dissolve the enemy’s defense line around the volcano.

Naples bombed again

Meanwhile, British Wellington bombers subjected Naples, Italy’s biggest port, to its third raid in 36 hours Monday night to give added weight to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning that Italy’s failure to capitulate would bring death and destruction to its cities.

Ground forces made “very satisfactory progress” yesterday, Gen. Eisenhower’s communiqué reported and front dispatches said that fighting along the British-Canadian front south and southwest of Mt. Etna was so intense that the Germans for the first time have abandoned their dead in the battlefield as they fell back under relentless pressure.

A Berlin communiqué today said that German and Italian troops in Sicily were “outnumbered several times,” and their “big defensive successes” were scored in difficult terrain and unfavorable weather.

Americans advance

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr’s U.S. 7th Army rolled up advances yesterday of up to six miles through hills and valleys, driving before them German and Italian forces believed preparing for a major stand along a line stretching from San Agata on the north coast, 11 miles east of Caronia, to Cesarò, 16 miles to the south.

The advances engulfed both Caronia Marina on the coast and Caronia itself, one mile inland.

A German communiqué broadcast by Berlin radio said that U.S. divisions attempted “again and again” to break through the Axis central front, but were thrown back each time with heavy losses.

U.S. cruisers and destroyers aided the American coastal drive by bombarding enemy defenses and roads, over which reinforcements and supplies were being rushed to the front.

Catenanuova, 21 miles west of Catania, fell to the Canadians yesterday after being bypassed by a column that captured Centuripe, five miles to the northeast, 24 hours earlier.

Nazi tanks smashed

German tanks from the Hermann Göring Division lashed out in a counterattack a few miles southeast of Catenanuova, but were repulsed by British infantry who destroyed three of them, including one 60-ton “Tiger.”

Agira, 11 miles northwest of Catenanuova, changed hands several times in dingdong fighting yesterday before the Canadians finally consolidated their positions in the city and pushed on well beyond it.

The communiqué said:

Bitter fighting has taken place in this sector, and the enemy has had heavy casualties inflicted on it.

Patrol activity increased on the plain just south of Catania as the opposing forces tested each other’s defenses while further inland other British forces pushed forward in some cases several miles.

Navy is big help in Sicily drive

Allied HQ, North Africa –
The complete coordination between the three breaches of the Allied services which has especially marked the Sicilian campaign, has been well illustrated by naval activities since start of the big offensive here on Sunday.

Along the northern coast of Sicily, as the Americans steadily fight their way eastward, the U.S. Navy has been bombarding the coastal road along which the enemy is retreating. Our fleet’s guns are shelling the enemy’s positions constantly.

Up in the triangle still held by the Axis, the enemy’s supply position is being made more difficult by PT-boat operations between Sicily and the mainland.

On Saturday night, before our offensive started, British light coastal craft met Axis E-boats off Cape Armi – at the toe of Italy – and engaged them in brisk battle. At least one E-boat was damaged before low visibility caused our boats to break off contact.

The pattern of air bombing continued yesterday as on Monday, with medium and light bombers making return visits to Adrano, Nazi communications center, to enemy positions around the town, and to roads leading to it.

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Lone American captures city, ‘saves bullets’

Private walks through Yank artillery barrage to get to area
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

With a U.S. reconnaissance platoon, Cerami, Sicily, Italy – (Aug. 1, delayed)
One man walked through the American artillery barrage and captured this town Friday. He wanted to “save the division some ammunition.”

He is tall, blond Pvt. Edmund Wheeler, former New York City bank clerk, from Old Chatham, New York. He belongs to this super reconnaissance outfit which goes in ahead of regular reconnaissance units.

Pvt. Wheeler was on a reconnaissance mission about three miles from Cerami when “I went forward and got lost.”

He said:

Our mission was to locate a German self-propelled artillery piece on our right flank, but the damned thing must have been moved. We kept getting higher and higher in the mountain and when I got lost, I remembered the division’s objective was Cerami.

Sights patrol

Our artillery was working ahead of me and I wanted to save them some ammunition if possible. As I got closer to the town on the southeast flank, I saw a man folding a blanket. I knew he must have been a soldier because no civilian would fold a blanket. Then I saw a four-man patrol going into the town to the east.

By now, it was getting dark and I saw a house about the three-quarters of a mile outside the town and when I approached it, I heard a lot of kids talking. I went to the house and the Italian family gave me a royal reception, shouting “Americano, Americano.”

I shivered in my boots because I knew there were Heinies about and I thought the shouts would give me away.

There was one old guy there who was drunk. He spoke English and yelled “Hello, American soldier,” and I had trouble quieting him down.

This family kept talking to me and fed me eggs, cheese and goat’s milk and then asked me if I wanted to sleep there. I agreed if they promised to wake me at 4 a.m. But shortly after midnight, I was awakened by the roar of our artillery which had started again.

I grabbed my gun and made for the door, where a man and a woman had been on guard. They suddenly lighted a lamp which lighted me up like a Christmas tree. I dropped to the floor and scooted to a dark corner like a woodchuck, where I quit shaking and slept another couple hours.

Then again, the artillery started up and the old people told me it was American. The people just lay in bed whimpering but being a soldier, I started looking for a foxhole. They gave me a sort of hood – I must have looked like the shadow – and I found a hole and crawled in.

Captures town

Early in the morning, I heard a heavy explosion followed by the noise of trucks and figured the Heinies were pulling out, so I went back to the house. The old guy had sobered up and I sent them into town to look around.

He came back and said the Heinies had gone, but the Americans still were shelling. I started for town. I figured maybe I could send a message back saying I was in the town and that the shelling should be stopped and reinforcements sent in.

The only German in the town was a straggler. I made him a prisoner and as I started out of the town with him, I ran into the 9th Division. I stopped at the house and they were tickled to see my prisoner. Then I started hitchhiking back to my outfit.

I sure had a lot of fun.


Launching of Sicily drive from Malta base revealed

Tense moment for Eisenhower as ‘strongest wings’ endangered airborne forces is described
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
On the night that Allied armies invaded Sicily, an American staff car marked with the four stars of a general stopped beside a road on the island of Malta.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stepped out in the moonlight and gazed up at the sky where engines of a great airborne assault fleet thundered defiance to the strongest winds of the Mediterranean summer.

It was the tensest moment of an unprecedented invasion. Unexpected winds threatened disaster to glider and parachute troops; kicked up big waves that dangerously rocked the naval invasion forces already at sea. There may have been a time that night when a postponement was considered by the high command, which officials announced today was based on the bomb-battered island of Malta.

Invaders soar away

But Gen. Eisenhower, looking up into the moonlit sky, saluted the paratroopers smartly and turned back to his car. The invasion army soared on under direction of the American commander-in-chief, Gen. Sir Harold Alexander, Adm. Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham and Air Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder.

It was revealed that Gen. Eisenhower carefully checked the wind velocity during those first tense hours of the campaign, aware that too much speed would case the paratroopers and gliders to overshoot their marks, confronting them with many additional hazards.

American-made windmills, imported years ago, served as a gage for the American commander and those who stood with him that night told today how he smiled reassuringly when the velocity of the wind died down as the hours wore on.

Seasickness too

Members of the Allied staff told correspondents that the winds which endangered the glider and paratroop operations also caused havoc with the stomachs of both soldiers and sailors, whipping the Mediterranean into a heaving sea. As a result, many results went ashore in landing barges, seasick. But they carried on with their job.

In a message to Air Vice Mshl. Sir Keith Park, commanding officer of the RAF on Malta, Gen. Eisenhower paid high tribute to the aid given to the Allied campaign in Sicily by the Malta Air Force.

The morning after the invasion, the Allied commanders watched cheering throngs of war-toughened island citizens parade. To them, it meant the end of prolonged, persistent day-and-night bombings by planes based in Sicily and Italy.

Malta praised

Gen. Eisenhower was said to have been visibly impressed with Malta’s stand, first on the receiving end of Axis bombings which drove many of the island’s 270,000 inhabitants to live in rock-robbed caves which once held galley slaves, and finally as the taking-off place and headquarters for operations against Sicily.

In a statement on Malta’s role in the war, Gen. Eisenhower said:

Malta is symbolic of the experience of the United Nations in this war. Malta has passed through successive stages of woeful unpreparedness, tenacious endurance, intensive preparations, and the initiation of a fierce offensive. It is resolutely destined to maintain the rising crescendo of the attack until the whole task is complete.

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‘Damned Americans’ shoot all time, Nazis complain

Harassed Germans do virtually all the defensive fighting in Sicily; Italians turn on them
By Richard Mowrer

With the 7th Army in Sicily, Italy –

These damned Americans fight all day and all night, and shoot all the time.

This phrase, taken from a German letter that was never mailed, adequately sums up the German soldier’s estimate of what he is up against in Sicily; numerous and aggressive Americans and lots of artillery fire, not to mention that of automatic weapons.

The Germans are fighting practically alone. Italian opposition is virtually nonexistent on the U.S. 7th Army’s front in northern Sicily.

Our troops meet some Italians, but they are few in number. Most of them are Blackshirt troops, who, since the fall of Mussolini, have been ordered to discard their Fascist Blackshirts for the uniform of the regular Italian Army.

Nazis in bad hole

Some Italian artillery forces are still supporting the Germans. But in the actual fighting line, it’s the Germans who are doing the fighting, with determination, skill and mounting desperation.

The Germans here are in a bad situation. They have the powerful U.S. 7th and British 8th Armies opposite them and the Allied air forces over their heads, and they are fighting at the deep extremity of the country of their Italian allies, who are close to collapse and whose troops do not want to fight anymore.

The Italians are even beginning to turn on the Germans. The Germans have complained of Italians firing on them, and stories of anti-German sabotage by Italian soldiers are becoming common. The Italians never liked their Nazi allies much, and now they resent them because they feel that the Germans are prolonging the war. As long as the Germans fight, at least on Italian soil, they are an obstacle to the peace which most Italians want more than anything else.

Advantage in defense

The Germans have had one advantage of fighting defensive actions in very rugged terrain. Being on the defensive, they could fortify heights and survey terrain for their artillery which we have had to attack. But they are up against superior odds.

They have had several divisions in Sicily, but these were not all full strength. The ghost of the old 15th Panzers, which surrendered to the British 8th Army in Tunisia, has appeared on this front. It now consists partly of Slovenes, Poles and Frenchmen from annexed territories.

What the Germans call the 15th Panzers is really “the phony 15th,” as far as we are concerned. In the estimate of U.S. officers who fought in Tunisia, the Germans in Sicily are not as tough as those they were up against in Africa.

Few airfields left

The Germans are up against a superior air force. Their own has been forced off Sicily to the extent that they have only a few landing strips on it, and no permanent airfields. Since Sunday, their planes have been more active, but never on a large scale.

By day, the Nazis limit themselves to the use of fighters equipped to carry bombs. Their bombers operate mostly at night.

Our artillery has been and continues to be very effective. The Germans do not like it at all. They have lost heavily to our artillery, which has blasted them repeatedly out of good positions.

Matter of hours

The Germans tried hard to maintain a continuous front from the north to the eastern shores of Sicily. So far, they have had the advantage of being in possession of high points along Mt. Etna’s slopes, which give them command of the surrounding country. But it I snow only a matter of hours, high-ranking American officers believe, until the Germans will be forced back so far that their continuous line will be divided in two by Etna.


The damned Americans are fighting all day and all night, and shooting all the time.


Völkischer Beobachter (August 5, 1943)

Die Bedeutung der Schlucht um Mius –
Bolschewistischer Großangriff wurde zur schweren Niederlage

Neuer großer Abwehrerfolg auf Sizilien

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 4. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

In der Schlacht am Mius haben Infanterie- und Panzerverbände des Heeres und der Waffen-SS unter Führung des Generalfeldmarschalls von Manstein und des Generals der Infanterie Hollidt mit vorbildlicher Unterstützung der von General der Flieger Deßloch geführten Luftwaffenverbände wiederholte Durchbruchsversuche starker feindlicher Kräfte vereitelt und im schwungvollen Gegenangriff den nördlich Kuibyschewo eingebrochenen Feind geschlagen. Bis zum 2. August wurden in diesen Kämpfen 17.895 Gefangene eingebracht, 730 Panzer, 703 Geschütze und 398 Granatwerfer sowie zahlreiche andere Waffen und umfangreiches Kriegsmaterial erbeutet oder vernichtet. Die Verluste des Feindes an Toten betragen ein Vielfaches der Gefangenenzahl.

An der Donezfront und im Raum von Bjelgorod versuchte der Feind mit mehreren Infanteriedivisionen und Panzerverbänden bei starker Fliegerunterstützung die Front zu durchbrechen. Während der Durchbruchsversuch am Donez aufgefangen und die Sowjets im sofortigen Gegenangriff zurückgeworfen wurden, sind die harten Kämpfe bei Bjelgorod noch nicht abgeschlossen.

An der Orelfront setzten die Bolschewisten ihre heftigen Angriffe mit Schwerpunkt südwestwärts der Stadt fort. Sie wurden unter Vernichtung vieler Panzer überall blutig abgewehrt. Starke Verbände der Luftwaffe griffen zusammen mit ungarischen Kampffliegern in die Kämpfe des Heeres ein und bombardierten Tag und Nacht Eisenbahnziele sowie Ausladungen im rückwärtigen Gebiet des Feindes.

Auch südlich des Ladogasees brachen feindliche Angriffe mit Panzer- und Schlachtfliegerunterstützung vor unseren Stellungen zusammen.

Fliegende Verbände und Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe vernichteten gestern an der Ostfront eine große Anzahl sowjetischer Panzer und schossen 118 feindliche Flugzeuge ab. In den beiden letzten Tagen wurden an der Ostfront 261 Panzer allein durch Einheiten des Heeres und der Waffen-SS vernichtet.

Im Seegebiet von Murmansk versenkten schnelle deutsche Kampfflugzeuge zwei feindliche Küstenfrachter und ein sowjetisches Schnellboot.

Auf Sizilien haben deutsche und italienische Truppen erneut in tagelangen schweren Kämpfen gegen einen vielfach überlegenen Gegner und bei schwierigsten Gelände- und Klimaverhältnissen einen großen Abwehrerfolg errungen. Nordamerikanische Divisionen versuchten immer wieder den mittleren Abschnitt der Front zu durchbrechen. Alle Angriffe scheiterten jedoch unter schwersten Verlusten an Menschen und Material. In der Zeit vom 10. bis 31. Juli wurden durch unsere auf der Erde kämpfenden Truppen 309 britisch-nordamerikanische Panzer vernichtet. Fliegende Verbände, Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe und Verbände des Heeres schossen im gleichen Zeitraum im Mittelmeerraum 199 Flugzeuge ab, davon allein 132 über Sizilien.

Bei Tagesvorstößen schwächerer feindlicher Fliegerverbände in die besetzten Westgebiete wurden neun Flugzeuge zum Absturz gebracht.

Sicherungsstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine versenkten in mehrstündigen Gefechten nördlich Terschelling ohne eigene Ausfälle drei britische Schnellboote und beschädigten ein weiteres so schwer, daß mit seinem Verlust zu rechnen ist. Ein fünftes Schnellboot wurde in Brand geschossen.

Gescheiterte Durchbruchsversuche

dnb. Rom, 4. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Mittwoch lautet:

Die heftigen Kämpfe, die seit vier Tagen an der sizilianischen Front wüten, haben im Mittelabschnitt zwischen Regalbuto und Centuripe einen besonders erbitterten Charakter angenommen. In diesem Frontabschnitt sind durch den fest entschlossenen Widerstand der Truppen mehrere mit starken Kräften ausgeführte Durchbruchsversuche des Gegners erfolgreich zurückgeschlagen worden.

Die Luftwaffe hat an den Bodenkämpfen teilgenommen und feindliche Bodenziele und Schiffe angegriffen.

Im östlichen Ionischen Meer wurden von deutschen Jägern drei „Liberator“-Maschinen zerstört und von unseren Minenräumbooten zwei zweimotorige Flugzeuge vernichtet.

Italienische Feststellungen –
Kapitulation wäre Schande und Elend

Italienische Pressestimmen stellen heraus, daß die bedingungslose Kapitulation, die England und Amerika von Italien fordern, den gegenwärtigen und allen künftigen Geschlechtern Italiens den Stempel der Schande aufdrücken würde.

Tribuna schreibt, das italienische Volk sei nicht so, wie der Feind annimmt. An der Seite Deutschlands gehe der Krieg weiter. Italien halte sein gegebenes Wort. Lavoro Italiana erklärt, das ganze Volk stehe im Krieg und blicke auf Sizilien. Italien könne die Grenzen der Ehre nicht verlassen, ohne sich selbst für immer zu beflecken und ohne das Recht auf den Respekt der freien Völker zu verlieren.

Tapfere Flak auf Sizilien

dnb. Berlin, 4. August –
Flakbatterien der Luftwaffe haben sich auf Sizilien gemeinsam mit den Verbänden des Heeres mit besonderer Tapferkeit geschlagen. Eine bei Porte Empedocle eingesetzte schwere Flakbatterie schlug sechs Tage lang, bis zum Ausfall der letzten Kanone, sämtliche Landungsversuche der Briten und Nordamerikaner an dieser Stelle ab. Die Flakkanoniere wichen keinen Meter zurück, auch dann nicht, als der Feind mit schweren und schwersten Schiffsgeschützen auf die Stellung dieser einzigen Flakbatterie einhämmerte.

Auch der britisch-amerikanischen Luftwaffe fügten unsere Flakartilleristen empfindliche Verluste zu. So wurden in der Zeit vom 10. Juli bis zum 27 Juli 73 Flugzeuge und Lastensegler abgeschossen, während bei der Bekämpfung von Erdzielen 12 Panzer vernichtet und eine größere Anzahl schwer beschädigt wurden. Bei der Abwehr feindlicher Angriffe von See her versenkten die deutschen Flakbatterien zwei Schnellboote, eine Korvette und sieben Landungsfahrzeuge. Drei Kreuzer wurden durch mehrere Salven getroffen und zum Abdrehen gezwungen und ein Zerstörer in Brand geschossen.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 5, 1943)

Allies shatter southern flank of Axis defense

Drive threatens to trap elite German forces chased from eastern Sicilian port
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-05 143726
Victory at Catania was scored by the Allies in the capture of the heavily-defended Sicilian city (1). Paternò to the west was also occupied. The two roads for escape of the Axis troops in the Catania area (2) were blocked, the western road by the capture of Paternò and the eastern highway by naval shelling. In the north, U.S. troops (3) drove toward Randazzo.

Allied HQ, North Africa –
The Allies crumpled the lower end of the Axis line across southeast Sicily today by capturing Catania and the nearby transport junctions of Paternò and Gerbini, and to the north beat back the enemy defenses with a shattering land, sea and air bombardment.

The British 8th Army swept across the Catania plain under cover of the intense artillery fire and seized the ancient city of Catania to blast out the southeastern anchor of the wilting Axis line.

Other forces swarmed around to the northwest and took Paternò, core of a highway network keying the communications around the western slopes of Mt. Etna. The thrust threatened to trap the elite German troops who were thrown out of Catanias.

The 8th Army also seized Gerbini, 12 miles west of Catania and center of a major cluster of Axis airfields.

With the liquidation of the Sicilian campaign described as “only a matter of time” after the British 8th Army entered Catania, the Americans and Canadians pounded forward through stiffened resistance and heavy minefields on the central and north coast fronts in their drive to push the Axis back toward heavily-bombed Messina, last port of exit from the island.

Ned Russell, United Press correspondent, said in a dispatch from Catania that the hungry inhabitants of the city gave the British troops a tumultuous welcome.

The fall of Catania was followed quickly by the seizure of Paternò, which is an important road junction about 12 miles to the northwest in a web formed by mountainous roads and a railroad looping around the west side of Mt. Etna.

The Allied gain cut one of the main roads by which the Germans and Italians could escape from the Catania trap and put British forces near or astride the only railroad on the western slopes of Mt. Etna. Allied warships and bombers hammered the other escape road on the east side of the peak.

The fall of Paternò and Catania appeared to doom the town of Misterbianco, midway between the two bigger towns and on the main escape road out of Catania (Misterbianco means Mr. White).

The Americans pushing from Troina toward Randazzo and the Canadians hammering toward Adrano, which guards the only road by which the enemy can circle west of Mt. Etna, were reported fighting in the most difficult terrain. The enemy had laid heavy minefields in their paths and moved up mobile guns, as well as elements of the 15th Panzer Division.

The Allied forces are compelled to attack uphill at almost every point against hidden gun emplacements, often dug deeply into the rocks.

The doom of Catania had been sealed by the capture of Centuripe which gave the Allies high ground from which to blast ahead.

Despite a desperate enemy rearguard action, the British broke through to Catania from the south while the 78th Division attacked from the northwest and Canadians smashed into the enemy western flank. Many prisoners were taken and many others appeared to be trapped as the Allied offensive neared the road and railroad bottleneck at Adrano, only eight miles north of Paternò.

The British 8th Army under Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery crashed into Sicily’s second city at 8:30 a.m., after the sun-browned Northumbrians of the 50th Division (who crashed the Mareth Line in Tunisia), the 51st Highlanders, and the veterans of the 78th Division (who fought at Dunkirk) had slugged their way through the strongest enemy defenses on the island.

In London, observers suggested that all organized resistance in Sicily might be overwhelmed in three days. The German radio said Catania had been evacuated in “the most successful maneuvers” yet carried out in Sicily “to mislead the enemy.” The Nazi broadcast said the Germans had retired to a much stronger line behind Catania.

The best Axis troops, including remnants of the reformed 6th Army which was liquidated at Stalingrad, the armored Hermann Göring Division, the 15th Panzer Division, the 29th Motorized Division and units of paratroops who were sworn to fight to the death, vainly attempted to check the Allied advance.

Allied pilots returning from Catania said military targets there were pitted with bombs, especially in the railroad yards south of the town where tracks and sheds were directly hit. The Dacino di Ponente customs house was badly damaged and part of the central station destroyed. The northern part of the town was wrecked by fire, all airdromes were hard hit and the Fascist Party headquarters damaged, but much of the residential section was only slightly damaged.

The port of Catania was not damaged as badly as other ports in Sicily such a Palermo and Trapani, although several sunken ships were in the harbor.

In the air, U.S. Flying Fortresses rocked Naples, Italy’s biggest port, with its fourth blockbuster raid in four days, reminding Italians that they will see only destruction and death until they capitulate.

Allied fighters and fighter-bombers destroyed 60 enemy trucks and other vehicles in behind-the-lines attacks yesterday to facilitate the ground advance. Eighty other vehicles were damaged.

The submarine base and docks were the main targets at Naples and the communiqué said they were “well covered by bombs.” One merchant ship was left afire. Eleven intercepting aircraft were shot down as the Fortresses ran into the heaviest aerial opposition in some time.

British Wellington bombers also attacked the Italian mainland Tuesday night, hitting Paolo and Catanzaro on the east coast of the toe of the boot, and Marauder medium bombers followed through with daylight raids on the same targets yesterday. The two towns are situated on the railway running from Naples down to Reggio Calabria, opposite Sicily.

U.S. motor torpedo boats were revealed to have joined small British craft in sweeping the Strait of Messina of Axis shipping.

The Northwest African Air Forces, now largely operating from Sicilian bases, maintained heavy shuttle attacks on enemy supply dumps, road communications and motor transport throughout yesterday, leaving blazing supplies and trucks in their wake.

Other night bombers heavily attacked Messina and Battipaglia, another important junction on the Naples-Reggio Calabria railroad, last night.

Three Allied planes were lost in all operations in the 24 hours ended last midnight and further reports shows that six additional Allied planes were lost Tuesday.

Axis planes have put in a sudden reappearance, it was revealed, and have attacked Allied shipping in Palermo Harbor on the north coast of Sicily several times in the last five days. Minor damage was caused, the communiqué said, and U.S. warships drove off the raiders with anti-aircraft guns.

At least seven out of a formation of 30 Ju 88 dive bombers were shot down in a pre-dawn raid last night.

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U.S. Sicily toll is 501 dead, 2,370 missing up to July 22

About 100,000 Axis troops captured, Stimson says

Washington –
U.S. casualties in Sicily, up to July 22, numbered 501 killed, 3,870 wounded and 2,370 missing, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson announced today.

He said Italian and German prisoners taken by the Allies now number about 100,000. The number of enemy killed and wounded is also believed to be substantial.

Secretary Stimson said U.S. losses were moderate considering nature of the fighting and the terrain. British casualties were not a great deal higher than the American, he added.

While details of casualties since July 22 are not available, they are believed to be light.

Secretary Stimson said losses of U.S. B-24 Liberator bombers in the raid on the Ploești oil fields in Romania amounted to 20%, but a devastating blow was struck at vital oil resources, representing about one-third of the Axis oil production. A total of 177 Liberators participated in the raid. Eight were forced to land in Turkey.

More than 50 enemy fighters were destroyed in the raid, on which the Liberators flew 2,400 miles from the Middle East.

Secretary Stimson hailed Russian capture of Orel as a major victory. Likewise, he said, the capture of Catania by the British in Sicily will oblige the enemy to withdraw into northern Sicily to a narrow corridor highly vulnerable to attack by air and sea.

The Secretary, who returned only last Saturday from an inspection of U.S. troops in North Africa, England and Iceland, said he had seen evidence everywhere of America’s present military might. Not so long ago, he said, America’s military strength was merely a boast.


Völkischer Beobachter (August 6, 1943)

123 Sowjetpanzer und 194 Feindflugzeuge abgeschossen –
Harte Abwehrkämpfe auf Sizilien

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 5. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Die Sowjets begannen gestern am Mius mit starken Infanteriekräften und zahlreichen Panzern gegen die neugewonnenen deutschen Stellungen nördlich Kuibyschewo heftige Gegenangriffe, die jedoch unter hohen feindlichen Verlusten restlos scheiterten. Auch am mittleren Donez blieben Angriffe der Sowjets erfolglos. Im Raum von Bjelgorod dauern die schweren und wechselvollen Abwehrkämpfe weiterhin an.

Im Orelbogen wurde im Zuge der Frontverkürzung die seit längerer Zeit vorgesehene Räumung der Stadt Orel in der Nacht vom 4. zum 5. August vom Feinde ungestört durchgeführt. Sämtliche Vorräte wurden planmäßig zurückgeführt, die kriegswichtigen Anlagen restlos zerstört.

Südlich des Ladogasees brachen starke Angriffe der Sowjets vor unseren Linien zusammen.

Am gestrigen Tage wurden an der Ostfront 123 Panzer abgeschossen. Kampf-, Sturzkampf- und Schlachtgeschwader der Luftwaffe führten an den Brennpunkten der Abwehrschlacht, vor allem im Raum Bjelgorod und Orel, schwere Schläge gegen den Feind. In Luftkämpfen wurden gestern 161 Sowjetflugzeuge abgeschossen, sieben eigene Flugzeuge kehrten nicht zurück.

Bei den in den letzten Wochen im rückwärtigen Gebiet der Ostfront durchgeführten Kämpfen gegen sowjetische Banden bewährten sich besonders ungarische Truppen, die in selbständigen Unternehmungen oder zusammen mit Verbänden des Heeres und der Waffen-SS eingesetzt worden sind.

In Sizilien versuchten nordamerikanische Truppen auch gestern, den mittleren Frontabschnitt zu durchbrechen. Nach harten, mit großer Erbitterung geführten Kämpfen brachen alle Angriffe unter empfindlichen Verlusten für den Feind zusammen.

Ein starker Verband schwerer deutscher Kampfflugzeuge griff den stark belegten Hafen Palermo an. Neben zahlreichen schweren Bombentreffern in den Hafenanlagen wurden zwei Handelsschiffe mit zusammen 13.000 BRT. und ein Zerstörer versenkt, ein leichter Kreuzer, drei Zerstörer und acht Frachtschiffe beschädigt. 23 feindliche Flugzeuge wurden über Sizilien und dem italienischen Küstengebiet abgeschossen.

In der vergangenen Nacht drangen einige feindliche Störflugzeuge in das westliche Reichsgebiet ein. Bei vereinzelten Bombenabwürfen entstand unbedeutender Schaden.

Sicherungsstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine und Marineflak schossen über dem westeuropäischen Küstengebiet zehn feindliche Flugzeuge ab.

Deutsche Schnellboote versenkten vor der englischen Ostküste in der vergangenen Nacht ein britisches Minensuchboot.

Erfolge unserer Kampfflieger –
Hafen von Palermo bombardiert

dnb. Rom, 5. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Donnerstag lautet:

Auf Sizilien haben die tapfer kämpfenden Verbündeten heftige Angriffe der feindlichen Streitkräfte abgewehrt.

Deutsche Kampfflugzeuge griffen den Hafen von Palermo an und versenkten einen Zerstörer und zwei Dampfer mit zusammen 13.000 BRT. Sie beschädigten einen Kreuzer, drei Zerstörer und acht Handelsschiffe von zusammen 30.000 BRT.

Das Stadtinnere in Neapel wurde von einem Verband mehrmotoriger Flugzeuge heftig bombardiert. Zahlreiche Gebäude erhielten Schäden. Unter der Zivilbevölkerung gab es zahlreiche Opfer. Vier feindliche Flugzeuge wurden von der Flak und drei von deutschen und italienischen Jägern abgeschossen.

In den letzten Tagen wurden von unseren zur Sicherung von Geleitzügen eingesetzten Streitkräften sechs feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 6, 1943)

Allies advance through bitter Sicily fighting

Americans, Canadians battling to sever enemy route of retreat from Catania sector
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied armies smashed through stiffened Axis resistance to within five miles of the key communications town of Adrano on the Mt. Etna Line today while aerial squadrons battered rear-line roads in northeastern Sicily and fired massed enemy evacuation ships in day-and-night raids on Messina.

U.S. forces of the 7th Army, under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., were meeting strong opposition around the mountain town of Troina, but Canadians were reported threatening Adrano after pushing five or six miles eastward as the Allies advanced steadily from the Centuripe-Regalbuto sector.

The Germans still held Troina (which had previously been reported captured) and were fighting furiously to block the Americans at that point, some 50 miles from Messina.

Try to break road

The Americans near Troina and Canadians approaching Adrano were striving to break the road west of Mt. Etna by which the enemy might escape from the Catania front. The only other road, running up the coast east of the peak, had been shelled and bombed at points where it is only a narrow ledge in the mountains and was reported impassable for retreating enemy vehicles.

The Americans occupied the town of Gagliano, six miles southwest of Troina and behind the forward lines, and also advanced two or three miles on the north coast where naval and air bombardment of the enemy again aided their progress, today’s communiqué from headquarters of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said.

Axis position hopeless

The closely-coordinated and intensifying air, land and sea attacks on the northeastern Sicily “coffin corner” was said to make the position of the Axis forces hopeless and it was doubtful whether an evacuation would be possible except for a few specialists and key personnel.

The capture of Misterbianco which was doomed by the fall of Catania, and of the 13 Gerbini airfields (west of Catania), gave the Allies additional bases from which to press their all-out aerial assault as land forces fought to close the Mt. Etna trap on the enemy.

The Italian 434th Battalion, which was left behind as a rearguard outfit when the Germans moved northward from Catania, surrendered unconditionally to the British 8th Army because the capture of Centuripe by a famous Irish brigade which fought well in Tunisia had made the position of Catania untenable. But there was bloody fighting ahead on the roads to Adrano and Randazzo, which lie north of Mt. Etna.

The Germans were fighting desperately, especially against the Americans near Troina, in an effort to hold back the northern claw of the Allied pincers and prevent closing of the trap.

Resistance was described as the fiercest of the Sicilian campaign, with units of the Hermann Göring and the 15th Panzer Division outing up “suicidal opposition.”

Attack day and night

The enemy appeared to be attempting to prepare a new and much shorter line behind Mt. Etna, probably stretching from the Taormina area to somewhere around Naso on the south coast.

The Allied aerial onslaught against Messina and the Strait of Messina area was the greatest of the Sicilian campaign, with Flying Fortresses, Wellingtons and other types of craft participating in day-and-night raids.

The British 8th Army, pushing up the east coast through captured Catania, was believed already threatening Acireale, eight miles to the north and only a little more than 50 miles short of Messina. Front dispatches indicated that the British were probably within artillery range of Acireale.

40,000 still fighting

Other British and Canadian forces, along with the U.S. 7th Army, were hammering the Italo-German armies back toward Messina around an arc reaching the north coast near San Fratello, about 53 miles west of Messina.

Authoritative sources here estimated that only 5,000 Italians and 35,000 Germans were still fighting in Sicily, and a front correspondent for the service newspaper Stars and Stripes said the two forces could no longer be considered allies.

Armed conflicts have been reported between the Italians and the Germans, the correspondent said. The Germans were reported to be hoarding food and keeping it from the hungry Italians.

Attack railroads

Flying Fortresses opened the latest series of raids on Messina with a daylight attack on highway and railway communications in the port yesterday.

British Wellingtons took over the assault in darkness, blasting evacuation ships and other craft drawn up in the harbor and on the shore ready for a dash across the two-mile-wide Strait of Messina to the Italian mainland. Troop concentrations were also hit.

Evacuation of key German service personnel was believed already underway, mostly by small boats at night. Any large-scale evacuation was believed impossible, however, because of Allied air and naval supremacy. Allied torpedo boats have already operated in the Strait of Messina.

Medium bombers attacked road communications at Francavilla northeast of Mt. Etna, while light bombers struck at Adrano, a key point on the road looping around the western slope of Mt. Etna.

Other light bombers and fighter bombers in relays hit troop concentrations and road junctions in the shrinking Axis bridgehead.

Daylight raiders also attacked electrical installations on Sardinia, while night intruder aircraft carried out offensive sweeps over southern Italy.

Eight Allied planes were lost in all operations.


Völkischer Beobachter (August 7, 1943)

Feindschiffe vor Sizilien beschädigt –
U-Boote versenkten 6 Schiffe mit 43.500 BRT.

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 6. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Am Mius setzte der Feind den Versuch fort, das ihm in den Vortagen entrissene Gelände unter Einsatz von Panzern und zahlreichen Schlachtfliegern wiederzugewinnen. Er wurde wieder unter hohen Verlusten abgewiesen.

Am Donez scheiterten örtliche Angriffe unter hohen Verlusten der Sowjets an Menschen und Panzern.

Im Raum von Bjelgorod dauern die Kämpfe mit steigernder Heftigkeit an.

Auch südwestlich Orel setzte der Gegner die Versuche erfolglos fort, unsere Front zu durchbrechen. Bis auf einen örtlichen, ebenfalls abgeriegelten Einbruch wurden alle Angriffe in erbitterten Kämpfen abgeschlagen. Eine durchgestoßene feindliche Kampfgruppe wurde unter Abschuß zahlreicher Panzer vernichtet, die Reste zurückgeworfen.

Südlich des Ladogasees wiesen unsere Truppen ebenfalls starke Angriffe der Sowjets ab.

Die Luftwaffe griff mit starken Kampf- und Nahkampfgeschwadern in die Erdkämpfe ein und fügte dem Feind schwere Verluste an Menschen, Panzern, Geschützen und Fahrzeugen zu.

Am gestrigen Tage wurden an der Ostfront 209 Panzer und 84 Flugzeuge abgeschossen.

Seit Beginn der Großkämpfe im Osten wurden im Verlaufe eines Monats von Truppen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS 69.164 Gefangene eingebracht, 7.847 Panzer, 3.083 Geschütze und 1.620 Granatwerfer vernichtet oder erbeutet, von der Luftwaffe 3.731 Flugzeuge abgeschossen. Die blutigen Verluste der Bolschewisten sind außerordentlich hoch.

In den Abwehrkämpfen bei Orel in der Zeit vom 5. bis 27. Juli schoß allein das schwere Panzerjägerregiment 656 502 sowjetische Panzer ab und vernichtete mehr als 200 Pak und 100 Geschütze.

Auf Sizilien setzte der Feind im mittleren Abschnitt seine Durchbruchsversuche mit unverminderter Heftigkeit fort. In schweren, für den Feind besonders verlustreichen Kämpfen wurden alle Angriffe abgewiesen. Die Stadt Catania, schon seit Tagen nur mehr durch schwache deutsche Gefechtsvorposten gesichert, wurde, ohne daß der Feind nachdrängte, geräumt. Deutsche und italienische Kampfflugzeuge griffen von neuem die Häfen von Palermo und Augusta an und beschädigten dort vor Anker liegende Schiffe, darunter ein großes Handelsschiff.

Eine geringe Zahl feindlicher Flugzeuge warf in der vergangenen Nacht über Westdeutschland planlos einige Sprengbomben. An der holländischen Küste wurde ein Flugzeug zum Absturz gebracht.

Deutsche U-Boote versenkten in zähen Kämpfen gegen den feindlichen Nachschub aus stark gesicherten Geleitzügen und an Einzelfahrern sechs Schiffe mit 43.500 BRT. und beschädigten zwei weitere durch Torpedotreffer.

25.000 BRT. im Hafen von Gibraltar versenkt –
Schneidige Tat italienischer Sturmboote

dnb. Rom, 6. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Freitag lautet:

Am Mittelabschnitt der sizilianischen Front liefern die italienischen und deutschen Truppenverbände hartnäckige Verteidigungskämpfe. Die Stadt Catania, die seit drei Wochen von weit überlegenen Kräften angegriffen wird und täglich den heftigsten Luftbombardierungen und Beschießungen der Marineeinheiten ausgesetzt war, wurde evakuiert. Die Bevölkerung hat in beispielhafter Weise die Angriffe des Feindes und die harten Entbehrungen auf sich genommen, die durch die Umstände bedingt waren, und dabei eine stolze Haltung an den Tag gelegt.

Italienische und deutsche Kampfflugzeuge griffen von neuem die Häfen von Palermo und Augusta an. In den Hafen liegende Schiffe wurden getroffen und beschädigt. Fünf feindliche Flugzeuge wurden von Achsenjägern vernichtet.

In der Nacht zum 5. August sind Sturmboote der königlichen Marine, die auf einem unserer U-Boote befördert wurden, in den Hafen von Gibraltar eingedrungen und haben zwei „Liberty“-Schiffe mit je 7500 BRT. und einen 10.000-BRT.-Tanker versenkt. In der Nacht zum 8. Mai hatte das gleiche U-Boot eine ähnliche Aufgabe durchzuführen, bei der im Hafen von Gibraltar ebenfalls durch Sturmboote zwei britische Dampfer mit insgesamt 17.500 BRT. und ein nordamerikanischer Dampfer von 7500 BRT. versenkt wurden.

Die italienischen Sturmboote haben in diesem Krieg eine lange Reihe glänzender Waffentaten vollbracht, die dem Feind schwere Verluste zugefügt haben. Die hohe Schlagkraft dieser bewährten Angriffswaffe hat sich jetzt bei zweimaligem Eindringen in den stark gesicherten Hafen von Gibraltar besonders ruhmvoll bekundet. 50.000 BRT. wertvollen Schiffsraums sind dabei vernichtet worden. Italien und seine Verbündeten können stolz sein auf den ungebrochenen Kampfgeist und die heldenmütige Einsatzbereitschaft, die sich in diesen kühnen Handstreichen auf eines der stärksten Bollwerke Englands im Mittelmeer offenbaren. In London aber mag man darin eine Antwort auf die zynischen Worte Churchills finden, man müsse Italien „im eigenen Saft schmoren lassen.“ Die italienische Flotte hat durch den Angriff auf Gibraltar gezeigt, daß sie im Kampf um die Selbstbehauptung Italiens gegen den feindlichen Vernichtungswillen hinter den Kameraden des Heeres, die in schwerer Abwehr auf Sizilien stehen, und der Luftwaffe nicht zurücksteht.

U.S. War Department (August 7, 1943)


Sicily East Coast.
The coast road near Taormina has again been successfully bombarded by British naval forces. In the same region the waters close inshore have been patrolled at night by the Navy. No enemy traffic has been encountered. Minesweepers are actively sat work clearing a channel into Catania.

Sicily North Coast.
It is learnt that on the night of August 3-4, U.S. destroyers on patrol south of the Lipari Islands sank one heavily-armed enemy lighter escorted by two E-boats. One of the E-boats exploded, the other escaped in the early hours of August 6. Five E-boats were driven off by U.S. destroyers on patrol off Palermo. Other destroyers and PT boat patrols which by night have been pushed as far east as the Gulf of Gioia, on the west coast of the toe of Italy, have met no enemy traffic.

Ustica, the island some 40 miles to the northward of Palermo, was occupied by a combined U.S. naval and military force on August 5. The garrison of about 100 Italian soldiers and sailors were made prisoners. There were found 216 Italian civil prisoners and a guard. All Germans left the island on July 1. The civil population of about 1,100 were destitute and without water while many were ill with malaria.

Air Communiqué

Heavy attacks on the enemy in northeastern Sicily were maintained throughout yesterday by the North African Air Forces. Heavy bombers attacked road communications at Messina and road junctions at Badjazzo and Gesso were attacked by medium bombers.

Fighter-bombers carried out numerous attacks on enemy shipping off the Sicilian coast and scored a number of hits.

It is now known that on August 5-5, 21 barges and four other small vessels were sunk as a result of attack by our fighter-bombers.

Roads and enemy transport in Sicily and southern Italy were attacked and a large number of vehicles destroyed.

Last night, our bombers attacked the docks and railway communications at Naples and continued their attacks on enemy troops and shipping in the Messina area.

During these operations, one enemy aircraft was destroyed.

One enemy aircraft was destroyed on the night of August 5-6.

Eight of our aircraft are missing.