WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT...
EVERY step of the long road from Africa to the Alps was bought with the hardship and blood of the men who marched with the Fifth, Seventh and British First and Eighth armies.
What were the Mediterranean campaigns worth and why did we fight there? There are several answers for the job was big and much was accomplished.
This is what we did:
• Cleared the Mediterranean sea of German planes and submarines. This shortened our sea lines to the Near East, Russia, India and China by 7,000 miles and added several million tons of shipping space that were vitally needed.
• Drained the Nazis of men, material and planes which they could not afford to lose.
• Tied down and defeated 28 German divisions in Italy which without question would have prevented or at least delayed the victory in Normandy.
• Forced the Germans to withdraw men and guns from Russia to fight in Sicily and Italy.
• Knocked Italy out of the war and brought the Italians onto the Allied side as co-belligerents.
• Brought France back into the war with an ever-growing army, navy and airforce.
• Secured airfields in Italy from which Allied planes were able to range over the industrial heart of central and Southern Germany and the Balkans as well as to support tactically Allied forces in Italy and the Red Army.
• Kept the initiative in Allied hands until the invasion of France was completely planned and ready to go.
• The military lessons learned on the front lines and in the rear area; in Africa, Sicily and Italy provided the "know-how" for the victories in France and Germany.
"No praise is adequate for the heroic achievements and magnificent courage of every
individual during this long and trying campaign."
President Harry S. Truman.
"You may be proud of this victorious campaign which will long live in history as one of the greatest and most successful ever waged.
"No praise is high enough for you sailors, soldiers, airmen and workers of the united forces in Italy for your magnificent triumph. My gratitude to you and my admiration is unbounded, and only equaled by the pride which is mine in being your Commander in Chief."
Field Marshal Sir Harold R.L.G. Alexander.
"Our exultation in this moment is blended with sorrow as we pay tribute to the
heroic Allied soldiers who have fallen in battle in order that this victory
might be achieved. The entire world will forever honor their memory."
Gen. Mark W. Clark.
"The victory is yours—you of the ground, sea and air forces of many nationalities
who have fought here as a single combat team. The surrender today is to you."
Gen. Joseph T. McNarney.