World: How the Invasion Began

The first U.S. troops to set foot on Axis Europe were paratroops. Their high half-boots hit the enemy soil early in the moonlit night of July 9, 1943—hours before Allied landing barges disgorged infantry, tanks and artillery on Sicily's shore.

The First Men. The paratroops, fit and bulky as bears in their equipment, got a final briefing just before take-off time. They knew their assignments. Some of the leading pilots had already been over the target to have a look at the lay of the land. The jumpers climbed into their planes, listened quietly...

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