Europe 1943: Kursk and Sicily
By mid-1943, the Axis situation was rapidly deteriorating with Germany losing its foothold in North Africa and being forced to put its submarine campaign on hold while Allied bombers brought increasing terror to the Fatherland. Hitler's solution was a new offensive in the East, but the Russians were ready for his assault on Kursk and the Western Allies diverted his attention by invading Sicily.
5 Mar–31 Jul 1943 Battle of the Ruhr▲
In March 1943 the British launched a 5-month strategic bombing campaign against Germany’s industry-heavy Ruhr Area, bombing 26 major targets including the Krupp armament works, the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant, and the Eder valley dams. The bombers attacked by night and in concentrated streams to overwhelm both fighter defences in the air and firefighting attempts on the ground. The raids severely disrupted German industry, leading to a steel shortfall and bringing the production of many armaments to a halt.
7 May 1943 Fall of Tunis▲
Following a month of bitter fighting in Tunisia, the Allied forces broke through in early May 1943. At dawn on 7 May armor of the British Eighth Army rolled into Tunis; a few hours later the American First Army entered Bizerte. The remaining German and Italian forces in North Africa would surrender to the Allies over the following week.
24 May 1943 Black May▲
In May 1943 improved Allied escort tactics in the North Atlantic saw the Germans losing 41 U-boats—25% of those in operation—for the sinking of 34 Allied ships. Shaken by this a disastrous rise in U-boat losses, German admiral Karl Dönitz ordered a temporary halt to the U-boat campaign. This marked the turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic.
5–16 Jul 1943 Operation Citadel▲
By spring 1943 a 250-km-long salient had formed in the Eastern Front around Soviet-controlled Kursk. This encouraged the Germans to plan a major pincer attack that would cut off Soviet troops in the salient, restoring German dominance in the East. In July the German offensive began but, after meeting the Soviets in one of the largest tank battles in history, failed to break through the Soviet defence in depth.
9 Jul–17 Aug 1943 Operation Husky▲
In July 1943, in Operation Husky, an Allied invasion fleet landed 160,000 troops of the US Seventh Army and the British Eighth Army on the southeast coast of Sicily, Italy, in the largest amphibious invasion to date. Despite facing some 300,000 Italian and German personnel, the invasion proceeded quickly. The British advanced through the eastern half of the island while the Americans swept through the west, with both forces meeting at Messina on 17 August.