Section I -- PLANNING.1. "Since the forces must be drawn from both ends of the Mediterranean and from outside, planning will be extremely complicated" (Extract from the introduction to the Joint Planning Staff's Appreciation of operation HUSKY, January 10, 1943).
2. This forecast was extremely accurate.
3. The painstaking planning preparatory to the invasion of Sicily paid ample dividends. The enormous task of formulating detailed plans to achieve the assembly and movement under perfect timing of huge naval forces to the combat area required staff work of the highest order. The fidelity with which the plans were executed indicates the perfection attained by the planning staff officers.
4. A detailed analysis of the problems, difficulties and omissions of planning, however, bring to light many points which should be corrected in the interest of continued success in future campaigns and operations. Such campaigns and operations will find us pitted against a more proficient and determined enemy schooled in counter methods designed to frustrate amphibious landings on his shores. Such enemy methods will surely include the adoption of new weapons to render ineffective our current offensive efforts. Hence the skill and military advancement of a cunning enemy imposes upon the Allied Nations the necessity of new developments in materiel, adequate training of our forces, and the creation of suitable and correct plans for their employment. Only by such progress can the future success of our amphibious operations be guaranteed.
Command5. My directive for the conduct of this operation was identical with that issued to the Commanding General 7th Army, insofar as command relations were concerned. These directives established unity of command under the tenets of Paragraph 10, FTP 155, Joint Action of the Army and Navy, 1935. Under the naval directive the Naval Commander was "in command of the Western Task Force from the time it has entered this area until the army is firmly established ashore." The command area referred to was specified in the directive and was defined by latitudes and longitudes in order to prevent interferences in movement between allied naval forces; all movements outside this area being under the direct control of Admiral Cunningham, Commander in Chief, Mediterranean. The military directive issued to the Army Commander of the Western Task Force stated that the Naval Commander was in command "until your force is firmly established ashore."
6. Thus under the joint agreements of the U.S. Army and Navy, in amphibious operations involving army and navy forces the Naval Commander commands until the Commanding General of the Landing Force sets up his command post ashore and is ready to take over. The time when this shift of command takes place is invariably dependent upon the general situation. Usually the Army Commander establishes his command post ashore when all elements of the assault forces have landed and gained their initial objectives, when a beachhead of about 10,000 yards depth has been established to place the maintenance beaches beyond the range of enemy artillery, and when the Army supply system is operating in a normal manner.
7. During the exercises of command in succession there should be no conflict of interests. Under the unity of command initially invested in the Naval Commander he does not presume to dispose or to maneuver troops in combat ashore; neither does the Army Commander, upon setting up his headquarters and assuming the command, presume to maneuver ships and control their movements or tactical handling. However, the investment of joint command does mean that the Naval Commander has the full support of all elements of the Landing Force in accomplishing the naval tasks, and the Army Commander, upon succeeding to joint command, has the full support of all elements of the Naval Attack Forces in the achievement of the military tasks.
8. There are inconsistencies in the basic instructions issued to the armed services. It is apparent that FM 31-5, the only publication available to army officers before commencement of amphibious training under navy guidance, has not kept pace with FTP 155 and FTP 167. It is apparent also that there is a wide-spread misconception in the Army regarding command and responsibilities in amphibious operations. Not only is this universally experienced during the troop training period
conducted by the Navy, but it extends to the planning of operations and to the loading and administration of naval vessels. Thus military plans issued by various Army echelons set forth directives governing the disposition of navy craft and ship's boats, their speed, their loading and employment. Other Field Orders were issued controlling the opening of naval gunfire, restricted naval targets, etc. On board ship, orders have been issued by Army Commanders controlling the admission of persons to the War Operations Room and other parts of the ship in which the military commander was embarked. Such false concepts of the authority and responsibility of military commanders can only come about through the belief that Army Commanders exercise extensive command functions while afloat. This erroneous impression may be engendered through the unfortunate use of the term "Headquarters Ship" when referring to the Flagship of the Admiral, in which ship has been embarked the Commanding General of the corresponding Army echelon. The term "Headquarters Ship" is not an accepted naval designation; the term "Flagship" connotes the vessel from which a Flag Officer commands organized forces of the Navy.
9. There is a definite need for the revision of the basic documents governing joint operations. Such revisions should place the air forces allocated to an operation under the command of that commander responsible for the success of the joint undertaking. There is a need also for the wide promulgation among all services of the approved policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as to command in amphibious operations.
Echelons.10. In the interest of orderly planning, proper exercise of command, and coordinated execution of plans, it is desirable that the military, naval and air forces be organized on the same echelons.
11. In the Sicilian campaign the 7th Army organization placed the 1st and 45th Divisions under the command of a Corps Commander. Thus on the military echelon CENT and DIME assaults were under a single control. The CENT transports and major units arrived in the theater from the United States under a normal naval command. From the naval viewpoint it was neither desirable nor feasible to place the CENT and DIME naval forces under a single command. Although the CENT and DIME naval attack plans were in complete support of the CENT and DIME military attack plans of the Army Division Commanders concerned, the introduction of an additional echelon in the Army chain of command (which had no Navy counterpart) was productive of many difficulties.
12. The echelon of the Air Command in this campaign was at variance with both the Naval and Military echelons. The Tactical Air Force Headquarters retained control in the Rear Echelon of all supporting aircraft. An Air Officer was set up on the same echelon as the Naval Commander Western Task Force and the Commanding General, 7th Army, but that Air Officer was not empowered to order air strength into the assault area. His function was to control aircraft entering the area, and to request forces in support of the offensive land and sea operations. The Navy and Army commanders, who in succession were responsible for the success of the undertaking, did not exercise any authority over the air arm supporting the campaign. This arrangement is obviously contrary to the basic concept of command and is not conducive to success.
The Army.13. During the planning phase the Force 343 (later 7th Army) Headquarters were at Rabat, French Morocco, and later at Mostaganem, Algeria. The former is 555 miles and the latter 165 miles from Algiers where the Navy Headquarters were located. The CENT and DIME naval commanders were in Oran, 200 miles westward from Algiers, and the JOSS commander at Bizerta, 335 miles to the eastward. The remote location of the Force 343 Headquarters introduced difficulties for all echelons of all services, and necessitated the assignment of liaison officers withdrawn from the naval planning staff, as well as journeys to the Army Headquarters for the purpose of coordination of plans, conferences, etc. These great distances, in a country where travel and transport is at best very difficult, increased the planning problems not a little.
14. All planners, army, navy and air should be located in the same building, and plans should be produced by all services on the same echelon in coordination. Any changes produced in the plan of any service could then be made known as occurring to the other services, the implications fully examined, and timely action taken by the services affected.
15. Planning by the higher echelons reached considerable detail, and changes later effected by staff officers created considerable confusion in lower echelons. For example, many changes
were made by higher authority in Division troop lists at a late date; these changes were promulgated at a very late date for inclusion in the subordinate plans, with the cumulative effect of delaying the completion of naval plans on the same echelon. Thus the loading of combat loaders and craft was undergoing change at a time when plans should have been fixed and in the possession of all naval commands concerned.
16. The 45th Infantry Division was required to load in the United States and sail for North Africa prior to the receipt of the Force 343 plan. For this reason the Naval Commander of the CENT Attack Force was unable to formulate his plans until after arrival in the theater of operations. Due to the flexibility of the combat-loading methods, however, satisfactory plans were produced without disturbing the pre-loaded transports.
The Navy.17. Aside from the difficulties outlined above, the naval planners were seriously hampered in their study of beach characteristics because requests for PRU sorties, originated by the Naval Commander, were not given timely consideration. This condition was aggravated by the failure of the Air Force to provide the Naval Commander with requested prints of such sorties as were executed, though these prints were widely distributed among military commands which had no responsibility in the selection of assault beaches. The one set of low oblique pictures taken on June 18 were of great value in the naval study of shoreline details.
The Air Force.18. The weakest link in the joint planning of the U.S. forces was the almost complete lack of participation by the Air Force. Upon the completion of the Force 141 plans, and the withdrawal from that planning staff of the army and navy planners of the Western Task Force, contacts with the Air Force were maintained with difficulty and information of the development of the Air Plan was unknown to either the army ground forces or the navy. Eventually an Air Plan was promulgated but it was found to be completely unrelated to the Military Attack Plan and the Naval Attack Plan. It contained detailed data on Air Force equipment and supplies to be landed over the beaches, but gave no specific information to the Naval and Military Commanders of what support might be expected during the assault or what, when, or where fighter cover would be provided. Bombing targets suitable for attack prior to D-day were worked out by the 7th Army Headquarters in conjunction with the Navy, and these requirements were made known to the Air Force. This list of targets was found to be unacceptable by the Air Force on the grounds that the targets were unsuitable; this in spite of the fact that the navy and the ground forces charged with making the amphibious assault were threatened by these targets. Other target lists were thereafter prepared and after much controversy, a list satisfactory to the Air Force was eventually contrived.
19. Bombing targets for D-day were similarly prepared by the ground forces and the Navy but up to the time of sailing neither the Naval nor Army Commander was informed of what bombing support, if any, could be expected. The Air Plan did state, however, that after D-day, requests could be submitted with not less than 12 hours' notice to a Target Committee located in North Africa.
20. Thus the Naval and Military Commanders sailed for the assault with almost no knowledge of what the Air Force would do in the initial assault or thereafter. They were not informed of the general air situation nor was this information broadcast to them at sea. This should have been done in order that the responsible commanders would be apprised of what softening of beach defenses and disruption of enemy communications had been achieved by the Air Force. Timely and complete intelligence information, acquired by our reconnaissance aircraft, should be broadcast to the Assault Commanders in addition to the assessment of the results of our bombing missions. Unless this is done, the assault forces are placed completely out of the picture as soon as they sail from the port of embarkation.
21. The Air Force did promulgate by dispatch to the forces at sea, the planned approach and egress of transport planes carrying paratroops on the night of D-l/D day. Written information on the plans for the employment of paratroops was never received. The matter of routing transport aircraft in the assault area had not been submitted to the Naval and Military Commanders for examination with a view to early recognition of implications to those two services. In point of fact, the route selected by the Air Force was not suitable from a naval standpoint. The Naval Commander, however, received this unilateral decision only after radio silence was imposed upon his forces, and he was unable to give voice to his objections. This failure by the Air Force to correlate plans, and acquire the timely concurrence of the other services in order that information could be
disseminated to all forces, contributed to a regrettable incident. On the night of the assault a number of the transport planes were off the prescribed route and approached the transports from the same direction as the enemy and arrived over the ships simultaneously with enemy dive bombers. One is brought to the conviction that had the Air Force joined the naval and ground force planners, as they had been so often urged to do, and thereby had brought all Air Plans into harmony with the plans of the other services, the unfortunate losses of our transport aircraft might have been avoided.
Section II -- THE PLAN1. The planning on the theater commander's echelon began in February 1943, by Force 141 (afterwards 15th Army Group), created by Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces, and containing planners from American and British Armies, Navies, and Air Forces. Upon the completion of the 141 plans, the U.S. Army and Navy planning officers returned to normal duties on the staffs of the Commanding General 7th Army and Commander Western Naval Task Force and began preparing the plans of that echelon.
2. The Appreciation produced by Force 141 was based on the following Assumptions:
- That the campaign for North Africa terminated on or before 30 April 1943.
- That Sardinia remained in Axis hands.
3. The CONCLUSIONS of the Appreciation were briefly as follows:
- A heavier scale of air attack can be expected in the Eastern half of the Island than in the Western half.
- Seaborne Assault Areas
- The Straits of Messina are closed to Allied surface vessels and submarines and are beyond the reach of fighter protection.
- Seaborne assaults between Messina and Palermo and between Catania and Messina are not feasible since they cannot be given fighter cover.
- Direct assaults on Palermo and Trapani are impracticable in the face of existing coast defenses. Beaches exist to land a large force to the West of Palermo, but such an assault is not practicable until our fighters can operate either (1) from airfields in the Western group, or (2) from airfields in the Southeastern and Eastern group.
- Suitable beaches exist in the Sciacca-Marinella and Avola-Gela sectors, over which to launch initial assaults, under land-based fighter protection, to seize airfields which will permit of further overland operations.
- If landings are made both in the West and Southeast, two naval covering forces may be necessary.
- III. Relative Importance Of Areas
- The capture of Messina, and consequent isolation of the Island is of first importance, but initially its capture is not feasible.
- Its capture is most likely to be achieved by early seizing of the ports and airfields in the Southeast of the Island.
- The importance of an assault in the West lies in the increase in total port facilities and build-up, and it will help to immobilize the enemy reserves.
- The possession of Pantellaria, although desirable, is not worth the effort necessary to reduce it; the better course is to neutralize it by air action.
- Comparative Rate Of Build-Up
- The maximum number of enemy mobile divisions, in addition to Static Troops, which are likely to be encountered is eight.
- Reinforcement through Messina will probably not increase, but will keep these divisions up to strength.
- Unless the Island is attacked so as to get the use of both Palermo and Catania, we cannot maintain sufficient divisions to conquer it.
- With the capture and development of Palermo and Catania, we can maintain the equivalent of 101/2 divisions together with air forces.
- Southeastern and Eastern Assaults
- Two infantry divisions and one infantry brigade group are necessary to capture the airfields in the Southeast.
- Three infantry divisions are needed to capture Catania and protect the beaches and ports, but only two of these can be landed and maintained through the Avola beaches. The third should, therefore, land through beaches 37 and 38, after the necessary air cover can be provided from the Southeastern airfields.
- Western Assaults
- A force of one division and one armored combat command should be landed in the Southwest area to capture the airfields at Castelvetrano and Sciacca.
- A force equivalent to two divisions with such additional armored elements as can be landed and supported, should be landed at Castellamare, Trappeto and Carini to attack Palermo from the West and operate to the South and West.
- Timing Of Parachute Attacks
- Airborne troops are necessary to neutralize the beach defenses, and their maximum employment is required.
- Seaborne assaults should take place some two hours before first light.
- Airborne troops should be landed preferably in the dark or at dusk in sufficient time and at such a place as to be able to complete their task before the seaborne assault takes place.
- Timing Of Assaults
- Owing to the over-riding importance of obtaining the maximum lift of parachutists, the initial Western assault must take place after the Eastern assaults.
- The Western assaults should take place as soon as possible after the Eastern assaults, but investigation shows that D plus 2 is the earliest time at which they can take place.
- Date of Assault
- To allow the airborne troops to make use of some moon and to afford the approach to the coastline the cover of darkness, D day should be about 10 July, when the moon is in its second quarter.
4. An outline plan based on the Appreciation was issued in early April providing for four phases:
Phase I -- Preparatory Measures
Phase II -- The Assaults
Phase III -- Exploitation and capture of Catania and Palermo
Phase IV - Reduction of the Island
Phase I -- Preparatory Measures
- The objects of the Naval Preparatory measures were:
- To reduce the enemy's naval strength.
- To gain the upper hand of enemy U-boats in the Mediterranean.
- To prevent the reinforcement of the Sicilian garrison by seaborne troops or material.
- The objects of the Air Preparatory measures were:
- To reduce the striking power of enemy fighters and day bombers.
- To bomb enemy sources of supply, fuel stocks, base airfields, communications leading to Sicily, and naval and submarine bases in the Mediterranean.
- From D minus 14 to D day the scale of attack by day and night heavy bombers will be increased until a maximum is attained at the time of the assault. During
this time the bomber force will conCENTrate on targets immediately affecting the battle: firstly, on airfields in Sicily, Sardinia, South Italy and Crete, and secondly, on local communication centers in Sicily and on the immediately adjoining mainland.
Phase II - The Assaults
The Assaults are staggered to provide for attacks on D day in the Southeast and East, on D plus two day in the West, and on D plus five day in the Northwest.
D Day Assaults
- ACID (ONE) FORCE - A ship to shore movement mounted from the Middle East as follows:
- One British Parachute Brigade to be dropped the previous night to assist in the capture of the beachhead.
- One British Commando landing over beach 42 to capture the coast defense guns at Cap Murro Di Porco.
- One British Infantry Division and one British- Tank Battalion to land on a two brigade front over beaches 44 and 46 to capture Syracusa and Augusta and advance on Catania.
- ACID (TWO) FORCE - A ship to shore movement mounted from the United Kingdom as follows:
- One British Commando landing over beach 47 to capture the coast defense guns at Avola.
- One British Infantry Division to land on a one brigade front over beaches 47 and 48 to assist in the advance on Syracusa, Augusta and Catania.
- BARK FORCE - A ship to shore movement mounted from the Middle East as follows:
- One British Infantry Brigade Group to land over beaches 51 to 56 to capture the airfield at Pachino.
- CENT FORCE - A ship to shore movement mounted from the Middle East as follows:
- One British Parachute Brigade to be dropped the previous night to assist in the capture of the beachhead.
- One British Infantry Division and one British Armored Regiment to land on a one brigade front over beaches 64 to 66 to capture the airfields at Comiso and Biscari.
- DIME FORCE - A shore to shore movement mounted from Tunisia as follows:
- One British Parachute Brigade to be dropped the previous night to assist in the capture of the beachhead.
- One British Infantry Division and one Armored Regiment to land on a one brigade front over beaches 67 and 68 to capture the airfield at Ponte Olivo.
- RESERVE FORCE - One Airborne Division less three Parachute Brigades. To be ferried from Malta and Tripoli: One Infantry Division and One Tank Brigade.
D Plus Two Assaults
- ENSA FORCE -- A shore to shore movement mounted from Tunisia as follows:
- One U.S. Parachute Regiment to be dropped the previous night between Castel-vetrano and beaches 86 to 88 to assist in the capture of the beachhead.
- One U.S. Regimental Combat Team to land over beach 84 on a two battalion front to capture the Sciacca airfield.
- One U.S. Infantry Division (less one RCT) with one U.S. Armored Combat Command to land on a front of one RCT over beaches 86 to 88 to capture the port of Mazzara Del Vallo and the airfield at Castelvetrano.
Phase III -- Exploitation and Capture of Catania and Palermo
Capture of Catania
- IMMEDIATE RESERVE - One British Infantry Division mounted in landing craft from Tripoli and one Tank Brigade mounted from United Kingdom in ships, to land any time after
D plus one onwards over beaches 37 and 38 or other beaches in our hands South of Augusta, to reinforce troops moving against Catania.
Capture of Palermo (D plus 5 assaults)
- FISH FORCE - A combined ship to shore and shore to shore movement mounted from North Africa as follows:
- One U.S. Ranger Battalion to land over beach 1 to capture the coastal batteries at Capo S. Vito.
- One U.S. Infantry Division (less one RCT) and one U.S. Armored Combat Command to land on a one RCT front over beaches 2 and 3 with the object of severing road and rail communications between the West of the Island and Palermo and linking up with the forces at Castelvetrano.
- GROG FORCE -- A ship to shore movement mounted from North Africa as follows:
- One U.S. Parachute Regiment to be dropped the previous night to assist in the capture of the beachhead.
- Two Regimental Combat Teams to land on a one RCT front over beach 5 to advance East on Palermo.
- HOOK FORCE -- A ship to shore movement mounted from North Africa as follows:
- One U.S. Ranger Battalion to land over beaches 7 and 8 to capture the coastal battery at Capo Gallo.
- One U.S. Infantry Division (less one RCT) and one G.H.Q. Tank Battalion to land over beaches 6 to 8 on a one RCT front and advance East on Palermo.
- One Airborne Division (less two Parachute Regiments)
- One Infantry Division (one RCT to be on 12 hours notice from H hour of the D plus 2 day assaults).
Phase IV -- Reduction of The Island
No plan for this phase has been prepared. The forces ashore by D plus 11 should amount to:
Eastern Area (British) Western Area (U.S.) One Division
Four Infantry Divisions
Two Infantry Brigade Groups
Two Armored Regiments
One Tank Battalion
The equivalent of three Parachute Brigades.
Three Infantry Divisions
Two Armored Combat Commands
Two Ranger Battalions
One G.H.Q. Tank Battalio
The equivalent of two Parachute Regiments.
- On 21 May 1943 the OUTLINE PLAN described was cancelled.
By this date it was known that the assumption was incorrect that the campaign for North Africa would terminate by 30 April 1943. The neutralization of Pantellaria, Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampion was assured.
The basic Strategic Concept did not change. The appreciation which produced the original OUTLINE PLAN remained unchanged.
- Under date of 21 May 1943 a NEW OUTLINE PLAN was issued which provided for two phases:
Phase I -- Preparatory Measures
Phase II - The Assaults.
Phase I -- Preparatory Measures
- Naval and Air action will be undertaken during this phase with the object of gaining Naval and Air superiority over the enemy and reducing their striking power.
- Operation of a Cover Plan to:
- Retard the reinforcement of Sicily by German troops.
- Reduce air and naval attacks on Allied shipping destined for Sicilian operation, from D minus 7.
- Keep the Italian Fleet to the East of the Straits of Messina.
Phase II -- The Assaults
All assaults were scheduled for D day at the same H hour. All assaults were concentrated at the southeastern end of the Island.
The British forces were to attack on the Southern coast East of Pozzalo, and on the East coast South of Syracusa. The American forces were to attack on the South coast in the Gulf of Gela.
The attacks scheduled for United States forces were:
- CENT FORCE - A ship to shore movement from North Africa (ex U.S.) as follows:
- 45th Infantry Division landing over beaches 65 and 66 to capture the airfields at Comiso and Biscari.
- DIME FORCE - A combined ship to shore movement (mounted from North Africa) and a shore to shore movement (mounted from Tunisia) as follows:
- 505th Parachute Combat Team (Reinforced) to land night D-l/D in vicinity of airfield at Ponte Olivo to capture same.
- 1st Infantry Division (less one RCT) landing over beaches 67 to 69 to capture the airfield at Ponte Olivo.
- JOSS FORCE - A shore to shore movement mounted from Tunisia as follows:
- 3rd Infantry Division and one Armored Combat Command landing over beaches 70 to 73 to capture the port of Licata and the nearby landing grounds.
- RESERVE FORCE - A combined ship to shore movement (mounted from North Africa) and a shore to shore movement (mounted from Tunisia) as follows:
- One RCT of 1st Infantry Division and one Armored Combat Command to be landed as the tactical situation demands in support of any of the planned assaults.
- A comparison of the two plans revealed the following advantages and disadvantages:
- ORIGINAL OUTLINE PLAN
- As compared with Malta, Northeast Tunisia affords ample facilities for airfields within single engine fighter range of the Southwest coast of Sicily. It is therefore possible to operate, within the limits of their range, a far greater number of fighters over the Southwestern Sicilian beaches than those in the Southeastern portion of the Island.
- Additional fighter protection to Southwestern beaches can be provided by fighters operating from Pantellaria.
- With the capture and occupation of the airfields at Sciacca and Castelvetrano, fighter cover will be available to support landings West of the line Termini-Sciacca.
- The attack in the West will permit the quick juncture of forces on the line Sciacca-Palermo thus isolating enemy forces in the Western portion of the Island.
- With the early capture of the port of Palermo the administrative risks to the 7th Army are lessened.
- The staggered timing of the attacks will prevent the enemy from committing his reserves to the Southeastern portion of the Island.
- The limited range of single engine fighter aircraft makes it impracticable to provide effective air support for any landing made in the area North of a line exclusive Trapani--exclusive Catania, until such time as we are able to make use of airfields in Southwest or Southeast Sicily.
- Although Trapani and Catania are within range of single engine fighters operating from Tunisia and Malta respectively, both areas are near the limits of their practical operational radius of action. It would therefore not be possible to maintain effective fighter cover over these places without the use of airfields in Southern Sicily.
- While our airforces are operating from North Africa and Malta, the only areas in which we can provide effective support for forces assaulting Sicily will be along the Southern coast of the Island between Marsala and Syracusa.
- The airfield capacity on Malta restricts the number of sorties to be flown from the only air bases from which short range fighter operations against the Eastern end of the Island can take place.
- The sea approaches from Tunisia to Western Sicily are exposed throughout their length to flank attack from aircraft based on Sardinia.
- The ACID FORCE appeared to be of insufficient strength to accomplish the assigned task and its left flank is considered to be exposed from the direction of Ragusa; the build-up of the ACID FORCE was considered to be too slow."
- B. NEW OUTLINE PLAN
- An attack from the East, rather than the West, would sever the garrison from Italy. Although a major assault in the vicinity of Messina is not feasible, its seizure is the key to the Island. An assault in the Southeast and a drive up the East side of the Island offers more opportunity of achieving this quickly than does an attack from the West.
- The Catania plain is the focal point of main air bases in the Island. The capture of airfields in that area, combined with the occupation of those on the Southeast coast, would place the Western group in a very isolated position; and intensive air operations might eventually make them untenable.
- The concentration of forces in the Southeastern portion of the Island increases the force of the blow. The early establishment of a continuous beachhead by the contiguous forces ensures mutual support and eliminates exposed flanks.
- Vulnerability of convoys to air attack by enemy aircraft operating from air fields in Western half of Island where enemy enjoys a flanking position with respect to our sea routes.
- The beaches in the Gulf of Gela were more unfavorable for landing a large force than were the beaches selected under the old plan.
- No ports of any consequence become available to the Western Task Force in the region of the assault, thus imposing continued beach maintenance for a period estimated to be thirty days. The study of tonnages required to maintain the 7th Army plus the build-up forces versus the beach capacities indicated that the weights could not be brought in through the selected beaches.
- The Gulf of Gela was of insufficient size to permit adequate sea room to various transport forces and gunfire ships without interferences.
- The increased distance of the scene of the assault from Tunisia reduced the strength of the fighter cover to the smaller forces operating from Pantellaria. This increased distance also reduced the operational time of these aircraft over the assault area.
NAVAL OPERATION PLAN
- My Operation Plan 2-43 (Serial 00218), dated 26 May 1943, fully supported the Military Plan promulgated by Commanding General, Force 343 (later 7th Army). My basic plan follows:
WESTERN NAVAL TASK FORCE
U.S.S. Monrovia, Flagship,
BIGOT - HUSKY
May 26, 1943 (1030)
80. CONTROL Force
80.1 Force Flagship
Monrovia (FF), McLanahan.
80.2 Escort Group
Desron Seven less Desdiv 14 and Mayo, Eight (9 DD).
80.3 Screening Group
MTBron Fifteen (17 PT).
80.4 Demonstration Group
10 -- ARBs,
80.5 Minelaying Group
Keokuk, Salem, Weehawken,
Escorts (as assigned).
80.6 Reserve Group
Orizaba, Chateau Thierry,
16 LCI(L), British.
- 81. DIME Attack Force, Rear Admiral Hall, U.S.N.
Transdiv Three (8 APA-AKA)
H.M.S. Prince Charles (LSI(S)),
H.M.S. Prince Leopold (LSI(S)),
Savannah, Boise (2 CL),
Desron Seventeen (9 DD),
Steady, Sustain (2 AM),
YMS 62, 69, 207, 208, 226, 227, (6 YMS),
PC 621, 624, 625, 627, (4 PC),
SC 676, 690, 691, 692, 693, 694, (6 SC),
Hopi (towing pontoon causeways), Redwing,
16 LST (including 2 carrying pontoons),
U.S. Army forces (as assigned).
- 85. CENT Attack Force, Rear Admiral Kirk, U.S.N.
Transdiv One, Five, Seven (18 APA-AKA),
Philadelphia (1 CL),
Desron Fifteen, Sixteen less McLanahan, Ordronaux (16 DD),
Cole, Bernadou, Dallas (3 ODD),
Mindiv Seventeen less Steady, Sustain (4 AM),
YMS 16, 18, 34, 36, 37, 43, 55, 58, 63, 64, 82, 83, (12 YMS),
PC 542, 551, 556, 557, 558, 591, (6 PC),
SC 1029, 1030, 1043, 1044, (4 SC),
NARRAGANSETT, NAUSET (Each towing pontoon causeways),
14 LST (Including 10 loaded for 45th Div; 3 carrying pontoons),
U.S. Army forces (as assigned).
- 86. JOSS Attack Force, Rear Admiral Conolly, U.S.N.
H.M.S. Princess Charlotte (LSI(S)),
H.M.S. Princess Astrid (LSI(S)),
Crudiv Thirteen (Brooklyn, Birmingham) (2 CL),
Desron Thirteen (9 DD),
Seer, Sentinel (2 AM),
YMS 3, 13, 15, 20, 21, 78, (6 YMS),
PC 543, 545, 546, 550, 559, 562, 626, (7 PC),
SC 497, 498, 503, 506, 508, 522, 526, 530, 532, 533, 534, 535, 638, 639, 649, 651, 655, 666, 695, 696, 697, 770, 771, 977, 978, 979, (26 SC),
Moreno (towing pontoon causeways), Intent, Resolute,
40 LST (Including 5 carrying pontoons; others carrying 6 LCVP and fitted as hospital carriers),
85 LCT-5, 54 LCI(L),
12 LCT-3 or 4, British,
9 LCG(L), British,
7 LCF(L), British,
U.S. Army forces (as assigned).
- 87. Train, Captain Tuggle, U.S.N.
Winooski, Mattaponi, Chicopee, Salamonie, Chemung, Niobrara, Chamberlain.
- Current information on hostile forces and on characteristics of the Theater of Operations is listed in Information Annex, Annex A. Additional information, as available, will be separately distributed.
- The Western Task Force is part of a combined Allied force which has as its mission the capture of SICILY as a base for future operations.
- The Western Task Force is being employed in the waters to the westward of the island. Operations by British forces on the same echelon are taking place simultaneously in waters to the eastward of the southeastern portion of the island.
- The area of the Western Task Force is bounded:
- On the North, by the parallel of thirty-eight degrees North.
- On the West, by the meridian of twelve degrees East.
- On the Southwest, by a line drawn one one zero degrees from POINT SPADILLO (PANTELLARIA).
- On the Southeast, by a line drawn two two five degrees from RELIGIONE POINT (SICILY).
- Enemy ports which will come under the control of UNITED STATES forces are PORTO EMPEDOCLE, MARSALA, TRAPANI, and PALERMO. Other ports on the southern coast may be occupied during the early phases of the operation in order to maintain our military forces. Maintenance of our military forces will be undertaken also
through the port of SYRACUSA as soon as that port is captured and made available to our shipping. Upon the opening of ports to the shipping of the Eastern Task Force, additional British landing craft may be allocated to the Western Task Force to assist in the maintenance over the beaches of UNITED STATES military forces.
- British submarines will act as navigation beacons in each area selected for American attacks (see Submarine Plan, Annex H).
- Fighter coverage of the Western Task Force will be provided: by North African Coastal Command during movements along the north coast of Africa and during passage through the TUNISIAN war channel; by the MALTA command during the northern approach on D minus one day. Until the capture of SICILIAN air fields: cover over the CENT Attack Force and DIME Attack Force will be provided by MALTA; cover over the JOSS Attack Force by PANTELLARIA. When SICILIAN air fields are captured and placed in operation, (probably D plus three), day and night fighter cover will be provided over landing beaches, ships lying off-shore, and convoy movements. (See Air Plan, Annex F).
- Friendly aircraft participating in the operation will be marked with existing National markings, except that the UNITED STATES white star will be enclosed in a yellow circle. Thus all Allied aircraft will have the general similarity of a circle, i.e., the British and French roundel and the UNITED STATES circle enclosing the star. (See Air Plan, AnnexF).
- Force "H," a strong British force, will cover the Allied assaults from enemy surface vessel approach from the IONIAN SEA. If the Italian Fleet sorties from western ports of ITALY, Force "Z," a strong British force, will operate southward of SARDINIA in positions favorable to covering the Allied assaults from enemy surface vessel approach from the TYRRHENIAN SEA.
- On D minus two, a Covering Group, consisting of UNITED STATES cruisers and destroyers, will cover the eastward movement of Allied convoys, operating in accordance with Covering Group Directive, Annex 0.
- During the nights D minus two/D minus one a British screening force comprising two MTB flotillas and one MGB flotilla will operate to screen the western flank of the Western Task Force. The operating area of this screen will be west of the meridian thirteen degrees forty minutes East, and north of a line connecting Latitude thirty-six degrees forty minutes North, Longitude thirteen degrees forty minutes East, with Latitude thirty-eight degrees North, Longitude eleven degrees East. At zero eight hundred on D day this screen will come under the command of Naval Commander, Western Task Force.
- Controlled mine fields are reported to exist off all southern beaches, except possibly beach number eighty-eight. Beach data given in Information Annex, Annex A.
- During moonlight on D minus one, own paratroops will be dropped from transport planes into zones behind the enemy lines in order to capture enemy airfields and divert enemy forces from the beach defenses prior to the assault from seaward.
- When military operations are undertaken for the reduction of the island, a Support Force, comprising light cruisers and destroyers, will be assigned to support the reduction operations by naval bombardment.
- That the initial landing will take place during darkness.
- That strong submarine, E-boat, and air attacks are to be expected.
- That mines may be encountered.
- That no harbors will be available and that initial landings must be over beaches.
- That weather conditions will permit landing through the surf on designated beaches.
- That false beaches will not preclude the landing ships and craft from landing on the true beaches.
- That own paratroops will divert enemy forces from the beach defenses prior to the landings made from seaward.
- That the maintenance and build-up of the military forces can be continued over beaches until adequate ports become available and are rendered usable to meet logistic requirements.
- This force will firmly establish Western Task Force in positions ashore on the island of SICILY suitable to its capture of the south-eastern portion of the island in order to assist in seizing and holding that island as a base for future operations.
- CONTROL Force, Force Flagship operate as directed by Naval Commander Western Task Force.
Escort Group escort convoys in accordance with Convoy Plan, Annex I. Protect convoys against submarine, surface, and air attack. Upon arrival in attack area, render gunfire support as directed.
Screening Group screen JOSS Attack Force against hostile surface forces approaching from bases in WEST SICILY. Frustrate enemy E-boat raids. Operate in accordance with Screening Group Directive, Annex K.
Demonstration Group conduct deceptive operations in accordance with Demonstration Group Directive, Annex L.
Minelaying Group lay mines in accordance with Minelaying Group Directive, Annex M.
Reserve Group LCT's sail with TJS-1 enroute to DIME area, LST's sail with TJM-1 en-route to DIME area, and LCI(L)'s sail with TJF-1 enroute to DIME area; Orizaba and Chateau Thierry sail with CENT Attack Force joining DIME Attack Force in accordance with Departure and Rendezvous Plan, Annex G; subsequent movements as directed by Naval Commander Western Task Force..
- DIME Attack Force establish assigned Army Forces ashore near GELA by simultaneous attacks on selected beaches at H hour on D day in accordance with plan of attack developed by Commanding General concerned. Capture and secure the airfield at PONTE OLIVO, extend the beachhead to the East and Northeast to include the line RAGUSA-CHIARAMONTE-CALTAGIRONE and gain contact with the British forces on the East. Support military operations by naval gunfire in accordance with Fire Support Plan, Annex B. Silence batteries and destroy searchlights which threaten transports, beaches, and landing craft. Take advantage of opportunity to move transports inshore during darkness, and in daylight when shore batteries have been silenced. Upon joining in accordance with Departure and Rendezvous Plan, Annex G, sail Orizaba and Chateau Thierry of Reserve Group to DIME area. Expedite unloading transports; utilize fully twelve LCT's ex-JOSS Attack Force.
- CENT Attack Force establish assigned Army Forces ashore near SCOGLITTI by simultaneous attacks on selected beaches at H hour on D day in accordance with plan of attack developed by Commanding General concerned. Capture and secure the airfields at COMISO and BISCARI, extend beachhead to the East and Northeast to include the line RAGUSA-CHIARAMONTE-CALTAGIRONE, and gain contact with the British forces on the East. Support military operations by naval gunfire in accordance with Fire Support Plan, Annex B. Provide own air spot. Silence batteries and destroy searchlights which threaten transports, beaches, and landing craft. Take advantage of opportunity to move transports inshore during darkness, and in daylight when shore batteries have been silenced. Sail Orizaba and Chateau Thierry of Reserve Group, releasing in accordance with Departure and Rendezvous Plan, Annex G. Expedite unloading transports; utilize fully fourteen LCT's ex-JOSS Attack Force.
- JOSS Attack Force established assigned Army Forces ashore near LICATA by simultaneous attacks on selected beaches at H hour on D day in accordance with plan of attack developed by Commanding General concerned. Capture and secure the port and airfield at LICATA; protect the left flank of the operation against interference from the northwest. Support military operations by naval gunfire in accordance with Fire Support Plan, Annex B. Silence batteries and destroy searchlights which threaten landing craft and beaches. Sail craft of Reserve Group as follows; LCT's in TJS-1, LST's in TJM-1, and LCI(L)'s in TJF-1. Prior to execution of JOSS Approach Plan, release Reserve Group. Exploit port facilities to maximum to ensure troop maintenance. Be prepared to unload four coastal freighters upon arrival D plus four day. When unloaded from assault flight release twelve LCT-5 to DIME Attack Force and fourteen LCT-5 to CENT Attack Force.
- Train render logistic services to all Task Forces as required. Base on ORAN, ALGIERS, BIZERTA, or as directed.
- This Operation Plan will be placed in effect by dispatch or sealed orders.
- D day and H hour will be signaled.
- The assault is to be pressed home with relentless vigor regardless of loss or difficulty.
- Take every available measure to ensure,
- earliest warning of submarine attack, and
- destruction of hostile submarines.
- Destroy enemy forces encountered.
- Take all practicable precautions against mines.
- Take appropriate steps to ensure safety of submarines stationed as beacons. Escort submarines in accordance with Submarine Plan, Annex H.
- Employ smoke to fullest extent for defense against enemy action and to screen own operations.
- Take special precautions to ensure early recognition of friendly aircraft.
- Take special precautions to avoid compromise of infra-red receivers.
- Extend timing of boat waves to avoid congestion on beaches.
- Site pontoon bridges expeditiously.
- Ensure effective boat salvage operations.
- Clear landing ships and craft promptly in order to ensure prompt follow up. Provide adequate escorts. Route shipping in accordance with Convoy Plan, Annex I.
- Maintain radio silence and visual silence except ,as modified by Communication Plan, Annex C.
- The following documents, in the possession of Commanders of Attack Forces, are in effect:
- MEDITERRANEAN (W) Combined Navy/Air Orders.
- MEDITERRANEAN (W) Naval Air Defence Orders.
- MEDITERRANEAN (W) Secret General Orders.
- Landing ships and craft base on BIZERTA -- TUNIS; other ships base on ORAN -- ALGIERS.
- Evacuation of wounded in accordance with Medical Plan, Annex D. Logistic support in accordance with Logistic Plan, Annex E.
- Use Communication Plan, Annex C. Use zone BAKER time.
J. CAPE FARINA
L. CAPE BON
T. RELIGIONE POINT
U. CAPE SCALAMBRI
Y. Latitude 36°53'N
Z. Latitude 36°07'N.
The Short Title of this Plan is "HON/W2".
Naval Commander Western Task Force in Monrovia with DIME Attack Force.
H. K. HEWITT,
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Naval Commander Western Task Force.
ANNEXES (To be issued separately)
A. Information Annex
B. Fire Support Plan
C. Communication Plan
D. Medical Plan
E. Logistic Plan
F. Air Plan
G. Departure and Rendezvous Plan
H. Submarine Plan
I. Convoy Plan
J. Approach Plan
K. Screening Group Directive
L. Demonstration Group Directive
M. Minelaying Group Directive
O. Covering Group Directive
P. Intelligence Annex
CinCAF 5 No's. 1-5 CinCMed 2 No's. 6,7. CinCMed for distribution §20 No's. 8-27 CTF 80 2 No's. 28,29 CTF 81 2 No's. 30,31 CTF 82 1 No. 32 CTF 83 1 No. 33 CTF 84 1 No. 34 CTF 85 2 No's. 35,36 CTF 86 for distribution *30 No's. 37,38 CTF 86 2 No's. 39-68 CTF 87 2 No's. 69,70 CTG 80.1 1 No. 71 CTG 80.2 1 No. 72 CTG 80.3 1 No. 73 CTG 80.4 1 No. 74 CTG 80.5 1 No. 75 CTG 80.6 2 No's. 76,77 CTG 89.1 4 No's. 78-81 Cominch 2 No's. 82,83 Vice CNO for distribution 20 No's. 84-103 NCETF 1 No. 104 Vice Admiral, MALTA 2 No's. 105,106 CG Force 141 20 No's. 107-126 CG Force 343 10 No's. 127-136 CG NAAF 5 No's. 137-141 CG II Corps 2 No's. 142,143 CG 1st Inf Div 2 No's. 144,145 CG 3rd Inf Div 2 No's. 146,147 CG 45th Inf Div 2 No's. 148,149 CG 2nd Armd Div 2 No's. 150,151 CG 82nd Airborne Div 2 No's. 152,153 DTC Natousa 1 No. 154 CG SOS Natousa 1 No. 155 Naval Staff WTF 20 No's. 156-175 All Task Units assigned and reserved for spares 725 No's. 176-900
§ 20 Copies furnished CinCMed for distribution as deemed advisable. Copies for British Units listed in Task Organization will be distributed via Task Force Commander.
* 30 Copies furnished CTF 86 for further distribution to Flotilla and Group Commanders of LST's, LCI(L)'s, and LCT(5)'s.
J. M. BOIT,
Commander, U.S. N. R.,
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