Patton marches into Palermo, Sicily
23rd July 1943: The congested battlefield of Sicily causes tension between Patton and Montgomery - but Patton charges off to take Palermo
In Sicily, the tremendous rivalry between two Allied commanders had nearly broken out into the open and demonstrated weaknesses in the Alliance. Montgomery was commanding British forces driving out from the southeast of Sicily for an assault on the main German forces in the east. He prevailed upon the Allied Commanders to be given two of the roads heading east upon which to base his attacks.
But this left little room for his American ally George S. Patton also to pursue the Germans. It also looked suspiciously like a British stitch-up - as the British Deputy Allied Commander, General Harold Alexander, had made the decision.
Patton1 was at first extremely frustrated but then diverted his energies to marching north to capture the first major Italian town of the campaign. In a spectacularly swift move his troops moved into Palermo on the evening of the 22nd July, his troops urged on by their commander: