Part I
The Introduction

  1. The most gigantic fleet in the world's history was assembled to launch the Allied invasion of Sicily. Over 3,200 ships, craft, and boats made up the Allied naval forces, of which more than 1,700 comprised the Western Naval Task Force.

  2. This enormous armada was assembled in the Mediterranean from remote regions, and was here organized and brought to readiness for battle. Ships and craft were altered or mod‚ernized with special equipment and devices, and training was conducted to ensure that each group of the vast forces would execute its assignment as required by the detailed naval plans. In this manner the Sicilian campaign was originated, planned, organized and forces trained in the five months since the Anfa Conference at Casablanca.

  3. The Western Naval Task Force, under my command, had the task of training, embarking, transporting, protecting and landing the American invasion troops in Sicily; of sup‚porting the military operations by naval combatant forces; and of ensuring the rapid, orderly flow of logistic maintenance to the military forces throughout the campaign.

  4. The Allied naval forces in the Mediterranean were so deployed as to gain the ascendancy over enemy submarines, and to bring to action and destroy any enemy forces which threatened the vast convoy movements engaged in the invasion.

  5. The amphibious assaults were uniformly successful. The only serious threat was an enemy counter-attack on D plus one day against the 1st Infantry Division when a German tank force drove across the Gela plain to within one thousand yards of the DIME beaches. The destruc‚tion of this armored force by naval gunfire delivered by U.S. cruisers and destroyers, and the recovery of the situation through naval support, was one of the most noteworthy events of the operations. The continued employment of naval gunfire against enemy positions on the north coast during the reduction of the island phase of the campaign, the unique employment of landing craft in providing a service of supply of food, fuel and munitions to our front line troops on the north coast, and the skillful execution of flanking amphibious landings on the north coast contri‚buted to a marked degree in the rapid defeat of the enemy.

  6. The brilliant achievements of the Allied forces in this conquest, launched on a mag‚nitude which heretofore had never been attempted, were due principally to the singleness of pur‚pose which all forces demonstrated. The appreciation of each others' problems produced an inter-service spirit of co-operation and common endeavor which welded the naval and military forces into a single team possessed with the resolute will to win.

  7. The huge task of assembling, training, and supporting large and complex forces, including green personnel and hundreds of craft of types yet untried in combat, entailed tremen‚dous labor. The large scale planning involved in the assembly of forces and material, and in the proper employment thereof in detailed plans merits the highest admiration.

  8. Such shortcomings and deficiencies as were noted are attributed principally to hurried preparations, the non-arrival of material in the theater, and to insufficient training. The ability of gun crews to quickly adjust themselves to battle conditions was notable. The courage and bravery displayed in action by the Allied forces left nothing to be desired. In combat our soldiers, seamen and aviators demonstrated tenacity, endurance and efficiency equal to or superior to that possessed by the enemy.


Table of Contents ** Next Section

Transcribed and formatted by Ken Jacobs for the HyperWar Foundation