July 23, 1943 ~ Patton Takes Palermo
July 23, 1943 – Released at last from his straight jacket, LTG George S. Patton exercises his golden rules of war (Speed-Simplicity-Boldness) to launch an all-out drive on the Port City of Palermo in Sicily.
On July 9, 1943 the largest naval invasion of WW2 to date landed on the Italian Island of Sicily and faced 240,000 Italian and German defenders.
The Western Task Force, commanded by Lieutenant General George S. Patton was charged with protecting the left flank of the British Army which was tasked with advancing up the eastern shore directly toward Messina.
When the British were held up by stubborn defenses, Patton pressed 15th Army Group commander, General Sir Harold Alexander for his 7th Army to be allowed to attack all-out towards Palermo.
Alexander acquiesced ~
Released at last from their straight jacket. Patton exuberantly launched and all-out drive on Palermo.
In four days with Infantry riding on tanks, Patton’s Army covered 100 miles at a cost of only 300 casualties and captured 53,000 prisoners.
Palermo surrendered on July 23rd and Patton entered the ancient city in triumph.
Judged as a demonstration of tactical skill, good staff work, and initiative, the drive on Palermo had been a brilliantly executed Manuever.
There is no doubt that before the capture of Palermo, the capabilities of the Patton and American troops were not appreciated.
But Patton’s sheer will and the fighting spirit of the American G.I. had proved naysayers wrong.
Patton wrote on July 23rd “I believe that this operation will go down in history…as a classic example of the proper use of armor … [and] research will show that [the 2nd Armor Division] moved faster against heavier resistance and over worse roads than did the Germans during the famous Blitz.”
Patton was correct. He would write “Success in war depends upon the golden rules of war: Speed-Simplicity-boldness.”