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

 

Gambatesa
 
 

Gambatesa was a Battle Honour granted for participation in fighting near this town in Southern Italy during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War.

Background

The British 8th Army, landing in the deep southern reaches of Italy in September 1943, linked up with the American 5th Army beachhead at Salerno to north as the 1st Canadian Division reached Potenza after a rapid 250 mile drive. Despite the success of this rapid advance in September, the 8th Army's ability to maintain communications and supplies was stretched and an administrative pause was necessary. As they regrouped at the end of September, the 8th Army's commander, General Montgomery, planned to move the 1st Canadian Infantry Division towards Vinchiaturo and Campobasso, where the Germans, staging a fighting withdrawal, were once again in mountainous terrain well suited to the defence. While the 1st and 3rd Brigades were to make the main thrust down Highway 17, the 2nd Brigade was tasked to protect the division's left flank by moving through "bleak country" to the south.1

The beginning of the division's operations saw the first major actions on the Italian continent, at Motta Montecorvino, as the division came into action against German troops with orders to delay the advancing Canadians.

 


Click to enlarge

 

Four days of "persistent effort" saw the 1st Brigade push back German rearguards west of the Fortore river. The first attempt to seize a bridgehead across the river was by the Royal 22e Regiment on the night of 5-6 October. This attempt, above the 13-span "Bridge of the 13 Arches", which had been demolished by the Germans, was pushed back by "heavy and persistent fire" from a battalion of the 15th Panzergrenadier Regiment. Brigadier Penhale, commanding the 1st Brigade, ordered a two-battalion assault for the morning of the 7th.

The valley of the upper Fortore separated the Daunia hill range from the next and more massive group to the west-the Sannio Mountains. The valley was less than 500 yards wide at its crossing by Highway No. 17, which climbed for four twisting miles from the long Ponte dei 13 Archi to Gambatesa, a town of 4000 inhabitants mounted on an easterly spur of the Sannios. From this ridge the enemy's range of vision and field of fire were considerably extended by the junction with the Fortore of two major watercourses- the Torrente Tappino, flowing eastward from the hills about Campobasso to enter the main stream half a mile north of the highway, and the Torrente la Catola, which came in just south of the bridge. Penhale therefore ordered the attack to be made on an axis still farther to the south, with the Carleton and Yorks on the right directed against Gambatesa, and the West Novas on the left attacking the Toppo Fornelli, a wooded ridge about a mile south of the town. At half-past seven on the morning of the 7th, after divisional artillery and the 66th Medium Regiment had fired a series of concentrations along the opposite bank and on the brigade objectives, the assault companies of both battalions pressed forward resolutely across the gravel bed of the river.

 

Some of the enemy's positions had apparently escaped the preliminary shelling, for the Carleton and Yorks were caught on the river line by heavy machine-gun fire. Smoke laid by platoon 2-inch mortars assisted the crossing, and the two leading companies pushed up the long slope across ploughed fields, which driving rain was rapidly turning into heavy mud. Progress to within half a mile of the objective was considerably aided by the constant artillery support provided through the efforts of the attached forward observation officer, Capt. N. B. Buchanan of the 1st Field Regiment R.C.H.A. At this point, however, the attackers were held up by fire from two self-propelled guns, whose exact position could not be determined. It was now late afternoon, and for the rest of the day and the following night the Carletons remained in their chilly, rainswept positions on the muddy slopes, pinned down by harassing shellfire, while patrols sought the troublesome guns in vain. But the enemy was not disposed to argue further. Two companies sent forward in the early morning by Lt.-Col. Pangman found the town abandoned. The 24 hours' fighting had cost the Carleton and Yorks twelve killed and 16 wounded. The West Novas, meanwhile had made better progress. Their crossing met only scattered small-arms fire, which was effectively discouraged by "the welcome chatter of the Sask. L.I. machine-guns". The assault companies gained the far bank without a casualty, and plodded steadily uphill. Grenadiers holding a group of farms midway between the river and the Toppo Fornelli with 20-millimetre cannon and machine-guns were flushed from their positions. Throughout the afternoon the attack moved slowly forward, and as daylight waned the unit's 3-inch mortars successfully engaged German machine-gun posts on top of the ridge. Two platoons of "B" Company made the final assault, and by nightfall consolidation by the battalion had secured the brigade's left flank.2

Soldiers of The Carleton and York Regiment inspect a captured German anti-tank gun outside of Gambatesa after its capture, overlooking the Ponti dei 13 Archi (Bridge of the 13 Arches).
 

Image Source: Robert Wesley Angelo photograph based on a postcard photograph in use circa 1960 of the Ponte dei 13 Archi ("13 Arch Bridge").

Today, as during the Second World War, the Ponte dei 13 Archi carries the principal road that connects the provincial capitals of Campobasso and Foggia. However, whereas that road is now Strada statale ("State Road") No. 645, which bypasses Gambatesa to the north, at the time of the Second World War the only road that passed over the bridge was the ancient Roman Via Appulo-Sannitica (Strada statale No. 17) which goes through the village of Gambatesa. The bridge itself was first open to traffic in 1859. See
http://www.roangelo.net/valente/ponte.html

 

Aftermath

 

As the Germans pulled out of Gambatesa, they also pulled out all along the left bank of the Fortore, and on 8 October the 4th Reconnaissance Regiment entered Colletorto unopposed while the 48th Highlanders crossed the Fortore south of its junction with the Tappino River and also encountered no opposition in Macchia and Pietracatella.

 

Captain Norman Bruce Buchanan of the RCHA earned a bar to the Military Cross which he had won earlier in 1943, as one of the 201 Canadian officers sent to North Africa to gain experience before the Canadian Army saw combat in earnest. Buchanan served with the British 1st Army in North Africa.3 He later took part in the Normandy landings, where he earned a second bar to the Military Cross.4

 

The citation to his original MC had read:

Place Thaia. A Canadian officer attached to "T" Troop. During the night of 22 February 1943 he continually tried to rally the infantry who came steaming back through the battery position. He himself picketed the heights and took out patrols. He brought in one 6-pounder anti-tank gun and rallied some anti-tank gunners to man it. Throughout the next day he manned a local Observation Post, firing the guns and shouting encouragement continually, When he could not knock out an Observation Post he tried sniping them himself from his position. His example throughout was a source of inspiration to all his men.5

The citation for his work at Gambatesa, for which he was awarded the Bar, read:

At about 1100 hours on 7 October 1943, Captain Buchanan, Troop Commander, "F" Troop, 1 Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery was Forward Observation Officer with the Carleton and York Regiment for the attack on Gambatesa. Due to the nature of the terrain, it was necessary for Captain Buchanan to go forward on foot carrying an 18 set. As the leading platoon of the forward company, with which Captain Buchanan was working, approached a crest near the top of the feature, they came under heavy machine gun fire from enemy tanks in hull down positions and the leading members of the platoon were hit. Captain Buchanan maintained communication with his battery all during the period, thus providing continuous artillery fire in support of the leading troops. It was greatly due to the coolness, courage and resourcefulness of Captain Buchanan that the leading platoon was able to hold its ground and evacuate their wounded personnel.6

Battle Honours

 

The following Canadian units were awarded the Battle Honour "Gambatesa" for participation in these actions:

 

Image:1gif3bde.gif 3rd Canadian Brigade

  • The Carleton and York Regiment

  • The West Nova Scotia Regiment

Notes

  1. Roy, Reginald. The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada 1919-1965 (Evergreen Press, Vancouver, BC, 1969) p.215

  2. Nicholson, Gerald. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Volume II: The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1957) pp.240-241

  3. Stacey, C.P. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume I: Six Years Of War (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1956) p.248

  4. Nicholson, Ibid, pp.240-241

  5. Blatherwick, John and Hugh Halliday. Courage & Service: Second World War Awards to Canadians (Service Publications, Ottawa, ON) ISBN 1894581229

  6. Ibid

 


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