The Western Wall, Wailing Wall, or Kotel, known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known in its entirety as the "Western Wall"; the wall was erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, in a large rectangular structure topped by a huge flat platform, thus creating more space for the Temple itself and its auxiliary buildings. For Muslims, it is the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem before ascending to paradise, constitutes the Western border of al-Haram al-Sharif; the Western Wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount. Because of the Temple Mount entry restrictions, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though the holiest site in the Jewish faith lies behind it.
The original and irregular-shaped Temple Mount was extended to allow for an ever-larger Temple compound to be built at its top. This process was finalised by Herod, who enclosed the Mount with an rectangular set of retaining walls, built to support extensive substructures and earth fills needed to give the natural hill a geometrically regular shape. On top of this box-like structure Herod built a vast paved esplanade. Of the four retaining walls, the western one is considered to be closest to the former Temple, which makes it the most sacred site recognised by Judaism outside the former Temple Mount esplanade. Just over half the wall's total height, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, is believed to have been built around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, although recent excavations indicate that the work was not finished by the time Herod died in 4 BCE; the large stone blocks of the lower courses are Herodian, the courses of medium-sized stones above them were added during the Umayyad era, while the small stones of the uppermost courses are of more recent date from the Ottoman period.
The term Western Wall and its variations are used in a narrow sense for the section traditionally used by Jews for prayer. During the period of Christian Roman rule over Jerusalem, Jews were barred from Jerusalem except to attend Tisha be-Av, the day of national mourning for the Temples, on this day the Jews would weep at their holy places; the term "Wailing Wall" was thus exclusively used by Christians, was revived in the period of non-Jewish control between the establishment of British Rule in 1920 and the Six-Day War in 1967. The term "Wailing Wall" is not used by Jews, not by many others who consider it derogatory. In a broader sense, "Western Wall" can refer to the entire 488-metre-long retaining wall on the western side of the Temple Mount; the classic portion now faces a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, near the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, while the rest of the wall is concealed behind structures in the Muslim Quarter, with the small exception of a 25 ft section, the so-called Little Western Wall.
The segment of the Western retaining wall traditionally used for Jewish liturgy, known as the "Western Wall", derives its particular importance to it having never been obscured by medieval buildings, displaying much more of the original Herodian stonework than the "Little Western Wall". In religious terms, the "Little Western Wall" is presumed to be closer to the Holy of Holies and thus to the "presence of God", the underground Warren's Gate, out of reach since the 12th century more so. Whilst the wall was considered Muslim property as an integral part of the Haram esh-Sharif and waqf property of the Moroccan Quarter, a right of Jewish prayer and pilgrimage existed as part of the Status Quo; the earliest source mentioning this specific site as a place of worship is from the 16th century. The previous sites used by Jews for mourning the destruction of the Temple, during periods when access to the city was prohibited to them, lay to the east, on the Mount of Olives and in the Kidron Valley below it.
From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none was successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish and Muslim communities, the latter being worried that the wall could be used to further Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and thus Jerusalem. During this period outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace, with a deadly riot in 1929 in which 133 Jews were killed and 339 injured. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War the Eastern portion of Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan. Under Jordanian control Jews were expelled from the Old City including the Jewish quarter, Jews were barred from entering the Old City for 19 years banning Jewish prayer at the site of the Western Wall; this period ended on June 10, 1967, when Israel gained control of the site following the Six-Day War. Three days after establishing control over the Western Wall site the Moroccan Quarter was bulldozed by Israeli authorities to create space for what is now the Western Wall plaza.
Early Jewish texts referred to a "western wall of the Temple", but there is doubt whether the texts were referring to the outer, retaining wall called today "the Western Wal
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
Przemyśl is a city in south-eastern Poland with 66,756 inhabitants, as of June 2009. In 1999, it became part of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. Przemyśl owes its rich history to the advantages of its geographic location; the city lies in an area connecting mountains and lowlands known as the Przemyśl Gate, with open lines of transportation, fertile soil. It lies on the navigable San River. Important trade routes that connect Central Europe from Przemyśl ensure the city's importance. Different names in various languages have identified the city throughout its history. Selected languages include: Bulgarian: Пшемишъл. Przemyśl, the second-oldest city in southern Poland, appears to date from as early as the 8th century; the region subsequently became part of the 9th-century Great Moravian state. Archeological remains testify to the presence of a monastic settlement as early as the 9th century. Przemyśl was one of the main strongholds of the Lendians. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area declared allegiance to the Hungarian authorities.
The Przemyśl region became a site of contention between Poland, Kievan Rus and Hungary beginning in at least the 9th century. The area was mentioned for the first time in 981 by Nestor, when Vladimir I of Kievan Rus took it over on the way into Poland. In 1018 Przemyśl returned to Poland, in 1031 it was retaken by Rus; the palatium complex was built during the rule of Bolesław I Chrobry. Between the 11th and 12th century the city was a capital of the Principality of Peremyshl, one of the principalities comprising the Kievan Rus' state. Sometime before 1218 an Eastern Orthodox eparchy was founded in the city. Przemyśl became part of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia. In 1340 Przemyśl was taken by Casimir III of Poland and became part of the Polish kingdom as result of the Galicia–Volhynia Wars. Around this time the first Roman Catholic diocese was founded in the city, Przemyśl was granted city rights based on Magdeburg rights, confirmed in 1389 by king Władysław II Jagiełło; the city prospered as an important trade centre during the Renaissance period.
Like nearby Lviv, the city's population consisted of a great number of nationalities, including Poles, Jews, Germans and Armenians. The long period of prosperity enabled the construction of such handsome public buildings as the Old Synagogue of 1559. A Jesuit college was founded in the city in 1617; the prosperity came to an end in the middle of the 17th century, due to wartime destruction during The Deluge and the general decline of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at this time. The city decline lasted for over a hundred years, only at the end of the 18th century did it recover its former levels of population. In 1754, the Roman Catholic bishop founded Przemyśl's first public library, only the second public library in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Przemyśl's importance at that time was such that when Austria annexed eastern Galicia in 1772 the Austrians considered making Przemyśl their provincial capital, before deciding on Lwów. In the mid-eighteenth century, Jews constituted 55.6% of the population, Roman Catholics 39.5%, Greek Catholics 4.8%.
In 1772, as a consequence of the First Partition of Poland, Przemyśl became part of the Austrian empire, in what the Austrians called the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. According to the Austrian census of 1830, the city was home to 7,538 people of whom 1,508 were members of the Greek Catholic Church, a larger number of Ruthenians than in most Galician cities. In 1804 a Ruthenian library was established in Przemyśl. By 1822 its collection had over 33,000 books and its importance for Ruthenians was comparable to that held by the Ossolineum library in Lviv for Poles. Przemyśl became the center of the revival of Byzantine choral music in the Greek Catholic Church; until eclipsed by Lviv in the 1830s, Przemyśl was the most important city in the Ruthenian cultural awakening in the nineteenth century. In 1861 the Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis was built connecting Przemyśl with Kraków to the west and Lviv to the east. In the middle of the 19th century, due to the growing conflict between Austria and Russia over the Balkans, Austria grew more mindful of Przemyśl's strategic location near the border with the Russian Empire.
During the Crimean War, when tensions mounted between Russia and Austria, a series of massive fortresses, 15 km in circumference, were built around the city by the Austrians. The census of 1910 showed. Roman Catholics were the most numerous – 25,306, followed by Jews – 16,062 and Greek Catholics – 12,018. With technological progress in artillery during the second half of the 19th century, the old fortifications became obsolete; the longer range of rifled artillery necessitated the redesign of fortresses so that they would be larger and able to resist the newly available guns. To achieve this, between the years 1888 and 1914 Przemyśl was turned into a first class fortress, the third largest in Europe out of about 200 that were built in this period. Around the city, in a circle of circumference 45 km, 44 forts of various sizes were built; the older fortifications were modernised to provide the fortress with an internal defence ring. The fortress was des
Višnjan is a village and municipality in Istria, Croatia. Višnjan is the site of Višnjan Observatory; the observatory is home of several long-running international summer programs for youth in astronomy, marine biology and other disciplines. Višnjan is located 3 kilometers west of Pula-Koper road. Višnjan is located on elevation of 244m and average municipality elevation is between 200-300m. One of the most notable sinkholes in Istria, Baredina, is located in the municipality. According to the 2001 census Višnjan had a population of 625 with a total municipal population of 2187 of which 71.7% were Croats, 9.1% were Italians and 6.2% declared themselves as Istrians. Like most settlements in Istrian interior Višnjan is experiencing depopulation in the last decades as people are migrating towards the coast. In the village of Strpačići, 1 km from Višnjan copper earrings and needles were found. Illyrians came to the region somewhere between 2000 and 1000 BC and were replaced by Celts; the remains of the Celtic era can be found on the nearby Montemez hill, Celtic for nice hill.
Remnants of pottery can be found all over the area as well in the town itself. A few kilometers west from Višnjan there is a prehistoric and medieval settlement called Dilian with a monastery and church named Saint Mihovil dating from the 11th century. Višnjan was first mentioned in a document from 1003 AD. Višnjan was surrounded by a defense wall until the 18th century; the City was entered through a gate crowned with an open book. Višnjan was part of the Motovun municipality until 1847, it was subsequently incorporated into Poreč municipality in 1947. In 1976 an astronomical observatory was built in Višnjan and the town became the astronomy centre of Yugoslavia. In 1993 Višnjan again became an independent municipality. Most of Višnjan's economy comes from agriculture olive growing and viticulture. Višnjan is known as one of the last resorts in Istria of autochthon Istrian bovine Boškarin. Boškarin, the first geno-park in Croatia, was founded With the intention of preserving Boškarin in Višnjan.
Most of the people travel daily to work. Višnjan official site Višnjan Observatory Webcam of Višnjan
German occupation of Luxembourg during World War II
The German occupation of Luxembourg in World War II began in May 1940 after the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg was invaded by Nazi Germany. Although Luxembourg was neutral, it was situated at a strategic point at the end of the French Maginot Line. On 10 May 1940, the German Wehrmacht invaded Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Luxembourg was placed under a Military administration, but became a civilly administrated territory and was annexed directly into Germany; the Germans believed Luxembourg to be a Germanic state, attempted to suppress what they perceived as alien French language and cultural influences. Although some Luxembourgers joined the resistance or collaborated with the Germans, both constituted a minority of the population; as German nationals, from 1942, many Luxembourgers were conscripted into the German military. Nearly 3,500 Luxembourgish Jews were killed during the Holocaust; the liberation of the country by the Allies began in September 1944, but due to the Ardennes Offensive it was not completed until early 1945.
The outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939 put Luxembourg’s government in a delicate situation. On the one hand, the population's sympathy lay with France; as of 1 September, Radio Luxembourg stopped broadcasting. In spring 1940, fortifications were erected along the borders with France; the so-called Schuster Line, named after its constructor, consisted of massive concrete roadblocks with steel doors. The official aim of these road blocks was to slow down the progress of any invading army and give time for the guarantors of Luxembourg's neutrality to take counteractions against the invaders. However, compared to the massive power of the German forces, it only had symbolic character and helped to calm down the population. Except for its small Corps des Gendarmes et Volontaires, Luxembourg did not possess an army, due to the treaty's restrictions. After several false alarms in the spring of 1940, the probability of a military conflict between Germany and France grew. Germany stopped the export of coke for the Luxembourgish steel industry.
The steel doors of the Schuster Line were ordered closed on 10 May 1940 at 03:15, following movements of German troops on the east side of the border rivers Our and Mosel. In the meantime, German special forces dressed as civilians and supported by Germans living in Luxembourg - the so-called Stoßtrupp Lützelburg - tried to sabotage radio broadcasting and the barricades along the German-Luxembourgish border but their attempt failed; the Royal Family was evacuated from its residence in Colmar-Berg to the Grand Ducal palace in Luxembourg City. The German invasion, made up of the 1st, 2nd, 10th Panzer Divisions began at 04:35, they encountered no significant resistance save for some bridges destroyed and some land mines, since the majority of the Luxembourgish Volunteer Corps stayed in their barracks. Luxembourgish police resisted the German troops, however, to little avail. Total Luxembourgish casualties amounted to 75 police and soldiers captured, six police wounded, one soldier wounded. At 08:00, elements of the French 3rd Light Cavalry Division of General Robert Petiet, supported by the 1st Spahi Brigade of Colonel Jouffault and the 2nd company of the 5th Armoured Battalion, crossed the southern border to conduct a probe of German forces.
By the evening of 10 May 1940, most of the country, with the exception of the south, was occupied by German forces. More than 90,000 civilians evacuated from the canton of Esch-sur-Alzette as a consequence of the advance. 47,000 fled to France, 45,000 fled into the northern part of Luxembourg. Grand Duchess Charlotte and the government of prime minister Pierre Dupong fled to France and the United Kingdom, before settling in Canada for the duration of the war. Charlotte, exiled in London, became an important symbol of national unity, her eldest son and heir, volunteered for the British Army in 1942. The only official representative left behind was Albert Wehrer, head of a governmental commission, as well as the 41 members of the Chamber of Deputies. Early on 10 May 1940, the German diplomat Von Radowitz handed the general secretary of the Luxembourgish government a memorandum from the German government, stating that Germany had no intention of changing the territorial integrity or political independence of the Grand Duchy.
The following day, a military administration for Luxembourg was set up. Luxembourgish interests were represented by a governmental commission under Albert Wehrer, which consisted of senior civil servants and had been legitimated by the Chamber of Deputies. There was a good relationship between this commission and the military authorities, as Colonel Schumacher showed a broad-minded attitude towards the country's problems and a willingness to solve these in consultation with the government commission. On 13 July 1940, the Volksdeutsche Bewegung was founded in Luxembourg City under the leadership of Damian Kratzenberg, a German teacher at the Athénée de Luxembourg, its main goal was to push the population towards a German-friendly position by means of propaganda, it was this organisation that used the phrase Heim ins Reich. Several Deputies and high-ranking civil servants were of the opinion that Luxembourg could retain a measure of autonomy under the military administration, as had occurred in World War I, attempts were made to come to some sort of arrangement with Germany.
However, it was soon made clear by the authorities in Berlin that Luxembourg's fate would be differe
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II consisted of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the campaign in Italy until the surrender of the German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945, it is estimated that between September 1943 and April 1945, 60,000–70,000 Allied and 38,805–150,660 German soldiers died in Italy. The number of Allied casualties was about 320,000 and the German figure was over 330,000. Fascist Italy, prior to its collapse, suffered about 200,000 casualties POWs taken in the Allied invasion of Sicily, including more than 40,000 killed or missing. Over 150,000 Italian civilians died, as did 35,828 anti-Fascist partisans and some 35,000 troops of the Italian Social Republic. In the West, no other campaign cost more than Italy in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces of both sides, during bitter small-scale fighting around strongpoints at the Winter Line, the Anzio beachhead and the Gothic Line.
The campaign ended when Army Group C surrendered unconditionally to the Allies on May 2, 1945, one week before the formal German Instrument of Surrender. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican, both surrounded by Italian territory suffered damage during the campaign. Before the victory in the North African Campaign in May 1943, there was disagreement among the Allies on the best strategy to defeat the Axis; the British the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, advocated their traditional naval-based peripheral strategy. With a large army, but greater naval power, the traditional British answer against a continental enemy was to fight as part of a coalition and mount small peripheral operations designed to weaken the enemy; the United States, with the larger U. S. Army, favoured a more direct method of fighting the main force of the German Army in Northwestern Europe; the ability to launch such a campaign depended on first winning the Battle of the Atlantic. The strategic disagreement was fierce, with the U.
S. service chiefs arguing for an invasion of France as early as possible, while their British counterparts advocated a policy centred on operations in the Mediterranean. There was pressure from some Latin American countries to stage an invasion of Spain, which under Francisco Franco was friendly to the Axis nations, although not a participant in the war; the American staff believed that a full-scale invasion of France at the earliest possible time was required to end the war in Europe, that no operations should be undertaken that might delay that effort. The British argued that the presence of large numbers of troops trained for amphibious landings in the Mediterranean made a limited-scale invasion possible and useful; the U. S. and British political leadership reached a compromise in which both would commit most of their forces to an invasion of France in early 1944, but launch a small-scale Italian campaign. A contributing factor was Franklin D. Roosevelt's desire to keep US troops active in the European theatre during 1943 and his attraction to the idea of eliminating Italy from the war.
It was hoped that an invasion might knock Italy out of the conflict, or at least increase the pressure on it and weaken it. The elimination of Italy would enable Allied naval forces, principally the Royal Navy, to dominate the Mediterranean Sea, securing the lines of communications with Egypt, the Far East, the Middle East and India. Italian divisions on occupation and coastal defence duties in the Balkans and France would be withdrawn to defend Italy, while the Germans would have to transfer troops from the Eastern Front to defend Italy and the entire southern coast of France, thus aiding the Soviets. A combined Allied invasion of Sicily began on 10 July 1943 with both amphibious and airborne landings at the Gulf of Gela; the land forces involved were the U. S. Seventh Army, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Montgomery; the original plan contemplated a strong advance by the British northwards along the east coast to Messina, with the Americans in a supporting role along their left flank.
When the Eighth Army were held up by stubborn defences in the rugged hills south of Mount Etna, Patton amplified the American role by a wide advance northwest toward Palermo and directly north to cut the northern coastal road. This was followed by an eastward advance north of Etna towards Messina, supported by a series of amphibious landings on the northern coast that propelled Patton's troops into Messina shortly before the first units of the Eighth Army; the defending German and Italian forces were unable to prevent the Allied capture of the island, but they succeeded in evacuating most of their troops to the mainland, with the last leaving on 17 August 1943. The Allied forces gained experience in opposed amphibious operations, coalition warfare, large airborne drops. Forces of the British Eighth Army, still under Montgomery, landed in the'toe' of Italy on 3 September 1943 in Operation Baytown, the day the Italian government agreed to an armistice with the Allies; the armistice was publicly announced on 8 September by two broadcasts, first by General Eisenhower and by a proclamation by Marshal Badoglio.
Although the German forces prepared to defend without Italian assistance, only two of their divisions opposite the Eighth Army and one at Salerno were not tied up disarming the Royal Italian Army. On 9 September, forces of the U. S. Fifth Army, under Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, expecting little resistance, land