London gazette 1950 sicily


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London gazette 1950 sicily

  1. 1. 2077£ltmb. 38895 SUPPLEMENT TO The London Gazette OF TUESDAY, 25th APRIL, 1950 j> Sutfrorfrp Registered as a Newspaper FRIDAY, 28 APRIL, 1950 THE INVASION OF SICILYThe following Despatch was submitted to the with the Task Force Commanders who will Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary be responsible for the tactical conduct of the Force on the 1st January, 1944, by Admiral battle; should meet at the outset for the dis- of the Fleet Sir ANDREW B. cussion and evolution of a sound basic plan CUNNINGHAM, G.C.B., D.S.O. which should not thereafter be changed ex- Office of the Commander-in-Chief, cept for reasons of exceptional urgency, such as a complete change in the enemys disposi- Mediterranean. tions or a major strategic upheaval. 1st January, 1944. 5. In the case of "Husky"* this was not I have the honour to forward the accompany- ^done, since both General Alexander anding reports on the Invasion of Sicily. Many of General Montgomery were absorbed in thethese reports have been forwarded previously Tunisian battle. In consequence, although theto the appropriate authorities in order that operation was authorised on 23rd January andthere should be no delay in the digestion and combined planning headquarters set up on 12thapplication of the " lessons learnt." The re- February, the final firm plan was not approvedports of the naval Task Force Commanders, until the 12th May. Thus, although fiveand of the Vice-Admiral Commanding, Force months were available for perfecting plans for"H"*, are very full and carefully compiled, the operation, all detailed planning had in factgiving a complete narrative of the operation to be compressed into two months, result-in all its stages, and summarising a wealth of ing in some confusion and considerableexperience in the sound conclusions they have unnecessary duplication in the issue of orders.reached and suggestions they have offered, t 6. It cannot be too clearly recognised that 2. It is not my intention to add a further a combined operation is but the opening, undernarrative to those already written nor to do particular circumstances, of a primarily armymore than comment on salient points of battle. It is the function of the navy andimportance. Except in so far as stated in the of the air to help the army to establish asucceeding paragraphs, I concur fully in the base or bases on die hostile coast from whichsuggestions and recommendations of the Force the military tactical battle to gain the objectCommanders. must be developed. It is upon the army tac- tical plan for the fulfilment of its object thatPlanning. the combined plan must depend. The navy 3. The following outstanding lesson emerged and the air commanders must join with thefrom the planning stage of this operation. army commander to ensure that the base or 4. It is essential, if much time is not to be bases selected for seizure are capable ofwasted and much confusion caused, that the achievement without prohibitive loss in theirresponsible Commanders-in-Chief, together respective elements, and that, when seized, they will fulfil the requirements of the force; but itAdmiralty footnotes: is of no use to plan on the seizure of bases * Force " H "—a British naval force under the com-mand of Vice-Admiral A. U. Willis, C.B., D.S.O., which unrelated to the realities of the military situa-was employed as a covering force for this operation. tion when ashore. t Only the report and narrative of operations of theNaval Commander, Eastern Task Force are reproduced Admiralty footnote:here. * " Husky was the code name for this operation.
  2. 2. 2078 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 7. It was upon this point that the initial Preparation, Training and Mounting.planning of "Husky" broke down. It may 11. The training and mounting of " Husky "be that the earlier plans would have suc- proceeded under difficulties, particularly in theceeded equally well; but the fact remains that case of Force " B "* of the Eastern Task Force,these plans in the end proved unacceptable to and to a lesser extent of the Western Taskthe army leaders called upon to fight the tac- Force. Both these forces had to establish theirtical battle for the object, and that, had it been base facilities in captured ports which had beenpossible for those leaders fully to study the considerably demolished, namely Sfax andtactical aspect at the outset, the undesirable Sousse for Force " B ", and Bizerta and Tunislast minute changes would have been saved. for the Western Task Force. Great credit is due to all concerned that these difficulties were 8. A further point is that in the initial plan-ning great weight was lent to the value of air- ably surmounted in the tune available. Forceborne troops for the softening of beach de- " B ", in addition to other difficulties, was facedfences. The conditions of light required for at short notice with the task of capturingthe employment of paratroops were inimical Pantellaria but the task was taken in its strideto the secure and undetected approach of naval and successfully accomplished without preju-forces. As the result of much discussion and dice to " Husky ", of which operation indeedin view of the importance attached to the air- it was an essential preliminary.borne attack, the date selected for the assault 12. The reception and absorption in thewas one which was not favourable from the station of the great number of landing shipsnaval point of view. In fact the airborne troopsand craft, and the establishment of their bases,were never used in the manner projected, but presented a heavy problem to both navies. Thethat they were not to be so used did not probable performance of these craft, mannedemerge until it was too late to change the as they were by new and inexperienced officersdate. In consequence, the navies, for no and men but recently enrolled in their respec-advantage, had to accept a disadvantageous tive services, gave cause for some anxiety," andlight for approach, and a subsequent period of in the early stages of training they caused somemoonlit nights off the beaches which could slight wavering of confidence among the troopshave been avoided. they were to land. The manner in which they 9. The Naval Commander Western Task buckled to and met and overcame their in-Force comments at length and stringently on experience can best be measured by what theythis subject in his report.* While I do not in achieved, and deserves the highest praise.all respects agree with his estimate of the effec- 13. Another cause of anxiety at this stagetiveness of naval gunfire, I concur generally inwas the large demand for movement of troops,,his remarks, and, in particular, in questioning airmen and vehicles to their staging points orthe wisdom of attaching a high degree of im- bases for the attack. This involved heavy andportance in the plan to the employment of continuous running by the landing craft atairborne troops. A seaborne assault is unalter- tunes when they should have been training, andably committed to a date for some days in fear was felt, not only that their training wouldadvance of D day. In tidal waters it is evenmore inflexibly bound by time and tide. It may be inadequate, but that their engines wouldwell be that, on the selected date, airborne not stand the strain. These fears were happilytroops are weatherbound and cannot operate^ disproved, and in fact the sea training providedIt does, therefore, appear most necessary that by these voyages must have stood them in good airborne troops should be considered as a use- stead. That the craft themselves withstoodful auxiliary rather than as a governing fac- the extra wear and tear is a tribute to thosetor which may react to the disadvantage of who designed and built them. other services involved. 14. Additional difficulties in the way of train- 10. Apart from the use of airborne troops, ing and mounting arose from late arrival ofmany other factors affect the selection of D craft and material. This was particularly so day and H hourf: but a dominating factor hi the case of Force "A"f of the Eastern must always be the high casualty rate inflicted Task Force which received its L.S.T.sJ by aimed machine-gun fire. Unless it can be extremely late and had little or no opportunity guaranteed to the army that the enemy beach of trying and practising with pontoons. This, defences can be neutralised by naval gunfire portion of the force was also separated by 900 or air attack or both—or by smoke—it is felt miles from the L.C.T.s§ which were to form that darkness will always be chosen for the a part of its assault. A high standard of first waves to reach the beach. " Husky " gave staff work was required to knit these scattered but poor opportunity for judging the soundness components into an operational whole. of our choice since surprise was unexpectedly 15. The Western Task Force was more for- attained; but it is felt that, had the enemy tunate in that opportunities for training and been resolute and alert, it would have required mounting were undisturbed, and all ships were more than the gun support actually available concentrated. Although this force also if the soldiers were to be landed in daylight suffered to some extent from late arrivals and without heavy casualties. Bomber forces were rushed planning, as compared with the Eastern not available since they were occupied in Task Force the Western Task Force was much neutralising the enemy air forces. better placed since the U.S. warships came intoAdmiralty footnotes: the Mediterranean for the specific purpose of * The Western Task Force was an American Task the operation, and only very slight calls wereForce under the command of Vice-Admiral H. K.Hewitt, U.S.N. The publication of the report of the Admiralty footnotes:Naval Commander Western Task Force is a matter for * Force " B "—a British Task Force under the com-the United States Navy Department, and this report is mand of Rear-Admifal R. R. McGrigor, C.B.therefore not included here. t Force "A":—a British Task Force under the com- t H hour—the time at which it is planned that the mand of Rear-Admiral T. H. Troubridge, D.S.O.first wave of landing craft should " touch down " on J L.S.T.—Landing Ship, Tank.the beach for the assault. § L.C.T.—Landing Craft, Tank.
  3. 3. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2079made upon them for extraneous duties on the to avoid disclosure of intention, by the bottle-station. In the case of the Eastern Task Force, neck presented by the Tunisian war channel,all ships, belonging as they did to the normal and, finally, by the requirement for toppingforces of the station, were heavily and con- up the fuel of escort vessels before their arrivaltinuously employed right up to the date of in the assault area.sailing for the operation, and in but few cases Very detailed orders were issued regardingtook part in any rehearsal or training. That the routes and timing of the approach, backedtheir duties were performed so adequately up by track charts and the inevitable " Mickeywhen the time came reflects highly alike on Mouse" diagrams which are in my viewthe adaptability of their ships companies and essential to the clear understanding of a prob-on the standard of maintenance achieved in lem of this nature. Even so, everythingspite of many months of arduous service at sea. depended, as always, on the seamanship andCollection of Beach Intelligence. good sense of individual commanding officers 16. Much credit is due to the officers and and on the smooth working of the berthingmen of the beach reconnaissance parties for and fuelling organisations of the several portstheir arduous and hazardous effort to obtain concerned.details of the beach gradients and sand bars. My confidence in their abilities was notCredit is also due to the submarines of the 8th misplaced. The operation ran like a well-oiled and 10th Flotillas which worked on beach clock.reconnaissance in company with these parties. 20. The only incidents which occurred to Their casualties in this operation were un- mar the precision of this remarkable concen-fortunately heavy; apart from natural dislike tration were the loss by submarine attack ofof such losses, the possibility of capture always four ships in convoy, the CITY OF VENICEgives rise to anxiety on grounds of security. and ST. ESSYLT in K.M.S. 18B on the 4th July, the DEVIS in K.M.S. 18B on 5th July, Location of Headquarters. and the SHAHJEHAN in M.W.S. 36 on the 17. Much discussion was devoted to the best 6th July. The passage of the convoys was location for the combined headquarters from covered most effectively by the operations of which the three Commanders-in-Chief should the North-West African Coastal Air Force, conduct the operation. Various alternatives of No. 201 (Naval Co-operation) Group, of were explored in an effort to find a common squadrons operating under Air Headquarters site satisfactory to all, but in the end communi- Air Defence, Eastern Mediteranean, and, on cations problems, and, to a lesser extent, lack D- 1 day, of the North-West African Tactical of suitable accommodation, caused an unde- Air Force Squadrons based on Malta. Their sirable dispersion in that though the navy and problem was one of a complexity equal to army headquarters moved to Malta from our own. It was solved with conspicuous Algiers, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief success, since no bomb was dropped on any found himself unable to move from his exist- convoy—the majority were not sighted by ing headquarters at Marsa, where he was in enemy aircraft—and all reports showed that close touch with his main forces.* the fighter cover was excellent. I am sure Malta was a wise choice from both 21. An aspect of the approach which naval and army viewpoints, and apart from an caused me concern was the slow speed of the unexpected assault of sandflies which devas- L.C.T. convoys, and the necessity for their tated my staff, the arrangements were in all arrival at the assault beaches well before first respects excellent. light to provide the supporting arms the army 18. The separation of the Commanders did needed. Throughout the planning stages, the not in the event have serious reaction, but was estimates of speed of advance allowable for manifestly undesirable and might have proved L.C.T. convoys had continually to be lowered extremely awkward had things begun to go as experience was gained. In the end it awry. In particular the navy and the air are became clear that not more than 5^ knots closely interdependent in a sea assault, and could be counted upon in safety, even in calm with the exception of the coastal air compon- weather. I was not sanguine of our ability ent, the air plans of the operation had all along to maintain surprise at any time after 1200 appeared to the other services to be somewhat on D -1, since it appeared beyond doubt that nebulous, and their day-to-day exposition was the enemy must by then become aware of our necessary to make the picture clear. concentration south of Malta: but it appeared The Approach and Assault. to be beyond the wildest expectation that he 19. The co-ordination and timing necessary should be unaware of the L.C.T. convoys which to ensure the punctual concentration of this must be within 20 miles of his coast at sunset. vast force in the assault areas, presented a It is, I suggest, a matter of urgency that some problem of some complexity. The problem means be devised of landing supporting armswas to some degree complicated by the great at an early stage from craft whose speed is distances over which the forces were initially at least in the region of that of the average dispersed f, by the need for deceptive routeing infantry assault ship, if tactical surprise is to be aimed at.Air Ministry footnote: 22. Little anxiety had been felt on the score * Besides the accommodation and communicationsdifficulties mentioned, time did not permit of the Air of weather, which is so rarely bad hi theOfficer Commanding-in-chief changing the elaborate Mediterranean at this time of year. Never-arrangements for controlling the air operations from theless, plans had been made whereby a post-Marsa. ponement of 24 hours could, if necessary, beAdmiralty footnote: ordered as late as 1200 on D - 1. Beyond this f Some of the British assault force was sailed from time it was felt impracticable to disturb theEgypt and the First Canadian Division from the Clyde. march of events, and it was also expectedPart of the American assault force was mounted in theU.S.A., making only a short call at Algiers and Oran on that in the event the weather would havepassage to the assault beaches. sufficiently disclosed its intentions by this time. A 2
  4. 4. 2080 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950Such was not the case however—at 1200 D - 1 26. After the landings the troops movedthe wind was blowing force 4 from the north- steadily inland on both fronts, apparentlywest but there was no evidence of imminent encountering but little opposition exceptincrease and no question of postponement inland of Gela in the DIME* area of thearose. By 1700 the wind was force 6 to 7* Western Task Force, where the floatingand a nasty sea had risen. It was manifestly reserve (Kool Force) was ordered to be landedtoo late for postponement but considerable in support. A determined counter attack byanxiety was [felt, particularly for the small the Hermann Goering Panzer Division startedcraft convoys making up against the sea. The to develop in this area from 0900 on D daywind mercifully started to ease from 2330 on- and had some success, reaching almost to thewards, by H hour it was slight, and by morning beaches on the evening of D + 1. Naval gun-had ceased, leaving only a tiresome swell and fire played a prominent and praiseworthy partsurf on the western beaches. in stopping and turning this attack, being Attainment of Surprise. notably effective against tanks. By 2230 on 23. This little blow had various effects but D + 1 the situation had been restored and nothe most noteworthy was its contribution to further serious threat to the security of ourour unexpected success in gaming complete bridge-heads developed.surprise. The very efficient cover plan and Syracuse was entered by our troops atthe deceptive routeing of the convoys both 2100 D day and the port swept and open byplayed their parts. In addition the vigilance 0830 D + 1.of the enemy was undoubtedly relaxed owing Air Action during the the unfavourable phase of the moon to which 27. The degree of air opposition encounteredwe had been so unwillingly subjected. Finally in the assault and later could by no meanscame this wind which indeed came dangerously be described as serious; but caused someclose at one time to making some, if not all, casualties among shipping and had someof the landings impracticable. These last nuisance value.two, to us, apparently unfavourable factors had In this respect the Western Task Force wasactually the effect of making the weary Italians, less fortunate than the Eastern Task Forcewho had been alert for many nights," turn and was somewhat bothered, particularly bythankfully in their beds saying "tonight at fighter bomber aircraft .coming low over theany rate they cant come! " hills from inland in such a manner as to evade But they came. detection by radar.The Landings. 28. The provision of S.E.f fighter cover in 24. In consequence of the wind not all the assault areas prior to the capture ofassault waves reached the beach at H hour, adequate Sicilian airfields, presented a diffi-but none was seriously late. Some of the cult problem to the Air Command, with onlyL.C.T. convoys were very late, the most being the limited airfield facilities of Malta, Gozo that for BARK EAST! which was six hours and Pantellaria lying within reasonable fighterlate, having furthest to go against the wind. range. The number of fighter sorties necessaryOne L.C.T. was swamped and capsized. The to maintain even squadron strength in bothperformance of the small craft of both nations assault areas was this period was most creditable. They made The Air Command had to strike a balancevaliant efforts to keep their rendezvous and in in the allotment of their resources between thelarge measure were successful. value of defensive patrols and offensive action at the enemy airfields—both having the same 25. The assaults were landed in all sectors object—the security of the assault from enemy in the right place, nearly at the right tune and air interference. with negligible opposition. In some areas It was pointed out in my operation order some interference was encountered after day- that much of the airs effort would be unseen light from coast defence and shore batteries, by the naval forces, and the strength of fighters but in most cases they were readily silenced to be expected was outlined. by ships gunfire and the landings proceeded steadily with no appreciable interference other 29. By results I consider that the air appre- than the swell. ciation was proved sound. To one who had fought through the Mediterranean campaign The Western Task Force, on their exposed from the beginning it appeared almost magical western beaches, bore the brunt of opposition that great fleets of ships could remain anchored both by gunfire and surf, the latter par- on the enemys coast, within 40 miles of his ticularly at CENTJ beaches which were most mam aerodromes, with only such slight losses nearly a lee shore. Losses of craft by from air attack as were incurred. broaching in this area were considerable. The navies (and consequently the armies) That the surf was in no wise allowed to inter- owed a great debt to the air forces for the fere with the smooth progress of the landing effectiveness of the protection afforded them reflects highly on the determination, resource throughout the operation. Nevertheless, there and sound training of the Western Task Force. was palpably room for improvement in theAdmiralty footnotes: close air cover of the assault areas, and, in * Definitions in the Beaufort scale of windforce— particular, in the effectiveness of the liaison Force 4—moderate breeze (11-15 m.p.h. at sea between the Naval Force Commanders and thelevel); fighter forces upon which they had to rely. Force 6—strong breeze (21-26 m.p.h. at sea level); This improvement was in fact effected in the Force 7—high wind (27-33 m.p.h. at sea level). t BARK EAST—one of the British assault beaches next major amphibious operation which was(see Plan). undertaken hi this theatre. J CENT and DIME—American assault beaches, west ofthe Eastern Task Force assault area. DIME beaches Admiralty footnote:were in the vicinity of Gela; CENT beaches were south- * (See foot note f of previous column.)east of Gela, at places between DIME and Cape Scalambri. t S.E.—single engined.
  5. 5. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2081 Routeing of Troop-carrying Aircraft. passive enemy. Force " H " was faced with the 30. The routeing of aircraft carrying air- prospect of steady patrolling in waters within borne troops to the attack was, from the easy reach of the enemys air bases, in condi- beginning, recognised as presenting an tions of moonlight and weather peculiarly awkward problem. Allowance was made in suited to air attack and with a growing U-boat the naval approach plan, in conference with threat. Air Plans, for a gap between assault convoys It was not until July 17th (D + 7) that the north of Malta through which the troop- reduced congestion of Malta and my apprecia- carrying aircraft could approach and return tion of enemy intentions combined to allow without flying over convoys. These routes this force to be withdrawn into harbour at were promulgated in my operation orders. Malta. In the interval the INDOMITABLE In fact these attacks were delivered without had, not unexpectedly, been torpedoed and interference between naval and air forces severely damaged. Force "H" achieved its involved; but it was not until D - 3 that the object. airborne troops plans became firm and that 34. The effect of the diversionary operations, troop-carrier command were able finally to "Fracture"* by Force "Z" and "Arsenal"! confirm the suitability of routes passing by Force " Q " and coastal forces, cannot be through the corridor laid down so long before. accurately assessed. It is presumed that they These late decisions were in large measure contributed to the confusion of the enemy. due to the late crystallisation of the military Both were satisfactorily carried out hi precisely tactical plan already referred to in paragraphs the manner ordered. 5 to 7 above. 35. The operations of Force " Q " patrolling 31. Later, airborne troop missions were nightly northward of the landings, were as flown on the night 10th/llth July to the Gela necessary as they were unspectacular, and area and on the night 13th /14th July to the lacked incident. The torpedoing of CLEO- Catania area. - . PATRA by a U-boat, anl the sinking of a In the first instance, an ingress corridor over U-boat by ILEX and ECHO were merely in- a deserted portion of coast between the two cidents of passage unconnected with the task forces was allotted and promulgated by operational function of this force. signal. The aircraft were to fly inland by this 36. The operations of coastal forces, and, corridor and withdraw passing to the north and at a later stage, of the American P.T. boatsj west of Licata, well clear of the Western Task in the Straits of Messina were most gallant and Force. In fact, owing to heavy ground A.A. fire and possibly due to bad navigation, large determined. They nightly faced an unpleasant numbers of aircraft forsook the route and flew volume of gunfire and inflicted losses on the over the Western Task Force assault areas enemy. concurrently with an enemy air attack. Con- 37. The anti U-boat operations, both air and siderable losses resulted. surface, which were instituted as soon as a In the second instance, decision to carry out U-boat concentration on the east coast of Sicily the operation was taken too late to enable became apparent, did not succeed in making routeing to be certainly promulgated to all any kills. But the U-boat activity achieved ships. The airborne troops* representative at little, and that this was the case was probably my H.Q. was apprised of this danger at the in no small measure due to the active measures time. This late decision in combination with which were taken to .discourage their presence. the unexpectedly late sailing of a convoy from The U-boat kills which were made wereAugusta led to a number of aircraft being shot fortuitous, notably the capture of BRONZO down by merchant vessel gunfire. In this by the 13th Minesweeping Flotilla off Syra- instance too, enemy aircraft were present to cuse, and LAFOREYs rapid revenge for the complicate the issue. torpedoing of NEWFOUNDLAND off 32. These incidents led to an enquiry being Catania. held by Allied Force Headquarters with a view March of Events subsequent to the Assaults. to eliminating such incidents in future. I con-cur in the recommendations of committee which 38. An outstanding feature of the operation are forwarded separately. was the rapidity of progress of the left whig U.S. 7th Army once they were firmly ashore. Though not easy, the routeing of troop- The whole of these operations both before andcarrier aircraft prior to the main assault, while after the capture of Palermo was a model ofships are moving in pre-arranged tracks and amphibious tactics by the Western Task perfect tuning, presents a clear cut problemreadily susceptible to solution by careful plan- In particular, after the capture of Palermoning as was shown on the night of D -1 /D on the 22nd July (D + 12) U.S. generalshipday in "Husky". showed that it had nothing to learn of the The major problem arises in the routeing of value of sea power and Task Force 86 underaircraft to make drops to fulfil military tac- Rear-Admiral Davidson, U.S.N. that it hadtical requirements arising after the main nothing to learn of the rapid planning andassaults, when the situation has become fluid, execution of outflanking operations.convoys are being cleared as they unload, and The three " end runs " executed in the ncrihsignal communications are inevitably congested. coast of Sicily saved days of costly fighting.It was under -these conditions that the incidents Admiralty footnotes:quoted above occurred. * Operation " Fracture "—a bombardment of Favjg- nana (an island off the western point of Sicily) andNaval Forces other than Assault Forces. convoy feints towards the west of Sicily. 33. The work of the main covering force, t Operation " Arsenal"—a bombardment of Catania (east coast of Sicily).the hinge pin of the operation, was dull and J P.T. boats—the counterpart of British Motorunspectacular as must ever be the case.against a Torpedo Boats!
  6. 6. 2082 UPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 39. Progress on the east coast was less spec- honour that, through the person of Vice-tacular and more costly. Augusta was entered Admiral Hewitt, I was privileged to commandby the army on the evening of 12th July (D+2), so large and efficient a force of the Unitedafter a rather exasperating day in which our States Navy. Both the Western Task Force,destroyers alternately entered the harbour under Admiral Hewitt, and the Eastern Tasktriumphantly and were evicted by enemy shell Force, under Admiral Ramsay, performed theirfire to which they could not reply owing to unaccustomed tasks in a manner befitting theinability to distinguish our own troops; but highest tradition of any fighting service.the situation did not really become cleared up (Signed) A. B. CUNNINGHAM,and the port rendered safe for democracy until Admiral of the Fleet.the morning of the 13th when the Port Partywas finally installed and a valuable protected General Dwight D. Eisenhower,anchorage made available for our use. Supreme Commander, Two small commando operations from two Allied Expeditionary Force.L.S.L(H)* contributed to the capture of thisport. From this time onward, however, nouse was made by the 8th Army of amphibious opportunities. The small L.S.I.s were kept standing by for the purpose at the call of Rear- Admiralty,Adtoiral McGrigor (Flag Officer Sicily) and S.W.I.landing craft were available on call: but theonly occasion on which they were used was 1st October, 1943.on 16th August, 1943, after the capture of I have the honour to forward herewith theCatania, when a commando landing was made, report of proceedings of the Eastern Navalbut fell short of the flank of the retreating Task Force during the initial phase of opera-enemy. tions for the capture of the Island of Sicily, known as Operation " Husky ". These opera- 40. There were doubtless sound military tions were wholly successful, but consideringreasons for making no use of this, what to me the large force involved and the time allowed appeared, priceless asset of sea power and for preparation, any other result could onlyflexibility of manoeuvre: but it is worth con- have been most unexpected and disappointing.sideration for future occasions whether muchtime and costly fighting could not be saved 2. By reason of the weakness of the Italian by even minor flank attacks which must neces- opposition, the success of the assaults in sarily be unsettling to the enemy. It must "Husky" cannot be considered as a reliable be always for the General to decide. The guide to what may be attempted or achieved Navy can only provide the means and advice elsewhere. Nevertheless, valuable experience on the practicability from the naval angle of was gained which will be of inestimable assist- the projected operation. It may be that had ance in future operations, notably in regard to I pressed my views more strongly more could maintenance through the beaches, handling and have been done. serviceability of landing ships and craft, open- 41. Much use was made of naval gunfire ing of captured ports and in the use of naval to support the seaward flank of the 8th Army. armaments in support of the army in subse- Reports showed that such support was satis- quent operations along the coast. factory and effective. Only on one occasion 3. Casualties to shipping and amongst land- was heavy ship gunfire employed, when WAR- ing craft were considerably less than had been SPITE carried out a brief bombardment of anticipated and allowed for. This was gratify- Catania on the evening of the 17th July. ing and is considered to be due to: — The End of the Operation. (a) the very high degree of air superiority achieved ; 42. The operation concluded with the entry of Messina on the 17th August, the U.S. (b) the efficiency of the A/S* organi- 7th Army, thanks to their amphibious tactics sation ; and some prodigious road engineering feats, (c) the unexpected attainment of a con- beating the British 8th Army by a short head siderable degree of tactical surprise. That for the prize. tactical surprise was effected is considered to have resulted from a combination of circum- Conclusion. stances, such for example as the adoption of 43. These remarks contain criticism where, a waxing moon period for the assaults, the in my view, criticism is due. Where possible lack of enemy air reconnaissance on D -1 the criticism is constructive and designed to day and a prolonged period of " alert" avoid a repetition of such mistakes as were preceding D day, all of which, together with made. It is a cause for congratulation of all the unexpected high wind which got up p.m. concerned that the criticisms are so few and the on D-l, lulled the enemy coast defences triumph so great. into a false sense of security. ^ 44. I count myself indeed fortunate that, in 4. The performance of landing ships and the planning and execution of this, the greatest craft was uniformly good and, in the majority of seaborne operation so far known in history, I cases, creditable seamanship was displayed by met with a co-operation so complete and cordial those in charge of them, having regard to their as was accorded me by my colleagues General necessarily restricted training and lack of pre- Alexander and Air Chief Marshal Tedder, and vious experience. The advantage enjoyed by their subordinates. the personnel of the flotillas which were sent to 45. Of the Navies, I can only say that I never the Middle East in advance of the operation wish to command better, and I count it a great was very marked and much credit is due toAdmiralty footnote: Admiralty footnote: * L.S.I.(H)—a type of Landing Ship, Infantry. * A/S—-anti-submarine.
  7. 7. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2083Rear-Admiral T. H. Troubridge, D.S.O. (Rear- Gulf of Aqaba from 10th to 17th June butAdmiral (G)) for the excellent training which were necessarily limited in scope, as only four he gave them. M.T. ships and four L.C.T. were able to be 5. Period of Preparation and Planning.—The present, no L.C.I.(L)* were available, and a conditions that would result from the large limit had to be placed on the number of beach- distances between the various headquarters had ings that could be made by operational assaultbeen foreseen, and, as expected, planning by craft.telegram inevitably led to misunderstandings 8. Move to Malta.—With my staff I took and a large number of amendments to the passage to Malta in H.M.S. ORION, arrivingoperation orders in the last few days. Due to late on 2nd July. It had always been foreseenthe unavoidable delay in getting the operation that there would be a large amount for my stafforders to the various Task Group Commanders, to do on arrival at Malta hi the few days avail-considerable complications arose by the inclu- able previous to the operation, e.g., the allo-sion in some of their orders of matter which cation of landing craft by numbers to flotillaswas properly the concern of higher authorities. and task groups, and the briefing of the largeThis again increased the number of amend- number of landing craft and smaller warshipsments necessary, and presented great difficulties based there. The forethought given to theseto the smaller craft who received a mass of matters by Vice-Admiral Malta enabled theorders and amendments a few days before the work to be undertaken expeditiously and withoperation. his full understanding. I cannot speak too 6. The Plan.—There are two outstanding highly of the assistance given by Vice-Admiralpouits about the plan which call for remark. A. J. Power, C.B., C.V.O., and his staff through-The first has to do with the operational and out the period that I was in Malta. His organi-the other with the administrative aspect. In sation enabled the heavy and intricate pro-my opinion the primary consideration is the gramme of loading, sailing and refuelling, etc.,operational aspect. The army must first ex- to proceed without a hitch, and all my require-amine the implications of the land campaign ments were readily and efficiently met.necessary to achieve the object in view. After 9. Narrative of the Operation.—A compositethis the administrative authorities must assess narrative for the Task Force is attached. Morethe administrative implications. In the early detailed narratives for each sector are includedstages of planning for " Husky " too little im- in the Task Group Commanders reports.portance and attention was paid to the opera-tional aspect whilst too much was paid to the The Eastern Naval Task Force came underadministrative, with the rpsult that the outline my operational control at 1200 on D -1, 9thplan given to the Commanders of the Eastern July, and I was afloat on that and the followingTask Force was operationally unacceptable. day with my flag flying in H.M.S. ANTWERP.This situation was further complicated by the Weather conditions were fair during the fore-pre-occupation of the Army and Air Com- noon, and although the wind had risen slightlymanders with current operations and the wide by noon, at which time I was in company withdispersal of all planning authorities which re- the four main ship convoys, south of Malta,sulted in a prolonged period of negotiation I was not seriously concerned. The L.C.T.and delay. convoys from Tripoli and Tunisia had pre- In the end military necessity dictated the viously been spoken off Malta earlier in theacceptance of. -administrative risks and the day, and they and the ship convoys were all inchoice of a sound operational plan. It is to be their appointed positions. During the afternoonhoped that plans for future operations will be and evening the wind increased steadily frombased on operational requirements and not to the north-west to a strength of at least 6 andsuit the administrative appreciations, which in- by 1800 a nasty sea was running.cidentally always appear ultra-conservative hi The effect of these conditions on the landingprobabilities. craft and at the beaches caused me some By the time the final orders were issued I anxiety but postponement did not seriouslyfelt entirely satisfied that the best plan avail- enter into my mind. My reasoning was basedable to us had been adopted, and my hopes on long acquaintance with Mediterraneanthat the weight of our attacks on a narrow weather conditions which led me to expect thatfront would overwhelm the enemy were, in the wind would go down suddenly before morn-the event, justified. ing, together with the knowledge that all but one of my landings were to be made on a 7. Mounting of the Operation in the Middle weather shore where conditions would not beEast.—From the moment of my arrival in too bad. It may be stated here that the windCairo on 2nd March, .1943, every possible and sea did start to drop soon after midnightassistance was- afforded myself and my staff in and daylight saw the beginning of a perfectthe mounting and preparation for "Husky" day with a clear blue sky and steadily decreas-by the Commander-in-Chief, Levant, Admiral ing swell. Except at BARK WEST,f where ForceSir Henry Harwood, K.C.B., O.B.E., and his "V"t had to compete with a slight sea andsuccessors, Admirals Sir Ralph Leatham, swell, conditions at the beaches were perfect.K.C.B., and Sir John H. D. Cunningham, It must be remembered, however, that theK.C.B., M.V.O., and the other naval authorities L.S.I, reached their release positions at 0030,and departments in the Middle East. All the before the wind and sea had abated to anyresources of the Levant Station, personnel, extent, and the conditions in which the L.C.A.§material and training, were made availableand too great credit cannot be given to that Admiralty footnotes: •Command for its share in the successful opera- * L.C.I.(L)—Landing Craft, Infantry (Large). f BARK WEST—one of the British assault beaches (seetions which followed. Plan). I Force " V "—a British Task Force under the com- Training in the Middle East was satisfac- mand of Rear-Admiral Sir Philip L. Vian, K.B.E.tory. The rehearsals were carried out in the § L.C.A.—Landing Craft, Assault.
  8. 8. 2084 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 were lowered with the first flight and when 15. It was unfortunate that the L.CR.* were L.C.I.(L) came alongside to embark their not able to soften the beach defences, but their troops were very unpleasant. The more credit subsequent performance suggests that they are is due to them for the fact that the initial well fitted for this role. L.C.G. (L)t engaged landings were made as near to H hour as was direct targets effectively at short range, and the case. the moral effect of both the L.C.R. and the I did not myself see any landing craft during L.C.G. (L) firing from close inshore is reported the night, but all reports show that their per- to have been considerable. formance together with that of the H.D.M.L.,* 16. The slow convoys arrived in accordance etc., was very satisfactory taking into account with the plan and in every case ships had the prevailing weather. moved to an inshore anchorage by 0800/10th 10. The L.C.T convoy xor BARK EAST, July. No mines were found inshore. having been held up by the weather and having 17. Unloading of the M.T. ships was com- eventually made BARK SOUTH, f arrived close menced without delay, and proceeded satisfac- on six hours late, that for AcroJ two hours torily, despite bad exits and soft sand in the late, and that for BARK SOUTH about two hours ACID sector and false beaches and soft sand late, but the L.C.T. for BARK WEST, which had at BARK WEST. It had always been known that been given a shorter route than originally in- BARK WEST beach was unlikely to be suitable tended, passing east of Gozo, arrived only as a maintenance beach, but it is clear that it thirty minutes late. This latter convoy had was nevertheless correct to assault on it close the worst of the blow, and their prompt arrival on the flank of BARK SOUTH. It was generally reflected high credit on Lieutenant-Commander considered by Task Group Commanders that K. A. Sellar, R.N., who led them. the strength of the Docks Operating personnel 11. In general the marking submarines were in the M.T. ships was insufficient, and this was in their correct positions and navigational aids borne out in " Husky ". It is. probably correct were working and were picked up by the con- to say that the bottleneck in maintenance voys on approaching their release positions. through the beaches was the insufficiency of the The ships at the release positions were not ap- Docks Operating Companies to work the ships parently detected by the shore defences, anH continuously. Casualties to landing craft due the only difficulties experienced in lowering to enemy action were very small, but as in and forming up landing craft were those im- " Torch ",J a few L.C.T. and L.C.M.§ were putposed by the weather. It is clear that the allow- out of action due to bad seamanship displayedance of two and a half hours from the arrival by their half trained the release position to H hour was in no 18. Both the L.S.T. (2)|| and the L.C.I. (L)way excessive as the majority of the assaults proved invaluable in their respective roles, andwere a few minutes late. it is considered that the speed with which both 12. The defences were taken generally by vehicles and personnel were landed was one ofsurprise when the assaulting formations landed the principal factors of the operation from theand there was little organised resistance on the naval point of view. Although at times thebeaches. It is understood that a proportion rate at which stores were unloaded appeared toof the coast defences were not, in fact, manned be disappointing, the totals unloaded for theon that night; those that were manned were, beaches were, in fact, greater than the plannedin the majority of cases, not stoutly fought. figures. On 21st July 4,400 tons of stores were 13. At first light there was a certain amount discharged at BARK SOUTH. This was of courseof shelling from shore batteries, but these were an exceptionally good beach, and by that timeeffectively dealt with by supporting monitors, the organisation there had been perfected anddestroyers and gun boats. The effectiveness of three beach groups were assisting, but thethe supporting fire from our naval forces was a previous estimates for beach maintenancefeature of the operation, and many tributes would seem to need revision. It appears thathave been paid it, both by the army and by neither BARK SOUTH nor BARK EAST wereenemy prisoners. workecl to capacity during "Husky". The salient feature of this period was the success 14. Due to the late arrival of the L.C.T. con- of the L.S.T. (2), L.C.I. (L) and the D.U.K.W.flvoys the only L.C.T. to beach before daylight of which the latter were making their firstwere those at BARK SOUTH. Although these did appearance in European waters: they fulfilledso successfully, and on a shore that was gener- our highest rocky, insufficient experience was gained 19. In general; it is considered that thein the operation as a whpls to show how far beach organisations worked satisfactorily,the beaching of L.C.T. in large numbers in although Naval Commander Force "V" re-darkness is a practical proposition. The ported that his S.N.O.L.** organisations wereproblem of landing the supporting arms imme- slow in settling down. The shortage of trans-diately behind the assault infantry cannot yet port ashore to clear the beach dumps wasbe considered to be solved, and it is recom- commented on by Task Group Commanders,mended that comprehensive trials should be and was aggravated by the very quick for-undertaken as early as possible to examine this ward advance of the army. This is not likely,matter. If difficulties are experienced, it is however, to obtain in future operations under-believed that a dark assault should be timed taken against a more determined be about one hour before first light, unlessthe army are prepared to rely on naval sup- Admiralty footnotes:porting fire for a longer Deriod until first * L.C.R.—Landing Craft, Rocket.light. . t L.C.G. (L)—Landing Craft, Gun (Large). t " Torch "—the code name for the landings in NorthAdmiralty footnotes: Africa. * H.D.M.L.—Harbour Defence Motor Launch. § L.C.M.—Landing Craft, Mechanised. t BARK SOUTH—One of the British assault beaches II L.S.T. (2>—a type of Landing Ship, Tank.(see Plan). if D.U.K.W.—ah amphibious vehicle. J Acn>—a sector in BARK EAST (see Plan). ** S.N.O.L.—Senior Naval Officer Landing.
  9. 9. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2085 20. The immunity from air attack was as directed Naval Commander Force "A" to surprising as it was satisfactory and consider- proceed there forthwith and Flag Officer Sicily ably greater than I had been led to expect. Our to carry on to Augusta. ships were not attacked until 1015/10th July, 23. A larger number of L.S.T. and major when a raid was made on the ships at ACID. landing craft was found to be serviceable on On subsequent days there were intermittent air D -1 than had been anticipated, and as a attacks, principally on the east coast, and an increasing number at night. It was fortunate result it was possible to commence loading that more damage was not done by these the first flight of the ferry service before ships attacks; only three M.T. ships and one hospital and craft which had been engaged in the ship were sunk by them. The hospital ship assaults had returned. The Eighth Army plan TALAMBA was deliberately attacked and was to clear the high priority vehicles and sunk and the ABA and DORSETSHIRE were stores from Malta before working craft in anyalso attacked whilst lying over five miles to numbers from Sousse and Tripoli, and in the seaward fully illuminated. It is regretted that first seven days 56 L.S.T., 36 L.C.T. and 33the orders regarding the conduct of hospital L.C.I.(L) cleared loaded from Malta. Someships were not sufficiently clear; it had always initial difficulty was experienced over the con- been my intention that if hospital ships had trol of the Ferry Service, as the Military Move-to remain off the beaches at night they should ments organisation set up in Malta did notremain darkened and in the fleet anchorage, appear adequate to meet the demands madeand that normally full illumination would only upon it, but after a shaky start things wentbe switched on when five, miles clear of the much better, and the planned programme wasbeaches and on passage to or from the assault finally completed earlier than anticipated.area. It is clear that the illumination of 24. It was decided, both to reduce signallinghospital ships stopped offshore provides the and to avoid delays to sailings, that the shortenemy with a temptation to- attack that is passage between Malta and Sicily should betoo great to resist and, in consequence, after made by L.S.T. and major landing craft en-the TALAMBA incident hospital ships were gaged in the ferry service without makingkept in the arichorages all night without lights. any sailing signals. The organisation of aThis procedure is recommended for future convoy was often only completed immediatelyoccasions. before it sailed, and I am satisfied that this apparently casual method was fully justified 2L Syracuse was occupied at 2100/10th in order to continue the build-up of the army July, the port party entered during the fore- as fast as possible. As far as I know there noon of llth July and the D + 3 personnel con- was only one mishap; WALLACE engaged voy arrived there according to plan on 13th an L.C.I.(L) on the night of 12th/13th July,July: unloading all twelve ships and sailing but happily only one rating was wounded. Itthem again at 1800 the same day was a notable would not have been possible to continue to achievement. Attempts were made to enter sail these landing craft convoys in this manner,Augusta which was reported as having been unescorted or only lightly escorted as theyevacuated at 0500 on 12th July but on her way were, had the weather not remained calm afterto do so ESKIMO with Naval Commander D day, and had there not been an increasingForce "A" onboard was damaged in an air period of moonlight. Although the firstattack. Later in the day other ships of Force quarter of the moon at first sight appeared" A" again entered Augusta, and I myself unfavourable for landing operations from thewent in in the evening in BROCKLESBY with naval aspect, in the event it proved greatlyNaval Commander Force " A ". At this time to our advantage against a weak enemy andthe enemy on the outskirts of the town com- with our possession of great air superiority.menced to shell our ships intermittently with 25. Major landing craft seemed to keep run-field guns and we had to clear out. I strongly ning very well during the first few days ofsupport the recommendation of Naval Com- the operation, but my flag was struck at aboutmander Force " A " that the foremost elements the time when I imagine that defects wereof the army should have some means of notify- beginning to accumulate. It must alwaysing their positions to supporting warships, as remain a difficult decision in future operationson this occasion we saw a large amount of as to when to withdraw a proportion of land-M.T. which we thought belonged to the Eighth ing craft for essential maintenance as the needArmy but which in fact belonged to the enemy. for this must be balanced against the vitalIn consequence we missed an excellent and requirement of following up the initial bloweasy target. as expeditiously as possible. 22. In accordance with my instructions 26. It is greatly regretted that a number ofNaval Commander Force "V" took over the our troop-carrying aircraft were shot downBARK sectors on 13th July hi order that Naval by our ships off the east coast on 13th July.Commander Force " B" could proceed to The question of the rules for the engagementSyracuse to take over the duties of Flag Officer of aircraft off the beaches was always a vexedSicily. On visiting that port on 15th July one during planning, and the orders were twiceI found a certain amount of confusion existing altered by agreement with the R.A.F. Asin the naval organisation which was absorbing finally framed, ships were free to open fire atthe attention of Rear-Admiral McGrigor, to night at aircraft whose approach indicatedthe detriment of the performance of his hostile intent, and it was stated that if friendlyfunctions as Flag Officer Sicily. As I was aircraft had to fly over our convoys theyanxious that he should proceed to and carry would do so above 6,000 feet. All troop-out these functions in Augusta without further carrying aircraft were routed in lanes to avoiddelay, and as I deemed it advisable that a our convoys on the night of D- 1/D, but fornaval officer of standing should be temporarily the second airborne attack on D + 3, they flewpresent in Syracuse to supervise, the Naval low over the Gulf of Noto. It is understoodOfficer-in-Charge and put matters right, I that Mediterranean Air Command had
  10. 10. 2086 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950obtained the agreement of Commander-in- of the weather caused a certain amount ofChief, Mediterranean to this some hours anxiety regarding the suitability of conditionsearlier, and warning signals were at once sent off the beaches for carrying out the assault,by the latter to all ships and forces concerned. but the question of suggesting a postponementIt is not certain that they did hi fact reach did not come to be seriously considered.all the merchantmen, and by unfortunate Enemy reports.—No reports of enemy air-chance a small number of enemy aircraft was craft were received during the the vicinity at the time our aircraft wereapproaching. As might be expected, firing D DAY.which started spasmodically soon became Saturday, IQth July.general, and it is hard to blame ships for Weather.—After midnight the wind com-engaging low-flying aircraft which appeared to menced to decrease in strength and the dawnbe menacing them during an air raid. It is ushered in a perfect blue Mediterranean day.considered that in only very exceptional cir-cumstances should ships be deprived of their The Assaults.right to open fire at low-flying aircraft The detailed accounts of the various assaultsapproaching them. The solution must be are given in the reports of the respective Taskalways to route transport aircraft clear of our Group Commanders, etc., and only a generalshipping. outline will be found in this narrative. 27. I cannot close this letter without paying A. BARK WEST.tribute to the magnificent work throughout afi The fast assault convoy (K.M.F. 18) understages of " Husky " of my Task Group Com- Naval Commander Force " V " anchored aboutmanders, Rear-Admirals R. R. McGrigor, C.B., half-an-hour late, in a position subsequentlySir Philip L. Vian, K.B.E., D.S.O., and T. H. found to be two miles to the eastward of theTroubridge, D.S.O.—as well as that of Captain planned release position.Lord Ashbourne. I could not have been moreefficiently and loyally supported by them nor (i) SUGAR my staff under Commodore C. E. Douglas- Considerable swell was still running hi thisPennant, D.S.C. sector, but the first assault flight were quickly 28. Although the enemy did not make a and successfully lowered, and moved off notdetermined attempt to prevent our assaults, more than ten minutes behind schedule. Theconditions were not always easy, and it is second flight were at once lowered and wereconsidered that in general a very high got away only fifteen minutes late (/.«., 0155).standard of seamanship and devotion to duty The two flights beached on their correctwas shown by officers and men of the Eastern beaches five and eighteen minutes late respec-Naval Task Force. tively. A runnel with nine feet of water (Signed) B. H. RAMSAY, inside a bank off the beaches, of which warning Vice-Admiral, had been received while on passage from U.K., was encountered but all craft were carried Naval Commander, over it by the surf. Eastern Task Force. The loading of serials* was put under wayCommander-m-Chief, Mediterranean. immediately the other craft had departed, but was slow on account of the swell. Shortly after 0330 success signals were NARRATIVE OF THE OPERATION. observed and about 0415 a signal was received that the shore was ready to take serials.D - l DAY. The Royal Marine Commandos alsoFriday, 9th July, 1943. successfully landed and reported about 0330. Naval Commander Eastern Task Force The batteries which formed their objectiveassumed operational control of all his ships proved to be dummies, and they suffered onlyand craft at noon. Leaving Malta in his Head- a few casualties.quarters ship, H.M.S. ANTWERP, at 0630, These landings were made without surprisehe proceeded to the southward to sight first being lost and there was little opposition atthe L.C.T. groups approaching from Sousse the beaches; in fact it was not until the firstand Tripoli, carrying the supporting arms for flight was leaving the shore that machine-gunthe assault, and later the fast and slow assault fire was opened.convoys from the Middle East and United The first L.C.A. reported back to theirKingdom, all of which were in their assigned parent ship about 0430. Naval casualtiespositions and proceeding according to plan. amounted to two wounded.The forces and landing craft starting from, orstaging through, Malta sailed as arranged (ii) ROGER Sector.throughout the day to join then* respective Having regard to the runnel mentioned abovegroup or convoy. H.M.S. ANTWERP re- an alternative plan was devised and orderedturned to Calafrana in the evening to land whereby the troops would embark in L.C.T.the Chief of Combined Operations, and sailed instead of L.C.A. at the release position andagain after dark for the scene of the landings then be launched in D.U.K.W. on reaching thesouth of Syracuse. runnel. Weather.—The weather which in the early The L.C.T. duly arrived and loaded frommorning was good deteriorated throughout the S.S. MARNDC VAN SAINT ALDEGONDE,day until in the evening the wind was force 6 but none reached H.M.S. GLENGYLE andfrom the north-westward. A short steep searesulted which, while it did not interfere with Admiralty footnote:the timing of the ship convoys, had the effect * Serials—convoys of ships or groups of landing craft when employed on regular ferry service between portsof slowing down the craft convoys and driving or from ship to shore, were organised as a " series " andthem off their course to the eastward. The state each passage or trip was given a " serial" number.
  11. 11. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2087on instructions from the Naval Commander of RED III. The GREEN beaches were foundForce " A " she loaded her L.CA. as originally correctly but owing to the weather more tuneplanned. This necessitated the reorganisation than anticipated was required for the passageof her troops and it was not until nearly 0230 and the landings were forty minutes late.that her craft were ready for lowering and it Opposition was everywhere slight, surprisewas 0315 before the first flight got away owing being complete or almost so. At the GREENto the second flight from S.S. DERBYSHIRE landings some casualties were suffered inpersisting in an attempt to form up at the same L.C.I. from machine-gun fire and hi the REDtime. The beach was found without difficulty sector an L.C.A. received several direct hitswith the aid of the Folbot* from the mark- from a submarine. The L.C.T. convoy were late but proceeded The first flight from H.M.S. GLENGYLE direct to the waiting position arriving therebeached about 0500; .the second flight from at 0330. The majority had beached by first S.S. DERBYSHIRE at 0520; and the light.remainder from S.S. MARNIX at 0545. All RED and GREEN beaches were found to The first flight from H.M.S. GLENGYLE be smaller than expected, and there was somewas met by a little machine-gun opposition, congestion, particularly when the Reserve which was effectively dealt with by L.C.S.f Brigade went hi at first light. Notwithstandingfrom S.S. MARNIX. There were no casualties this all L.C.I. and L.C.T. had beached andto craft personnel. discharged by about 0745. ROGER GREEN I and n beaches were used Between 0800 and 0900 reconnaissance offor the assault as in the light of conflicting AMBER beach by land and water proved, as information they appeared to be the best. In anticipated by the military, that this beach wasthe event all the ROGER beaches were found only lightly defended. The only oppositionto be shallow with constantly changing sand- was one burst of machine-gun fire, immediatelybanks, except ROGER RED which, though very silenced by a broadside from EGGESFORD. small and rocky, was shown by a survey to be the most suitable for all types of landing craft. By midday AMBER beach was in use, with There was also an appreciable and abnormal L.C.I. beaching there in formation. A rocky tidal effect and many L.C.M. were stranded promontory at the eastern end was found suit- and could not be re-floated for some tune. able for L.S.T. and needing only a little work H.M.S. BOXER, THRUSTER and BRUISER to make it into an excellent hard. Elsewhere were unable to beach within a reasonable a false beach with three feet of water inshore distance from the shore and had to be un- caused some inconvenience and necessitated loaded by L.C.T* the use of D.U.K.W. and a pontoon. Slow assault convoy arrives.—The slow The three L.S.I.(M) were sailed for Sousse assault convoy K.M.S. 18 arrived on time at at 1400 followed at 2100 by the first convoy the release position and brought up in .the of empty L.S.T. for Malta. Empty L.C.I.(L) appointed anchorage. had been proceeding to Malta in groups as, and when, ready since 0900. H.M.S. ROYAL Inner anchorage occupied.—Shortly before ULSTERMAN was retained by S.N.O.L.(Q) daylight, Naval Commander Force "V" in as his headquarters. H.M.S. HILARY led into the intermediate anchorage after the approach channel had been C. BARK EAST. swept. A searching sweep indicated that the When approaching Sicily it was found that inner anchorage was free of mines and at 0900 the southerly set was stronger than had been shipping was entered into the bay. anticipated but allowance was made for this By midday both S.N.O.L.(R) and and the convoy stopped in the correct posi- S.N.O.L.(S) had moved ashore. A reasonable tion at 0030/10th July. All landing craft were rate of unloading was continuously maintained lowered on arrival. and at 1630 the L.S.I.(L) and L.S.P4 had com- All flights touched down at the correct time, pleted disembarkation and sailed for Malta. and the sea inshore being calm, all landings B. BARK SOUTH. were made without difficulty. Surprise was lost fifty yards from the shore and light In spite of the weather which made station machine-gun fire and sniping were encountered keeping by L.C.I.(L) very difficult, the assault by most on the beach. L.C.S. and L.C.F.* convoy for BARK SOUTH was only fifteen replied with effect and only slight military, but minutes late when it anchored. L.C.A. were no naval, casualties were suffered. Only at got promptly away from the L.S.I.(M), but RED beach was any serious opposition met and the swell made it difficult for L.CI.(L), both this was disposed of by troops landed on in coming alongside and in embarking their SCRAMBLE RED. Throughout the assault only troops. one landing craft was lost—an L.CP.f burnt However, at 0115 the signal for the assault out after being hit in the petrol tank by a party to proceed was given, and the craft moved shell splinter. off with the exception of some L.C.I.(L) which Although the beaches had been cleared, no had not completed loading ; these followed later progress could be made in the landing of sup- direct to the beaches. porting arms until nearly 0700 when the first The landings on RED beaches were made to L.C.T. arrived via BARK SOUTH, having been tune though two to three hundred yards to the delayed and diverted by the weather. westward of the correct position in the case At 0520 the coastal battery north of Pachino began a barrage on a line about 200 yards offAdmiralty footnotes: * Folbot—a collapsible rubber boat. Admiralty footnotes: t L.C.S.—Landing Craft, Support. * L.C.F.—Landing Craft, Flak. } L.S.P.—Landing Ship, Personnel. t L.C.P.—Landing Craft, Personnel.
  12. 12. 208$ SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 the beaches without doing serious damage and Gun Support. in less than an hour-and-a-half was virtually The following details of gun support are neutralised by the Dutch gunboats SOEMBA available:— and FLORES. A. BARK WEST. At 0615 the slow assault convoy arrived at the release position and a searching sweep by Since the assaults met little opposition, fire M.M.S. (L.L.)* and fleet sweepers having re- from the destroyers in support was confined to vealed no mines, at 0640 all ships were ordered a few rounds only and L.C.S. were able to to the anchorage. It was reached by the lead- furnish all the support needed on the beaches. ing ships about 0740. The ferry service then Between 0415 and 0542, when the battery started and all personnel were ashore by noon was silenced, H.M.S. BLANKNEY at a range with army baggage and light stores soon after. of 6,000 yards fired 80 rounds at P.4 battery in By 1400 S.N.O.L. (N) had transferred to ROGER sector. At 0740 another 37 rounds; H.M.S. ALYNBANK, and K.M.S. KEREN were fired at the same battery, fire ceasing- and the personnel ships sailed for Malta. when our troops were seen in the vicinity. H.M.S. ROBERTS carried out three shoots D. ACID SOUTH and ACID NORTH. in the course of the day: The marking submarine was in the correct (i) at 0510. Impromptu from anchor at a position and no difficulty was experienced in range of 15,000 yards against the Casa picking up her transmissions and the screened GuUiano battery of five 149 mm. guns which signal lamp. Swell caused some difficulty in had fired .about a dozen rounds haphazard embarking troops in L.C.I. (L), and wind and at landing craft without scoring a hit. After/ sea made some formations late in getting under ten rounds from H.M.S. ROBERTS the way. . battery was silenced. The assault waves touched down up to thirty (ii) 0540, another four rounds from 15,000 minutes late, but with one exception the cor- yards for the second time silenced the same rect beaches were all found. battery which had again opened ineffective Although the wind had considerably de- fire at craft on and close to the beach. creased the big ships were quickly set down to (iii) 1556, at the request of the army, fourr- leeward: Le+ the south-eastward: and the teen rounds were fired at the southern out- follow-up flights had considerably more than skirts of Spaccaforno and the . area was the planned distance to cover. observed to be well covered by the fall of shot. There was little organised resistance to the landings and after a short period of heavy H.M.S. BRISSENDEN also carried out machine-gun fire the defenders withdrew. A several shoots: few casualties were caused by mines on one (i) at 0645, at a range.of 3,800 yards, six beach before it was cleared. Success signals smoke shell to thicken the screen laid by Were received from all beaches by 0500 and L.C.S. on SUGAR RED beach. Result was ships were then ordered to close the shore good. without waiting for the anchorage to be swept (ii) 1550 to 1600 at anchor, range 11,000 for mines. yards, with H.M.S. ROBERTS, at southern From first light onwards there was consider- outskirts of Spaccaforno, 90 rounds in salvos able shelling from batteries inshore, but these seen to be spread with effect over the area. were silenced by supporting destroyers and (iii) 1825, on call from Forward Observa- gunboats by 0800. tion Officer 84 rounds fired at infantry at The arrival of L.C.T. with supporting arms Casa Basile. Result very effective. was rather disorganised, and none beached be- H.M.S. PUCKERIDGE. fore daylight. Two of the beaches at Aero (i) 0515, fire opened impromptu at flashes NORTH intended for use by L.C.T. were found from four guns of 149 mm. of the Casa to be composed of large boulders instead of Chiusa battery which were firing irregularly the shingle indicated by the air photographs, and without success at landing craft. From a fact which did not make easier the task of anchor, range 9,200-8,800 yards, eight beaching the craft and discharging them. The rounds. Result—battery ceased fire and was slow assault convoy arrived an hour-and-a-half captured by troops soon after.late, but all had taken up their anchor berths (ii) 0532, at gun flashes from Casaby 0700. .Guiliano battery when it opened fire again The first large personnel ship completed dis- after H.M.S. ROBERTS first shoot. Rangecharging by 0900 and all, with one exception, 8,000 yards, eight rounds. Result—shot seen •had disembarked personnel and baggage and to fall in target area, and battery ceasedhoisted their craft by 1415. With four-ex- fire.ceptions they were on passage to Malta at (iii) 0600, the last mentioned battery again 1500. opened fire and H.M.S. PUCKERIDGE The rate of discharge of L.C.T. was slow, was ordered in to eliminate it. At rangesbut the unloading of the slow convoy pro- 6,000-4,200 yards, twenty rounds were firedceeded satisfactorily in spite of being unable under way and the battery which had con-to discharge L.S.T. and L.C.T. at most of the stituted almost the only opposition to thebeaches without pontoon bridging and difficul- • landing was finally silenced.ties with wheeled vehicles due to heavy shingle Three of the four L.C.G. (L) in Force " V "and soft sand. engaged direct targets during the assault, and fired ten rounds H.E. full charge each. AnAdmiralty footnote: ammunition dump was blown up by L.C.G. (L) * M.M.S. (L.L.)—motor minesweepers. 9 with her seventh round at 500 yards range.
  13. 13. SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950 2089B. BARK SOUTH. (iv) By H.M.S. TARTAR. (i) Between 0308 and 0420, three L.C.T. (R)* (a) at 0410, fire was opened at twocarried out pre-arranged shoots on flank targets searchlights in the vicinity of Avola, whichat the beaches. were extinguished. (ii) After daylight H.M.S. WHADDON and (v) By H.M.S. EREBUS.EGGESFORD gave close support and three (a) at 1415, fire was opened on an in-L.C.G. also fired a few rounds. H.M.S. fantry defended post with six pill boxes.LAFOREY also joined in the silencing of Target reported destroyed after twelvemachine-guns at Portopalo Bay. rounds at 12,600 yards had all been (iii) Later in the day ships of the Bombard- spotted and corrected upon the target, in-ing Squadron (H.M.S. NEWFOUNDLAND, cluding two direct hits and seven withinORION, LAFOREY, LOYAL, LOOKOUT) one hundred yards of the centre of thefired direct shoots at areas five miles inland target.including Rosolini and Spaccaforno. (&) at 1945 at a range of 18,700 yards, six rounds fired at another infantry de-C. BARK EAST. fended post. Five direct hits and target L.C.S. and L.C.F. replied with effect to the reported by Forward Observation Officermachine-gun fire and sniping encountered by as destroyed.the assault craft on beaching. Enemy Air Activity. H.N.M.S. SOEMBA and FLORES engaged Prior to the landings enemy air activitya battery 2,000 yards north of Pachino at 0533, against the expedition was non-existent and itwhich with five guns of 100 mm. had been firing was only slight throughout D day. Someat the rate of one round per gun per minute a details were as follows: —defensive barrage on a line about 200 yards offthe beaches. The two ships underway and keep- A. BARK station on dan buoys, at ranges of 7,000 Shortly after 2200, an attack was made onand 7,800 yards respectively, fired in periods the anchorage in the course of which a stickuntil 0645 when the battery was virtually of bombs fell close between H.M.S.neutralised. HAMBLEDON and H.M.S. WALLACE. Flares dropped by the aircraft were effectiveD. Aero SOUTH and NORTH. but the anchorage was heavily protected by Bombardments were carried out as fol- smoke and no damage was sustained.lows:— B. BARK SOUTH. (i) By H.M.S. MAURITIUS. (a) at 0600, fire was opened on a coast There were indications of air activity, but defence battery which had been worrying no bombs were dropped. One low-flying air- How and JIG beaches. After thirty-six craft was shot down after dark. rounds had been fired no further shelling C. BARK EAST. occurred from this direction although (i) At 0550 two Me. 109 made a cannon- great difficulty was experienced in locat- fire attack on RED beach; one stoker of an ing the target. L.C.S. was wounded. (b) at 0840, in response to a call, a de- fended area was bombarded for five (ii) From 2010 to midnight there were inter- minutes, the shells appearing, from visual mittent attacks on the ships and H.M.S. observation, to hit the required area. ALYNBANK was near missed by a dive attack, two ratings being killed. (ii) By H.M.S. ESKIMO. (a) at 0545 at a range of 10,000 yards, D. ACID NORTH and SOUTH. five salvos were fired at a battery con- While waiting to cover the later flights two cealed among trees north-east of Avola L.C.S. (M) were machine-gunned by an air- which had been dropping shells on How craft and some minor casualties were suffered ; sector. The battery ceased fire. the aircraft was seriously damaged. Then (6) at 0610, at another battery shelling between 0630 and 0700 fighter bombers How beaches. The battery quickly ceased appeared overhead but no bombs were fire but opened up again soon after. The dropped. Next, at 1015 about ten Ju. 88 and bombardment was resumed at 0715 and some F.W. 190 dropped bombs in the vicinity after the sixth salvo there was an explosion of shipping. During the afternoon two L.C.T. and fire at the position of the battery from were damaged by near misses and in further which nothing further was heard. intermittent attacks, including an attack by forty aircraft at 1630, near misses on S.S. (iii) By H.M.S. TETCOTT. BERGENSFIORD and L.S.T. 407 were the (a) at 0510, opened fire at a battery only incidents of note. which had been shelling JIG beaches, and drew its fire which was very inaccurate. Night attacks began soon after 2100 and a (b) at 0559, changed target to another considerable number of bombs scored no battery giving trouble at the beaches, but direct hits until 2200, when the hospital ship as H.M.S. MAURITIUS opened fire at TALAMBA, lying illuminated five miles to about the same time, reverted to first tar- seaward of GEORGE sector, was sunk in a get so as not to confuse her, the first deliberate attack. Another hospital ship, battery having again come into action. ABA, was attacked at the same time, but The battery ceased fire as a result. escaped damage. (c) at 0641, opened fire at a third bat- D + 1 DAY. tery of three guns, which ceased fire. Sunday, llth July.Admiralty footnote: Weather.—Weather and sea conditions * L.C.T. (R)—Landing Craft, Tank (Rocket). continued to improve at all sectors, though
  14. 14. 2090 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 APRIL, 1950some wind and surf persisted at BARK WEST fired from anchor four rounds in each ofand ACID. three prearranged shoots from 12,400 yardsSituation at beaches. at high ground in the Pozzallo area.A. BARK WEST. H.M.S. BLANKNEY and BLENCATHRA had earlier in the night carried out harassing The beaches assaulted were unsatisfactory fire on the same area. The object of thesefor maintenance owing to flat gradients, the shoots, which was achieved, was to forcesandbars already mentioned, and poor exits. the enemy to retire before the DivisionSUGAR RED beach I was opened and proved advanced at 0300.satisfactory for L.C.M. and vehicles and gunswere unloaded here throughout the day, while (ii) between 1130 and 1205, simultaneouslyL.S.T. and L.C.T. discharged on to ROGER with a shoot by H.M.S. DELHI on Spacca-RED. Unloading as a whole was slow, some forao and by H.M.S. BRISSENDEN onof the delays being attributable to the in- Pozzallo, H.M.S. ROBERTS on request fromexperience of the men handling the Vehicle 1st Canadian Division carried out a pre-Landing Ramp, its liability to "snake" and arranged shoot on an area N.E. and S.W.the length of time required for adjustment of Rosplini in which the enemy were con-when an L.S.T. came up to it. centrating. At a range of 18,000 yards, 30 rounds were fired from anchor, the area being H.M.S. B O X E R , T H R U S T E R and swept three times. All enemy troops whoBRUISER having completed, sailed with three came under this fire were demoralised andM.T. ships for Malta, leaving twelve ships of surrendered promptly.the slow assault convoy to complete dis-charging. (iii) H.M.S. BRISSENDEN, under way, fired 40 rounds at a gun emplacement andB. BARK SOUTH. 120 rounds at a building and area in the Unloading of L.S.T. continued satisfactorily vicinity of Pozzallo. At the conclusion ofthroughout the day and by nightfall nearly all the shoot a white flag was hoisted on theof the first flight was unloaded and twenty had gun emplacement. sailed for Malta with H.M.S. ROYAL (iv) H.M.S. ORION carried out a bom-ULSTERMAN, S.N.O.L. (Q) having landed bardment of Medica at the rear of BARK and established himself and party ashore at WEST. AMBER beach. The General Officer Com- manding 30 Corps had also disembarked (v) H.M.S. UGANDA engaged a hostileduring the afternoon and set up his head- battery at the southern end of Augusta Bay. quarters ashore. At 1900 H.M.S. LARGS (vi) H.M.S. UGANDA and MAURITIUS sailed for BARK EAST and the A/S patrol off bombarded the enemys line of retreat hi BARK SOUTH was discontinued, the destroyers the vicinity of Augusta. thus released reinforcing the patrol at BARK Enemy Air Activity. EAST. There was rather more activity by enemy C. BARK EAST. aircraft and it was more widespread than on Unloading at this sector was delayed as a D day. Some particulars follow: — result of the time required for discharging L.C.T. with 51 Division stores which had been A. BARK WEST. transferred from BARK SOUTH owing to the Sporadic attacks during the night D day/ poor beaches in the latter area. In addition, D + l day caused no damage to ships but L.S.T. 9, also from BARK SOUTH, grounded on were responsible for a few casualties. Isola Grande. B. BARK SOUTH. D. ACID SOUTH and NORTH. No loss or damage was suffered, though The only outstanding incident was the there were several " Red " warnings. successful launching of D.U.K.W. from L.S.T. over the ramp while the L.S.T. were under C. Aero SOUTH and NORTH. way. It was found that this method of dis- Several sharp raids took place and at 1235, charge presented no difficulty in fine weather. S.S. BAARN at anchor off JIG sector was Good progress was made with unloading near missed by a Ju.88 and cased petrol in M.T. and stores, the flow to the beaches No. 1 hold set on fire. The fire became un- increasing steadily and much of the arrears controllable and in view of the risk of a serious due to delays in discharging L.C.T. the ammunition explosion she was later sunk. previous day was made up. Another M.T. ship JOSEPH C. CANNON off Large L.S.I. sail from Malta.—Convoy How received a direct hit at about 1900, but M.K.F. 18 consisting of eleven large L.S.I, although the ships bottom was penetrated no sailed from Malta westbound and soon after fire resulted as the hold was nearly empty and she was eventually able to proceed to midday twelve similar ships left eastbound in Malta. Raids after dark were ineffective. M.E.F. 36. Syracuse occupied.—The army entered Syra- Malta shuttle service begins.—The first cuse at 2100 on 10th July, and at 0600/11th empty landing ships and craft arrived back at July, fleet sweepers and B.Y.M.S.*, escorted by Malta from Sicily and the shuttle service com- H.M.S. NUBIAN and H.M.S. TARTAR, pro- menced. The first empty M.T. ships were also ceeded to sweep the approach channel into sailed from the beaches. the port. No mines were swept; there was Gun Support. no opposition, and at 0830 H.M.S. WHITE- Supporting fire was provided by ships at HAVEN passed through the gate. Naval various points as required from time to time. Commander Force "A" entered in H.M.S. In particular: CROMARTY shortly after, and the majority (i) between 0030 and 0250, at the request Admiralty footnote: of 1st Canadian Division, H.M.S. ROBERTS * B.Y.M.S.—British Yacht Minesweeper.