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

 

Trasimene Line

Trasimene Line was a Battle Honour granted to Canadian regiments participating in fighting at the Trasimene Line in June 1944 during the Advance to Florence, a phase of the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.

Background
See also main article on Advance to Florence

Allied troops captured Rome on 4 June 1944. While the two Allied armies in Italy (United States 5th Army and British 8th Army) pursued the disorganized German armies north, the 1st Canadian Corps went into reserve. The 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade went into action in support of British divisions as they pursued the Germans north towards Florence.1

Following the loss of Rome, the German objective in Italy was greatly simplified: to buy time for a stand further north.2

Advance to Florence

 Advance to FlorenceTrasimene LineSanfatucchioArezzoCerrone

The Germans successfully withdrew both their armies (comprising Army Group "C') more than 100 miles north. Uncharacteristically, Hitler had permitted the retreat, but insisted that there would be no more. The line from Pisa to Rimini, barring the way to the Po Valley, was to be the final line of defence on the Italian peninsula. The defensive works on the line were renamed  by the Germans several times, from "Apennine position" to Gothic Line to Green Line, though the Allies continued to refer to it as the Gothic Line. Work on the line had proceeded slowly until the fall of Rome, when minefields and emplaced tank turrets were emplaced in strength, including on mountain front considered inaccessible, a failing of previous defensive lines. Not only would there be a shield of minefields, but a Vorfeld (Dead Zone) four miles wide was created by evicting civilians, flattening buildings, and demolishing traffic routes.

In order to complete these preparations, the Germans needed time. They intended to buy that time by manning the incomplete defences further south. The Albert-Frieda Line centred on Lake Trasimene (Lago Trasimeno in Italian). It was here, midway between Florence and Rome, that the historical figure Hannibal had defeated Roman forces in 217 B.C. Kesselring disagreed with his orders to defend south of the Gothic Line, but followed them, and issued his own instruction that all ranks "must know that upon reaching this line the delaying tactics will come to an end and the enemy advance and break-through must be stopped."3


The Trasimene Line
(adapted from map compiled by Historical Section, General Staff and originally published in Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol II)

Canadian Operations - 21-28 June

The 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Three Rivers Regiment) had been the only Canadian unit engaged in the initial stages of the pursuit following the fall of Rome. The regiment was operating in support of the 8th Indian Division from 4 June 1944, joining it on the Frosinone-Subiaco road north of Alatri. The Canadian tanks mostly followed behind the infantry for five days, with demolitions, mines and narrow mountain roads preventing them from providing effective support. The Three Rivers Regiment rejoined the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade on 9 June as the 8th Army reorganized. On 12 June the brigade concentrated with the 4th Division and by 18 June the two formations were in corps reserve for the 13th Corps in the Viterbo area, where tank-infantry training was carried out briefly. Shortly afterward, the 8th Army commander, General Leese, told the commander of the brigade that he had "the most experienced armoured brigade in Italy" and was "therefore in great demand."4


Troopers of the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment) teach infantrymen of the 8th Indian Infantry Division about tank warfare, Castel Frentano, Italy, 30 March 1944. LAC photo

The 8th Army advanced on Arezzo on two independent axes with both its corps, naturally dictated by the terrain and limited Italian road network. The 13th Corps was assigned to Highway 71, skirting Lake Trasimene to the west then following the east side of the Val di Chiana to Arezzo. Fifteen miles east, the 10th Corps used a secondary road to advance north from Perugia along the Tiber River.

General Kirkman's advance would thus take him through the gap between Lake Trasimene and the smaller Lake Chiusi and Lake Montepulciano, which lie five miles to the west. This defile is covered by a belt of low, rolling hills rising about 300 feet above the surrounding country and extending a dozen miles up the west side of Lake Trasimene. It was an area favourable to defending troops, who could find good observation and cover from view in the scattered villages and farms which surmounted the successive ridges and hilltops, and additional concealment in the woods and in the standing crops which in midsummer clothed the intensively cultivated slopes.5

Heavy rain from 17 to 20 June slowed the Allies further and the Germans were permitted time to prepare hasty defensive positions. The sector opposite the British 13th Corps was anchored on Lake Trasimene in the east, running west to a high ridge overlooking Chiusi. The Germans dug a series of strong-points along the Pescia River around two miles in depth. The river had banks just steep enough to bar the way to tanks. Half a mile south of the river, German infantry manned a line of slit trenches and machine gun posts that linked Pescia, Case Ranciano, Badia and Lopi. These hamlets occupied the crests of ridges. Forward of these a line ran west from Carraia through Sanfatucchio and Vaiano, stretching from Lake Trasimene to Lake Chiusi. Troops of the 334th Infantry Division and 1st Parachute Division manned the defensive line, while the Hermann Göring Panzer Division held Chiusi and the 356th Infantry Division was in positions to cover the road that led north to Montlpulciano. All these formations had been reinforced after Rome. Combat strengths, as listed in Army reports on 2 July, gave the following numbers for combat troops6:

 

Formation "Combat Strength" on 2 July
Hermann Göring Panzer Division 3380
1st Parachute Division 1530
334 Infantry Division 1750
356 Infantry Division 3927

Sanfatucchio (78th Division/11th Canadian Armoured Regiment)
See also main article on Sanfatucchio

The commander of the 13th Corps, Lieutenant-General Sidney C. Kirkman, realized a full-scale attack would be needed to move the Germans from the Trasimene Line. He committed his reserves and ordered the 4th Division under Major-General A.D. Ward with the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade to move up left of the 78th Division. The Ontario Regiment was placed temporarily under the command of the 78th Division while the 4th moved into the centre of the corps front opposite Vaiano. Early on the 21st, two squadrons of the Ontario regiment's tanks went into action in support of two battalions of the 38th (Irish) Brigade.7

The operation began at 0400 hours June 21st, a fair, cool morning. At 1917 hours, "B" Squadron was established on the west side of Sanfatucchio. In spite of their orders, the Germans did not offer very strenuous resistance. The infantry mopped up the town and turned their prisoners over to the guardianship of the tanks. The town was cleared by 1130 hours and the advance moved on to the northwest.

Beyond Sanfatucchio, enemy resistance stiffened. The advance came under heavy mortar and shellfire. Lieutenant Hopkins and Corporal Toye had their tanks knocked out by an anti-tank gun. Somewhat displeased by the belligerence of this gun, Lieutenant Hopkins was successful in directing artillery fire upon it, and it was satisfactorily destroyed. But the toll of the Ontario's tanks was high. Within a rather short time "B" Squadron had only seven tanks in operating order.

"A" Squadron, with the (6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), was moving up the right flank of the advance and by 1030 hours had rached Carraia, northeast of Sanfatucchio, and midway between the highway and the lake. An objectionable anti-tank gun 1,500 yards to the northwest was deftly written off by the 392nd Battery. With the able assistance of the artillerymen, enough of the resistance to the advance was wiped out to let the tanks and infantrymen move forward again.

The advance was continued towards Pucciarelli, with "B" Squadron edging in from the left and "A" Squadron from the right. One of "A" Squadron's tanks was knocked out just before the town was reached. Lieutenant T.A. McIver seized the initiative and pushed on through the town to consolidate a line across the railway tracks toward the lake shore. The position was held for the night while the town was being mopped up.8

Further offensive operations continued on 24 June and the Ontario Regiment tanks again provided support. As infantry approached Pescia, the Germans put in a counter-attack from a group of farm-houses. "A" Squadron quickly knocked two Panthers and damaged a third, driving off the remaining tanks. "C" Squadron helped the Royal Irish Fusiliers take Pescia and a farm known as Case Ranciano. By evening the 78th Division was across the Pescia on both sides of Highway 71, though armour was restricted to the south bank due to partial demolition of the road bridge. The 8th Army's commander, Sir Oliver Leese, was so impressed with Canadian gunnery that he was prompted to send a personal congratulatory message to the Commanding Officer of the Ontario Regiment.9


PzKpfw V 'Panther", photographed near Ravenna in northern Italy, 1944. Bundesarchiv photo

4th Division Attack (12th Canadian Armoured Regiment)

The attack in the centre of the 13th Corps area by the 4th Division progressed more slowly than that of the 78th. One battalion of the 28th Brigade found German paratroopers solidly holding onto Vaiano. Tank-infantry co-operation became poor, reflective of a lack of combined training.10 One officers of The Three Rivers Regiment noted that cooperation with the infantry "was conspicuous by its absence." On one occasion the tanks arrived an hour late for a rendezvous, and on another the infantry postponed an attack by an hour but the tanks didn't receive the orders.11 During the attack on Vaiano, the infantry didn't take advantage of the tanks' covering fire while the tanks swept past the village onto the brigade's objective, a ridge. The German paratroopers were able to pin the infantry down, firing from tall grain behind the British soldiers. The Three Rivers tanks stayed well out front of this battle, waging their own fight with German strongpoints and suffering losses to anti-tank and mortar fire. They withdrew in the evening, consolidating with the infantry who had been unable to get past Vaiano. A heavy cloud-burst ended the day, soaking the ground and bogging one of the Shermans in a gully. Without infantry support, the five-man crew was captured, and would be the only men of The Three Rivers Regiment to become POWs during the Second World War.12


Bogged Sherman tank of 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Three Rivers Regiment), photographed on the River Arielli on  18 January 1944. Imperial War Museum photograph

The next day, 25 June 1944, was worse for the Three Rivers tanks. German paratroopers of the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division withdrew from Vaiano in order to conform to the movements of the 334th Infantry Division, also withdrawing across the Pescia River. The British 4th Division gained some momentum in their own advance, but rain-soaked ground became increasingly difficult for the Shermans. Sharp hills with steeply terraced, vine-covered sides lay across the axis of advance. The vines were strung on wires between low-growing, solid oak trees. Seven tanks were lost, five of them to the terrain, either throwing tracks or bellying on the rocky terraces. The regiment continued the advance the next day as the 10th Brigade attacked down the secondary road a mile east of Lake Chiusi. The Shermans drove into Lopi, abandoned by the enemy, then supported the 2nd Battalion, The King's Regiment (Liverpool) as it threw German rearguards out of Gioiella. The Three Rivers lost 7 killed and 19 wounded on 26 June. In addition to being costlier than the Gustav and Hitler Line battles, reinforcements of both men and tanks were in short supply due to the 200 mile distance to the railhead at Cassino, and shortage of tank transporters able to then truck the replacements forward over limited road space.13

North of Gioiella lay the strongest part of the German defences on the 4th Division front. A dominating ridge extended west from a bend in the Pescia River, about 1,000 yards north of Gioiella, running to the village of Casamaggiore. For two days, four infantry battalions and all three squadrons of the Three Rivers Regiment struggled to push the Germans from these final positions. The highlight of the action came on 28 June when "C" Squadron pushed a mile past Casamaggiore onto the high ground, then remained for seven hours in the face of heavy German counterattacks by tanks and infantry.

When, early in the engagement, the squadron commander's was one of four Canadian tanks knocked out in rapid succession, his secondin-command, Captain I. M. Grant, assumed control of the three remaining Shermans and throughout the day directed their operations with great skill and daring. As small groups of paratroopers attempted to infiltrate through the standing crops he left his own tank and for five hours, under continual sniping and mortar fire, sought them out on foot and guided his tanks from one fire position to another to deal with them. This "complete disregard for his personal safety and superb leadership" won Grant the D.S.O., an honour not often bestowed on a junior officer. Largely due to "C" Squadron's gallant efforts the strength of the German position on the ridge was broken. During the evening "A" Squadron supported the 1st/6th Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment in a successful attack on Casamaggiore. This time tank co-operation with the infantry was good, as " `A' Squadron shot them from objective to objective and then covered them into town." Its final action in breaking the Trasimene Line had cost the Three Rivers Regiment eleven killed and 14 wounded. "It was the 12th's roughest day on record", wrote the unit diarist, "and everyone felt deeply the loss of such fine men and officers."14

In addition to the DSO, the only troop commander to survive, Lieutenant F.A. Farrow, was awarded the Military Cross. His citation read:

On 28 June 1944 at about 0900 hours, "C" Squadron, 12 Canadian Armoured Regiment was in support of an infantry regiment in an attack on high ground. About a quarter of a mile short of the objective the squadron came under murderous fire and was reduced to three tanks. Lieutenant Farrow was in command of one of the three remaining tanks which fought their way  to the objective and shepherded the infantry to a covered position near a house. Here Lieutenant Farrow's tank broke down and commandeering his Corporal's tank he moved out with the remaining tank to meet a counter-attack of German infantry supported by four Panther tanks. Later attacks depended on the holding of this ground and for five hours this officer fought  and held the right sector in mutual support of the other tank, against the furious onslaught of the Germans, successfully repelling both infantry and tanks until the counter-attack collapsed. Throughout the day until 2300 hours when reinforcements arrived this officer's great courage and determination of the highest order resulted in the holding of the objective against an  enemy greatly superior in tanks and men. Because of this officer's gallant attack and stand the enemy forces between him and Casamaggiore were out-flanked and forced to withdraw, opening the way for a successful attack on Casamaggiore and furthering the divisional advance.15

Advance to the Arezzo Line (12th and 14th Canadian Armoured Regiments)

The 8th Army revised its plan for the drive on Arezzo and Florence. With 10th Corps making little progress in mountainous terrain north of Perugia, priority was given to the 13th Corps. The exhausted 78th Division was pulled from the right flank in order to send it to the Middle East for rest. Relieving it was the 6th Armoured Division, tasked with leading the 13th Corps up Highway 71. The frontage of the 4th Division was increased, with the 12th Brigade entering the line on the left of the 10th Brigade with the 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment) in support. The Calgary tanks supported a two-pronged attack by the 12th Brigade on 29 June. German paratroopers had pulled back four miles northwest from Casamaggiore, to defend a low ridge connecting Valiano and Petrignano. British troops of the 12th Brigade attacked the former. A battalion of the 10th Brigade attacked Petrignano with the Three Rivers in support. The villages lay two miles apart, but mutually supporting fire from the defenders was brought down on the flanks of the British attacker while German self-propelled guns and tanks actively engaged the Canadian armour from atop the ridge. There was no coordination between the two Canadian tank regiments, who were unable to track the location of each other's forward tanks. The attack couldn't be pressed and artillery fire couldn't be safely brought down.

At nightfall the Germans, under cover of a sharp counter-attack in front of Petrignano, withdrew from both villages. "Superficially the day was not a marked success," recorded the Calgary diarist, "but we had inflicted casualties and seen the enemy once more retreat." The sight of the enemy in retreat became more familiar during the following week, as General Herr's divisions withdrew northward over level country little suited to effective delaying action. But as usual the German engineers missed no opportunities, and as the 4th Division pushed forward along the broad Val di Chiana, its advanced guard was checked by mines and demolitions at the numerous water-crossings and by occasional shelling and sniping by small rear parties. Smart work by the Calgaries' reconnaissance troop in routing a demolition party and seizing a bridge over the main waterway-the Canale Maestro della Chiana--enabled units of the 12th Brigade to occupy the town of Foiano di Chiana by midday on 2 July.16

The Three Rivers Regiment lost 94 officers and men as casualties during the Trasimene Line fighting, and 26 tanks.17

Ontario Regiment

The Germans opposite the 4th Division began pulling back on 28 June using "his favourite method of breaking contact," a strong counter-attack and night withdrawal covered by paratroops of the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division. The Ontario Regiment was ordered to support the 28th Infantry Brigade, then relieving the 10th, with one squadron in support of the 36th Brigade at Castiglione del Lago.18

Battle Honours

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

Image:1tankbde.gif 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 11th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Ontario Regiment)

  • 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Three Rivers Regiment)

  • 14th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment)

Notes

  1. Greenhous, Brereton "Italian Odyssey, 1943-45" We Stand on Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (Ovale Publications, Montreal, PQ, 1992) ISBN 2894290438 p.280

  2. Dancocks, Daniel G. D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy 1943-1945 (McClelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, ON, 1991) ISBN 0771025440 p.293

  3. Ibid

  4. Nicholson, Gerald Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume II: The Canadians in Italy (2nd printing, Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1957) p.465

  5. Ibid, p.466

  6. Ibid

  7. Ibid, p. 467

  8. Schragg, Lex History of The Ontario Regiment 1866-1951 pp.217-218

  9. Nicholson, Ibid, p.467

  10. Ibid. The official history notes that "After training briefly with the 10th Brigade, the Three Rivers Regiment had suddenly taken The Ontario Regiment's place in support of the 28th Brigade when the Ontarios were transferred to the 78th Division."

  11. Dancocks, Ibid, pp.294-295

  12. Nicholson, Ibid, pp.467-468

  13. Ibid, p.468

  14. Ibid

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

  16. Nicholson, Ibid, pp.470-471

  17. Marteinson, J.K. and Michael R. McNorgan The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps: An Illustrated History (Toronto, ON: Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association, 2000) ISBN 1-896941-17-6 p.204

  18. Schragg, Ibid, p.222

 


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