". . . Nine months after the first landings in North Africa, the Allied Force had not merely cleared its shore of enemy force, hut had wrested from him the Sicilian bridge to use as our own in an advance on to the Italian mainland."
/s/ General Eisenhower
CASABLANCA MEETING IN JANUARY 1943
In January 1943, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, met at Casablanca. "It was then apparent," General Marshall's Report to the Secretary of War stated, "that our North African operation was to be successful, even beyond original calculations, Tunisia was a lure into which the German command continued to pour great quantities of men and materiel, commitments that were certain to be disastrous for the enemy once the winter rains ceased and the low clouds over the Sicilian Strait cleared, in the face of overwhelming Allied superiority on the sea and in the air. At the conclusion of the North African campaign, enemy killed and captured numbered 349,306 Italian and German troops, and there had been captured or destroyed on land alone nearly 200,000 tons of enemy materiel."
DECISION MADE TO ASSAULT SICILY--OPERATION HUSKY
" The problem before the Chiefs of Staff at Casablanca was the next movement to be made following the completion of the Tunisian campaign," the Report continued. "It still would have been preferable to close immediately with the German enemy in Western Europe or even in Southern France had that been possible of achievement with the resources then available to General Eisenhower. It was not. Axis control of the Mediterranean islands and the entire reach of the southern coast of Europe from Franco's Spain to Turkey denied our communications also across the Mediterranean and forced our shipping into a 12,000-mile detour around the Cape of Good Hope. The United States was still involved in the process of a vast mobilization. The Chiefs of Staff therefore considered whether we had the strength to move directly to Italy or what might be the best intermediary steps. It was decided to assault Sicily (operation HUSKY) and, with the approval of the Heads of State, General Eisenhower was advised on 23 January: 'The Combined Chiefs of Staff have resolved that an attack against Sicily will be launched in 1943 with the target date as the period of the favorable July moon.'"