Just past midnight on the morning of June 10th, 71 years ago, an Airborne force comprised mainly of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division led the largest parachute assault by American forces to-date, into Sicily, as part of Operation Husky.
45 mph winds blew troop carriers off course and spread Paratroopers from Gela to Syracuse, Italy. By July 14th, about two-thirds of the 505th Regiment had managed to concentrate, half the Paratroopers failed to reach their rallying points.
In spite of these mishaps, the widespread landing of airborne troops had an overall positive effect as small isolated units, acting on their own initiative, attacked vital points and created widespread panic.
*Update* I had originally made the incorrect statement that this was the first airborne assault by American airborne forces in WWII. I’m afraid I didn’t remember my history as well as I thought I did – the FIRST airborne assault by American force in WWII was actually conducted by the 509th P.I.R. during the invasion of North Africa (“Operation Torch”). Thanks to LTC. RXXXXXX of the 101st Abn. Div. for bringing this to my attention.