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Italian Campaign: Canada and the Battle of Ortona
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Italian Campaign: Canada and the Battle of Ortona

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A Social Studies 11 presentation.

A Social Studies 11 presentation.

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  • Pass around cap badges
  • Nursery Tale: General Chris Vokes - 1 Cdn Div Commander
  • Loyal Eddies advance with Shermans of the Regiment Trois Riviers
  • German S-mine ( Schrapnellmine in German), also known as the "Bouncing Betty” German Teller Mine + a series of mines boobie trapped to a tree.
  • Tac symbol of 1 st Cdn Armoured Brigade
  • Grave of Eddies killed at Ortona

Transcript

  • 1. & Canada’s D-Day Dodgers 1943 - 1944 The Italian Campaign J. Marshall 2007
  • 2. Outline
    • Training in England
    • Sicily
    • ORTONA
    • North-West Europe
  • 3. 1) Training in England
    • Defense of Britain - attack never came
    • Long months of fitness/drills/training
    • Itching for a chance to prove themselves (Hong Hong, 1941 and Dieppe, 1942)
    • 8th Army victory over Afrika Korps
    • Appease Stalin/delay 2nd front
    • (Soft under-belly of Europe)
  • 4. 2) Sicily: July 10, 1943
  • 5.  
  • 6. 3) Ortona, Italy Dec 20 -28, 1943
    • 1st Cdn Division (Brit 8th Army) fighting crack German 1st Paratroop Division at the end of the Adriatic front for a non-strategic town
    • Deadliest close-quarter fighting of the war - Cdns invent “mouse holing”
    • Bloody December, Little Stalingrad
    • In one week: 1375 Cdn dead; almost 25% of all Canadians killed in the whole Italian campaign!
    • Everything before Ortona was a “nursery tale”
  • 7. 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Cdn Infantry Division
    • P.P.C.L.I., Seaforth Highlanders of Cda,
    • 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment
    • Eddies and Seaforths up; Patricias in reserve
    Brigade of the WEST
  • 8.
    • The Seaforth Highlanders from Vancouver move along a mined path towards the fishing town. The Cdns hit the paratroops’ “winter line.”
    The Approach: Dec 21, 1943
  • 9. Tactics:
    • Streets and alleys became killing zones
    Every window is a possible risk for the attackers. In towns, the defenders have a HUGE advantage.
  • 10. KILLING ZONE Command-detonated Booby Traps Note : interlocking arcs of fire
  • 11. The Infantry
    • Steel helmet
    • Web belt and harness
    • Ammo pouch (120 rounds)
    • Gas cape
    • Water bottle
    • Mills bomb
    • Bayonet
    • Entrenching tool
    • Wool battledress
    • Web gaiters
    • Steel-shod boots
    WW2 soldiers were even more encumbered than those in WW1, even though the battles were far more mobile!
  • 12. Evidence: What do you see?
  • 13. Prep for Battle:
    • Putting fuses in grenades
    • (Mills Bombs)
  • 14. The Threats:
    • Collapse
    • Booby traps
    • Snipers
    • Heavy weapons
    • Mines
    • Blocked tank support
    Ortona, 1943
  • 15. Pte Boyd: 49 L Edm R
    • Rescued after being buried 3 1/2 days in rubble at Ortona (sole survivor in his platoon)
  • 16. Tactics: armour support
    • Paratroops are generally lightly armed with machine guns, rifles, light mortars and grenades.
  • 17. Close Support of the Infantry
    • The Sherman’s 75 mm gun could be used to knock out paratroop strong points
  • 18. Using the 6 lb Anti-tank Gun
    • The Canadians employed all heavy weapons available to breach buildings that concealed the paratroops
  • 19.
    • Range 90 yds
    • 75 mm armour
    • Awkward to load
    • Intense recoil
    PIAT: Projector Infantry Anti-Tank
  • 20. Canadians inspect a captured belt fed MG 34 - at 900 rpm/15 rps its rate of fire was superior to the magazine fed British Bren Gun. mouse holes?
  • 21. Many civilians did not leave prior to the attack
    • This German paratrooper had dressed in civilian clothing to escape detection as he entered Ortona, Dec 13, 1943
  • 22. Evidence: what do you see?
  • 23. Lead-up to Christmas Eve
    • Field Marshal Kesselring ordered Ortona reinforced - the Allies had made “Ortona as important at Rome”
    • The paratroops staged an intense counterattack on Dec 24. The Cdns held on.
  • 24. C h r i s t m a s, 1943
    • First Christmas in battle - Captain Cameron QM of the Seaforths - scrounged roast pork, 2 beer and chocolate served to each company in turn.
    • Sergeant “Smokey” Smith VC-
    • a dinner ain’t worth dyin’ for.
  • 25. Church of Santa Maria di Constantinopoli
    • Followed Dec 24 German counter-attack
    • LCol Syd Thomson
    • Padre Roy Durnford
    • Pork dinner and carols under wet skies and a “hole”y roof
  • 26. Mopping Up: Dec 28, 1943
  • 27. Utter Destruction Canadian soldiers experienced a high rate of “battle shock” during this operation and morale suffered due to the high casualty rate. “ Everything before Ortona was a fairy tale”: General Chris Volkes
  • 28. After Ortona: the road to Rome
  • 29. 4. North-West Europe
    • The Italian campaign ended in February, 1945.
    • The British 8th Army, with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, moved to NW Europe after the D-Day landings and fought in the Netherlands.
  • 30. Ortona Conclusions = Must Knows:
    • Fought by 1st Div - “ D-Day Dodgers ”
    • Ortona is remembered as “ Little Stalingrad ,” Christmas, 1943
    • Vicious street fighting with many threats
    • Mouse-holing invented
    • Almost 1/4 of all Cdn casualties in Italy
  • 31.