On July 9-10 1943 an Allied armanda of 2,590 vessels launched one of the largest combined operations of World War II with the invasion of Sicily. Over the next 38 night over a half a million Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmans fought with the German and Italian counterparts for control of Sicily, or "Fortress Europe." In January of 1943, American President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met with there military advisors to devise a plan of action for the following year.  The US army had ground operations against European Axis powers, just two month before the US joined forces to make the Anglo- American invasion of North Africa. 

The Americans wanted Sicily to be the last of the Allies' Mediterranean adventures, while the British continued to regard it as only the first step in what they hoped would be an all out attack on the "soft underbelly" of Hitler's Europe. 

When the fight was over, Sicily became the first piece of Axis homeland to fall to Allied forces during World War II.

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