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5 Rearguard Action

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines and assesses British Eighth Army's tactical effectiveness in countering the German disengagement and withdrawal, and demonstrates that Eighth Army's efforts to overcome the combination of enemy demolitions and rearguard action were indeed largely ponderous and ineffectual. The difficult terrain of north-east Sicily certainly created many practical obstacles to performing this task, but the tactical methods employed were nevertheless both unimaginative and cautious. Consequently, Eighth Army's progress was more a hesitant advance than a pursuit and, with the almost complete absence of an amphibious dimension, contact with the enemy was frequently lost. Difficult lessons were, however, learned from the experience, and attack by infiltration was actively promoted as an aggressive method for combating the German rearguards.

Keywords: Allied campaign; British Eighth Army; German rearguards; north-east Sicily; tactical methods

10.1163/9789004255708_007
/content/books/b9789004255708_007
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