In July 1943, at the time of the Invasion of Sicily, high level planning with respect to subsequent operations in the Mediterranean Theater had gone no further than a decision that a success in Sicily was to be exploited, with the means then available, in the best manner to bring about the early elimination of Italy. The details, which were largely left to the discretion of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean (SACMED), General Eisenhower, were to depend upon the extent of the Sicilian victory, subsequent political developments, and the latest intelligence as to the strength of opposing forces. The reduction of Allied Forces in the theater, both military and naval, by prospective transfers to the British Isles preparatory to the first priority Normandy Landing, scheduled for the following spring, was a further consideration.
The Allied Navies at Salerno: Operation Avalanche—September, 1943
By Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, U. S. Navy (Retired)