Sicily invasion: some background
The following big picture information is courtesy of Mike Hunter and much appreciated. Thanks Mike!
The Canadian part of this big operation required moving 26,000 men and all the materials required to allow them to live and wage war in a tropical climate. The move was 2000 miles over unsafe waters. There were 4 separate convoys of ships of all kinds. The two “Assault” convoys carried the men and materials required for the assault on the Sicilian beaches on day one. The two “Follow-up” convoys carried the men and materials required for support and continued action. They were scheduled to arrive off the beaches about 3 days after the initial landings. Alex tells us that they left Scotland on June 25. That puts him and his unit in one of the “Follow-up” convoys and therefore the Calgary Tanks are not to be part of the Sicilian “D” day landing. In fact no Canadian tanks will be in the “first wave”. It is clear, from his July 8 posting, that they still have been given no real information about their destination and role. To put that in perspective it is now only about 48 hours until the landings begin and the troops in the “Assault” convoys had been given all the information and their orders on July first! A good example of “need to know”. One other thing they didn’t know (and it is probably just as well) is that, in the evening and night of July 4/5, three (3) ships were torpedoed and sunk with the loss of more than 50 Canadian lives and a large amount of very important material and supplies.