Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Italian Campaign: July 1943-May 1945

Following the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the Allies decided on the occupation of Sicily, Italy, with the subsquent mainland invasion.   This decision was to achieve secure communication lines in the Mediterranean; to draw German forces away from the Russian front; to increase press on Italy; and to entice Turkey to join the Allies.   The U.S. Navy played a significant part in these landings with Vice Admiral H. Kent Hewitt leading the amphibious landings with the Western Task Force in July at Sicily.   The landings the mainland, also led by Hewitt, occurred in September.   For the assault on Anzio in January 1944, the U.S. Naval Forces were led by Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowery as Task Force 81.  With the capture of Rome in June 1944, the U.S. Navy's direct involvement with the Italian Campaign ceased.     Although Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, Germany did not surrender until May 2, 1945.  

Image:  Lot-916-12:  Operation Avalanche, September 1943.   Underneath Dropping Bombs.  U.S. Coast Guardsmen and Navy beach battalion men are shown hugging the shaking beach at Paestrum, just south of Salerno, as a German bomber unloads on them.  U.S. Coast Guard image:  26-G-2000.  Courtesy of the Library of Congress.