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On the night of July 9, 1943, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily. After securing a beachhead, Gen. George Patton's U.S. Seventh Army launched an offensive into the island's western hills, Italy's Mafia land, and headed for the city of Palermo. Although there were over sixty thousand Italian troops and a hundred miles of booby trapped roads between Patton and Palermo, his troops covered the distance in a remarkable four days.

According to Italian experts, Mafia and, especially, Lucky Luciano, at that time a boss of first order, played a fundamental role in facilitation and, substantially, consenting a simple invasion of the Sicily and, so, of the South Europe.

According to U.S. experts, what role did Lucky Luciano play in facilitation of South Europe invasion? Is there agreement between U.S. and Italian experts in defining that role?

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Interesting question. +1 –  Tom Au May 11 '13 at 22:31
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What Italian experts? Can you cite sources? –  Felix Goldberg May 12 '13 at 5:16
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@Felix, according to Italian experts there is a dossier (Foreign Office 371/37327, N. R11483), preserved in the historical archive of Kew Gardens, which evidences an agreement between US Military Intelligence and Mafia. The dossier was written by Captain Scotten and was sent to General Holmes. Haven't you ever heard about this dossier? I'm really astonished! –  user2237 May 12 '13 at 9:27
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Lucky Luciano, with other Mafias, provided great network of informants and intelligence to allies in Operation Underworld and Operation Husky- Invasion of Sicily during WWII.

Operation Underworld (1942-1945):

After the SS Normandie incident, Navy contacted Meyer Lansky, a known associate of Lucky Luciano, to deal with possible Mussolini supporters within the predominantly Italian-American fisherman and dockworker population on the waterfront. Later, The State of New York, Luciano and the Navy struck a deal in which

  1. Luciano guaranteed full assistance of his organization in providing intelligence to the Navy.
  2. Luciano associate Albert Anastasia —who controlled the docks allegedly guaranteed no dockworker strikes throughout the war.
  3. Provide security for the war ships that were being built along the docks in New York Harbor.

In return, the State of New York agreed to commute Luciano’s sentence.

Operation Husky during WWII (July 1943) - Invasion of Sicily :

According to druglibrary,

Five days after the Allies landed in Sicily an American fighter plane flew over the village of Villalba, about forty-five miles north of General Patton's beachhead on the road to Palermo, and jettisoned a canvas sack addressed to "Zu Calo." "Zu Calo," better known as Don Calogero Vizzini, was the unchallenged leader of the Sicilian Mafia and lord of the mountain region through which the American army would be passing. The sack contained a yellow silk scarf emblazoned with a large black L. The L, of course, stood for Lucky Luciano, and silk scarves were a common form of identification used by mafiosi traveling from Sicily to America. It was hardly surprising that Lucky Luciano should be communicating with Don Calogero under such circumstances; Luciano had been born less than fifteen miles from Villalba in Lercara Fridi, where his mafiosi relatives still worked for Don Calogero.

In July the Civil Affairs Control Office of the U.S. army appointed Don Calogero mayor of Villalba.

But this source says Don Calogero was made an honorary Colonel of the U.S. Army.

Tim Newark's Lucky Luciano: Mafia Murderer and Secret Agent can be consider as a rich source for Lucky Luciano's role in Sicily invasion.

Two key people involve in this was Commander Charles R. Haffenden of the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence and Governor Dewey.

Tim Newark writes:

Haffenden argued the case for Luciano, saying he could persuade Governor Dewey to give him a pardon and send him to Sicily via a neutral country, such as Portugal. Full of enthusiasm for the idea, he said that Luciano recommended that U.S. forces land in the Golfo di Castellammare—a favorite Mafia drug- smuggling haunt near Palermo and home to many of those mobsters caught up in the gang war of the late 1920s. Wharton seriously considered the fantastic suggestion of sending the U.S. head of organized crime to a theater of war but could see this might well become a scandal after the war and reprimanded Haffenden for a lack of political judgment. He was more than happy just getting information from these gangsters without actually sending them to fight with tommy guns on the beaches of their homeland.

Another source is Herlands report of 1954. This was an investigation carried out at the direction of the Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey to record the exact detail of the contact between US Naval Intelligence and New York’s Mafia mobsters. The US Navy were not happy with its findings, however, and the report remained secret for many decades afterwards. It is still unpublished.(SOURCE)

Luciano made many contacts available to naval intelligence which were helpful during Sicily invasion.

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Well, turns out that there is a wikipedia article about this. It is not clear from the article how valuable in reality was the help the US got from Lucky Luciano. It certainly was valuable for him, procuring him an eventual release from prison...

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