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Italy Invaded

North American B-25s after bombing gun positions at Bologna, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo)

North American B-25s after bombing gun positions at Bologna, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo)

When German fighter pilots began making frontal attacks on AAF B-17s, chin turrets were installed on the bombers for increased defensive fire late in 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

When German fighter pilots began making frontal attacks on AAF B-17s, chin turrets were installed on the bombers for increased defensive fire late in 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

North American B-25s fly past Mount Vesuvius during an eruption. (U.S. Air Force photo)

North American B-25s fly past Mount Vesuvius during an eruption. (U.S. Air Force photo)


While the AAF was bombing Germany from England, the Allies invaded Italy. The AAF and RAF hammered airfields, bridges, railroad yards and sea ports through Sept. 2 to weaken the enemy.

In the process, Axis air forces in southern Italy were significantly reduced. The first landing was made on the toe of Italy on Sept. 3, and six days later, two more landings from the sea were made at Taranto and Salerno.

Allied airpower was used in a tactical role to support the landings by attacking enemy military and transportation facilities and by flying in paratroopers to the Salerno beachhead.

By the end of the month, German forces had been driven northward from southern Italy and Allied air units moved in to occupy the airfields previously used by the enemy, dominating the Italian sky as they advanced.

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