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

Motta Montecorvino

Motta Montecorvino 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

Operation BAYTOWN, the Anglo-American invasion of southern Italy, had begun on 3 September. Canadian mobile battle-groups began operating on D+4 (7 September) when X Force, led by the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Calgary Regiment), advanced up the coastal highway until 9 September when General Montgomery, commanding the British 8th Army, called for an administrative pause, worried that the build-up of Allied forces in the toe of Italy was "very slow." The same day, Operation AVALANCHE was launched - a second invasion at Salerno which put another army, the U.S. 5th, onto the Italian mainland. General Sir Harold Alexander, commanding the 15th Army Group, urged Montgomery to keep his 8th Army moving and pressure the Germans to prevent the enemy from concentrating against the beachhead at Salerno. A tank-infantry battle group based on the West Nova Scotia Regiment and 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Calgary Regiment) known as BOFORCE drove to Potenza and liberated that town on 20 September 1943. The action marked for the Canadians the first fighting in a major town on mainland Italy. The city had suffered major damage, mostly from aerial bombing in the days prior to the Canadian attack. The divisional historical officer noted large craters, destroyed cars, and a bakery in operation where civilians lined up for the prospect of buying bread for the first time in ten days.1

 


The British 8th Army, now linked to the U.S. 5th Army that had come ashore at Salerno, had paused to regroup along the Ofanto River, only 25 miles north of Potenza. Allied logistical problems, and an apparent lack of urgency among Allied commanders, put the drive north on halt. The Canadians were ordered to take Mount Vulture and secure the town of Melfi, but no movement was planned until the 1st of October.2

It was in this period that German strategy in Italy became clearly defined. Original plans for a withdrawal far to the north to defend what later became the Gothic Line at Rimini were scrapped in favour of defending far south of Rome.3

The nature of the German defence also became sinister:

The German high command also issued orders on Sept. 22, instructing the soldiers of 10th Army to adopt measures outlined in a directive entitled Exploitation of Italy for the Further Conduct of the War. This order demanded that “extensive use be made of the Italian male population for further military and economic purposes.” Both civilians and soldiers were to be conscripted for construction battalions and “extensive use” was to be made of conscripted drivers, mechanics and fitters “in order that the German soldiers may be freed up for fighting.” Supplementary orders required the confiscation of material in the Naples and Foggia areas that might be of value to the German war effort, especially locomotives, train cars and trucks. Material that could not be removed was destroyed.

The Canadians witnessed one of the most dramatic examples of Hitler’s scorched-earth policy when a patrol from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry reached Atella, a village south of Melfi. That is where the Germans destroyed a section of the Apulian Aqueduct, the major source of water for the Foggia area and the heel of Italy.4

As the Germans retreated north towards Foggia, jaundice and infective hepatitis became a more serious enemy. Always a danger for troops in the Mediterranean (the New Zealanders at El Alamein had been particularly hard hit by disease), the incidence of hepatitis proved alarming for Canadian authorities who noted an epidemic beginning in Sicily and peaking in October (the disease re-emerged in the spring of 1944, hospitalizing over 6,000 Canadians in theatre). Infective hepatitis put a soldier out of action an average of 50 days.5  In late 1943, Major-General Simonds succumbed, and Brigadier Chris Vokes was selected to command the 1st Canadian Division in his absence. The appointment was a surprise to Vokes ("I was rather startled," he later wrote) as Howard Penhale was the senior brigadier of the division. In his place, Lieutenant-Colonel Bert Hoffmeister took over the 2nd Brigade. Neither appointment was intended to be permanent, and the promotions were confirmed on 1 November.6

The Move West From Foggia

The 1st Canadian Division did not spend long on the Foggia plain, and once again the 1st Division was heading back into mountainous country as the Allied armies reached the third phase of operations forecast by General Alexander ten days earlier. The ultimate objective was Rome, to be taken by a pincers formed by the 8th Army attacking across the peninsula from Pescara and the 5th Army driving from Naples. Confidence in their success cascaded down through all ranks, and there was a genuine belief at the end of September that the Germans would fight a staged withdrawal to the line Pisa-Rimini. The commander of the 8th Army, General Montgomery, worried about administration and the ability to logistically support an extended drive in pursuit of the Germans.7

The plan for the 8th Army was to gain the Termoli-Campobasso lateral (Highway No. 87, linking the post city on the Adriatic with Naples, on the opposite coast) and then halt and operate with "light forces" to ensure that an extended drive could be sustained north towards Rome. The light forces were expected to operate no further than a line Pescara-Popoli, about 130 miles from Foggia by road. Highway No. 87, the new intermediate objective of 8th Army, crossed their axis of advance 45 miles west of Foggia, passing through Campobasso. General Dempsey, commanding the 13th Corps, was ordered to advance two divisions to this line. The 78th was to move with its axis on the main coast road, with the 1st Canadian Division on the hilly left flank, aimed at Vinchiaturo, a road junction west of Campobassa, at the foot of the Matese Mountains.

The going for the Canadian Division promised to be hard; there were no alternative routes, with only Highway No. 17, the main route between Foggia and Vinchiaturo running west into the Sannio Mountains, twisting and doubling back and almost tripling the distance between towns on its path. Movement would be almost entirely roadbound, and the upper Fortore River and tributaries also flowed north-east in the path of the Canadians.

On 29 September, at his last conference before going to hospital, General Simonds announced his plan for the 1st Division's advance. He named five bounds between Lucera and Campobasso to which the main body of the 1st Brigade would move as each was reported clear by an advanced guard, whose task would be to deal with light enemy rearguards. This mobile force was commanded by The Calgary Regiment's C.O., Lt.-Col. Neroutsos, and included the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, the Calgary tanks, The Royal Canadian Regiment (carried in lorries) and the 27th Anti-Tank Battery R.C.A., with the 2nd Field Regiment R.C.A. and the 66th Medium Regiment R.A. in support.

While the main advance would be made along Highway No. 17, with the 3rd Brigade in reserve, the 2nd Brigade would strike through the bleak hill country to the south, thus protecting the left flank of the Division, and indeed of the entire Eighth Army. The divisional start line was at Lucera, which has stood from Roman times on an isolated rocky fragment of the Apennines rising 500 feet above the surrounding plain. From the western edge of this natural stronghold one of Frederick II's great castles still faced the hills, and as the leading Canadian troops descended the highway past the massive walls early on the morning of 1 October, they could see, stretching across their path a dozen miles ahead, the abrupt rise of the outlying ridges of the Daunia Mountains. A strong vanguard moved well in advance of Neroutsos' force. It was led by Lt.-Col. F. D. Adams, and consisted of his Reconnaissance Regiment, a squadron of the Calgaries and a company of the R.C.R. Shortly before 8:00 a.m. the Princess Louise "A" Squadron came under machine-gun fire as it reached the lower spirals by which Highway No. 17 climbed out of the level plain. It quickly became apparent that the enemy was prepared to dispute possession of the village of Motta Montecorvino, which sat like a thimble on a pointed hill atop the first main ridge.8

The Battle

German machine gun posts and 8.8cm guns defended the ridge, located for four of five miles on each side of the highway. Reconnaissance made it clear that an attack in force would be necessary to move the Germans from Motta. "B" Squadron of the IV Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, the divisional reconnaissance regiment, managed a rapid move southwest from Lucera to Alberona, a hill-top village six miles south of Motta.

The commander (of "B" Squadron) , Major M. A. G. Stroud, had learned about the enemy's dispositions from Major Vladimir Peniakoff*, the founder of "Popski's Private Army". The two pooled their resources, and the combined armoured-car and jeep force, making its way with difficulty up a narrow and tortuous track into the hills, assaulted Alberona from the rear. Without suffering a single casualty the attackers drove the Germans from the town, killing at least fifteen. It was the first of many instances of active co-operation between "P.P.A." and Canadian troops.The dead Germans were clothed in the familiar Luftwaffe blue with yellow pipings; for the line of the Motta ridge was being held by elements of the 3rd Regiment of Heidrich's 1st Parachute Division.9

The advanced guard of the main Canadian force then went into action at 16:00hrs. The Calgary Tanks and Royal Canadian Regiment were delayed in bad traffic congestion and only the 10th Field Battery was available for artillery support, so that "A" and "B" Squadrons of the Calgaries had to advance in the face of heavy anti-tank fire to fight their way into the town in what was "intended to be a combined infantry and tank attack."

But now infantry-tank co-operation broke down. Machine-gun fire sweeping the exposed slopes was evidence that the enemy still held the town and the flanking hills, and it was apparent that heavy casualties would accompany any attempt by the R.C.R. to follow the armour into Motta by daylight. As darkness fell Neroutsos ordered his tanks to withdraw to a less hazardous position, and the R.C.R. commander, Lt.-Col. D. C. Spry, reorganized his troops for a night assault.10

By 21:00hrs, two companies of The Royal Canadian Regiment ("C" and "D") were halfway up the main ridge, having secured an intervening platform north of the highway, while an "A" Company patrol reported the edge of town clear. The remained of the company attempted to enter Motta to be met by heavy machine gun fire. The Commanding Officer pulled his troops back down the slope in order to shell the town and attack again in force; by now the 2nd Field Regiment was able to deploy, and just before 03:00hrs was able to put a brief but heavy concentration of 25-pdr shells into Motta. Attacking into a violent thunderstorm, "A" and "B" Companies assaulted the town once more, facing scattered resistance, the Germans beginning to withdraw up Highway No. 17. By first light, the RCR had secured the town and were in positions on the far edge of the town.

The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment "received instructions for one of its famous flank approaches" at noon on 2 October, and "promptly set out in single file toward a cavernous gulley that reached upward to the east of Motta." In the words of the Regimental historian:

The approach was arduous but uneventful until the leading companies clambered out of the head of the gulley and began to scuttle across a narrow opening towards the shelter of an oak forest. Instantly the waiting Germans opened fire from both flanks and the front, and the two forward companies dropped into what cover they could find. It was uncomfortable, and frustrating. The enemy lay concealed in the forest only a few hundred yards ahead, but could not be dislodged. Smoke was called for, and under its cover the rest of the unit attempted to come forward, but was soon halted. Individuals exchanged fire with their opposite numbers or crawled snake-wise amongst the rocks. The heat was heavy and the dust was acrid. The day drew on, bringing a chill darkness and a driving rain that saturated the men in their makeshift fox-holes. Scrambling through the dripping underbrush, firing at shadows, nervous and wet and cold, the unit edged forward and the enemy withdrew. Dawn broke at last as the Regiment reached its objective, feeling exhausted and disgruntled.11

The divisional advanced guard's operations thus came to an end. On 2 October, the acting divisional commander directed the 1st Brigade to take over the lead. "C" Company of the RCR, with "C" Squadron of the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment advanced on their next objective, a road junction 2,000 yards west of Motta, where a secondary road to Castelnuovo della Daunia branched off of Highway No. 17, along the dominating heights of Mount Sambuco. Both infantry and armour were caught by heavy German fire in an exposed saddle between the objective and the Motta hill, and six Canadian tanks were knocked out, while the RCR company was pinned down 600 yards from the ridge.


Soldiers of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment advance through Motta on 2 October 1943. LAC photo.

The fighting at Motta had also represented the first major engagement fought by Canadians on the Italian mainland.

In striking their first blow against the protecting screen of the 1st Parachute Division, the Canadians encountered a new pattern of enemy behaviour-determined and fierce resistance up to an unpredictable moment, then rapid withdrawal to another dominant feature. These effective tactics were being employed by the enemy in accordance with a Tenth Army order issued late in September for a slow withdrawal to defence positions south of Rome. Two of its paragraphs suggest that the order might have been written expressly for the battle group of paratroopers who opposed the Canadians at Motta Montecorvino.

Within the limits of the delaying action, every opportunity is to be taken of destroying enemy forces that have pushed ahead incautiously, and of inflicting heavy losses through action of combined arms. Withdrawal to the individual defence lines and the delaying action between them are dependent on the enemy advance.

Withdrawal movements must only take place as a result of overwhelming enemy pressure or of heavy losses caused by intense artillery fire. The practice is to be followed of intensifying our own artillery fire shortly before withdrawal, and posting rearguards well supplied with ammunition to screen the withdrawal movement ....

This systematic opposition to our advance was to continue as the 1st Division pushed deeper into the rocky uplands of the Molise. Allied staffs were soon to realize that an unexpected development had taken place in the German plan of campaign. On 30 September…Hitler had ordered the Tenth Army to stabilize and hold a winter line across the narrowest part of the peninsula. On the German left flank this position was to be at the River Sangro, which flowed across the 76th Corps' sector 50 miles north-west of Motta. Herr was notified that his withdrawal across these 50 miles should not be completed before 1 November.12


Soldier of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment equipped with a PIAT and Thompson machine carbine advances through Motta on 2 October 1943. LAC photo.

 


Private A.R. Beaton of the Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G.) plays his accordion for infantrymen of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment at Motta on 3 October 1943. Fromt left to right are Lieutenant Farley Mowat, Private J. Dalton, Private A.R. Beaton, and Captain J.A. Baird. Mowat went on to great fame as an environmentalist and prolific author following the war, including writing a regimental history of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment as well as two memoirs of his war-time service.

Battle Honours

 

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

 

Image:1gif.gif 1st Canadian Division

  • 4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards)

Image:1gif1bde.gif 1st Canadian Brigade

  • The Royal Canadian Regiment

  • The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment

Image:1tankbde.gif 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment)

Notes

  1. Copp, Terry "Moving Forward With Boforce" (Legion Magazine, May 1, 2006) accessed online at http://legionmagazine.com/en/index.php/2006/05/moving-forward-with-boforce/

  2. Ibid

  3. McKay, Donald A. Gaudeamus Igitur "Therefore Rejoice" (Bunker to Bunker Books, Calgary, AB, 2005) ISBN 1894255534 p.76

  4. Copp, Ibid

  5. Ibid

  6. Dancocks, Daniel G. D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy 1943-45 (McLelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, ON, 1991) ISBN 0-7710-2544-0 p.125. Hoffmeister went on to command the 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division and Vokes the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division.

  7. 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) p.234

  8. Ibid, pp.235-236

  9. Ibid. "Popski's Private Army" was a small special scout force of the 8th Army; it was originally formally designated No. 1 Long Range Demolition Squadron. It fielded a number of jeep mounted .50 cal. Browning machine-guns as its main weaponry.

  10. Ibid

  11. Mowat, Farley The Regiment (McLelland & Stewart, Toronto, ON, 1989) ISBN 0-7710-6694-5 p.148

  12. Nicholson, Ibid, p.237


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