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Operation Slapstick was the code name for a British landing from the sea at the Italian port of Taranto during the Second World War. The operation, one of three landings during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, was undertaken by airborne troops of the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George Hopkinson.

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  • 40.470980555555556 17.236175
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  • Operation Slapstick
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  • Operation Slapstick was the code name for a British landing from the sea at the Italian port of Taranto during the Second World War. The operation, one of three landings during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, was undertaken by airborne troops of the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George Hopkinson.
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  • Operation Slapstick
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  • Operation Slapstick was the code name for a British landing from the sea at the Italian port of Taranto during the Second World War. The operation, one of three landings during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, was undertaken by airborne troops of the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George Hopkinson. Planned at short notice, the mission followed an offer by the Italian government to open the ports of Taranto and Brindisi on the heel of Italy to the Allies. The airborne division was selected to undertake the mission, but at the time they were located in North Africa. A shortage of transport aircraft meant the division could not land in their traditional way by parachute and glider, and all the landing craft in the area were already allocated to the other landings: Operation Avalanche at Salerno on the western coast, and Operation Baytown at Calabria. Instead, the division had to be transported across the Mediterranean by ships of the Royal Navy. The landing was unopposed and the airborne division successfully captured the ports of Taranto, and later Brindisi on the Adriatic coast in working order. The only German forces in the area were elements of the 1st Parachute Division (1. Fallschirmjäger Division), which engaged the advancing British in ambushes and at roadblocks during a fighting withdrawal north. Eventually, by the end of September, the British 1st Airborne Division advanced 125 miles (201 km) to Foggia. Reinforcements from two infantry divisions had by then been landed behind them, which allowed the airborne troops to be withdrawn to Taranto. Soon after, the division, minus the 2nd Parachute Brigade, sailed for England in preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.
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  • 154 wounded
  • 48 dead
  • 58 dead
  • HMS Abdielsunk
  • Royal Navy:
  • British Army:
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  • British success
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  • TheField Ambulanceunits in the division treated 2,150 casualties, between the landing and being withdrawn. Not all of these were from the 1st Airborne Division.
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