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

 

Radicosa

Radicosa was a Battle Honour granted to the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, which was the administrative name of the Canadian component of the Canadian-American 1st Special Service Force.

The organization and history of the First Special Service Force is described in a separate article on this website. In brief, this unique Canadian-American force had been created in 1942 to undertake hazardous missions, and received training in parachute training, winter warfare, and amphibious operations. After deployment to the Aleutians, the Force was sent to the Italian theatre for use as alpine troops. The men of the Canadian component, administratively referred to as the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, was intermingled throughout the FSSF, many in command positions, and generally making up about 1/3 the total combat strength of the Force's combat strength. The Force was commanded by U.S. Army Colonel Robert T. Frederick, an American (promoted to Brigadier-General at the end of January 1944), with Lieutenant-Colonel D.D. Williamson, as senior Canadian and commander of the 2nd Regiment until replaced following Hill 720. Canadians in fact commanded five of the six battalions in the Force on disembarkation in Italy.

Battles of the FSSF

Monte CaminoMonte la Difensa-Monte la Remetanea
Hill 720Monte MajoRadicosaMonte Vischiataro –  Anzio – Rome – Advance to the Tiber – Monte Arrestino – Rocca Massima – Colle Ferro

Background

See also main article on Mount Majo

The FSSF had arrived in Italy on 19 November 1943 to find that General Mark Clark's U.S. 5th Army was readying an offensive on the mountains below Monte Cassino, and received praise for its work in securing Monte la Difensa and Monte la Remetanea at the start of December. The Force was pulled back to Santa Maria for a rest, having been reduced to fewer than 1,400 men.1

The Force began training for new missions on 17 December while the 5th Army's efforts to close up to the Gustav Line continued. On 20 December the British X Corps began its own advance to the Garigliano River and the FSSF received orders to move to Ceppagna and prepare to seize Monte Vischiataro (Hill 1109) and the adjacent heights.2 The first act in the battle was the seizing of Hill 720, accomplished on 23 December by the 1st Regiment of the FSSF on 25 December.3

The capture of Hill 720 effectively ended the first phase of the 5th Army's Winter Line operations. On 1 January 1944, the 5th Army announced the objective of the third phase: closing on the line of the Rapido River. The task assigned to the FSSF by the 2nd U.S. Corps remained the securing of high ground on the Corps' right and capture of Mount Vischiataro and its surrounding peaks.4


Click to enlarge

Force Plan

The Force was to be aligned as originally organized before the battle of Hill 720; the 3rd Regiment was to secure a northern route to Mount Vischiataro, travelling over the barren hills on the right of the line. The 1st Regiment was to proceed to the notch at Forcella del Moscoso (Height 708) and support the 3rd Regiment. The 2nd Regiment was to split its battalions as it had at Hill 720, with No. 1 and No. 3 Companies attached to the 3rd Regiment for stretcher bearer and supply duties (respectively) while No. 2 Company provided both services to the 1st Regiment. The 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment was to reduce Hill 724 and secure an advance command post at Radicosa two nights prior to the 3rd Regiment's assault.5

Frederick talked to his regimental commanders and II Corps and put together a plan that was simple. Marshall's 1st Regiment would move west of Radicosa, on the Force's left flank, and aim at Vischiataro itself. Walker's 3rd Regiment would seize the highest ground to the right of the mountain, covering that flank of the main assault. Moore would send one battalion of his (2nd) regiment to occupy the space in between.

The plan was kept simple because the terrain was difficult and complicated. Long marches were needed to even get to the start lines, and the weather was uncommonly bad. High winds often came in the form of sudden snow squalls. There were now three inches of snow in the valleys and growing drifts in sheltered pockets above 600 metres. Above 900 metres there were five inches of snow on the ground. There were mines on the approaches and booby-traps on the trails, and these were now covered in snow. During this period in Italy, 12 of the newer T-24 "Weasel" Cargo Carriers that had been brought by the Force to Italy were taken out of their crates to aid in the transport of supplies. However less prone to mechanical breakdown, it was quickly found that mules were actually preferred to navigate the supplies over this inhospitable terrain.6

Prisoners taken in the hill 720 fighting revealed that the Germans in the line from San Vittore to Radicosa were from the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 71st Panzergrenadier Regiment. Behind them, two regiments of the Austrian 44th Infantry Division had just arrived at the front.7 The 44th Division had been raised in Austria in 1943 after the original had been destroyed at Stalingrad in February of that year, and granted the honour title Reichsgrenadier Division Hoch-und-Deutschmeister.8 While there is a tendency, particularly in the various hobby press to regard any "named" Wehrmacht unit as an elite by dint of the fact it was identified by more than just a number, one history of the Force claims the 44th had special winter and mountain training before deployment to central Italy.9

Capture of Radicosa

The 3rd Regiment moved out into a snowstorm just after sun-up on 1 January in order to establish a bivouac south of Monte Corno Vesse. The 2nd Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Bourne) was to move left toward 850 from there, and the 1st Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Gilday) was to move right and clear the saddle running north-east from Hill 957. The 2nd Regiment began patrolling Hill 702 (also called Hill 724), received an issue of cold weather gear, and planned for an attack at 09:00hrs on 2 January, past Radicosa, bypassing it in order to seize 702. The attack was postponed later on 1 January, as was the 3rd Regiment's assault; they pitched their tents, and tried to dig in. Both regiments were told to wait for 24 hours to establish better communications.10

The remainder of the 2nd Regiment set its sights on an obscure crag called Hill 724, which was important only because it overlooked the ancient alpine village of Radicosa, which Frederick hoped to use as a forward command post for endgame operations on Majo and Vischiataro. A three-man scouting parol that had been fired upon as it crept towards Radicosa confirmed that the Germans still held this tiny community of six stone houses and a church.

As Adna Underhill later wrote, the plan was elementary: "bypass Radicosa on the north and east; take Hill 724 from the north; consolidate that high ground, then move down into Radicosa. Cold or no cold," he observed, "this was the kind of action the Force understood and enjoyed, if there's enjoyment in any military combat." And it was cold. On the night of January 3, when Moore's 2nd Regiment went into action, the Force men mounted the dark slopes of Hill 724 and climbed into weather as forbidding as the enemy.11

The weather in central Italy was challenging; at 500 metres elevation three inches of snow hampered movement while at 600 metres there was five inches of snow, and drifts, with strong winds prevailing in the valleys. The 2nd Regiment advanced in column of companies, No. 5, No. 4 and No 6 Companies bypassing Radicosa in that order to the north and northeast, drawing fire from an enemy outpost that had barred the way of their scouts two days before. The companies pressed on with stealth and surprised the German troops on Hill 702/724 and with only the No. 4 and No. 5 companies committed to the brief firefight that followed their discovery after daybreak, took the position and dug in. Accurate mortar fire from higher ground further on the axis of advance began to fall on them, killing Lieutenant Fern Cox, a former Canadian sergeant-major commissioned only six days previously. Daylight patrols were pushed out, finding enemy lines mere outposts, stiffened with snipers. The Germans had pulled back to Stefano and Hill 1109, while the Panzergrenadiers in Radicosa, outflanked, pulled out to the northwest.12

 

By noon on 4 January, the 1st Regiment was in the handful of buildings in Radicosa (five houses and a church), which had been a priority in order to build forward supply dumps for the continued advance. Mines and demolitions charges left by the Germans were de-fuzed in the houses and on the trails, and from Hill 675, enemy fire started to pick up, directed at troops inside the town. No. 3 Company had to send a small detachment to clear out the outpost in the late evening, the 9-man patrol returning with four POWs, one expressing amazement at the silent approach of the Forcemen. Hill 675 was occupied and thorough patrols over a radius of two miles confirmed the enemy had indeed pulled out. The stage was set for the attack on Majo itself.13


Battle Honours

 

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

  • 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion (First Special Service Force)

Notes

  1. Joyce, Kenneth H. Snow Plough and the Jupiter Deception: The story of the 1st Special Service Force and the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, 1942-1945 (Vanwell Publishing Ltd., St. Catharines, ON, 2006) ISBN 1-55125-094-2 pp.168-169

  2. Ibid, p.170

  3. Burhans, Robert D. The First Special Service Force: A War History of The North Americans 1942-1944 (Methuen Publications, Toronto, ON, 1981) ISBN 0-458-95020-1 pp.131-133

  4. Burhans, Ibid, pp.139-140

  5. Ibid, p.141

  6. Joyce, Ibid, p.185

  7. Burhans, Ibid, p.142

  8. Williamson, Gordon German Army Elite Units (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Botley, Oxford, UK, 2002) ISBN 1-84176-405-1 pp.18-19

  9. Joyce, pp.185-186, though Joyce also mentions the unit had "just moved in from the Russian Front" - the division was in fact rebuilt in Austria after the original was destroyed at Stalingrad, and performed anti-partisan duties in northern Italy before moving to the Cassino front. See also Glanz, David Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front (Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005 ISBN 0-9717650-9-X p.182) which states the division was destroyed in January 1943, reformed in France in April 1943, then reconstituted as the Reichsgrenadier Division "Hoch-und-Deutschsmeister".

  10. Joyce, Ibid, p.186

  11. Nadler, John A Perfect Hell: The Forgotten Story of the Canadian Commandos of the Second World War (Anchor Canada, 2005) ISBN 978-385-66141-6 pp.145-146

  12. Burhans, Ibid, pp.143-145

  13. Ibid, p.145

 

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