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

 

Torella
 
 

Torella 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 Campobasso fell to the 2nd Brigade on 14 October, advancing thereafter to the Biferno River.

 


Click to enlarge

 

The Upper Biferno

 

The 1st Canadian Infantry Division paused to reorganize in the third week of October, having completed its part in the 8th Army's plan to help seize the lateral road running from Termoli inland, a vital first step on the road to Rome. It was assumed that German withdrawals would continue towards the Biferno River and that villages between Highway 87 and the river could be cleared by platoon-sized patrols. However, the German divisions (26th and 29th Panzergrenadier) opposite the Canadians did not intend to give up their outposts on the east side of the river without a fight, as they were valuable for spotting mortar and artillery fire, particularly on Campobasso and Vinchiaturo, which they knew to be of importance as logistics centres. The clearing of these outposts grew to company and battalion sized tasks.

 

Canadian efforts in the latter part of October were centred on clearing these areas of German resistance east of the river.

An observation post high up in the Campobasso citadel provided an extensive view of the 20-mile Canadian front. Less than four miles to the west a white cluster of houses on a high ridge above the Biferno gorge marked the village of Oratino, overlooking the twisting road from Campobasso to Castropignano, on the left bank. North of Oratino the Germans held San Stefano and Montagano, two villages standing among low rolling hills which sloped gradually to the river. South-west of Campobasso the whole countryside between Highway No. 87 and the Biferno was dominated by Mount Vairano, which from a height of 1500 feet above the river overlooked Busso at its western base and Baranello, two miles to the south. From Baranello the line of the enemy's forward positions extended south across Highway No. 17 to Guardiaregia, high up the face of the great Matese rampart which filled the south-western horizon. The enemy's interdivisional boundary crossed the Biferno at Oratino, which was included in the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division's sector.


Early efforts by the 1st and 2nd Brigades to establish standing patrols in these villages met determined reaction. On 14 October the Hastings and Prince Edwards did succeed in placing a platoon in Montagano, near the boundary with the 5th British Division, but attempts on three successive days to secure San Stefano failed. The enemy clearly regarded San Stefano as necessary to his retention of Oratino and its control of the main crossing over the Biferno; and from both villages he continued to bring down fire on Campobasso. On 19 October Brigadier Graham ordered a brigade attack against Busso, Oratino and San Stefano.
2

The 2nd Brigade become embroiled in a two-day affair trying to clear Baranello, with The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada eventually clearing troops of the 67th Panzergrenadier Regiment from the town after two attempts to take the place. (See also the article on Baranello.) The 1st Brigade captured Busso a day later on 19 October when "B" Company of The Royal Canadian Regiment, working its way through the wooded southern hillside of Mount Vairano, took the town at sundown with supporting fire from the 1st Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. The dual loss of Baranello and Busso prompted the Germans to surrender their claim to the right bank of the Biferno, and elaborate attacks early on 20 October, on Oratino by the RCR and San Stefano by the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, met no resistance. The remainder of the enemy outposts had already retreated under orders back across the river to Castropignano.

 

Simultaneously, The Carleton and York Regiment was operating on the extreme left flank of the 1st Canadian Division, clearing  Guardiaregia, Campochiaro and San Polo Matese, all of which overlooked the narrow plain containing the highway west from Vinchiaturo. Enemy fire on these highly inaccessible locations made the going difficult. Guardiaregia fell on 18 October, Campochiaro on the 21st with assistance from tanks of the Ontario Regiment. The final tasks were completed in coordination with the 2nd Brigade, itself fighting around Spinete and Colle d'Anchise (see also the article on Colle d'Anchise.)

 

West of the Biferno

The clearance of enemy outposts east of the Biferno River brought an end to enemy shelling (the last German shell fell on 21 October), and on the same day the 13th Corps was ordered to regroup in anticipation of a new offensive. The pause on the line Termoli-Campobasso had, as planned, permitted for a resumption of the advance of 8th Army. The advance had already begun on the coastal sector, and General Montgomery, commanding the Army, set his sights on the Pescara end of the lateral through Avezzano and Popoli. It was for this reason that the 2nd Brigade found itself fighting for the heights at Colle d'Anchise. The ultimate objective of the division's right, however, was two villages on a height of land between the Biferno and Trigno Rivers, Torella and Molise. The 1st Brigade was ordered to secure this ridge by the evening of 26 October. It was essential for the division to establish a firm base for the attack of the British 5th Division towards Isernia, depriving the German 10th Army of a major front-line communications link.

 

Following the actions of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on the upper Biferno (as described in the articles on Colle d'Anchise and Baranello), the 1st Brigade was in a position to strike "a still stronger blow" with its three battalions against the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division lower down the river. With the "Torella-Molise feature" as a final objective, the villages of Castropignano and Roccaspromonte had to first be secured. These villages were located about a mile apart from each other, on the edge of the sheer cliff that comprised the left bank of the Biferno River opposite Oratino. Only a single crossing point for the brigade's vehicles could be located, a demolished bridge below Castropignano, and the point was under enemy observation.

 

(Brigadier) Graham's first intention was for the 48th Highlanders to ford the Biferno in the neighbourhood of Casalciprano, about two miles upstream from the broken bridge, and then capture Roccaspromonte and Castropignano from the south. Major D. W. Banton (who was temporarily commanding the battalion) sent "C" Company across the river on the morning of the 24th; but the absence of enemy opposition brought a change of plan, and the task of taking the two villages was given to the R.C.R. The 48th Highlanders would then follow through and take Torella, four miles up the road from Castropignano. The capture of Molise, two miles south-west of Torella, was to be carried out by the Hastings and Prince Edwards in a thrust along the left flank behind Roccaspromonte.3

The Royal Canadian Regiment sent "A" Company across the Biferno on the late afternoon of 24 October, fording the stream below the cliffs at Roccaspromonte. Guided by civilians, they climbed up to the town and found no enemy there. "B" Company followed over the river that night, and followed the road to Castropignano, finding only a single machine-gun defending the town which was easily taken. However, the Torella road was the main route of withdrawal for the 29th Panzergrenadier Division, and Highway 17 through Isernia was the 26th Panzer Division's means of escape. "C" Company ran into the RCR's first major opposition on a German outpost west of Castropignano. Point 761 was a hill west of the town overlooking the junction of the road from Spinete and Roccaspromonte and the main service route. Under the light of parachute flares, German machine-guns killed the RCR company commander and forced a withdrawal, and the hill wasn't secured until midday the following day, with the help of artillery fire.

 

The attack on Torella began with an aerial bombardment on the morning of 25 October, when 47 U.S. and British P-40s attacked it with bombs. The 48th Highlanders passed through the RCR early in the afternoon and moved up the road from Point 761, to be stopped by heavy mortar and shellfire.

Since the treeless, rolling uplands between them and their goal looked promising for armour, Brigadier Graham ordered "B" Squadron of the Ontarios to cross the river. During the previous night the Engineers had completed a diversion at a demolished bridge where the main road crossed a gully below the Oratino hill, but nothing could be done to construct a vehiclecrossing over the Biferno itself. Late in the afternoon on Graham's insistence the Ontarios attempted the impossible, and after several tanks had bogged down, the remainder succeeded in scaling the far bank. They carried the dismantled 75s and the gun crews of a battery of the Airlanding Light Regiment, now badly needed to give close support to the 48th Highlanders.


Early on the 26th the infantry began to advance with the armoured squadron, whose appearance provoked a considerable increase in the fire sweeping the bare ridges in front of Torella. Progress was slow. It was not until dusk, after the full weight of the divisional artillery had pounded the enemy's positions continuously for half an hour, that the Highlanders, who had suffered more than a score of casualties, were able to close in on their objective. But the enemy did not await their coming. Reacting to the steady Canadian pressure, the Commander of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division had already ordered a withdrawal from Torella and Molise to take place that evening, and early morning patrols on the 27th reported Torella clear. Before the morning was over the Hastings and Prince Edwards had come up on the left flank after an arduous, though unopposed, cross-country march from the Biferno. Under cover of thick fog and driving rain they climbed the conical hill on which Molise stood, "to be met with a formidable array of Italian flags and a very shifty looking mayor." The people of Molise proved far from friendly; some, indeed, evinced strong Fascist sympathies. There seems little doubt that they gave the Germans details of the Hastings' defences, for the harassing fire which the enemy inevitably directed against his abandoned positions was more than usually effective, his shells landing with unpleasant accuracy upon slit-trenches dug around the perimeter of the town, and causing twenty Hastings casualties in a few hours. In view of this and other instances of civilian interference the battalion commander found it necessary to threaten the populace with drastic punitive measures. "That"-to quote Lord Tweedsmuir--"quieted
them down."
4


The operations of the 13th Corps were able to proceed on schedule as a result of the Canadians' timely completion of their tasks. The Carleton and York Regiment was relieved on the extreme left flank at Boiano on 27-28 October, as well as the 2nd Canadian Brigade at Spinete-Colle d'Anchise.

 

 

Aftermath

 

As British troops began moving forward in earnest, the victors of Torella, the 1st Canadian Brigade, chased after the retreating Germans into the rolling hills overlooking the Trigno River. Patrols ranged as far as five miles north of Torella, and the divisional reconnaissance regiment (IV Princess Louise Dragoon Guards) assisted in these endeavours. November was to be a month of rest for the Canadians in Italy, followed by heavy fighting in December as the Germans once again made a desperate defensive stand, this time on the Moro River.

 

Battle Honours

 

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

 

Image:1gif1bde.gif 1st Canadian Brigade

  • The Royal Canadian Regiment

  • The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment

  • 48th Highlanders of Canada

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)

  3. Ibid

  4. Ibid

 


© canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present