Operation Husky: Seeking an Operational Approach to Decisive Victory
SAMS Monograph rept.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Over the course of thirty-eight days, the Allies successfully took possession of Sicily and claimed a tactical victory. However, the Axis forces won a moral victory by opposing a numerically superior foe while preserving a significant portion of their fighting force. Military historians lament the Axis evacuation and the Allied failure to destroy the German and Italian armies in Sicily. The obvious question is why were the Allies unable to achieve a decisive victory. To determine why the German and Italian forces escaped Sicily it was necessary to investigate both the planning for Husky and the subsequent campaign. First, to reveal the decisions that led to the invasion of Sicily and shaped the operational design the research examined the documents emanating from the inter-allied strategic conferences. The historical documents contain the strategic objectives and operational design prescribed by the Allied strategic leaders for the operation. Second, it was necessary to review the historical doctrine most likely available to the planners for Operation Husky. Reviewing historical doctrine reveals the military instructions that guided how planners translated the guidance and directives from strategic leaders into a plan of action. Finally, it was necessary to compare current joint doctrine with the historical doctrine to identify relevant operational factors that contributed to the Allied inability to achieve decisive victory during the operation. Current doctrine, being more mature, reveals doctrinal planning elements that 1943 planners did not identify and provides insights into historical data and accounts of the campaign. Additionally, the comparison of historical and current doctrine reveals key elements of current doctrine that were present in the historical doctrine, albeit expressed differently, but that both contemporary leaders and planners did not properly understand or apply. The research found that the strategic guidance was wanting.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics