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  • The Allies were at last invading  Europe, and Hitler was prepared.  

  • With America's entry into the war and  the German losses in North Africa,  

  • Hitler knew an attempt on mainland Europe  was inevitable. The attack would no doubt  

  • come across the Mediterranean, given the  sizable Allied presence in North Africa and  

  • the desperate fight by the British to keep  the Mediterranean open to Allied shipping.

  • Now, thanks to the intelligence coup of the  century, Hitler knew exactly where the attack  

  • was coming, and he was ready to crush the invasion  force. A decisive victory on the beachheads would  

  • throw the Allied force back out to sea, and the  Americans- always late to a world war- had little  

  • talent, and even less taste for war. Faced  with such a massive defeat and loss of life,  

  • surely America would sue for peace and convince  Britain to at last come to the negotiation table.  

  • Entire divisions of German infantry and armor  were quickly, and secretly, moved out of Italy  

  • and rushed to Sardinia and Greece. The plan was  sensible, pushing past the Italian alps would be  

  • suicide for the Allies. Greece offered a slightly  more attractive route to Europe's soft underbelly.

  • Hitler's vast network of spies  and informants tell him that an  

  • invasion force is indeed massing in  North Africa. The clock is ticking,  

  • and Hitler is ready- there's just one problem...  all of his troops are in the wrong place.

  • Months earlier the corpse of a British Major  washed up on a Spanish beach. Handcuffed to  

  • the corpse was a briefcase containing top secret  intelligence documents outlining the allied plan  

  • to push into Greece and Sardinia and establish  a foothold in Europe. Personal letters, photos,  

  • even theater tickets found on the body all  convinced the German spies who took over the  

  • documents from the Spanish that the plans were  authentic. Unfortunately for Hitler, it was all  

  • a ruse by British intelligence, who had dressed up  the corpse of a homeless man in a Major's uniform,  

  • invented an entire persona, and then  pushed his body towards the Spanish coast  

  • out of a submarine, with the planted  invasion plans handcuffed to his wrist.

  • The allies had originally considered  pushing into southern France from Africa,  

  • but keeping Mediterranean sea lanes  open would require silencing Italy,  

  • and the strategically important Suez canal  could never be kept secure as long as Italy  

  • was on the axis side. Italy's own performance  in the war so far further convinced the allies  

  • that the best way to open a second front in  Europe was to strike at Mussolini- to date,  

  • most Italian troops had terribly underperformed  in combat. The easy victory that would make the  

  • Mediterranean an 'italian lake', as Mussolini  had promised, never came. Instead the country  

  • was stuck in a quagmire of a war, and  popular support was rapidly diminishing.

  • The first thrust of the attack on Italy  would be to seize the large island of Sicily.  

  • This would provide allied forces with the perfect  launchpad for an offensive onto the mainland, as  

  • well as give allied fighters and bombers several  runways from which to operate from and strike  

  • deep into Italy. If Sicily fell, it would also at  last secure the Mediterranean to allied shipping,  

  • which had been suffering greatly from  Axis air attack and submarine raids.

  • The Americans however weren't quite so on board  with an attack on Italy, and in truth it was the  

  • British and their sprawling overseas empire  which would gain the most by knocking Italy  

  • out of the war. In exchange for their support in  the attack, America forced Britain into accepting  

  • a much more expedient invasion across the  channel and into France at a later time.

  • With Hitler's main forces diverted out of  Italy, the attack to take Sicily at last  

  • begins on July 7th, 1943. Yet almost as soon as  it starts, the attack is on the verge of failure  

  • as a freak storm falls on the massive invasion  force. Smaller ships are battered and tossed  

  • about by the waves and forced to fall back, while  in the skies above the fleet German fighters  

  • descend to strafe the large troop transportsThanks to the British deception there's not  

  • enough German fighters to cause serious damagebut the attack takes a major toll on morale.  

  • The ongoing storm also seems a bad omen to men  waiting to fight and die on Sicily's beaches.

  • The fleet recovers and reassemblesbut the element of surprise is long  

  • lost. Now Hitler knows that the allied push  is not coming to Greece. Sadly for him,  

  • it'll take weeks to move tens of  thousands of troops back into Italy.

  • On July 9th, the eve of the invasion, British  and American paratroopers begin their assault  

  • in the German rear areas. Bad weather continues to  plague the invasion though, and allied pilots end  

  • up dropping their troopers well outside of the  planned assault areas. Many paratroopers jump  

  • too early and end up coming down in the seawhere laden by heavy equipment, most drown.

  • The paratroop assault fails in its objective of  creating a buffer between the invasion force and  

  • the beachheads, but American paratroopers, widely  scattered across the southern half of the island,  

  • reform themselves into small groups and  begin an extremely successful guerilla  

  • campaign against the Germans. The Americansacting in platoon or smaller sized units,  

  • manage to cut key German communications  lines and pin down German patrols.

  • The confusion caused by the American paratroopers  is only exacerbated when German communications  

  • go down. Around 250,000 combined Italian  and German troops are holding the island,  

  • but the Italians are at this point more of  a liability than an asset for the Germans.  

  • The troops are poorly equipped and have low  morale, and to make matters worse, the Italian  

  • and German commanders can't agree on how to defend  the island, causing the forces to become split.

  • The allies manage to regain some of the  element of surprise by forcing landings  

  • in areas believed to be too shallow for the  cargo craft bringing in heavy equipment,  

  • and suddenly American and British  tanks are popping up in places  

  • they definitely should not be. For  the British landing at Syracuse,  

  • the entire operation is practically a walk on  the beach as they meet little to no resistance.

  • For the Americans though it's a different  story. Masses of Italian infantry and  

  • tanks push straight into the center of the US  beachhead, stalling the thrust into the island  

  • and threatening to push the entire American  force back out to sea. To make matters worse,  

  • weather once more has played havoc, and massive  congestion on the beaches leads to many US  

  • tanks being unable to make it to the front linesInstead, the Americans rely on overwhelming naval  

  • firepower and artillery to push back the Italian  assault, but just as the Italians are defeated,  

  • fresh, and experienced, German troops crash  into the exhausted American defenders. The US  

  • is still at this point a great manufacturing  power, but a relatively unimpressive military  

  • one. The old European guard still believe Europe  to have the fittest fighting men on the planet,  

  • and Americans are thought to have  little skill or stomach for war.  

  • Crushing the American beachhead would prove far  easier than dislodging the stubborn British.

  • America's reputation is not completely  undeserved, its troops having performed  

  • adequately but not exemplary on the battlefields  of Africa. British faith in the Americans is so  

  • low that the American force is meant to  initially support the British offensive,  

  • which is a polite way of saying that the  British expect Americans to soak up German  

  • bullets while they establish themselves  on the island and begin a proper fight.

  • British hopes are certainly coming true, as their  forces continue relatively unmolested. Meanwhile,  

  • on the second day of the invasion, America  truly does seem to be on the verge of defeat,  

  • as Nazi tanks make it to within 2,000 yards  of the beach. Yet stubborn American resistance  

  • forces the Germans back at an incredibly high  cost- US tanks are only just now making it into  

  • the fighting. The feared Nazi panzers have  been beaten back by infantry and artillery.

  • Breaking out of the beachhead, US troops push into  the island itself, meeting surprisingly little  

  • resistance. Entire Italian formations surrender  without putting up a fight, the men exhausted  

  • from years of war, demoralized by the defeat  in Africa, and generally sick of supporting the  

  • German war. The number of POWs is so great that  it threatens to stall out the entire advance.

  • For the British, it's now their turn to  meet the teeth of fierce German resistance.  

  • Elite German paratroopers are flown in from  France and dig into the hills outside of the  

  • coastal plain. The British pry the Germans out  of defensive position after defensive position  

  • at a high cost, but eventually the Germans  are forced to retreat. Now, the allies face  

  • a different problem altogether- while they have  been expecting fierce resistance from the Italians  

  • defending their own soil, instead the Italians  are surrendering en masse. On its push to capture  

  • the island's capital, the US manages to capture  53,000 Italians at a cost of only 272 deaths.

  • With the fall of Palerno the allies now  control the western half of the island,  

  • and the race is on to destroy the Germans before  they can reach ports on the northeast side of  

  • the island and retreat across the sea to the  mainland. Then, on July 25th Italian dictator  

  • Benito Mussolini is thrown out of office, a  move that stuns Allied leadership. However,  

  • his desposement does not mean an end to  Italy's involvement in the war just yet,  

  • and the fiercest fighting of the campaign  takes place in the last days of summer.

  • In a bid to cut the Germans off from their avenues  of retreat, American infantry makes an amphibious  

  • landing behind German lines on the night of  August 7th. The attack is a total surprise,  

  • yet the Germans are already in full retreatColumns of troops are rushing past the Americans  

  • as they are making their landing, and while  the assault fails to cut off the German retreat  

  • the Americans still capture many. The  campaign has now become a race to cross  

  • the mountainous terrain of northeast Sicily  and destroy the German embarkation points.

  • Sadly, the allies are too late, and American  forces enter the city of Messina just hours  

  • after the last German soldier boarded a ship  to Italy. One hundred thousand veteran Axis  

  • troops successfully evade capture and will be  waiting for the allied assault on Italy itself,  

  • making the coming invasion even more  difficult than it would have been-  

  • but Operation Husky is a complete success, and  the Allies at last have a toehold from which  

  • to throw Italy out of the second world  war and open a second front in Europe.

  • Now go check out World War I vs World War  

  • II- how do they compare? Or  click this other video instead!

The Allies were at last invading  Europe, and Hitler was prepared.  

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Body Handcuffed to Briefcase Fools Hitler in Insane WWII Battle Plan

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/23
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