Operation Husky

On the 5th of July 2023, Battlefront Malta members set sail from the Grand Harbour on a memorable five-day journey across large parts of the island of Sicily following in the footsteps of the 231st Infantry Brigade. This voyage sought to commemorate the men who fought and died during Operation Husky and throughout this article we hope to share our amazing experience of our Sicilian adventure.

Preparations for our expedition initiated at the start of the year with numerous meetings to develop plans, routes, assignments, and logistics. It was immediately clear that this trip was only possible with the right equipment, so an agreement was reached with Mr. Simon Cusens for the use of his AEC Matador. The Matador was accompanied by Bernard Bruno’s Standard Flying Nine and Stephen Soler’s Standard Utility, and so our vehicle arsenal was complete. Work immediately commenced on the AEC Matador where members voluntarily gave their time across several months to maintain and repaint the Matador.

As the launch date drew closer, final preparations were completed, and on the 5th of July the convoy assembled at Kappara where remaining equipment was loaded. The convoy set off with great anticipation of the crossing from Valletta to Pozzallo. Fair seas made the trip delightful and as the sun was going down, we disembarked on the Sicilian shore.

We set up camp in Pozzallo, and the following morning the second party landed and was picked up to start our drive along the coast to the Sicilian capital – Catania. The first official day’s drive took us through Avola and Cassibile to our first stop, a small airfield on the outskirts of Siracuse. As reenactors we truly believe that to understand history in the context of the soldier’s experience, we must put ourselves in their story, and to this end, we stopped at this airfield to experience skydiving where six brave members got a small taste of what thousands of parachutists experienced whilst heading into combat. After six successful landings, the convoy made its way to that nights’ camp and a relaxing swim.

The second day saw us crossing the Ponte Grande bridge on our way north to the Thapsos peninsula. During this drive we made a stop at the Syracuse Commonwealth War Cemetery to pay our respects to the fallen soldiers. After this sombre visit, we drove to the peninsula which was protected by a number of bunkers and pillboxes as it hosted an entire Axis anti-aircraft battery during the war. Several members explored these positions which remain mostly intact. After a short swim and lunch in the area, we next made our way north with Etna filling the horizon to that night’s camp, enjoying the beautiful Sicilian countryside along the way.

Following breakfast, the first stop of the third day was Primosole bridge whereas with every location of interest on this trip, a small talk was given on its relevance during Operation Husky. We got back on the road and a short while later entered Catania, where the convoy arrived at the Museo dello Sbarco. The Operation Husky commemorative event of the museum was being held on this day and we added to the atmosphere as a live exhibit of war time depictions. In the afternoon we departed Catania and made our way inland towards Agira and ultimately our camping ground for the night next to Lago di Ogliastro. Under a starry night we rested and looked forward to the coming days’ adventures.

On the fourth day, we met local reenactors and together formed a convoy which headed to Piazza Armerina. Here we took part in a vehicle exhibition and also paid our respects at a monument to the fallen. In the glorious Sicilian sun, we made our way south in the direction of Gela. A myriad of pillboxes, bunkers, and other defensive structures were observed strewn in the Sicilian countryside and in key points along road junctions, bridges, and key railway installations. Passing by Gela we finally arrived at the last camp of the trip and set up sleeping arrangements.

The final day dawned, and final arrangements were proceeding, equipment sorted and stowed, personnel accounted for, and vehicle checks completed. The ultimate drive on Sicilian soil went underway in the direction of Pozzallo, where we boarded the ship and sailed off, back in the direction of home. On the horizon the shape of the unconquerable rock soon started to appear, as we steamed closer and upon entering the Grand harbour, the joy and realisation of our accomplishment were clearly visible. 


We disembarked and made our way back to our launch point in Kappara where equipment was collected. One by one everyone left to return to their loved ones and to their normal lives with the experiences of this trip forever engraved in their memory.


We would like to thank all the members, supporters and sponsors for making this trip a reality.