July 9, 2018




Construction of Piłsudski's Mound was completed in Kraków:   In 1934 the Polish Legionists, and their associations, proposed to build a monument commemorating the re-establishment of Poland's independence. The Committee to oversee construction was created in Warsaw, and was chaired by Walery Sławek. Construction began on August 6, 1934, the 20th anniversary of the departure of First Cadre Company from Kraków at the beginning of World War I. After the death of Marshal Józef Piłsudski on May 12, 1935, the Legionists - former subordinates of Piłsudski, the creator of the Legions - decided to change the name of the mound after their leader. The mound was completed on July 9, 1937. Soil from every World War I battlefield in which Poles fought was placed into the mound.


Allies invaded Sicily:  The invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, to capture the island of Sicily from German forces.  Just after midnight on July 9 to 10, 1943,  two American and two British airborne troops were dispatched, but due to strong winds of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) the aircraft was blown off course and the American parachutists landed over a large area in south-east Sicily.  Four days later, only half the US troops reached their rallying points. The British however, experienced a better landing. The seaborne invasion was successful as German troops were not expecting this line of attack under difficult conditions. The key to the successful incursion was to capture the ports in order to facilitate the buildup of Allied forces and capture German airfields.   General Montgomery's British Eighth Army was, therefore, to capture the Pachino airfield on Cape Passero and the port of Syracuse before moving northwards to take the ports of Augusta and Catania. Their objectives also included the landing fields around Gerbini, on the Catania plain. The objectives of Lieutenant General Patton's U.S. Seventh Army included capturing the port of Licata and the airfields of Ponte Olivo, Biscari and Comiso. It was then to prevent the enemy reserves from moving eastward against the Eighth Army's left flank. In the ensuing weeks, the Allied push inland was met with fierce Axis resistance, as the inclusion of Italian armour posed a veritable threat to Allied advances.  But by July 27, the German commanders realized that the campaign had swung in favor of the Allies, and the Germans began planning for evacuation of Messina.  Two days later Kesselring reported to Hitler that an evacuation could be accomplished in three days and presented initial written plans, dated August 1st. Over the next several days, the Germans commenced evacuation without approval, and transferred 12,000 men, 4,500 vehicles and 5,000 tons of equipment. Casualties were high on all sides.  Operation Husky was concluded on August 17.  Mussolini was toppled from power, and the way was opened for the Allied invasion of Italy, the beginning of the Italian Campaign, and the most ferocious battle of all - the Battle of Monte Cassino.

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