September 1 American carriers Yorktown, Essex, and Independence launch an air attack on the Japanese base on Marcus Island, 1,100 miles southeast of Tokyo. September 3 Taking the first steps in the Allied invasion of Italy, British and Canadian soldiers of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's Eighth Army land near Reggio di Calabria, on the toe of the Italian boot. September 8 In a raid on the Italian city of Frascati, American B-17s narrowly miss killing Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, German commander in the Mediterranean. September 9 Lt. General Mark Clark's US Fifth Army battles its way ashore at Salerno, Italy, against heavy German opposition. The grueling campaign for Italy will last into 1945 and cost more than 300,000 Allied casualties, but will also siphon German units away from Allied landing sites during the Normandy Invasion. September 12 The British launch Operation Accolade with landings in the Dodecanese Islands. Unsupported by the United States, this attempt to drive German forces from the Aegean Sea and draw Turkey to the Allied cause will fizzle out by November. September 12 Glider-borne German paratroopers rescue deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from his mountainside jail in Italy's Apennine Mountains. September 22 In a daring raid into Altenfjord in northern Norway, British commandos in mini-submarines (dubbed X-craft) attach explosives to the German battleship Tirpitz. The resulting explosion disables Tirpitz for six months. September 25 Continuing to push sagging German forces eastward, the Soviet Red Army recaptures the city of Smolensk. September 29 Off Malta aboard HMS Nelson, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Marshal Pietro Badoglio finalize Italy's surrender. October 1 Naples, Italy, quietly falls to the Allies. October 2 Operation Cartwheel, the Allied campaign to isolate Japanese forces at Rabaul, New Britain, continues with the capture of Finschafen, New Guinea, by Australian troops. October 4 German troops assault the Dodecanese island of Kos in the Aegean Sea, capturing a small British force and a key airstrip. October 5 A powerful US carrier task force begins a two-day bombardment of Japanese installations on Wake Island in the Pacific. October 10 A German U-boat mines the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. October 14 Repeating its historic August raid, the US Eighth Army Air Force attacks Nazi ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany. Most of the B-17s strike their targets, but German fighters jump them after Allied escorts depart. Of 291 bombers dispatched, 60 are destroyed. October 19 In London, Allied officials formalize the third protocol of the Lend-Lease agreement that provides war materiel to the Soviet Union. October 27 Germany blocks the Skagerrak, the key waterway separating Norway and Denmark. October 31 The 1st Motorized Group becomes the first Italian military unit to join the US Fifth Army as a co-belligerent.