Saturday, January 28, 2023

Videos: Operation HUSKY, Sicily, July 1943 (Pt 3)

80th Anniversary of HUSKY Coming Up This Year

One Good Video Often Leads to Another

Just after dawn men of the Highland Division are up to their waists in water
unloading stores from landing craft tanks. Meanwhile beach roads are being
prepared for heavy and light traffic during dawn of the opening day
of the invasion of Sicily. Photo Credit - worldwar2today


While reviewing the many good videos related to Operation HUSKY on YouTube and other sites one will be led to others or think of ways of finding others.

Below is a selection of several videos 'found along the way.'

1. Title - Catania Captured - Successful Climax of Great Battle in Sicily, 1943 by British Pathé as found on YouTube

Time - 04min:15sec.

Details, if provided - Minesweepers check city streets, bombed German planes sit at an airfield, conquering British forces march into town amidst the rubble, scenes show the devastation of the battle, and some Sicilian peasants welcome the Eighth Army while others indulge in looting. As well, 8th Army clear mines in Catania OIL. Natives thrashing Linseed in Sicily. RAILWAYS. Bomb damage at Catania, Sicily, marshalling yards. RAILWAYS. Blasted tracks and rolling stock at Catania marshalling yards. Wrecked German planes in hanger. Blasted marshalling yards... 

2. Title - Fall of Catania, 1943 by British Pathé at YouTube

Time - 02min:03sec.

Details, if provided - Long shot of the town of Catania. Various shots of the troops advancing through Catania. Various shots of the engineers with mine detectors clearing stretch of street as a precaution. After that, Bren gun carrier moves through. Various shots of the Allied troops moving through streets and rubble. Some Sicilian civilians start to loot buildings that the Germans have evacuated. The British army has to restore order although nothing gets out of hand. Various shots of the allied troops moving through to the cheers of the civilians.

3. Title - Sicily Latest 1943 by British Pathé at YouTube

Time - 03min:01sec.

Details, if provided - Sicily, Italy. Various shots of the priest guns and 105 mm guns in action near Catania. Various shots of British infantry advancing along the road towards Catania. Several shots of a section of troops getting trouble from Italian snipers on the outskirts of Enna. The soldiers run through the ruins of the town and fire at their attackers. A couple of Italians surrender. Several shots of a poster with a picture of Churchill being put over the Fascist propaganda poster. Various shots of food being handed out by members of the Allied troops which have organised supplies for the refugees at small town of Floridia. Sherman tanks moving through street in Grammichele. Various shots of British troops advancing, they cross Coralunga Bridge. Various shots of Canadians and British of the 8th Army moving in column along road. Some soldiers find a stream and go for a swim. Some go in the water fully clothed and they do their laundry at the same time.

Caption: "...Every strip of usable beach was organized as a miniature port."
A view of supply and infantry landing craft on a beach near Syracuse.
Photo is found opposite page 15 in They Left the Back Door Open

Please click here to read more about the Canadian Landing Crafts and Beach Organisation used during the invasion of Sicily. 

Back to links to informative videos:

4. Title - Invasion of Sicily WWII, Operation Husky by War Documentaries at YouTube

Time - 23min:30sec.

Details, if provided - The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II, in which the Allies took the island of Sicily from the Axis powers (Italy and Nazi Germany). It began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign, and initiated the Italian Campaign. [Editor says, "Visit the YouTube page and not only watch the video but read the comments, from surviving family members of participants in Operation Husky. Very moving.]

5. Title - The Invasion of Sicily (1943) by Nuclear Vault at YouTube

Time - 09min:26sec.

Details, if provided - Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels, compiled 1942 - 1945. An invasion fleet of over 3,000 ships forms and crosses the Mediterranean Sea. Gen. Patton receives a new battle flag. Shows the amphibious assault on Gela, Sicily. Land mines are cleared and troops advance. Shows Gen. Lucian Truscott.

6. Title - The Invasion of Sicily - Deception and Strategy by Warographics at YouTube 

Time - 16min:35sec

Details, if provided - "Talk about cooperation..."

I found the article below on microfiche on January 26, 2023 at University of Western Ontario:

As found in The Ottawa Citizen, December 23, 1943

Leading Seaman Arthur Roy Warrick, RCNVR, Hamilton appears below:

6 Canadians (RCNVR) in Combined Operations, on Vancouver Island, 1944-45
Front, L - R: Joe Watson (Simcoe), Doug Harrison (Norwich), Art Warrick 
Back, L - R: D. Westbrook (Hamilton), C. Rose (Chippawa), Joe Spencer (TO)

Time - 09min:06sec.

Details, if provided - The Sicily Campaign was the first extended battle for the Canadian Army in Europe during the Second World War. Coming ashore with an Allied invasion force on July 10, 1943, the Canadians would see heavy action on this hot Mediterranean island and played a key role in defeating the strong German forces that were holding it. The “Heroes Remember Presents... the Italian Campaign” mini-documentary offers viewers a chance to hear what fighting there was like from those who know best – our Veterans. [Editor's Note - There is a Part 2 and 3 re Italy and the video should appear to viewers, with others, when visiting Part 1]

Time - 11min:00sec.

Details, if provided - Prepared for the home market, this silent WWII era Excel Newsreel was sold in Sears and other department stores for viewing by the American public. The film shows Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943, and contains some great shots of General George S. Patton in command of invasion forces. Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis Powers (Italy and Nazi Germany). It was a big amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign and was the beginning of the Italian Campaign. Husky began on the night of 9/10 July 1943, and ended on 17 August. Strategically, Husky achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners; the Allies drove Axis air, land and naval forces from the island and the Mediterranean sea lanes were opened for Allied merchant ships for the first time since 1941. Benito Mussolini was toppled from power in Italy and the way was opened for the invasion of Italy. Hitler "canceled a major offensive at Kursk after only a week, in part to divert forces to Italy," resulting in a reduction of German strength on the Eastern Front. The invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky, began before dawn on July 10, 1943, with combined air and sea landings involving 150,000 troops, 3,000 ships and 4,000 aircraft, all directed at the southern shores of the island. This massive assault was nearly cancelled the previous day when a summer storm arose and caused serious difficulties for paratroopers dropping behind enemy lines that night. However, the storm also worked to the Allies’ advantage when Axis defenders along the Sicilian coast judged that no commander would attempt amphibious landings in such wind and rain. By the afternoon of July 10, supported by shattering naval and aerial bombardments of enemy positions, 150,000 Allied troops reached the Sicilian shores, bringing along 600 tanks. The landings progressed with Lieutenant General George S. Patton (1885-1945) commanding American ground forces and General Bernard L. Montgomery (1887-1976) leading British ground forces. Allied troops encountered light resistance to their combined operations. Hitler had been so deceived by “Mincemeat” that he had left only two German divisions in Sicily to battle Allied soldiers. Even several days into the attack he was convinced that it was a diversionary maneuver and continued to warn his officers to expect the main landings at Sardinia or Corsica. The Axis defense of Sicily was also weakened by losses the German and Italian armies had suffered in North Africa, in casualties as well as the several hundred thousand troops captured at the end of the campaign. For the next five weeks, Patton’s army moved toward the northwestern shore of Sicily, then east toward Messina, protecting the flank of Montgomery’s veteran forces as they moved up the east coast of the island. Meanwhile, jarred by the Allied invasion, the Italian fascist regime fell rapidly into disrepute, as the Allies had hoped. On July 24, 1943, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was deposed and arrested. A new provisional government was set up under Marshal Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956), who had opposed Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany and who immediately began secret discussions with the Allies about an armistice.
On July 25, the day after Mussolini’s arrest, the first Italian troops began withdrawing from Sicily. Hitler instructed his forces to make contingency plans for withdrawal but to continue to fight fiercely against the Allied advance. As July turned to August, Patton and Montgomery and their armies battled against determined German troops dug into the mountainous Sicilian terrain. The U.S. and British soldiers pushed back the Axis forces farther and farther until most were trapped in a northeast corner of the island.

On the left are an LCT/landing craft (for) tanks, and troop and supply (cargo) ship.
On the right horizon are two LCMs, i.e., landing craft mechanised, used to carry
troops and supplies (the material of war) to the beach. My father manned LCMs,
as did scores of other members of RCNVR and Combined Operations in WWII.

9. Title - Allied Troops in Sicily 1943 by British Pathé on YouTube

Time - 06min:13sec. No Audio, but lengthy shot list follows as a guide.

Details, if provided - Sicily - MS. British officers. WS. Square with signpost Centrale Sicula. LS. British Jeep passes burnt out army truck. LS. Truck. WS. Shelling seen from a distance. WS. Countryside plumes of smoke from shelling. LS. Radio operators with headphones. WS. Troopers watching shelling. WS. Tank advancing through open country. LS. British tanks advancing through open country. LS. Truck towing artillery gun VS. Tank advancing. WS. Army Officers seated on the ground. LS. Army Officers seated and examining map board. Milestone "37 Enna (Bivio) Km 9.1." LS. Army truck up and past camera. WS. Soldiers walking past camera. LS. Soldiers with rifles over their shoulders. WS. Donkeys pulling carts loaded with goods. WS. Couple seated on a donkey cart. WS. Street with man herding goats. LS. Herd of goats making their way down a street. MS. British soldier holding a portrait of Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) he draws a line under Mussolini's neck then hitches his thumb over his shoulder. WS. Bomb damaged Railway tracks at "Dittaino" WS. Railway yard. LS. Railway truck damaged in fighting LS. Burnt out railway carriages. MS. Railway carriage pan to soldiers taking an improvised shower. WS. Pan down flow of water from tower to soldiers. MS. Group of soldiers in open air shower. MS. British Officers study a map. LS. Tank officers mount onto tank and climb in. CU Tank officer giving instruction through mouth piece. WS. Burning vehicle in open countryside. CU. Pro Nazi poster in Italian. CU. Finger pointing to Hitler's name on poster. WS. Sicilian street an army Jeep drives through shot. WS. Large crowd listening to the allied proclamation being read out in village square. MS. O/S Official reading out the proclamation. MS. Crowd listening. CU. British soldier. WS. Crowd applauding. WS. British and Italian officers as the proclamation is pinned up. LS. 1st Viscount Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein arriving by car. Several MS's. Montgomery and High Ranking British officer studying a map. LS. Montgomery and British Officer walk back to his car. MS. Montgomery standing up in open topped car and waving as he leaves. MS. Crowd of Villagers

10. Title - Allied Occupation of Sicily Continues (1943) by British Pathé on YouTube

Time - 04min:27sec.

Details, if provided - Allied armies advance to Francofonte, prisoners are rounded up, Italian citizens gather for rations, action takes place against German paratroopers, pipers march and play, citizens cheer for and welcome invading soldiers, General Montgomery passes through, a company of infantry sets up camp on a Sicilian farm and plays with children, prisoners of war are deposited in Africa and England 

Full Description: SLATE INFORMATION: Occupation of Sicily Continues. Germans from H. Goering Regt. in Britain (prisoners). Italian prisoners in SICILY disembarking in Africa & on London Rly. Station w. Germans. Piper & Scotties in SICILY. British enter FRANCOFONTE. Monty in a Car. SOLDIER W. CHILD... Allied armies advance to Francofonte, prisoners are rounded up, Italian citizens gather for rations, action takes place against German paratroopers, pipers march and play, citizens cheer for and welcome invading soldiers, General Montgomery passes through, a company of infantry sets up camp on a Sicilian farm and plays with children, prisoners of war are deposited in Africa and England.

Please click here to view Videos: Operation HUSKY, Sicily, July 1943 (Part 2)

No doubt other good videos re the invasion of Sicily exist. Happy hunting, I say.

More details re other topics, e.g., correspondence, the Italian Campaign and D-Day will be shared as soon as possible.

Unattributed Photos GH 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Videos: Operation HUSKY, Sicily, July 1943 (Pt 2)

 Canadians in RCNVR and Combined Operations in Sicily, 1943

YouTube Selection of WWII Videos Grows Every Year

Page 180. Stories by Canadian RCNVR/Combined Ops veterans


In the previous post I shared informative videos from two significant sources, i.e., British Pathé and Associated Press (AP) related to the invasion of Sicily beginning July 10, 1943. The 80th Anniversary of that invasion takes place this year, as does the subsequent Allied invasion of Italy beginning September 3, 1943 at Reggio di Calabria, on the toe of the boot.

Visiting archival resources for videos produced in 1943 by people with 'boots on the ground' is an excellent way to inform oneself of events of the day, and as many readers already know, YouTube provides access to more historic films than one could conceivably 'shake a stick at' in one lifetime.

Below please find a number of items from the aforementioned British Pathé and AP archives and a few other sources related to Operation HUSKY, during which members of four Canadian Landing Craft Flotillas (55th, 61st, 80th and 81st) were very active on the beaches between Noto and Syracuse, (including my father at Avola)

Map - Combined Operations by Clayton Marks of London, Ontario

Please visit any or all of the following links to informative videos:

1. Title - Forging Ahead in Sicily (1943) by British Pathé on YouTube

Time - 04min:52sec

Storyline - Editor: The early days of the invasion of Sicily beginning July 10, 1943

Shot List if available - Long shot of the sea off the coast of Sicily. The sea erupts around the allied ships during a raid by enemy aircraft. Various shots of the invading 8th Army starting to move inland from Syracuse. They march along the roadways and question an Italian soldier en route. In Rosolini, another Italian surrenders and the British troops are given wine from an old jug. Evacuees returning to town. Various shots of wrecked Italian equipment which includes Renault tank. Several shots of General Bernard Montgomery observing the advance of his army from a jeep. Convoy of equipment moving along road. Signpost 'Avola'. Several shots of the troops on bren gun carrier, some even ride on donkey carts. Soldier gives a chocolate to a woman holding a child. Various shots of the American airborne troops arriving on donkey cart in Avola. Various shots of the British, American and Canadian troops together. Airfield in North Africa with the glider fleet which played a big part in taking of Sicily. Several shots of gliders being towed until they are airborne. Various shots of support troops arriving at Syracuse with their equipment. They wade ashore from the landing craft. Larger items like Bren guns also come ashore. Various shots of a tank, Bren gun carrier and lorry sending up dust from dusty road as they advance. Various shots of activity in Syracuse the morning after the occupation. Troops and civilians in the streets. Long line of Italian prisoners walking along the road.

2. Title - Campaign in Sicily, a U.S. Army production on YouTube via PublicResourceOrg

Time - 19min:54sec.

Storyline - NA [Editor - good narration and filming from American POV; bombing and take over of the island of Pantelleria in June, 1943; ships assembling in Alexandria in July, prior to invasion of Sicily; 3,000 ships embark; then we see US landings, goals and progress, e.g., from Palermo to Messina; many views as well of British 8th and landing craft so there is some value and balance to the video.]

Shot List if available - NA [Editor - same video via Nuclear Vault also on YouTube; no storyline or shot list provided]

3. Title - Sicily... the End by British Pathé as found on YouTube

Time - 02min:47sec.

Storyline/Shot List - Various shots of the British tanks and armoured vehicles moving through Messina. Large shelter which used to be used by the Sicilians. Various shots of the wrecked harbour of Messina and the damaged oil storage tanks. Long shot across Straits of Messina towards the coast of Italy. Several shots of the American flag being hoisted outside the Municipal Building in Messina, the Royal Navy hoist their flag nearby. Various shots of General Bernard Montgomery going among his troops in Sicily - he hands out tins of cigarettes to them. Long shot across the Straits of Messina. Various shots of shore batteries and ships in the Straits opening fire on the Italian coast.

4. Title - Invasion of Sicily - First Pictures, 1943 by British Pathé as found at YouTube

Time - 08min:11sec

Storyline/Shot List - 8. Long shot of line of troopships in convoy line astern. Various shots (on one of the ships) of the officers checking the course and the men doing various things, some sewing, playing cards or cleaning guns. Several nice views of the convoy at sea. Various shots of a religious service being taken on deck of one of the ships. General Simmonds, Commander of the First Canadian Division, is among congregation. Long shot of an aircraft carrier of the convoy. Various shots of the convoy of troopships and naval craft at sea. The wind slowly starts to blow until the sea gets fairly choppy, but the ships keep going forward. Commentary says: "We recall now the words spoken over the B.B.C. by Commander Anthony Kimmins in his vivid broadcast". Kimmins' voice (natural sound) saying how terrified they were for the future of the whole operation when the storm started - totally unexpected in Mediterranean at this time of year. Luckily, weather improved and operation continued.
Sun on the horizon. Several shots of the night barrage from the naval ships. Various shots of the 8th Army making their landing at dawn. They wade waist high through the water onto the beach from the landing craft. Various shots of the troops still unloading. Landing craft head towards beaches. Various shots of the navy starting to shoot again. The enemy guns send high columns of water around ships. Column of smoke shows only casualty and shipping loss in this operation. Red Cross ship. Many landing craft streaming towards beaches - shot from coast. Shots of the troops hitting the beaches with their equipment. American, Canadian and British troops just pouring ashore. Various shots of the tanks, lorries, jeeps, Bren gun carriers, even bicycles coming ashore. Various shots of the Italian troops who have surrendered - they are loaded onto the landing craft to be taken back to troopships. They smile and wave into camera and pose with allied troops.

Photograph NA4072. Men of 2nd Seaforth Highlanders embarking onto
landing craft at Sousse en route for Sicily, 5 July 1943. Photo by Sgt. Stubbs,
No. 2 Army Film and Photographic Unit and Imperial War Museum (IWM).

Please click here to view more photographs re Operation HUSKY from the Imperial War Museum.

Back to the video links:

5. Title - Sicily - Nearing the End, 1943 by British Pathé as found on YouTube

Time - 07min:08sec.

Storyline/Shot List - 8Various shots of Spitfires taking off from Malta. Air to air shots of formation of Spitfires patrolling the skies over invasion fleet. Various shots of RAF (Royal Air Force) Squadron coming ashore in Sicily. RAF trucks and equipment arriving ashore by sea - they release a barrage balloon for protection. A good shot at Comiso airfield of a RAF Spitfire taxiing past German Stukas. Various shots of the wrecked hangars and planes at the airport. Close up shot of map of Sicily. Allied convoy anchored off Syracuse. Close up shot of a sign 'Siracusa'. General Bernard Montgomery driving through Syracuse. Several shots of Monty standing in his car to observe the distant bombing taking place at Augusta across the large bay. Various shots of the British troops on trucks and tanks moving through Francofonte, the towns people give them oranges and other gifts. On the road out of Francofonte the British troops run into some sniper fire and have to take cover and return the fire. Italians surrender waving white flag. A Scottish piper leading a line of British troops along the dry dusty road. Several shots of the large canvas water storage tanks being filled with water near the beach. Various shots of food being handed out to civilians by the allied troops. Several shots of endless line of Italian prisoners. Sequence showing German and Italian prisoners boarding a ship for England and arriving at British ports and stations. At one station they are given a bun and a sandwich. Flashback to Benito Mussolini walking past some of his troops. Flashback to Italian King Victor Emmanuel taking salute. Library sequence showing Mussolini in various uniforms and on various occasions. One shot of him with Adolf Hitler standing in open car.

6. Title - Sicily News, 1943 by British Pathé as found on YouTube

Time - 03min:29sec.

Storyline/Shot List - Various shots of General Dwight Eisenhower and Lord Gort outside the headquarters in Malta where final plans were completed for invasion of Sicily. Air to air shot of RAF (Royal Air Force) Baltimore bombers flying out towards Sicily and over mount Etna. As soon as they get over Milazzo they release their bombs. Various shots of British artillery in action firing on Catania. Newsreel cameraman is seen at work. Smoke rising over Catania. Various shots of the Canadians advancing and moving through village of Leonforte. In another village a proclamation of occupation by the British is read out to the inhabitants. General Bernard Montgomery talking with Major General Simmonds over a map. Infantry advancing through the bushes. Civilians who tried to organise themselves to fight the allies were easily rounded up and disarmed near Vizzini. Several shots of lines of prisoners being marched in, some start to run. Various shots of the allied troops moving through Militello, they are greeted by the people. Several shots of meeting between General George Patton, General Montgomery and General Lord Harold Alexander.

Caption: One of the most-bombed ports in Sicily is Messina, the city just across
the straits from the Southern tip of Italy, whose hills are seen in the background.
Photo Credit - The San Bernardino Sun, issued July 11, 1943

Please click here to view newspaper stories about Sicily from various newspapers found on microfilm, online.

Back to the video links:

7. Title - The Invasion of Sicily, 1943 by British Pathé as found on YouTube

Time - 08min:42sec.

Storyline/Shot List - Several high ranking American officers, General Eisenhower amongst them, standing, looking on. Various shots of troopships of the Allied forces in Mediterranean getting ready for invasion of Sicily. Several shots of the ships at sea. Voiceover explains roles of different armies in the invasion. Various shots of the troops, vehicles and supplies landing at Sicily - fire heard. General Patton landing in Sicily with a cigar in his mouth. More shots of the troops and equipment landing, some civilians seen waving. Various shots of the American troops, tanks, lorries and other vehicles moving through the streets of a Sicilian town. Several shots of the bomb damage in the town. Troops searching buildings for snipers. Civilians surround American troops and greet them with smiles. Surrendered Italian troops rounded at the town square. More shots of the allied troops moving through several coastal town and countryside on their way to Messina. Engineers clearing roads of mines. Several shots of the allied aircraft on airfield. Fuel supplies arrive and they are off. Several shots of the planes in the air. Long line of dead enemy soldiers lying scattered on the road. Vehicles, tanks, artillery abandoned on roads. Several shots of allied artillery in action. Troops are seen advancing through countryside.

8. Title - Near Catania Sicily 1943 - On Sleeve as Catamga 1943* by British Pathé, on YouTube

Time - 02min:54sec. No Audio, but good quality shots with shot list below to help viewers

Storyline/Shot List - Allied supply with trucks lined up on deck. WS. Supply ship dock doors lowering. WS. Trucks leaving ship pan to dockside WS. From inside supply ship as trucks drive off WS. Crew leaning over deck rail pan down to see trucks leaving. WS. Across port showing landing craft and supply ships. MS. Pontoon decking. WS. Port packed with supply ships. WS. pan across port packed with Military equipment. WS. Pan to see supplies being loaded onto ships. MS. Munitions cases. WS. British troops with supply ships and landing craft behind. WS. Ammunition cases stacked on dockside ships behind. WS. Dockside. LS. Truck leaving landing craft. LS. Jeep pulling trailers behind. MS. Truck being loaded with supplies. WS. Sicilian countryside towards Mount Etna hazy in the distance. LS. Very hazy Mount Etna.

*'Catamga' (i.e., Catania, but quickly scribbled) was likely written on a tag atop a film canister, and someone thought they should add it to the title! "Maybe that's how it's actally spelld," he thought.

9. Title - Highlights of 1943 by British Pathé 

Time - 09min:10sec

Storyline - Review of the main events of the year 1943.

Shot List if available - (a short description is provided re each month of the year) E.g., July. Several shots of the Allied fleet during invasion of Sicily - sea battle. Barges filled with troops embarking to Sicily. Montage of shots of Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini who has lost his power. August. Various shots of the formations of planes flying over sea accompanying ships convoy. Convoys are much safer when crossing the Atlantic due to severe Nazi U-boats losses. Several shots of the allied aircraft raids of occupied territories in Western Europe - including Berlin.

If readers find other detailed, informative videos related to Operation HUSKY, please let me know. I will be very happy to add suitable suggestions to the above or future entry.

GH email - <>

Please click here to view Videos: Operation HUSKY, Sicily, July 1943 (Part 1)

Unattributed Photos GH

Friday, January 20, 2023

Videos: Operation HUSKY, Sicily 1943 (Part 1)

 Canadians in RCNVR and Combined Operations in Sicily, 1943

British Pathé and Associated Press (AP) Archives are Excellent

NA4186. Operation Husky: The Sicily Landings 9 - 10 July 1943: British
troops manhandle vehicles and equipment on the beaches as they are unloaded
from landing craft. Photo - Sergeant Frederick Wackett and IWM


The links to healthy archives of two film services - British Pathé and Associated Press (AP) - are alive and well at this time. I encourage readers to ply the search engines with different key words to get an idea of how extensive their libraries are, re WWII and more. Some titles appear without audio but are accompanied by slightly different videos with audio. Suggestion: Watch the title with audio first to get acquainted with the setting and significant events.

Below I will share a number of links to videos related to the invasion of Sicily (Operation HUSKY) that began on July 10, 1943. If readers come across other excellent examples, please feel free to contact me with titles or links so that I may include them here or in a future post. Email me at

1. Title - Building Up The Attack On Sicily by British Pathé

Time - 01min:38sec

Story Line - Final preparations in Africa before the attack in Italy

Shot List - Preparations for invasion of Sicily in N. Africa... Paratroops inspected by General Montgomery...Silhouettes of same... Paratroops rehearsal - get into planes and take off. Canadians in Combined Operations may be turning the winches to raise the ramp of an LCM or LCT, says GH : )

2. Title - To the Shores of Sicily (with Audio, by Associated Press)

Time - 08min:30sec.

Story Line - The invasion of Sicily has begun - anxiously we heard the news that day; then with proud relief we learned of the operation's success. ® ® First pictures of the great Allied achievement.

Shot List - KS shot of sea and part of convoy. GS convoy & large transport, in line ahead. Various convoy shots, includes battleship of Rodney class & cruisers, destroyers etc aircraft carriers. Hoisting signal flags. GS island of Sambra, destroyer passing. Shot of Cape Bon. Cruiser & destroyer transfer military expert in bosun's chair. Elevated shot of him pulled over side of ship, sailor throws rope from ship to ship VG. Elevated shot, troops sunbathing, swimming, mending boots, washing clothes & reading about Sicily on decks of ships. Barrage balloon out of control, various shots. GS sailor signalling with lamp, also at 'the ready' by the pom-poms. Pom-poms pivoting. Sea gets rough and wind to gale force. Landing craft, small craft & large transport plough their way through. Swell abates & calm sea with convoy on its way. LS coast of Sicily. Night bombardments, various shots, silhouettes of ships can be seen during firing. Dawn shot of coast, Canadians landing (silhouettes) on beaches, various troops wading ashore. Sun rising at sea. Pan of convoy & shore batteries fire (unseen), hits fall in water, supply-ship hit, GS of same. Also three oil fires burn on water. Elevated shots troops landing, all angles. Troops leave side of ship (elevated) LCI leaves side of ship. GS of LCI & LCTs. CU Bows of transport. GS of beach, troops march into camera along same. Lorries & Sherman tanks coming ashore (Sherman's have twin exhausts). Moving over cobbles. 'Duck' [sic] comes ashore, also another with camera aboard shooting, the result is everything topsy-turvy. CU types of POW. Give 'V' sign. CU types of our troops.

3. Title - Allied Troops In Sicily Capture Towns by British Pathé

Time - 08min:26sec.

Story Line - Troops capture prisoners and invade several towns in Sicily

Shot List - U.S.troops in donkey-cart... at AVOLA, Sicily. Amphibian lorry lands in Sicily. ASSAULT LANDING CRAFT land troops & being bombed off SICILY... smoke from one. BREN-CARRIERS - Brens land in Sicily... enter Avola. ITALY MILITARY prisoners in Sicily embarking for Africa... & on roads, marching. MAP. Relief map Sicily. MILITARY BRITISH. ASHORE IN SICILY... troops wade ashore... brens & lorried infantry... enter AVOLA, ROSOLINI, SYRACUSE. MONTGOMERY LT. GENERAL - Looks during SICILY campaign. Close Up - rather dark. NAVAL BRITISH. A.L.Cs - 1 and troops in Sicily... bombs explode near craft. PRISONERS OF WAR - Italian prisoners on roads & embarking from Sicily P.O.W. Cage sign. SHIPPING. British A.L.C.s land troops & bomb bursts nearby, off Sicily. ASHORE IN SICILY.. troops wade ashore.. enemy bombs A.L.C.s... one ship ablaze... brens & lorried infantry enter AVOLA.. ROSOLINI..SYRACUSE... Italian refugees & prisoners on road... prisoners embark for Africa... Montgomery looks on. TANKS. Tanks land on Sicily shore... wrecked Renault tanks. TRACTORS Bulldozer lands in Sicily... through water.

4. Title - Zero Hour (Sicily) by AP, Associated Press

Time - 07min:09sec.

Story Line - The invasion of Sicily by Allied Forces under the supreme command of General Eisenhower has begun. Fighters and bombers launched the attack, followed by the invasion itself led by Airborne troops. The seaborne landings came next along a wide stretch of coastline. The task of the troops was to secure a bridgehead and then advance in land.

Shot List - GS of landing craft at sea. Map of Sicily. Eisenhower speaking at Washington Club, Winant behind him. Bostons in formations, bombs falling. MALTA - Spitfires take off. SV & into camera VG. Line of Spitfires (11) in straight line in the air. In the field airborne troops fix parachutes to equipment containers, various shots. GS of aerodrome shows Douglas plane starting up engines, causes clouds of dust. GS of Hotspur gliders in air being towed, & CU back view of pilot inside glider. Aerial shots of Bruneval. Interior shot shows parachutists jumping through hole of the plane & various shots of masses of parachutists descending. On ground various shots of troops attacking, over rough & hilly country, through smoke screen. Several shots of Royal Navy including GS of "King George V" shots of convoy. AFU - Few angle shots of landing craft leaving dock (ocean going ALC). Troops can be seen on board. Various shots of landing craft at sea. Map of Sicily with arrow indicators. Dusk shot of OG. ALC. Troops disembarking from ALC. Various naval shots. GS of "Nelson" & "Rodney" Naval Officer (CU) looks through glasses. Jeep coming ashore, barrels of water. CU of Alexander & Monty together. Various shots of Monty in London, seen in Whitehall, & at Wellington Barracks, walking into camera.

Editor: As the following photograph and story reveal, the glider operation created many casualties:

Photograph and story by D.J.L. (David J. Lewis, Officer, R.C.N.V.R./Combined Operations) as found on pages 180 - 182, St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War

And back to the videos:

5. Title - Sicily is Attacked by Allied Troops by British Pathé

Time - 09min:30sec.

Story Line - Navy, Army, and Air join together to attack forces of Europe in Sicily

Shot List - (Alphabetical order for some reason) AEROPLANES R.A.F. Spitfire brought down (in distance)... crashes in sea off SICILY. ANTI-AIRCRAFT. On board ship in SICILY convoy... men at posts. BOMBS Falling near ships off SICILY... (at invasion of). BROADHURST A/V/M (MALTA) W. Montgomery at Malta conference before invasion of Sicily. CANADA. Canadians w. British troops in convoy (INVASION OF SICILY).. go ashore in A.L.C's. etc. CARS. Jeep drives ashore (invasion of SICILY) through 4ft. of water. CHURCHES Service on board troopship en route to SICILY. CONVOYS. Huge convoy inc, A.LCs, in INVASION OF SICILY. DUCKS (U.S. Amphibious 3 ton lorries) Used in invasion of SICILY... shot taken from one as same goes ashore - Camera jerked all over the place. GUNS A.A. gun on board ship in SICILY invasion convoy... guns firing at night & shelling coast daytime tracers from shore at night. HOSPITAL SHIP. Survivors from hit hospital ship in SICILY invasion convoy transferred to other ship in daylight. ITALY MILITARY Italian. P.O.Ws. help to unload supplies for invasion of SICILY.

Shot List continues: LORRIES. Lorries (incl. DUCKS) with bren carriers go ashore at SICILY. MALTA Montgomery with A.V. M. Broadhurst & Ad. Ramsey at conference before invasion of Sicily. MAP. Plaster relief map of SICILY. MILITARY BRITISH. British and Canadian troops in INVASION OF SICILY... church service on board troopship... men & supplies land at dawn... wade thro' water along with Bren carriers, lorries etc... men checking equipment on board... Italian P.O.W. one searched & helping to unload supplies. NAVAL BRITISH. Shots of mixed convoy, battleships, destroyers, M.Ls, & merchant ships, invasion barges... night firing from battleships... troops disembark at dawn... daylight scenes of ships off shore... A.L.C's bring supplies & men ashore... aerial shot of men in A.L.C.s... bombs dropping close to ships... more details on video's page.

6. Title - Sicily, the Second Step by Associated Press

Time - 06min:00sec.

Story Line - The second report on the invasion of Sicily starts on the beaches with troops and war materials coming ashore in increasing numbers. The first phase of the operation took the Eighth Army up to Avola, Rosolini and Syracuse.

Shot List - MS ( many shots) of soldiers feet as they came ashore. GS of coast looking out to sea, shows ships off coast, & activities on beach. Various shots of troops disembarking from LCI. Shots of bulldozer coming ashore, also Bren Carriers. Various shots of soldiers wading ashore from LCI. Bren Carrier into camera, SV of "Priest" Gun coming ashore. Various types transport move on beaches. Troops on march across fields & along roads. Soldiers digging in. Bren Gunner covers soldiers working in field. Various shots of troops & transport on road. Signpost "Avola" & troops marching. Union Jack hoisted on top of building in Avola. Bren Carrier through streets of Avola & out of camera. US Troops on carts riding donkeys, various shots. CU (close up) of types of US soldiers. Pan down of 1915-1918 War memorial. White sheets flying from balcony on building. GV of wrecked Italian tanks under trees. CU "Renault" plate on tank. Various shots of POW's being escorted by troops, one of our soldiers is riding a donkey smoking his pipe. Line of POW's along road, also Monty in car looks at same, CU Monty (VG). Italian POW's wade out to LCT & board same for Tunisia. Shots of Tommies past camera along road, Sherman tanks moving quickly along road, also Bren Carriers & "Ducks" passing under trees.

7. Title - Sicily - Nearing the End by British Pathé

Time - 07min:08sec.

Story Line - Allied troops advancing across the island of Sicily

Shot List - Various shots of Spitfires taking off from Malta. Air to air shots of formation of Spitfires patrolling the skies over invasion fleet. Various shots of RAF (Royal Air Force) Squadron coming ashore in Sicily. RAF trucks and equipment arriving ashore by sea - they release a barrage balloon for protection.A good shot at Comiso airfield of a RAF Spitfire taxiing past German Stukas. Various shots of the wrecked hangars and planes at the airport.
Close up shot of map of Sicily. Allied convoy anchored off Syracuse. Close up shot of a sign 'Siracusa'. General Bernard Montgomery driving through Syracuse. Several shots of Monty standing in his car to observe the distant bombing taking place at Augusta across the large bay.
Various shots of the British troops on trucks and tanks moving through Francofonte, the towns people give them oranges and other gifts. On the road out of Francofonte the British troops run into some sniper fire and have to take cover and return the fire. Italians surrender waving white flag.
A Scottish piper leading a line of British troops along the dry dusty road. Several shots of the large canvas water storage tanks being filled with water near the beach.
Various shots of food being handed out to civilians by the allied troops. Several shots of endless line of Italian prisoners.
Sequence showing German and Italian prisoners boarding a ship for England and arriving at British ports and stations. At one station they are given a bun and a sandwich.
Flashback to Benito Mussolini walking past some of his troops. Flashback to Italian King Victor Emmanuel taking salute. Library sequence showing Mussolini in various uniforms and on various occasions. One shot of him with Adolf Hitler standing in open car.

8. Title - To the Shores of Sicily  by AP (No Audio, but lengthier than first showing, no. 2 above) 

Time - 19min:50sec.

Story Line - The invasion of Sicily has begun - anxiously we heard the news that day; then with proud relief we learned of the operation's success. ® ® First pictures of the great Allied achievement.

Shot List - Various shots of troops on board ship preparing munitions also repairing ship, preparing equipment. Pan of troops smiling at camera. Shots at sea - various views of convoy, cruisers, destroyers. Officers and men look at plans of landings. Landings. Men exercising on board ship, cleaning their weapons, reading, reading "Soldier's Guide to Sicily", playing cards, sewing, writing letters. Ships at sea - convoy. More shots of men cleaning equipment. Ships at sea, barrage balloon, troop carriers, DUCW landing, men walking through sea to shore, truck being pushed onto shore, man speaks through loud hailer, Italian POWs pass camera - some smile. Flying Fortresses take off. Troops using field telephones and wireless - planning course of action. Troops board ship. Shots of the convoy. Street scenes in Sicily - bombed buildings, troops, military presence, prisoners of war, officer addressing troops (this section is blurred - could be Monty). More shots of convoy.

If you noticed sailors painting their crafts in the video above, you may have watched the same scene my father did when he was aboard the Silver Walnut on his way around Africa on his way to Sicily - and Operation HUSKY - in the summer of 1943:

"Paint Plus Varnish, Eh?" 

One hot, blistering day I watched as four of my buddies wrestled a high demi-john in a wicker holder up a gangplank. Somehow, I thought Chief Petty Officer CPO had procured enough money to purchase this container, filled with 25 gallons of varnish. This CPO, with his naval ingenuity, was capable of almost anything. To this day I believe that no money was involved; it was buy now, pay later. I asked the Chief what we were going to do with 25 gallons of varnish and he said it was going to be mixed with the grey paint for our landing craft.

I replied, "Golly, Chief, it will make the paint too thick."

"Yeah, I know Harrison," he replied, "But they sure will shine."

We really had fun with the paint and varnish. Anthony Bouchard from Cornwall said the paint was thick and we suggested he add more varnish. He said that only seemed to make it worse and we said, "Add some more, then."

Finally the painting halted. I don't know where the demi-john went, but knowing a bit about Navy ways I've got a fair idea, but the Chief was none the wiser.

The Silver Walnut remained in Cape Town for two weeks. We all enjoyed ourselves and I purchased a guitar and brushed up on some chords that I knew so my friends could share time singing navy ditties and other songs.

The ship left Cape Town on her own and we continued around the Cape of Good Hope. I supposed that I was in the same waters that my dad had sailed when he served aboard a Royal Navy ship as a boy during the Boer War.

More information about the St. Nazaire to Singapore can be found in the 'books about Combined Operations' section in 'click on Headins', right hand margin of this blog/website/archive. GH

And back to the videos:

9. Allied Troops Move Into Sicily by British Pathé

Time - 01min:18sec.

Story Line - Soldiers of the Allied forces move into Randazzo, Sicily in 1943

Shot List - 8th Army meet U.S. 7th en route to RANDAZZO... shots of town... railway lines wrecked by Huns at ACRIEALE... retreating enemies demolish houses... residents give drinks to tommies... bird on a table drinks beer too!

10. Title - Zero Hour - Sicily (Part Sound) by Associated Press 

Time - 22min:36sec.

Story Line - The invasion of Sicily by Allied Forces under the supreme command of General Eisenhower has begun. Fighters and bombers launched the attack, followed by the invasion itself led by Airborne troops. ® ® The seaborne landings came next along a wide stretch of coastline. The task of the troops was to secure a bridgehead and then advance in land.

Shot List - CU (close up) of Alexander & Monty together. Various shots (VS) of troops running onto beach from landing craft. Landing craft returning. Ship with guns firing. Smoke on horizon. VS of ship's guns being fired - seen from on board ship. Posed shots of troops against sky. VS air to air of aircraft and from ground. VS beach showing devastation - Pantelleria. Troop and vehicle movement. At sea - VS convoy. Vehicles driven off landing craft, supplies unloaded. Paratroops boarding planes. VS ships and planes in action. Man climbs up rope. CU paintings on side of ship - glass of beer with words: "Thirstus Magnificus" and another a picture of men playing cards entitled "Army Messdeck". VS ships bringing toops. VS harbour, army vehicles, cargo being unloaded, army vehicles coming ashore from landing craft. Church service being given in the field. Troops on the march. Parachute drop. VS paratroops and supplies landing. LS of religious service. Troops then march from field along a road. Supplies being unloaded from truck. Paratroopers preparing for their mission. Climbing into aircraft. Aircraft starting up. VS of activity on airfield. Bombs and equipment being prepared. Gliders on airfield. Men climbing aboard. Gliders being towed. VS activity on airfield and of aircraft overhead. VS troops on the march. Boarding troopships. Shots of them on board. Includes CUs of lots of men with a puppy. CU of Colonel Walford ? & pan to Sub. Lt Campbell-Ross. Officers discuss plans. VS RAF aircraft preparing for takeoff. Air to air shots of planes in flight. Night shots of planes in flight. CU of a domestic clock - time reads 10.05. CU of little girl asleep in bed beside oil lamp. Air to air shot of aircraft. Pilots seen in half light. VS crew of aircraft. CU of pendulum of clock swinging. CU of little girl asleep in bed. CU of elderly lady asleep in bed. CUs of pilot - CU of hand pushing trigger and bombs being dropped. Air to air day shots of aircraft flying over Sicily.

Help Wanted. If readers find other videos related to the invasion of Sicily please connect with me at <>

As well, readers may find some of the same or somewhat similar videos listed in the growing list of videos found under 'videos re combined operations' in the A - Z Directory, 'click on Headings' section in right hand margin. 

And finally, more to follow shortly!

Please click here to view videos about Operations Baytown and Avalanche (Italy), 1943 (Part 2)

Unattributed Photos GH

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Videos: Operations Baytown and Avalanche, Sept. 3, 1943 (Part 2)

 Canadians in RCNVR and Combined Operations in Italy, 1943

(Associated Press (AP) Archive Has Huge Collection to Explore)

Canadians in Combined Ops are active in Italy beginning Sept. 1943
Many news clippings from Charlottetown Guardian available here 


The Allied invasion of Italy took places initially at three locations beginning on three different days, e.g., at the toe of the boot (Reggio di Calabria) on September 3, 1943, at the heel of the boot (Taranto) on Sept. 8, and at the shin of the boot (Salerno) on Sept. 9. The 80th Flotilla of Canadian Landing Crafts, including my father aboard an LCM or Landing Craft, Mechanised, assembled chiefly at Messina. Other troops and crafts awaiting orders to embark at Catania and perhaps a few other ports along Sicily's east coast, e.g., at Charlie Beach at Santa Teresa. 

The embarkation for Reggio was preceded by a naval bombardment and it is likely that German troops were well on their way inland before the Canadian sailors - and many others from the U.K. - landed their landing crafts and helped Canadian and British troops get started on pressing forward to months of stiff fighting.

The Associated Press Archive is rich in videos and photographs. One cannot read a WWII newspaper without coming across photographs from an AP photographer. Readers can use the search engine easily ("If I can do it.... ") and I wish "Happy Hunting" to all who are interested in doing so.

Below please find links and descriptions of a few informative videos related to the invasion of Italy:

Time - 1min:03sec.

Storyline - After the capture of Sicily the attack moves onto the toe of Italy.

Shot List - Officers point across Straits towards Italy (Town below - Messina?). GS across Straits. Beach scenes. Coming ashore from craft, wading waist-deep in water.

Disclaimer: British Movietone is an historical collection. Any views and expressions within either the video or metadata of the collection are reproduced for historical accuracy and do not represent the opinions or editorial policies of the Associated Press.

2. On The Way

Time - 3min:24sec.

Storyline - Allied aircraft continue their bombardment of the toe of Italy, whilst strategic attacks are being made further up the peninsula. Embarkation begins for the landing in the Italian main land and the troops that cross found they were virtually unopposed. Italian resistance was only half-hearted after the disappearance of the Germans.

Shot List - Baltimore in flight. Aerial of Baltimore and land below. Bombs going down. Aerial of coast (toe of Italy). Smoke from targets. General Montgomery in car. Troops paraded. Montgomery addresses troops from car. Salutes. Many ships in Mediterranean ports prepare for embarkation. Troops go aboard. CU types. Night shots barrage across Straits of Messina. Invasion force under way across Straits. 'Duck' [sic] into sea and out of camera. 'Ducks' across Straits. Beach scenes. Landings - ramp down - troops from same. Wounded ashore - some stretcher cases brought in by RAMC. Pan of many ships and craft in harbour.

More details from The Charlottetown Guardian

Time - 01min:05sec

Storyline - The Italians capitulate and the overthrow of Mussolini brings jubilation to the streets.

Shot List - Landing craft on beaches and men wade ashore. People throw missiles at picture of Mussolini. Speaker on stand talks to people (Lawyer). CU speaker with people around him. CU King Victor Emmanuel. Badoglio walks into camera. People wave in streets (very good shots).

Help Wanted! Is the location Messina or a city farther south?

Time - 02min:13sec

Storyline - N/A

Shot List - Landing craft and troops on beaches. Troops along beaches and go aboard Landing craft. Civilians watch same. Lorry backed onto craft. Look down shot of R.A.F. lorries on road. GS of harbour - hills in the distance - and landing craft can be seen below. Bren-carrier along winding road. Car comes ashore from craft. Tank ashore and along beach - throws up dust. A.L.C. comes ashore. Aerial of town. Masses of ALC in harbour. Planes in formation LS Troops on board wave etc. Plane in sky and balloon. Soldier fires gun in ship's turret. ALC in harbour at sunset. Silhouettes men ashore. Troops on ships (night). Disembarking at night then day shot. Troops wade ashore into camera. Push jeep ashore, C.U. Driver's back and luggage. Back of jeep. Netting on beach. Troops single file on shore with rifles. Feet into camera. Invasion barges at sea. Troops by barbed wire on beach. Jeep ashore from barge. Lorry ashore. Barge end lowered. Gun on beach and various activities.

Time - 02min:56sec.

Storyline - (News from various fronts, Reggio, Italy included) America is expanding it's Airborne troops and dogs are among the new recruits. General Montgomery crosses to the Italian mainland. In Denmark the citizens of Copenhagen show their unswerving loyalty for King Christian. From Bulgaria comes the news of the death of King Boris.

Shot List (partial) - Newspapers turned over. Troop carrying planes into camera. Paratroops from same. One comes down with US flag. Dog jumps and floats to earth. Montgomery boards Naval Launch. Salutes Naval Officers. Launch flies Montgomery's own pennant and tows a 'duck' [sic]. General under gun, looks through glasses at coast, and CU. 'Duck' going ashore at Italy. Troops along beach single file. Montgomery and officers study map on beach. General watches troops march along streets and waves to them. Fires on shore at Palermo, naval craft in fore. Shipping on fire in harbour. Naval man looks through glasses. Terrific explosion. Crowds round King Christian on horseback and CU. King Boris meets Hitler and shakes with Nazi officials. Sicily Bombing - CARD 44000 (Pathe US) Cut story - Bombing at dawn of Palermo. Ships burning in harbour. Terrific explosion when one ship is hit, VG. 'Invasion Of Italy' - CARD 43994 -see this under this story number for tape (AFU) General Montgomery ashore amongst his men (Italy). Travels in a Naval Motor Launch, towing 'Duck'. General boards the launch. Stands in bows and looks through field glasses. His own pennant flies above White Ensign and shot of 'Duck' in tow. General in main streets of Reggio, waves to column of troops, single file. Pan of White Ensign over town. LS of harbour full of wrecked ships. General out of 'Duck' helped by Italian POW's and enters house. LS of beach shows landing craft disembarking. Troops greeted by civilians and given grapes...

Time - 03min:44sec.

Storyline - A night barrage from the sea paves the way for the landing by the Fifth Army. The landing craft quickly ran ashore and the troops began moving forward.

Shot List - 'Nelson' and 'Rodney' at sea. Elevated view of the guns of one of them. Big guns firing, both close and long shots. Sailor in tin hat with telescope to eye. Big guns fire. GS of battleships at sea. Night barrage. Loading the guns in the turret. GS of sunrise. British troops of Fifth Army embarking CU feet up gangway. Men leaning over rail looking towards coast of Italy in the dawn. Troop convoy steams towards Italy, also landing craft. Troops on beaches. GS of landing craft of new type in which a lorry comes out of the hull. Lorry on beach, and down road. Men and vehicles advance. GS of explosion in sea and Italian coast in background.

A Canadian pilot saw the landing forces approaching the Italian coast at Salerno on September 9th.

Clipping from The Montreal Star, Sept. 9, 1943. "News travels fast!"
More information about the pilot (I met his brother shortly after I
spotted this news clip on microfilm at the University of Western
Ontario in London) based on my research is provided here.

Time - 21min:28sec  - No Audio but good quality images

Storyline - The second report on the Battle of Salerno shows the British and Americans pursuing the withdrawing Germans. The lack of airfields which had hampered the early campaign was remedied by the German retreat.

Shot List - VS British troops advancing along road - could be near Nosciano River. Various shots of Monte Corvino Airfield. Our smoke shells falling amongst abandoned aircraft FW190. Transport crossing aerodrome. British soldier at site of German camp. VS troops moving supplies, discussing plans with officers, with wrecked German aircraft, troop and vehicle movement. Fifth army. Soldier digs out mine. VS mine being removed. Italian and British officers look at mines. Supplies unloaded. VS soldiers around crashed aircraft. Refuelling aircraft - Spitfire. Seafire landing on aerodrome and taking off. VS German aircraft. Troop movements - tanks and men marching along country roads. Horse drawn cart with weapons and men aboard. VS men moving through countryside. Smoke on horizon. Men lying on ground with guns at ready. Troops relaxing - lying down in road, snoozing, smoking cigarettes, chatting to locals. Bren carrier moving at speed. Abandoned tank with holes in side. VS abandoned German tanks - Shermans. Tanks on fire. Tracer fire. Night shots of firing. Day shots of ships off coast - VS different ships. Convoy. VS troops on board ships, LCTs, on beach. POWs on beach. Vehicles being driven onto beach from landing vehicles. VS POWs on beach and troops on beach. Various activities on beach. More troops arrive at beach. VS army vehicles driving onto beach. Troops disembarking from landing craft - VS. LS of ships at sea. HAS soldiers on landing craft . Soldiers being briefed on landing craft. Street scenes - troops make friends with local Italians. Unloading supplies, loading and firing artillery. Eisenhower greeted by Monty at Catania. General Patton shakes with Monty. GS of group.

8. Bridgehead to Rome (with sound)

Time - 6min:39sec.

Storyline - The landings at Anzio caught the Germans napping having just moved troops up to the Cassino front. Salerno was the embarkation site and crafts of many sizes took the troops over to the landings. General Alexander was soon on the spot, together with Admiral Troubridge. General Clark also arrived to see the progress of the landings.

Shot List - KS. Troops in fore on deck on transport, craft in background. Various shots of transport & craft assembled off Naples, Mount Vesuvius in background. US Rangers embark, hand over pass as they board craft. Army lorry boards craft. "Ducks" along beaches, make way out to large transport, alongside, troops go aboard, "Ducks" aboard large transport. GS of troops singing on deck of ship. Convoy under way, craft in fore, several shots. TLCs with barrage balloons aloft. Ducks come ashore, artillery, & Sherman tank off floating pier. Various shots of floating pier, being assembled, in rough sea, sunken Army lorry alongside. CU Naval officer, troops disembark from craft. GV of mined beach, also sign to indicate same. Naval personnel signal flag, CU Aldis lamp being used. MS of General Alexander & Rear Admiral Troubridge on beach of Anzio. MS of Clark also on beach. Aerial shots of Bostons in formation aerial shots of convoy off Anzio beaches. CU Bostons engines running, CU Boston in flight. Aerial shot of convoy off Netturno beaches. Air shots of Anzio harbour & town. Various aerial shots of Mussolini canal with bridge demolished. More shots of TLCs, LCIs & LSTs, come ashore. British troops on beaches. LS of explosions around convoy off coast, all misses. Bren Carriers come ashore, through wooded area, first batch of German POW's brought in. Ruined buildings. Artillery towed through streets. British troops march into camera, single file, cut-in of road sign to ?, finish on British troops marching out of camera along road.

I do not know if any Canadians in Combined Operations participated in another landing in Italy that followed the Salerno landings (Operation Avalanche). However, there would have been many similarities in the role of the navy re use of landing crafts and more during this later operation at Anzio.

Time - 13min.00sec.

Storyline - (same as above, but this video is twice the length) The landings at Anzio caught the Germans napping having just moved troops up to the Cassino front. Salerno was the embarkation site and crafts of many sizes took the troops over to the landings. General Alexander was soon on the spot, together with Admiral Troubridge. General Clark also arrived to see the progress of the landings.

Shot List - Panning shot of Naples Bay with convoy assembling - VS. On beach - VS troops getting into landing craft. Supplies being taken aboard. VS of scene on beach as craft approach to land. VS men aboard landing craft. VS men climbing aboard ship. CU of soldier looking out over sea - looking pensive. Group of three look out over sea. Dawn shots of landings. Men wading through sea. Troops walking along beach. Searching beach for mines. VS activity on beach during landings. Some vehicles stuck in sand. Soldier digging hole in sand. VS activity on beach - vehicle movements. At sea - various vessels. VS of coast, ships and landing craft. Troops on beach. Ships approaching shore. Troops leaving ship and climbing into smaller landing craft. Troops marching on land. Vehicles moving through countryside. Mesh being laid for road making. Troops marching single file. At sea - VS convoy. Shelling at sea. Smoke rising on horizon - possibly ship on fire. VS convoy and troops arriving on beach. Dusk or dawn shots of tanks and troops in silhouette on beach.

Please click here to view more videos related to the above. i.e., Operations Baytown and Avalanche, Sept. 1943 (1)

Unattributed Photos GH

Monday, January 9, 2023

Videos: Operations Baytown and Avalanche, Sept. 1943 (1)

Canadians in RCNVR and Combined Operations in Italy, 1943

(British Pathé Film Service Has a Huge Collection to Explore)

Troops from 51st Highland Division board landing craft at Catania, 2 Sept. 1943.
Photo - NA6169. Sgt. Loughlin, No. 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit, IWM.


The last operation my father and many mates (RCNVR, Comb. Ops) were involved in took place in Italy, beginning September 3, 1943, i.e., Operation Baytown. The main port my father mentions in memoirs was Messina (he was attached to the 80th Canadian Flotilla of Landing Crafts) but I would not be surprised if some Canadian sailors were attached to landing craft crews in Catania (see above photo). A few participated in Operation Avalanche, the invasion of Italy at Salerno beginning September 9.

Both Operation Baytown and Avalanche are mentioned in the book Combined Operations by Londoner Clayton Marks. The book contains his own stories as well as those of other Canadian Navy WWII veterans.

Please click here to read a short story re the invasions of Sicily and Italy by Clayton Marks.

Click here to view newspaper articles from The Ottawa Citizen re 'context for Operation Baytown': Baytown (Italy WWII) - September 1 - 10, 1943, Parts 1 - 5

Videos: Operations Baytown and Avalanche, Sept. 1943

Below, readers will find details about and links to several wartime videos archived at the British Pathé film collection. Readers are encouraged to visit the individual films and others that are related to it by subject. The drop down menu "collections" may also be of interest to some viewers.

Happy hunting, I say!

Time - 2:35

Short Summary - Operation Baytown commences as the British Eighth Army spearheads the invasion of Italy, guarded by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force... DUCKS (U.S. Amphibious 3 ton lorries) enter water in darkness from Sicily; supplies follow... Shipping in Straits of Messina crossing to Italy... night barrage... navy escorts. Montgomery visits troops in Sicily... decorates men.. .speaks to assembly from car... amphibious ducks enter water... first wounded arrive from Italy.

2. English Eighth Army Under Montgomery Invades Italy

Time - 2:48

Short Summary - General Montgomery and the British Eighth Army attack the soft underbelly of Europe in liberation of Italy during Operation Baytown. Our Armies in Italy, i.e., Messina and Reggio di Calabria... British Army invades Italy, includes footage of boats and airplanes... R.A.F., first airport seized by Allies in Italy... ASSAULT LANDING CRAFT, troops embark L.C.I's at Sicilian Port, cross straits of Messina... land on beaches (Italy)... DUCKS (U.S. Amphibious 3 ton lorries) Naval motor launch towing Duck takes Montgomery from Sicily to Italy... Ducks land on beaches... lined up in harbour (Sicily)... White Ensign flies over Reggio Harbour

Time 3:11

Short Summary - British Eighth Army and U.S. Fifth Army invade the soft underbelly of Europe through Italy... Broken Axis, Italian Surrender Disintegrates Three-Power Pact... ARNOLD, Major General at Citadel, Quebec for Conference w. Allied Chiefs... Troops & equipment embark from Sicily... land at dawn in Italy... disembark. Last line - "this was some of the story of the landing". (So, there's surely more out there!)

Canadians in Combined Operations at HMS Saunders (top) and Cairo
Photo as found in Combined Operations by C. Marks, London

Time 6:06 (No audio)

Short Summary - Various shots of the troops landing in Italy... Operation Baytown, crossing the strait of Messina, 4th September 1943. Several shots of the ships at sea. Various shots of the bombing of the unknown village. Long shots showing a coastal town with sea and a big island in background. Various shots of the troops in lorries, jeeps etc., driving through the Italian village - a word Duce is seen on house wall. Several shots of an officer being interviewed. Pan along line of officers posing for photographs. Several shots of ships and landing crafts in a harbour. Various shots of long lines of different vehicles at the beach. Several shots of the ships at sea. Several shots of the jeeps and lorries landing on beach.

Time - 3:35

Short Summary - Allied troops start invasion of Italy. Various shots of the ships of the American and British fleet assembled off Salerno preparing for invasion. Various shots of naval barrage, some shots below decks of the shells being loaded into guns. Various shots of the ships including troop transporters near the mainland. Various shots of the The Anglo-American 5th Army landing on Salerno with its equipment which includes heavy artillery guns and trucks. More naval barrage. Various dawn shots of the allied landings on Salerno. One of the ships gets hit and column of smoke rises. Various shots of German prisoners being rounded up. More supplies and men coming ashore from landing craft.

Time- 4:27

Short Summary - Combined operations in Italy sees continued troop and material landing while Royal Air Force is active... R.A.F. Field guns clear Germans from Monte Corvino 'field in Italy... R.A.F. servicing commandos preparing field for operational use... German supplies intact... ours unloaded... SEAFIRE lands & refuels... smashed German plane w. marking on Monte Corvino airfield in Italy... field guns firing on field.. supplies left by German... British tommy eating apple during rest in Italy... More A.L.C's at SALERNO.. land w. troops & equipment... NEW TYPE w. DOUBLE DOORS opens & troops disembark w. tank

Time 1:19

Short Summary - USS cruiser 'Savannah' recovers after being hit by the enemy during landing at Salerno, Italy. Long shot of the USS cruiser 'Savannah' which has received a direct hit while supporting the allied landings at Salerno. Various shots of the fire fighters in action onboard the 'Savannah'. The injured are brought out and cared for. Through the grey haze the 'Savannah' goes to action again.


Time 1:53

Short Summary - Allied troops paving the way for attack of Naples. Various shots of the soldiers of the Anglo-American 5th Army coming ashore at Salerno, Italy, from landing craft. Equipment including tanks and trucks coming ashore. Various shots of the shells falling around the landing craft. Shelling does not slow the landings down. Various shots of the troops moving inland along roads. German prisoners going the other way. Italian officer showing royal engineers where mines and booby traps are placed. Large artillery gun rapid firing. Soldiers advancing.

9. Salerno 1944

Time 6:28

Short Summary - Allied navy at the coast of Salerno - they are slowly disembarking. Various long shots of town of Salerno, Sicily, from the sea. Several shots of ships at sea. Several shots, from the ship, of Salerno and coastline around the town. Several shots of the ships approaching the coast. Several shots of the men onboard one of the ships, some soldiers and some civilians. They are seen talking in small groups, smoking, walking along the deck, reading etc. Various long shots of the activities along the coast, taken from ship. Battleships, troopships and landing crafts are seen along the coast - troops disembarking, equipment unloaded etc. Smoke screen and shelling - troops still at work etc. Various shots of the ships at sea with smoke screen in the background - they are protecting themselves from shelling - some explosions are seen around ships. More shots of the ships at sea, explosions etc.

Time 5:12

Short Summary - Filmed in Italy, Italian language is used. Good video of Reggio di Calabria on the toe of the boot. This is where many Canadians in Combined Ops landed on September 3rd. Reggio served as a main port to land supplies for several weeks.

More videos, from another source, also about Operations Baytown and Avalanche, will soon follow.

Please click here to view more videos - Combined Operations, Odds 'n' Sods

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