This was the British unrealised second of three airborne operations designed to facilitate the advance of General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s 8th Army northward along the east coast of Sicily after the 'Husky' (i) landings (9/10 July 1943).
After the defeat of the Axis powers in North Africa had been completed in May 1943, in strategic terms the Allies' next logical objective was to cross the Mediterranean to landing in the south of France, the Balkans, Sicily or Italy. The objective chosen was Sicily, with the landing to start on 10 July 1943. Commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander, the Allied 15th Army Group entrusted with the task comprised Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s US 7th Army, which was to land in the west between Licata and Scoglitti, and Montgomery’s 8th Army, which was to land in the south-east between Cape Passero and Syracuse.
The amphibious landings were to be aided by airborne landings during the invasion: Major General Matthew B. Ridgway’s US 82nd Airborne Division would land in support of the 7th Army, while Major General G. F. Hopkinson’s British 1st Airborne Division would undertake a trio of brigade-sized landings along the east coast to support the 8th Army.
The first British airborne landing was to be 'Ladbroke', carried out by Brigadier P. H. Hicks’s 1st Airlanding Brigade during the night of 9/10 July to take and hold the Ponte Grande bridge just outside Syracuse. The second British airborne landing was to be 'Glutton' undertaken by Brigadier E. E. Down’s 2nd Parachute Brigade on the night of 10/11 July to capture a bridge beside Augusta. However circumstances changed and the second operation was cancelled. The third British airborne landing was 'Fustian' entrusted to Brigadier G. W. Lathbury’s 1st Parachute Brigade to take the Primosole bridge across the Simeto bridge to the south of Catania.