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

 

Ardennes

Ardennes was a Battle Honour granted to Canadians participating in actions during the German offensive in the Ardennes Forest in December 1944-January 1945. The 1st Canadian Army proper, located in the Nijmegen Salient at the time, did not participate, but the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was dispatched by the 21st Army Group to take part in the fighting there.

Background

German planning for their Ardennes Offensive had included the possibility of a breakthrough along the front of the US 1st Army. Army Group "H" under Generalleutnant Kurt Student, opposite the Canadians, had planned to follow up in that event with an offensive of their own (under orders from Field Marshal von Runstedt, who ordered them to advance once the Ardennes forces had reached the Meuse River). Allied plans in this period were preparatory in nature, with a view to launching offensives into the Rhineland, east from the Nijmegen Salient, as well as north towards Arnhem, in the new year. In the event, these operations did come to pass, but were considerably delayed by the German offensive that began on 16 December 1944.1

When the scale of the German offensive was made apparent, the British 6th Airborne Division, then in the United Kingdom, was redeployed to the continent. A component unit of the division was the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, who had first seen combat in Normandy on D-Day and in the weeks subsequent before embarking for England again on 6 September.2

 

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion arrived at Ostend on 26 December 1944, having embarked in the United Kingdom two days previously.

The Battalion was then transported to a series of villages around Taintignes, south of Tournai. After a few days the paratroopers were moved to Rochefort, a village on the east bank of the Meuse River. There, they prepared defensive positions and conducted active patrolling until 13 January.

Even though combat had been limited to only minor encounters with the enemy, the 1 Cdn Para Bn earned the distinction of having been the only Canadian combat unit to see action in the Ardennes.3

The unit was hampered by shortages of winter camouflage and clothing, and had been annoyed that their deployment to the battle zone had been by boat and truck rather than by parachute. The battalion had also not engaged in patrolling activities since Normandy and had to quickly brush up on drill prior to embarkation. The 3rd Parachute Brigade was assigned an area extending from Rochefort to Aye, as part of a divisional front extending beteen Givet to Hargimont. The 8th and 9th Parachute Battalions, the other component units of the 3rd Parachute Brigade, garrisoned Boisonville and Humain respectively. On January 2nd, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion embarked on its mission of defending the roads leading to Rochefort, and for sixteen days their main occupation became standing and reconnaissance patrols, manning defensive positions, and staffing observation posts. The battalion had four Forward Observation Officers for a link to several units of 25-pounder field guns.

On January 3rd and 4th, the last German attacks on Bastogne were halted and the enemy offensive was finally contained. The paratroopers established headquarters and field kitchens in sturdy structures well behind the front lines to provide bases of operations, and commanders fretted over the lack of proper footwear and cold weather gear, particularly for men tasked to spend long hours motionless in defensive positions.4

"I brought the issue of lack of proper footwear and clothing," stated Corporal Jeans, "to our medical officer. He told me not too much could be done. We just had to endure." Sergeant Reid observed, "These leather boots were not the thing to wear in the winter - they had steel toe and heel caps and 13 hob nails." Corporal John Ross recalled that his company had some extra blankets. These were quickly put to good use. "We'd cut them up and made booties," explained Ross. "We put them over our boots to sleep in. I was sure happy that we had them." While some devised ways to keep their feet warm, other such as Private Joe King simply refused to take their boots off. "I was afraid I couldn't get them back on," he said. Static defensive duties became the most difficult tasks. Long hours spent sitting in slit trenches resulted in numerous cases of badly frozen feet. To alleviate this terrible problem, paratroopers resorted to wrapping lengths of burlap and tying them to their boots for added warmth.5

The first mission for the 3rd Parachute Brigade on 4 January was to patrol the Rochefort and Waverville roads, as artillery batteries were establishing new positions to the west. The Canadians were to patrol north of the Waverville road; while enemy activity was minimal, one history noted that

...the threat was always there. The hilly terrain, the thick forests, and the low cloud cover shielded the enemy patrols while severely restricting long-range observation....Therefore, countless hours were spent patrolling through the hills and forests, walking through the deep snow to confirm that enemy troops had not returned to operate behind Allied lines.

In actuality, offensive action was the furthest thing from the enemy's mind. The Canadians' eagerness for a fight was curbed by the German withdrawal tactics. "Every day, it seemed, we moved u to attack a village," recalled Private Jan de Vries, "we shelled a bit, then found that the Germans had left." Frustration soon set in.6

The use of German commandos wearing American uniforms during the Ardennes offensive has been well documented. Their effects on Allied morale were out of proportion to their actual numbers; the effects on 1 Can Para were to required them to remove the distinctive AIRBORNE tab from their battle dress as an identification measure, and to assume anyone actually wearing the tab was a German. All soldiers in American uniforms became suspect, and the Canadians themselves were treated to enquiries, when encountering American soldiers, related to spouses of Hollywood actors, winners of the World Series, or other sports-related questions, on the assumption that German soldiers would be unable to answer correctly. These conditions prevailed until 8 January when a general German withdrawal began. Deteriorating weather conditions, poor road conditions, minefields, difficult terrain and a need to reorganize the line prevented an effective full-scale pursuit. Maintenance of contact resulted in "numerous night reconnaissance patrols" which the paratroopers found a boon to morale, as it meant an opportunity to do damage to the enemy and carry out vital tasks. One night Lieutenant Eric Burdon and two paratroopers trekked 14 miles in deep snow, over 11 hours, discovered German minefields and came back with important information.


Ill-clad paratroopers of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in the Ardennes in January 1945. The unit was rushed into action and told to take a minimum of personal equipment into battle. Winter footwear and camouflage was not made available to the battalion. Library and Archives Canada photo.

By 8 January, the Germans were far removed from the 6th Airborne Division's area, and 1 Can Para led their brigade to Marche-en-Famenne, and shortly after moved to Champlon Famenne, a small hamlet just to the east, relieving the 1st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry of the 71st Infantry Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division.7 On 12 January men from "B" Company entered Bande, discovering evidence of a German atrocity. Locals explained how German soldiers had instructed local males to dig trenches, and upon refusing, 37 men and boys had been shot, thrown into the basement of a church, and then had grenades thrown in after them. On 14 January, as the Americans harried the retreating Germans a few miles away, the 3 Para Brigade sector was quiet enough for a sports day, with events including toboggan races, wood chopping and sawing contests, and snowman building. On January 18, the battalion was moved from front line positions to rest areas at Ponderome, Mortouzin, Neuville and Pennugan. The entire division departed for the Netherlands on 22 January.8

Battle Honours

The following units were awarded the Battle Honour "Ardennes":

British 6th Airborne Division

  • 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

Notes

  1. Stacey, C.P., Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-West Europe, 1944-1945 (Ottawa: The Queens Printer, 1960)

  2. Horn, Bernd and Michel Wyczynski Hook-Up!: The Canadian Airborne Compendium (Vanwell Publishing Ltd, St. Catharines, ON, 2003) ISBN 1-55125-071-3 p.35

  3. Horn, Bernd and Michel Wyczynski In Search of Pegasus: The Canadian Airborne Experience 1942-1999 (Vanwell Publishing Ltd., St. Catharine's, ON, 2001) ISBN 1-55125-039-X p.30

  4. Horn, Bernd and Michel Wyczynski Paras Versus the Reich: Canada's Paratroopers at War, 1942-45 (Dundurn Press, Toronto, ON, 2003) ISBN 1-55002-470-1, pp.175-179

  5. Ibid, p.178

  6. Ibid, pp.178-180

  7. Ibid, pp.180-182 The history refers to this as "Champlon Famenine" but this is a typo in either the book or the War Diary.

  8. Ibid, pp.182-185


© canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present