Husky – Mission
The general mission assigned to the Kool Force was sailing with the assault convoy, prepared to land in support of any of the Assault Forces. In order to accomplish this, two general plans were prepared which were to be placed in operation on orders from CG Kool Force. (Plan A) – Land on one or two beaches at which beachheads had already been established, and assemble the command prepared to operate in support of the other assault forces as ordered by CG 7-A. (Plan B) – Force a landing on one or more designated beaches and operate in support of the other assault forces as ordered.
Husky – Operations
July 10 The troops’ ships and landing craft of the Kool Force arrived off Gela, Sicily, in the rendezvous area at about 0200 July 10. At about 1330, the CG of the Kool Force went aboard the flagship CG 7-A to determine the situation ashore and the expected hour for landing. At 1340 orders were received to the Kool Force. This order included a directive that the Naval Cmdr would designate suitable beaches in the Gela area. Certain 1-ID beaches were indicated as satisfactory. Upon receipt of this information, command recon parties were immediately sent ashore to make arrangements for assembly areas, routes from the beach, and the necessary guides. Later information was received from the Navy that the beaches given as satisfactory were suitable only for a certain type of craft and that the bulk of the force would land at different beaches. This change was transmitted by radio to the Chief of Staff Kool Force, ashore, who made the necessary readjustments. Debarkation was delayed some two hours by this enforced change. In the meantime, landing craft from LSTs (no landing craft could be carried on the vessels of the Kool Force except LSTs, due to their design and weight limitations) were assembled and dispatched to pick up battalion commanders from their respective ships and bring them to the Kool Force flagship for issuance of debarkation orders. Debarkation of the 18-RCT and the 1/41-AIR was initiated at 1800 and completed prior to daylight. Both units except for a few scattered detachments which had been landed at the wrong beaches were closed in assembly areas north of Highway 115 and east of Gela by daylight.
July 11 Debarkation of CCB personnel was completed before dark. Two platoons of Item 67-AR were debarked about 0200, July 11. Because of the high surf and congestion on the beach, it was decided not to unload additional armored vehicles during the hours of darkness. The balance of the CCB vehicles was started ashore at about 1100. By dark, all the tanks of the 3/67-AR, 8 tanks of 82-Recon, and the bulk of the 78-FAB vehicles were ashore. About 1000 the 1-ID was counter-attacked by elements of the Hermann Goering Panzer Regiment consisting of 30 to 40 tanks (Mark IV, Mark IV Specials, and Mark VI-1). These tanks broke through the 1-ID position and debouched on the plains northeast of Gela. One platoon of Item 67-AR, some field artillery, and infantry cannon of the 1-ID engaged them and successfully repulsed the attack destroying 14 enemy tanks. The action lasted until about noon. During the course of the engagement, several tanks were unloaded and moved rapidly to the dunes north of the beach to engage the enemy in case of further penetration. Also, the dismounted elements of Dog 82-Recon were placed in position on the ridge north of the beach to prevent infiltration. These elements did not participate in this engagement but were in a position to meet the enemy had he continued his advance. At 1100, the 1/41-AIR (less Able Co), vas attached to the 1-ID, and marched to join the Rangers at Gela. About noon, George 67-AR was attached to the 1-ID to support the 16-RCT. About the same time, How 67-AR was also attached to the 1-ID, and the company (less one platoon), moved west of Gela in support of the 16-RCT.
One platoon of How 67-AR was held in the vicinity of Gela in support of the Rangers. Two platoons of Easy 67-AR, and attached to the 1-ID in Africa, were disposed of as follows, the 1st platoon joined How 67-AR, and was attached in support of the 16-RTC. The 2nd platoon reverted to the 2-AD and was assigned to CCB. During the afternoon, almost continuous bombing and strafing attacks were directed at shipping lying off Gela. Several ships and crafts were damaged by near misses. One Liberty Ship, the Robert Rowan, assigned to this division received a direct hit, exploded, and burned. The cargo and vehicle load were a complete loss except for a few DUKWS that had been unloaded prior to the attack. In the late afternoon, orders were received to protect the right flank of the 1-ID and rear, and the 2/18-RCT reverted to the 1-ID. The Kool Force was disposed of during the night of July 11-12 in compliance with this order, and as shown on the sketch.
July 12 At 0900, 3 enemy tanks of the Co 4, 1st Bn, Hermann Goering Division attacked the southeast flank of the 1-ID. Two of the three tanks wore destroyed by guns of the 32-FAB and a Plat 67-AR. The third withdrew. During the day several tank attacks were repulsed in this sector. In the sector of the 16-RCT, George 67-AR took part in several tanks vs tanks actions destroying six enemy tanks and three other vehicles with probable hits on five others. In the sector of the 26-RCT, How 67-AR supported the advance of the RCT. Effective use was made of the tanks as artillery support and in bringing up tank attacks. Six enemy tanks (including 2 Mark VI-1) were knocked out by this company in addition to the effective fire support against enemy strong points. CCB displaced forward after dark to the vicinity of Highway 115 and the Niscemi Road. The remaining tanks of Dog 82-Recon were unloaded making a total tank strength at this time of 22 medium tanks and 21 light tanks directly under the CG of the Kool Force, and 42 medium tanks attached to the 1-ID. facilities of the beach group of the Kool Force were pooled with those of the 1-ID while beaches and supply dumps were operated jointly.
July 13 Pursuant to orders of the CG of the 7-A, the use of the code name Kool Force for the 2-AD was discontinued. During the morning, the 18-RCT was released from the 2-AD and reverted to the 1-ID. The 1-RB, the 4-RB (Ranger), and the 83rd Mortar Chemical Bn were released from attachment to the 1-ID and attached to the 2-AD. The 1/41-AIR was released from attachment to the 1-ID and reverted to the 2-AD. At this time, the Rangers and the 1/41-AIR were occupying and protecting Gela and occupying positions covering the plains north and west of Gela on the heights in the vicinity of Monte San Nicola and Mount Lungo. About noon, the CG of the 2-AD ordered the Rangers, the 83-MCB, the 41-AIR, the 82-Recon (less Det.), and the 78-FAB to advance north under the cover of darkness and at 2230 to attack and secure Butera and the heights dominating the town. Information was received shortly afternoon that a force of hostile troops had entered Butera. Immediately, the town was taken under fire by Naval gunfire. Later during the afternoon, white flags were observed displayed from some of the buildings in the town. The advance moved out as scheduled and on the outskirts of Butera, considerable resistance was met. CCB in the meantime continued on its mission of protecting the right flank of the 1-ID. Tank units attached to the 1-ID continued in support of assigned combat teams.