History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

MARKET-GARDEN Sep 44

(Arnhem)

BERLIN Nov 1944

(Nijmegen)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Bazentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

Flers-Courcelette

15-22 Sep 16

Thiepval

26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Cambrai, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

Castel di Sangro

Castel di Sangro was a Battle Honour granted for fighting at this Italian feature on the Sangro River in November 1943.

Background

For detailed background see The Sangro article

In November 1943, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division had been withdrawn from the line for a rest following arduous fighting in October on the Biferno River. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, having seen comparatively less action than the other two brigades of the division, were sent to the Sangro in order to participate in a major deception plan intended to draw attention away from a major 8th Army offensive planned on the coast.

By 22 November, the 3rd Brigade, tasked with clearing German outposts east of the Sangro, had been successful in its mission with one exception: German troops still held out on the heights of Point 1009. A planned brigade attack, postponed due to heavy rains drenching the entire 8th Army front, could not go forward until all forces east of the Sangro were cleared.

On 22 November, Brigadier Gibson, commanding the 3rd Canadian Brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bogert of the West Novas observed Point 1009 from a height called the Raven's Nest and decided on a one-company assault by "B" Company of the West Novas. Captain F.H. Burns was ordered to make his attack at 0100 on 23 November. Radio communication was lost with the company almost immediately and it was seven hours, after they returned, before Battalion Headquarters was able to learn what happened during their attempt to reach their objective.1

After descending the west side of the San Pietro ridge the company began climbing the muddy slopes to the great rock which rose sheer out of the hilltop. It rained continually. Breathless and soaked, the leading platoon reached the summit by the only possible route, a narrow path ascending the west side. Without delay the Canadians streamed across the plateau to attack the monastery, firing their Brens and hurling grenades through the windows.

But the platoon had been lured into a trap. The defenders, some of the 1st Parachute Regiment's 3rd Battalion, had held their fire, apparently feigning weakness to avoid engagement by Allied artillery. Now machinegun posts skilfully sited around the perimeter of the plateau caught the West Novas in a severe cross-fire. A few managed to escape; the others, not hearing the dying platoon commander's orders to withdraw, were killed, wounded or captured.2

In darkness and rain, the Canadian company commander deployed two platoons to give covering fire from below and Lieutenant J.B. "Blackie" Blanchard's platoon rushed the building. Blanchard was wounded fatally, living long enough only to order his men back. "Only a handful escaped despite the desperate efforts of the rest of the company to come to their rescue." Lieutenant Gordon Romkey, recently returned after recovering from wounds suffered on Sicily, was ordered to try a right flanking with his platoon. His batman was killed, and he found the cliff face too steep, Germans above raining hand grenades down on them.3

With the approach of daylight a thick mist coming up from the valley provided a screen which aided escape, although several men of one section broke arms and legs in jumping from the high ledge. The cost had been heavy. Four men and their platoon commander had been killed and ten others wounded. Evacuation of the casualties from the plateau involved a long and arduous descent through mud and slipping rock, and several wounded had to be left behind. In all 16 of the battalion were taken prisoner.4


Castel di Sangro photographed in 2005. Wikipedia photo

On the 24th, several regiments of field and medium artillery began its own part in the simulated attack, an attempt to fool the Germans the entire Canadian division was assaulting across the Sangro. Major-General Vokes, commanding the 1st Division, ordered Point 1009 to be taken that day, and Rocca Cinquemiglia on 25 November. Artillery duels raged all day on the 24th, and the men of the West Novas again went up Point 1009 using the day-long bombardment as cover. One concentration on Point 1009 consisted of 5,000 rounds of gunfire in just half an hour.5

This time it was no stealthy foray against an enemy feigning weakness. Five thousand rounds from eight of the artillery regiments fell on the position within half an hour. The plan was for a flanking assault by "A" Company, while "C" provided fire cover from the  front. Mules carried the battalion's three-inch mortars and the medium machine-guns of a platoon of the Saskatoon Light Infantry down the muddy slopes, Lt.-Col. Bogert's headquarters moving with the attacking force to direct operations. By three in the afternoon, after the column's progress had been considerably delayed by enemy shelling, "C" Company was in position on a crest 800 yards east of the objective. An hour later, "A" Company had reached the top of the plateau without firing a shot: the enemy had withdrawn the previous night. In the cellar of the monastery the West Novas found three wounded men of their "B" Company, left behind by the Germans. Protected by walls four feet thick they had safely survived the artillery bombardment. At last the enemy had been driven north of the Sangro, and the Canadians held an excellent observation post which commanded long stretches of the river valley.

Throughout the night of the 24th and all the following day the artillery kept up harassing fire, and as a result the attack on Rocca Cinquemiglia by the Royal 22e which had been scheduled for the 25th was cancelled. A reconnaissance patrol across the river on the following morning found the enemy well dug in on the steep approaches to the town. The party fell foul of an "S" mine,* and came under severe machine-gun fire, so that before it finally rejoined the battalion every member had become a casualty.6

Aftermath

The fall of Point 1009 completed operations east of the Sangro, and with these operations complete, and simultaneously the other preparations for the 8th Army's main drive along the Adriatic coast also being completed by 27 November, the diversionary operations by the 3rd Canadian Brigade and other formations alongside ceased. The 5th Corps had secured a six-mile long bridgehead over the Sangro up to 2,000 yards deep in "disgusting conditions" (in the words of the Army commander) and held it against numerous German counter-attacks. The readiness of the New Zealanders to begin their own assault negated the need for further deception on the left flank of the 8th Army. The main attack went ahead on 28 November, gaining the heights over the Sangro flats, and in their wake the 1st Canadian Infantry Division were ordered up to begin their own operations on the Moro River.

The 3rd Brigade was still handing over its positions on the Upper Sangro by the time the rest of the 1st Division had moved to the Adriatic coast, the 2nd Brigade leaving Campobasso on 30 November to stage north-west of Termoli and the 1st Brigade crossing the Sangro on 1 December to relieve the 11th Brigade at Fossacesia. The fighting on the Moro, consuming the month of December both at Ortona and by the New Zealanders at Orsogna, was in the event every bit as difficult as it promised to be.

Battle Honours

 

The following Canadian unit was awarded the Battle Honour "Castel di Sangro" for participation in these actions:

 

Image:1gif3bde.gif 3rd Canadian Brigade

  • The West Nova Scotia Regiment

Notes

  1. Nicholson, Gerald The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1957), pp.281-283

  2. Ibid, pp.282-283

  3. Dancocks, Daniel G. D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy 1943-1945 (McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, ON, 1991) ISBN 0771025440 pp.144-145

  4. Nicholson, Ibid, p.284

  5. Nicholson, G.W.L. The Gunners of Canada: The History of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Volume II 1919-1967 (Royal Canadian Artillery Association, 1972) p.165

  6. Nicholson, Canadians in Italy, Ibid, pp.284-285

Photo of Castel di Sangro taken 10 November 2005 by Carmine Riccio, uploaded to Wikipedia under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


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