Jump to content


Candians at Ortona


  • Please log in to reply
43 replies to this topic

rick1025 #21 Posted Jul 03 2016 - 06:28

    Private

  • -Players-
  • 10199 battles
  • 9
  • Member since:
    06-23-2012
Reference to "Beehive".  This is a cone shaped demolition charge of high explosive designed to exert the explosive force toward a particular location in a concentrated area.  Thus blowing a hole through a wall, door, pillbox, etc.  

MiraclesHappen #22 Posted Jul 03 2016 - 15:44

    Sergeant

  • Players
  • 31889 battles
  • 104
  • [5THAD] 5THAD
  • Member since:
    04-07-2014

The town could not be bombed prior to attack as the port facilities were required undamanged. When the fighting was over, Ortona was a shambles, one of the most devastated towns in Italy. It is felt that no value was gained by not bombing the town and if it had been heavily blitzed just prior to our attack the task might have been considerably easier.

 

- Hence my suggestion in the first thread - 9th AF. What do I win?



word1 #23 Posted Jul 03 2016 - 19:38

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 24171 battles
  • 22
  • [CDN_T] CDN_T
  • Member since:
    01-27-2013
I glad you chose to fly the Red Ensign, the flag Canadians fought and some died for in the last war - thank you

Maruad #24 Posted Jul 03 2016 - 20:48

    Private

  • -Players-
  • 8669 battles
  • 6
  • Member since:
    03-05-2014
Great article though my favourite action by the Canadian Army in Italy was the Hasting and Prince Edward Regiment's accomplishments at Assoro.

humanity_priority #25 Posted Jul 04 2016 - 01:25

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 11950 battles
  • 13
  • [HARMD] HARMD
  • Member since:
    08-16-2011
Very interesting read, thank you Chieftain. I would also like to hear perspective on the leader/commander thing.

PuckChaser #26 Posted Jul 04 2016 - 02:01

    Staff sergeant

  • Players
  • 21371 battles
  • 475
  • Member since:
    11-15-2010

The Battle of Ortona also produced a Victoria Cross winner, Paul Triquet:

 

http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/gal/vcg-gcv/bio/triquet-p-eng.asp

 

Block Quote

 

Citation

“For determined leadership and example.

The capture of the key road junction on the main Ortona-Orsogna lateral was entirely dependent on securing the hamlet of Casa Berardi. Both this and a gully in front of it had been turned by the Germans into formidable strong points defended by infantry and tanks.

On 14th December, 1943, Captain Triquet’s company of the Royal 22e Regiment with the support of a squadron of a Canadian Armoured Regiment was given the task of crossing the gully and securing Casa Berardi. Difficulties were encountered from the outset. The gully was held in strength and on approaching it the force came under extremely heavy fire from machine guns and mortars. All the company officers and 50 per cent of the men were killed or wounded. Showing superb contempt for the enemy Captain Triquet went round reorganizing the remainder and encouraging them with the words ‘Never mind them, they can’t shoot’. Finally when enemy infiltration was observed on all sides shouting ‘There are enemy in front of us, behind us and on our flanks, there is only one safe place – that is on the objective’ he dashed forward and with his men following him, broke through the enemy resistance. In this action four tanks were destroyed and several enemy machine gun posts silenced.

Against the most bitter and determined defence and under heavy fire Captain Triquet and his company, in close co-operation with the tanks forced their way on until a position was reached on the outskirts of Casa Berardi. By this time the strength of the company was reduced to 2 sergeants and 15 men. In expectation of a counter-attack Captain Triquet at once set about organizing his handful of men into a defensive perimeter around the remaining tanks and passed the ‘mot d’ordre. Ils ne passeront pas’.

A fierce German counter-attack supported by tanks developed almost immediately. Captain Triquet, ignoring the heavy fire, was everywhere encouraging his men and directing the defence and by using whatever weapons were to hand personally accounted for several of the enemy. This and subsequent attacks were beaten off with heavy losses and Captain Triquet and his small force held out against overwhelming odds until the remainder of the battalion took Casa Berardi and relieved them the next day.

Throughout the whole of this engagement Captain Triquet showed the most magnificent courage and cheerfulness under heavy fire. Wherever the action was hottest he was to be seen shouting encouragement to his men and organizing the defence. His utter disregard of danger, his cheerfulness and tireless devotion to duty were a constant source of inspiration to them. His tactical skill and superb leadership enabled them, although reduced by casualties to a mere handful, to continue their advance against bitter resistance and to hold their gains against determined counter-attacks. It was due to him that Casa Berardi was captured and the way opened for the attack on the vital road junction.”

(London Gazette, no.36408, 6 March 1944)

 

Here's some video from the CBC archives with LCol Triquet, V.C. recalling the battle on that day:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/the-italian-campaign-victoria-cross-recipient-triquet-recalls-ortona

 

My french is a little rusty, but his statement in the citation is: "The orders are, they will not pass".


Edited by PuckChaser, Jul 04 2016 - 02:04.


Rumbleghost #27 Posted Jul 04 2016 - 02:45

    Sergeant

  • Players
  • 54087 battles
  • 244
  • Member since:
    12-18-2011

View Postrick1025, on Jul 03 2016 - 06:19, said:

In the Chieftain's article he mentioned that 250 yards of front were assigned to a battalion.  A battalion is 300 men not 600 men.  It should also be noted that 300 men is a full strength battalion.

 

By the time the Canadian troops reached the town of Ortona, the actual battle lasted from December 20 to 28, 1943, they had been fighting the Germans in previous battles across the Moro River approaching Ortona since December 6th.  At Ortona a "battalion" often consisted of less than 100 men (the size of a company) that were expected to (and did) perform the job required of a battalion.  At Ortona in 1943 Canadian forces deployed were the Canadian Infantry Corps (The Saskatoon Light Infantry, 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade [The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment and 48th Highlanders of Canada], 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade [Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Regiment and The Loyal Edmonton Regiment], 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade [Royal 22e Regiment (the Van Doos), The Carleton and York Regiment and The West Nova Scotia Regiment] plus 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade [11th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Ontario Tanks), 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Three Rivers Tanks) and 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Calgary Tanks) and The Canadian Armoured Corps consisting of the 4th Reconnaissance Regiment [4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards] all backed up by units from The Royal Canadian Artillery, Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers and the Royal Canadian Medical Corps.

 

The end of the Moro River/Ortona battle was January 4th 1944.  Canadian casualties in December alone were 253 officers and 3703 other ranks (502 killed). 

 

There are 3 excellent books written by Mark Zuehlke about the Canadian campaign in Italy.  They are "Ortona", "Liri Valley" and "The Gothic Line".  Canadians landed with the British in Sicily and ended their campaign in Italy in April 1945 when they were re-united with the Canadian troops in Northwest Europe to finish WW II as the Canadian Army.           

 

 

 

The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battalion

During peacetime (thankfully we've had plenty of it) a battalion often doesn't consist of it's fighting strength of 4 companies of 3 platoons each, plus administrative staff, plus, plus, plus... Still, I have no idea where you would come up with a figure like 300 for a full strength battalion.


 



Bladehold #28 Posted Jul 04 2016 - 18:44

    Private

  • Players
  • 21910 battles
  • 2
  • [-D1G-] -D1G-
  • Member since:
    12-30-2011

Nicely done, but to put it to context you have to look at who they were fighting against.  The German troops holding the city was the 1st Parachute Division, an elite formation who were ordered by Hitler to hold the city at any cost.  British  Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander commanding the Allied Armies in Italy, regarded them as "the best German troops in Italy".  After withdrawing from Ortona they were shifted to hold Monte Cassino, which they did from Feb. 1944 to May of 1945.  In the 8 days of fighting in and around Ortona the Canadians lost 1,375 men, which was about 25% of all they lost in Italy. Campaign.

On another note the entire battle ended up just a waste of men.  The object was to capture Ortona because it was a deep water port, but the Germans destroyed the port facilities.



JTF2MAV #29 Posted Jul 05 2016 - 00:50

    Private

  • Players
  • 24666 battles
  • 1
  • [UNA] UNA
  • Member since:
    02-16-2014

View Postrick1025, on Jul 03 2016 - 06:19, said:

By the time the Canadian troops reached the town of Ortona, the actual battle lasted from December 20 to 28, 1943, they had been fighting the Germans in previous battles across the Moro River approaching Ortona since December 6th.  At Ortona a "battalion" often consisted of less than 100 men (the size of a company) that were expected to (and did) perform the job required of a battalion.  At Ortona in 1943 Canadian forces deployed were the Canadian Infantry Corps (The Saskatoon Light Infantry, 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade [The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment and 48th Highlanders of Canada], 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade [Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Regiment and The Loyal Edmonton Regiment], 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade [Royal 22e Regiment (the Van Doos), The Carleton and York Regiment and The West Nova Scotia Regiment] plus 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade [11th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Ontario Tanks), 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Three Rivers Tanks) and 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Calgary Tanks) and The Canadian Armoured Corps consisting of the 4th Reconnaissance Regiment [4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards] all backed up by units from The Royal Canadian Artillery, Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers and the Royal Canadian Medical Corps.

 

There are 3 excellent books written by Mark Zuehlke about the Canadian campaign in Italy.  They are "Ortona", "Liri Valley" and "The Gothic Line".  Canadians landed with the British in Sicily and ended their campaign in Italy in April 1945 when they were re-united with the Canadian troops in Northwest Europe to finish WW II as the Canadian Army.            

 

Thanks very much for the article Chieftain, and rick2015 for this addition. My grandfather fought in Italy as part of the Carlton and York Regiment (from New Brunswick), mentioned above. I also have those books mentioned above, very intense reading just like the article. Hard to imagine being ordered to attack some of those strongholds, but they did it, and it helped to divert troops to otherwise fight the Normandy invasion, IMO.



tod914 #30 Posted Jul 05 2016 - 05:25

    Captain

  • Players
  • 47678 battles
  • 1,325
  • [RDNKS] RDNKS
  • Member since:
    12-23-2013

http://www.kerynne.c...trybttntoe.html

 

If the Canadian TO&E is remotely close to the British TO&E of WW2, there are 575 men in the line units alone, to include their company HQ.  I didn't add up the CS or CSS units in the Bn..  Excellent article Chieftain.  Always enjoy viewing your videos and reading your publications. 



DoubleBlack #31 Posted Jul 05 2016 - 16:38

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 32209 battles
  • 41
  • Member since:
    12-28-2012
Thank you for getting the flag right even though the nationality was a little off.

Anlushac11 #32 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 00:17

    Major

  • Players
  • 32879 battles
  • 2,088
  • Member since:
    05-25-2013

I was also perplexed by the PIAT comment since Projector Infantry Anti Tank is fired by a big spring thats hard as hell to [edited].

 

Its basically a spring fired HEAT round.

 

Maybe he is referring to the blast of the round going off when your inside same building or floor. It was my understanding that British Para's in Arnhem fired PIAT's from windows at German vehicles without problems.

 

Cadians...Someone plays Warhammer 40k ("Fear not and be proud, for we are the sons of Sanguinius, the protectors of Mankind. Aye, we are indeed the Angels of Death." )



The_Chieftain #33 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 00:39

    Military Specialist

  • Administrator
  • 9515 battles
  • 9,419
  • [WGA-A] WGA-A
  • Member since:
    09-08-2011
It's not spring fired, it's a mortar, fired by an explosive charge. The spring basically is for the firing pin.

Anlushac11 #34 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 05:59

    Major

  • Players
  • 32879 battles
  • 2,088
  • Member since:
    05-25-2013
Well..yes and no. Its a spigot mortar. The spring loaded rod fires small explosive charge that re-[edited]the spring and rod. Range is only 100M but accuracy limits its use to about 50M.

lightwaveTT #35 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 06:09

    First lieutenant

  • -Players-
  • 12472 battles
  • 885
  • Member since:
    12-06-2014

i found this picture to make a little more sense of things.

 

http://canadiansoldiers.com/history/battlehonours/italiancampaign/Maportona2.gif

 

from this site.

 

http://canadiansoldiers.com/history/battlehonours/italiancampaign/ortona.htm



stalkervision #36 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 17:29

    Major

  • Players
  • 47828 battles
  • 7,460
  • Member since:
    11-12-2013

View PostAnlushac11, on Jul 05 2016 - 23:59, said:

Well..yes and no. Its a spigot mortar. The spring loaded rod fires small explosive charge that re-[edited]the spring and rod. Range is only 100M but accuracy limits its use to about 50M.

 

​I believe your right.

 

Watch -> 


Edited by stalkervision, Jul 06 2016 - 17:37.


AlasdhairM #37 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 17:57

    Corporal

  • Players
  • 579 battles
  • 43
  • Member since:
    07-19-2012

If ever there were a time for flamethrowers, it is MOUT. 



stalkervision #38 Posted Jul 06 2016 - 21:28

    Major

  • Players
  • 47828 battles
  • 7,460
  • Member since:
    11-12-2013
German Stick grenades are designed for concussive effect. Just the thing to clear a room quickly and cleanly.  

Anlushac11 #39 Posted Jul 07 2016 - 09:58

    Major

  • Players
  • 32879 battles
  • 2,088
  • Member since:
    05-25-2013

View PostAlasdhairM, on Jul 06 2016 - 11:57, said:

If ever there were a time for flamethrowers, it is MOUT. 

 

The problem with flamethrowers is they tend to remove the oxygen in a area to feed the fire. Using it outside yes, inside might be a problem.

 

I would think White Phosphorous would do better in this case.



Obsidian_Order #40 Posted Jul 12 2016 - 21:27

    Private

  • Players
  • 36724 battles
  • 1
  • [25CDN] 25CDN
  • Member since:
    07-14-2013

Excellent read Cheiftan !

My Uncle fought at Ortuna and I think this honors him well ! He rarely spoke of this battle in particular as he said it just hurt to much to speak of it. So thank you.

 

Obsidian_Order

Proudly Canadian 






2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users