Book Review
Allied Armies in Italy
Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-1945
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The activities of the Allies in Sicily and Italy over the last two years of World War 2 are not much beyond the conflict at Monte Cassino, but this area of conflict was a hard fought region that this book provides a great visual coverage on.

The following portion of the introduction is from Pen and Sword:
The Italian campaign was one of the most debated of the Second World War, splitting the American and British allies, and causing great disharmony. After the fall of Rome and the surrender of Italy, the invasion of Normandy led to the Italian campaign becoming a sideshow as the ‘D-Day Dodgers’ fought their way through Italy to the Alps against a grinding defence and extreme weather.

In a sequence of 200 wartime photographs Simon Forty sums up the major events of the conflict – from the landings on Sicily to the crossing of the Po. Commanded first by Sir Harold Alexander and then Mark Clark, the Allied armies (US Fifth and British Eighth) drew men not only from Britain, the United States, France and Poland but from all over the Commonwealth – from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa – as well as such other countries as Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Palestine.

The devastation caused by the war in the cities, towns and countryside is part of the story, but perhaps the most powerful impression is made by the faces of the soldiers themselves as they look out from the Italian front of so long ago.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering ‘Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-1945’ has been authored by Simon Forty. This title from Simon Forty is one of a number of titles in the Images of War series covering mostly the Allies during World War 2 with a good number being released as part of this series. The contents of this title are provided over 144 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Photograph Sources
Chapter 1 – Setting the Scene
Chapter 2 - Sicily
Chapter 3 – The Invasion Of Italy
Chapter 4 – Cassino and the Gustav Line
Chapter 5 – Anzio and Rome
Chapter 6 - The Gothic Line and the Advance to Bologna
Chapter 7 - Endgame
Further Reading

The text entries in this title are very limited as regards dedicated text, but it does make very clear that the Americans did not want to go to Italy and instead wanted to start what became D-Day in 1943. Another aspect that is made clear is a level of mistrust on the part of the Americans who were concerned about a British Empire expansion as the war progressed. The detail is of course limited due to the small number of pages attributed to text, but it is well worth taking the time to read regardless of why you have purchased this book.

The modeller is most likely to purchase this book due to the included photographs that I feel will not leave the viewer disappointed. The photographs are all of a good quality and cover a broad spectrum of the conflict; I am particularly pleased to see the images cover work, rest and play as a certain chocolate bar puts it and so provide information relevant to any setting the modeller may wish to reproduce.

The photographs have one potential weakness which is that a number of them I have seen previously, but with that said it is good to find them all in one place covering the area of conflict. As my grandfather took part in this specific area of conflict I found myself scanning the images for him drinking tea or grabbing a smoke. A couple of images that caught my eye covers a memorial to the Polish 4th Armoured Regiment the 'Skorpions'; This monument consisted of a destroyed Polish Sherman with a cross and two scorpions, one on each side of the cross. The reason this caught my eye was that the two scorpions have since been stolen and shows me how low some people can be where respect is concerned.

The aspect of this book that makes it so valuable to the modeller are the captions that accompany the photographs, these are long in most cases and go into a very good description on what the image covers and provides snippets that may otherwise may not be observed. It is these extensive captions that make not just this book but the series of books so valuable to the modeller regardless of your areas of interest.


This title as part of the Images at War series is a good addition to the series and covers an aspect of World War 2 that tends to play second fiddle to D-Day. The images are a great mix of preparation, in action and at rest. The text despite its limitations is well written and provides a good backdrop to the photographs that are made extremely valuable due to the captions that accompany them.
Darren Baker takes a look at a recent release from Pen and Sword titled and covering 'Allied Armies in Sicily and Italy 1943-1945'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526766205
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  PUBLISHED: May 08, 2020

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Good review as always Darren. It is always interesting to see the "gaps" in coverage of various campaigns. There is a lot of coverage of the Western Desert campaign up to the second battle of El Alamein, and then the focus switches to Operation Torch and Kasserine Pass. What the Eighth Army was doing during this period is less readily available, although can be found if you are prepared to do some digging. Thereafter Sicily is well covered, but Salerno less so, and aside from Anzio and Cassino coverage is a bit sparse. Another campaign that perhaps gets less attention than it should is the Invasion of the south of France. I also have a personal interest in these campaigns as one of my uncles was at Cassino and the other was with the Royal Artillery in the 8th Army (although I don't think he was at Cassino)
MAY 09, 2020 - 02:37 AM

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