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On this historic day, August 17, 1943, General George S. Patton was one of the most respected, accomplished, yet controversial figures in American military lore. They reached the coastal city of Messina and secured the liberation of Sicily.
The fall of Messina marked the end of the Sicilian front,setting the stage for the invasion and liberation of mainland Europe in World War II}
Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini suffered a humiliating downfall and arrest in Rome during an Allied effort to seize an island in the Mediterranean.
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Occupation of Messina is more than an Allied victory it was a personal victory for the famously proud and bombastic Patton.
He arrived at the port city on the northeastern tip of Sicily only hours before the British Field Marshal, Bernard Montgomery.
These two famous military leaders — the Americans called "Old Blood and Guts" and the British simply "Monty" — were the so-called " They reportedly fought informal battles to beat their opponents in 'races'. to Messina.
August 1944: General George S. Patton (1885-1945), 3rd Army commander talks to Allied war correspondents in Normandy, France. (Keystone/Getty Images)
"This is a horse race on which the prestige of the US military is at stake," said Patton to his field commander. I wrote an order to the officer.
"We must win Messina before the British. Do your best to promote the success of the race."
Messina is Italy. It is only two miles from the mountains of the Strait of Messina, and is so close that there have been recent proposals to bridge the distance across the Strait of Messina.
George C. Scott attacks soldiers A scene from the 1970 film Patton. General George Patton has been charged with slapping two soldiers who were shelled during the "Race to Messina" in Sicily. (20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)
"Sicily was a natural route to mainland Italy and continental Europe, until the Punic Wars between the Carthaginians. and Rome," the National World War II Museum said in details of the campaign.
``This is a horse race on which the prestige of the American military rests.''
Allied invasion of Sicily on July 9, 1943 included the largest amphibious landing force in history up to that point.
It was the proving ground for the epic D-Day invasion of mainland France following1944.
The Allies landed her 150,000 troops in a superhuman military and industrial effort, supported by 3,000 ships and her over 4,000 aircraft. I traveled to Sicily for 3 days.
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Second world war history.
General George S. Patton buried with more than 5,000 other American soldiers who died in World War II at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
Mussolini was dismissed and arrested on his July 25th. King Victor his Emmanuel III when it becomes clear that the war has been lost for Italy.
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He was executed on 28 April 1945, nearing the end of Mussolini's war.
An angry Italian desecrated his corpse in a square in Milan the next day.
Patton, while hoping to race to Messina, saw his star dim during the Sicilian Campaign. He was reprimanded by Allied Supreme Commander Dwight his General Eisenhower for slapping his soldiers on August 3 and 10, 1943. 126}
As a result, Patton was forced to participate in the Normandy landings on his Dhis Day in June 1944. Germans on location and scope of imminent invasion.
He returned to play a heroic role in the defeat of Germany when Allied forces swept northern Europe in late 1944 and his early 1945.
Patton He died in a car accident in Germany in December 1945 and was buried with other American soldiers in the American Cemetery in Luxembourg.
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United States, Britain, Canada suffered 24,000 casualties in his five-week-long Sicilian campaign.
Kelly J. Byrne is a lifestyle his reporter for Fox News Digital.