70 Years Ago Yesterday: The Italian Campaign Begins

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Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Ruins of the town of Monte Cassino, a result of massive Allied bombing during an attempt to dislodge German troops occupying the city, 1944.

The shock of seeing World War II images in color never goes away for some of us. Cousin LIFE has posted an almost-gaudy series of images by the great photographer Carl Mydans tracing the fighting up Italy’s boot, which began 70 years ago Wednesday.

Before dawn on July 10, 1943, more than 150,000 U.S. and allied troops, steeled by 600 tanks and shadowed by 3,000 ships and 4,000 planes, landed on the island of Sicily. Operation Husky signaled the start of the push towards Rome against largely German troops. Ten of thousands of troops on both sides died in the fighting, along with an untold number of civilians.

LIFE never published these photographs. Click here to head back 70 years in time, for the first time.