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Sicily: The Race to Messina (July 1943 - August 1943)

Sicily: The Race to Messina (July 1943 - August 1943)

The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis (Italy and Nazi Germany). It was a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign.

Husky began on the night of July 9th, 1943, and ended August 17th. Strategically, Husky achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners. The Allies drove Axis air and naval forces from the island; the Mediterranean's sea lanes were opened and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was toppled from power. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy.

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British M4A2 Sherman Mk.III Medium Tank - 3rd County of London Yeomanry, Sicily, July 1943 British M4A2 Sherman Mk.III Medium Tank - Major Allan Grant, 3rd County of London Yeomanry, Sicily, July 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".

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US Army White M3A1 Scout Car - "Switch Off", 2nd Armored Division, Sicily, 1943 US Army White M3A1 Scout Car - "Switch Off", 2nd Armored Division, Sicily, 1943 (1:43 Scale)

As military vehicles go, the White M3A1 scout car was relatively short-lived during the war. First produced in 1938, it was basically obsolete as a front line vehicle after the North African campaign because of its limited seating capacity.

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German 88mm Flak 18/36 Anti-Aircraft Gun - Hermann Goring Division, Sicily, June 1943 German 88mm Flak 18/36 Anti-Aircraft Gun - Hermann Goring Division, Sicily, June 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Originally developed as an anti-aircraft gun, the 8.8cm FLugzeugAbwehrKanone ("Flak") was first employed in the anti-tank gun role in 1936, when the German Condor Legion was testing out its equipment during the Spanish Civil War.

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US M7 HMC Priest Self-Propelled Gun - - 2nd Armored Division, Sicily, July 1943 US M7 HMC Priest Self-Propelled Gun - 2nd Armored Division, Sicily, July 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the 'Priest' by British crews because of its pulpit-shaped machine-gun turret at the front, the M7 grew from US experience with howitzers mounted on half-tracked vehicles. The War Department soon realized that a fully tracked carriage was required, and the M3 tank was modified to fill the role.

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US Army Dodge WC 56 Command Car 7th Army Sicily, 1943 US Army Dodge WC 56 Command Car - 7th Army, Sicily, 1943 (1:43 Scale)

The 3/4 ton weapons carrier was used to transport weapons, tools and equipment in the field to frontline combat units. The body is of the commercial pickup type, with a removable canvas top mounted on three bows.

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US Army Dodge WC 56 Command Car - Liberation of Paris, August 1944 US Army Dodge WC 56 Command Car - 'Liberation of Paris', August 1944 (1:43 Scale)

The 3/4 ton weapons carrier was used to transport weapons, tools and equipment in the field to frontline combat units. The body is of the commercial pickup type, with a removable canvas top mounted on three bows.

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German Sd. Kfz. 7 8-Ton Troop Carrier/Prime Mover - Panzer Division Hermann Goring, Sicily, 1943 German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7 8-Ton Troop Carrier/Prime Mover - Panzer Division Hermann Goring, Sicily, 1943 (1:50 Scale)

Development of the Sd. Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an 8-ton half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm flak gun. The Sd. Kfz. 7 was an extremely useful vehicle, employed both as a weapons carrier and prime mover by the Wehrmacht.

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