Pen & Sword's Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-1945

Author/Artists: Simon Forty


Pen & Sword


$26.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 144 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-52-676620-5

Pen & Sword's Images of War series has become quite popular and for a good reason. They choose interesting subjects and do a good job picking photos to match. Each of these editions has a short history to go along with each section and it often whets the reader's appetite to dig deeper into various aspects of the the subject at hand.

This book is on the Italian theater. This was very much a political part of the war. The US had no real desire to spend the effort in the Mediterranean, but events in North Africa brought to light that American forces were simply not battle tested enough to partake in a western European invasion as soon as they wanted. Most of the motivation to do operations in Italy were due to the British in general and Churchill in particular. They felt that invading Sicily then Italy would cause the collapse of the Italian government and tied down German forces that could otherwise be used against the Soviets. Indeed, the entire Italian campaign was probably as much due to pressure on Churchill from Stalin as the Soviets really wanted to have a second front somewhere. 

Well, they got that second front. This did actually lead to the collapse of the Italian government, however, Italy is a horrible place to wage war. There is not a lot of flat land and the mountainous terrain really favors the defender, in this case the Germans. It also did not help that the US general in charge was Mark Clark, a man who really did not deserve to be put in charge. His desire for a triumphant entry into Rome in 1944 allowed the German 10th Army to escape entrapment pretty much intact and only prolonged the war in this area of the world.

The book is divided into several sections. First is basically a background into what went prior to the start of combat so you can see why the fight over Italy was done. Next is a section on Sicily which is followed by the Invasion of Italy proper. Then a section on how the war bogged down due to the defense of Cassino and the Gustav Line. The landings at Anzio and the march on Rome are next. This is followed by the advance up the peninsula to Bologna and then we finally get to the end game and the conclusion of hostilities.

As mentioned, a very good compilation of photos for each section. In addition, the author includes maps which is a big help for those not somewhat familiar to the war in this theater. Well worth picking up and one that I can easily recommend to you.

May 2020

Copyright All rights reserved.

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.