Photo -- See Caption Below

Formal Italian Armistice on Board the HMS Nelson Anchored at Malta
September 28, 1943

In July 1943, the Allied forces under Eisenhower invaded Sicily.  The island fell in thirty-eight days of hard fighting.
The Fascist government of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was soon overthrown from within and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy arranged an armistice with the Allies.  Officially the country had switched sides in the war. 

On September 28, 1943, twenty days after the announcement of the armistice, Eisenhower met with the King’s appointee, Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, on board the Battleship HMS Nelson anchored off Malta, to sign the detailed version of the agreement.  However, the German 10th Army stubbornly opposed Italy being taken over by the Allies.  German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring moved rapidly to occupy most of the country.  The stage was set for a long costly campaign to liberate the peninsula.

Eisenhower National Historic Site, EISE 14976c.