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

 

Mount Vischiataro

Mount Vischiataro 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

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.6

Clearing the Way

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.7

Capture of Radicosa

See also main article on Radicosa

The 2nd Regiment bypassed Radicosa, surprising troops on Hill 702/724, and captured it, precipitating a German withdrawal. The Germans in Radicosa pulled back to the northwest.8 By noon on 4 January, the 1st Regiment occupied 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 hold-outs on Hill 675 were eliminated. Further patrols confirmed the enemy had indeed withdrawn. The stage was set for the attack on Majo itself.9

 

Situation on 4 January and Organization of Task Force B

The 3rd Regiment had spent 4 January expanding their own gains and sending patrols out, linking up with the U.S. 45th Division of the 6th U.S. Corps on their right at Colle Rippa, the regiment actually operating inside the 6th Corps boundary. One company was south of Viticuso and patrols from other companies had approached 1,200 yards east of Monte Majo without encountering the enemy. Companies also occupied Hill 914 and Colle Stefano without seeing organized resistance.10

The mission of the FSSF was to protect the flank of the 2nd U.S. Corps and the 1st Armored Division attempting to advance up Highway 6; the ultimate objective was to clear Mt. Vischiataro, but the Force's commander, Colonel Robert T. Frederick, felt that Mount Majo had to be taken first to permit an attack on Vischiataro. The corps commander expanded Frederick's command by creating Task Force B, and adding the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Division Artillery, and engineer and medical units to Frederick's control.

Mount Majo

See also main article on Mount Majo

With gale force winds blowing on 6 January and temperatures dropping to  nearly 0°F (-17°C), the depleted 3rd Regiment set off on its mission to attack Mount Majo. Silhouetted against the snow and in bright moonlight, the regiment attacked through the night of 6-7 January and seized the heights, wresting them from the Hoch-und-Deutschmeister Division.


Pack mule becomes bogged in snow just beyond Vischiataro. These were some of the challenging terrain conditions in which the FSSF had to conduct long marches and mount major attacks. Note also the absence of trees at elevation. U.S. Army photo

Attack on Vischiataro

As the main assault on Mount Majo went in on the evening of 6 January by Colonel Walker's 3rd Regiment, the 1st Regiment under Colonel Marshall was in position after dark on the western portion of Colle Stefano, and 90 minutes after the 3rd Regiment had moved off, the 1st Regiment started moving north and west at 21:30hrs. Their objective was two and a half miles away, over rocky and hilly terrain, with no tracks to follow. The column was machine-gunned before they had gone a mile. The Germans were deployed in an area not shown on the maps, a reverse slope which was not possible to flank. The 1st Regiment was obliged to mount a frontal assault. It took six hours to work forward, the snow silhouetting the assaulting men, trying to reach the first rise below Hill 1109, but five machine-gun bunkers were eliminated, as well as "satellite snipers" and fourteen prisoners were taken, and as well "many Germans were killed in the action." The Germans were deployed in depth, however, and the 1st Regiment was slowly whittled down, and before dawn a withdrawal back to San Stefano was ordered.11

Colonel Frederick reassessed the situation; the bald heights with an enemy battalion atop it was properly attacked from above. With Majo in the hands of the FSSF, assaulting from higher ground was clearly the best possibility. It was also clear that the assaulting force would need to be reinforced over one regiment to permit a proper follow-through. On 7 January, the 1st Regiment joined the 3rd on the heights of Majo, where it was then ordered to attack Hill 1270 to the west. It could then attack straight south towards Vischiataro. The 3rd Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment was placed at the disposal of the 1st Regiment to follow-up and occupy the heights of 1270.

The new attack started at dusk, the men tired, the snow deeper, and with no one having much idea of what strength the Germans had on 1270. Company L of the 133rd were dispatched ahead of the Force in view of the fatigue of the men. By midnight, both battalions of the 1st Regiment were waiting in the valley between Hills 1270 and 1109 while L Company advanced. A firefight ensued between the veteran troops of the 133rd and a German outpost, and then word came back that the hill was in American hands, with "negligible resistance." Company L reported it would occupy the height while the 1st Regiment moved on Vischiataro with its rear secure.

The valley where the regiment had halted was only a saucer depression, almost of the same height as Mt. Vischiataro so that the approach march was up an easy gradient to the broad, flat, treeless top. Toward the top no enemy fire opened. Both battalions advanced to the top that had no distinguishing features save the usual scattering of loose limestone outcroppings. Then the hill was theirs - without a shot fired, where the night before the Germans had cleverly disposed a full battalion on this height. The German 2d Battalion, 132d Regiment, had evacuated. Nothing remained now but the familiar signs of recent German occupation: ammunition belts, a few tin boxes, hollow dugouts, burned out embers. This main salient in the long-exposed Winter Line was only a ghost, where in early morning light the tired men could look westward to Cassino or down onto the Rapido plain or far up the Liri toward Rome, and to the north stretched miles of hills that would shortly be in French hands. The biggest prizes are sometimes anti-climactic.12


Battle Honours

 

The following Canadian unit was awarded the Battle Honour "Mount Vischiataro" 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. Joyce, Ibid, pp.168-180

  5. Burhans,Ibid, p.141

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

  7. Burhans, Ibid, p.145

  8. Burhans, Ibid, pp.150-152

  9. Ibid, p.153

  10. Dancocks, Daniel G. D-Day Dodgers: The Canadians in Italy 1943-45 (McLelland & Stewart Inc., Toronto, ON, 1991) ISBN 0-7710-2544-0 p.199

  11. Joyce, Ibid, pp.189-190 and Burhans, Ibid, p.153

  12. Burhans, Ibid, p.156


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