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The Sicilian Campaign and the 2nd Armored Division

Hugh Joseph Gaffey and His Role in the Military- Mini Biography
*1943- He was the Chief of Staff to General Patton in the II Corps in Tunisia during the North African Campaign
*1943-1944- He served as the Commanding General for the 2nd Armored Division in Sicily during the Sicilian Campaign 
*1945- He was the Chief of Staff in the 3rd Army in North-West Europe
*1944-1945- He served as the Commanding General of the 4th Armored Division in North-West Europe
*1945-1946- He commanded the Armored School 
   He tragically died in a plane crash on 16 June 1946. 
 Photograph: General Patton and his Chief, Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Gaffey.
Hugh Joseph Gaffey on the left (Chief of Staff of) General Patton, on the right.

What is the Sicilian Campaign? What is its Significance?
*Once the Allies succeeded with the North African Campaign, Roosevelt and Churchill flew to Casablanca, Morocco, in order to discuss further actions.  They decided the most strategic move would be to seize control of Sicily so the allies could maintain a base closer to the battlefields. This action would facilitate supplying troops with reimbursements.
*The main idea behind the invasion of Sicily was to distract Germany from attacking Russia and Northern France, with a long term goal of complete domination of the Mediterranean. However, other places near Italy were also considered for invasion: Greece, the Balkans, Crete, and Sardinia. General George C. Marshall, the army’s Chief of Staff, disagreed with the idea of attacking Italy or anywhere else; he believed that the U.S. should concentrate on their efforts in Germany. Churchill on the other hand, advocated the capture of Sicily, and his idea eventually won.
* The victory of the Sicilian Campaign, or Operation HUSKY, led to a successful invasion of Italy itself. The Campaign additionally allowed for Italy to topple the reign of fascist dictator, Mussolini. Sadly, it was a brutal fight, and it is known as the Second Pearl Harbor by the Italian people.

About the 2nd Armored Division and its Role in the Sicilian Campaign
*The 2nd Armored Division commanded by General Patton was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and based at Fort Hood, Texas. The Division received its nickname, "Hell on Wheels" when the soldiers practiced maneuvers in the southeastern states. General Patton commented that the division would be “Hell on Wheels” for any troop it faced, and the name remained.
*The first action it faced was during the North African campaign in Casablanca, Morocco, on November 8th, 1942. The division also fought at Beja, Tunisia.
*Between July 9-17, 1943, a fleet of Allied ships (with the 2nd Division and others aboard) invaded Sicily. For 38 days, the Allies fought the Axis powers and defeated them. This island was the first section of Axis territory to fall to the Allies. Sicily became a training ground for Allied soldiers, with over half a million soldiers occupying the base.  
* The initial fighting in Sicily began mostly in Salerno and lasted for 6 days, until American soldiers controlled the beachfront. The 2nd Armored Division landed at Gela on July 10, 1943. The soldiers fought in cities such as Butera, Campobello, and Palermo, the city of origin of the Italian Mafia. Once it was certain the Italian Campaign succeeded, the Allies decided to lessen the forces in the Mediterranean and focus on a different aspect of the war. In August 1943, the 2nd Armored Division was relocated to England, to train for a cross channel attack. 

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Picture sources obtained from: www.army.mil/CMH/books/wwii/lorrraine/lorraine-ch01.html



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