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

 

Clair Tizon

Clair Tizon was a Battle Honour granted to Canadian units participating in actions near this town from 11 Aug 1944 to 13 Aug 1944. These actions were among the last battles to close the Falaise Gap during the Battle of Normandy.

The town of Clair Tizon itself, located near the Falaise Road, was taken in a surprise attack by The Calgary Highlanders on the night of 12-13 Aug 1944. The action forced a German abandonment of positions during the Falaise Road fighting, and was executed with very few casualties. The Commanding Officer, of The Calgary Highlanders, Lieutenant Colonel DG MacLauchlan, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his handling of this battle.

Strategic Position

The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division had been directed on 11 August 1944 to conduct a "reconnaissance in force", in the words of the commander of II Canadian Corps, south from Bretteville-sur-Laize with a single brigade. On the morning of August 12th, that reconnaissance became the main effort of II Canadian Corps, and the entire division was committed to the action, with two Army Groups, Royal Artillery (AGRA) and two regiments of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade in support.
 

Early Advance - 4th Brigade

The operation was to be nothing out of the ordinary - or should have been.

General Foulkes decided that the 2nd Canadian Division would move on a single thrust line, with 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade leading. Although this particular type of operation had been practised many times in England, it had not previously been employed in action, and unfortunately the casualties in the infantry battalions of 4th Brigade had been so numerous that much of the benefit of the training was now lost.1

The brigade moved out in the following order of march:

Unit Order of March Objective
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) Lead Barbery
The Royal Regiment of Canada Centre Moulines
The Essex Scottish Regiment Rear Point 184

Once Point 184 - two miles south of Moulines - was secure, the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment was to pass through and secure Ussy. Divisional support included a squadron of the 18th Canadian Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons), the divisional artillery with an extra regiment of medium guns, a battery of anti-tank guns, and machine guns of "B" Company of the Toronto Scottish.
 

Barbery - Royal Hamilton Light Infantry

The RHLI moved towards their start line at Bretteville late on 11 August and was in position by 05:00hrs on 12 August. The regiment stepped off at 07:30, supported by a troop of tanks, its ultimate objective Clair Tizon.

The RHLI passed Barbery, a hamlet of a few houses which was the half-way point. Nothing stirred there; not a person or farm animal...The men waded through the unharvested wheat on each side of the road. Major Joe Pigott's C Company was forward left and B under "Huck" Welch to the right, with Jack Halladay's A Company behind it. Major Dunc Kennedy commanded D, behind Pigott. The field narrowed about a thousand yards beyond Barbery where woods closed in on each side of the road. The men were sodden with sweat and chaff and pollen clung to their trousers as they walked resolutely through the woods. A breeze rustled the aspen and poplar, their whispers punctuated by the odd clink of equipment and the whine and slap of the Shermans coming up behind them. C Company was the first to come under fire from machine guns in a copse to the left. Then all the rifle companies were enveloped in a storm of bullets and shrapnel. Lyle Doering, the battalion Intelligence Officer, later recorded it as "the most intense mortaring and shelling the unit ever witnessed."

From the German point of view it was essential to hold the Falaise pocket open for a few more days..."They were fanatical devils and we started to have casualties right away," Pigott recalled later. "There was hand-to-hand fighting as these fellows came running out of their slits, firing rifles and grenades. The opposition was so bitter that I determined in my own mind that we were going to have to limit our objective."

...The companies had advanced 600 yards beyond Barbery when Pigott gave his order to stop and consolidate. The men dug in. A private in B Company paused from his labour long enough to glance toward the woods. "Sir, are those our tanks over there?" he yelled to his commander. "Of course they are," Welch replied, not bothering to look up. "Jesus, they sure don't look like it to me." Welch straightened. Trundling towards his company was a Tiger tank. "No, they sure don't," he said, and every man dropped into his half-scraped hole. The Shermans were no match for the massive Tiger, with its 88mm gun and the Tiger concentrated on knocking them out, while a couple of Panthers which had now joined it sprayed the RHLI with machine-gun fire. The German tanks were all out of PIAT range and German panzer grenadier infantry stopped the RHLI from closing with them.2

Counter-attacks continued into the afternoon, and at 18:00hrs, battalion headquarters took a direct shell hit, wounding the five soldiers there, including the C.O., all of whom had to be evacuated. The tanks eventually withdrew after 20 RHLI had been killed and 100 wounded. On 13 August, the RHLI captured 50 Germans before assaulting an enemy-held orchard, which turned out to be abandoned. The companies nevertheless came under shell fire during the advanced. Digging in on the objective, the RHLI was immediately ordered to move on Tournebu, a small hamlet from which the Germans were believed to be withdrawing. Forty more prisoners were collected with little resistance.3

Moulines - Royal Regiment of Canada

After a day of remaining in positions on the 9th and a day of training on the 10th, including zeroing of all rifles, The Royal Regiment of Canada was warned that they would be sent to attack Moulines on the evening of the 10th. After a restlessness night (unaided by a nearby battery of American 155mm guns firing into Falaise), patrols from the Royals reported early on the morning of the 11th that the west bank of the Laise River was clear of enemy from Pervouville to Bretteville, the enemy having withdrawn. The day was again spent in training, and at 21:30hrs the C.O. arrived back at the unit from 4th Brigade headquarters with order to move to Bretteville-sur-Laize.

Moulines itself lay in a valley, with high ground to both north and south. The main road through the town ran north-to-south, where it met a small stream running east-to-west. The battalion plan was for "A" Company to advance west of the road, followed by "C" Company, with "B" Company on the left, or east, of the road, with "D" behind. Each assaulting company had a section of carriers, a section of 3-inch mortars, a section of anti-tank guns, a section of assault pioneers, and an artillery forward observation officer (FOO). "A" and "B" Companies were to establish positions on the stream while "C" and "D" mopped up by-passed pockets of resistance. Their attack went off during the night of 11-12 August, and while slow, continued "without incident until the R.H.L.I. in the van deployed for their attack."

The R.H.L.I. were held up by enemy fire in Favrolle, just north of Barbery, and at approximately 4:30 in the morning the Royals were therefore ordered to advance to a point half a mile north of Favrolle and deploy astride the axis of advance, with "A" and "C" Companies on the right and "B" and "D" Companies on the left. This movement was carried out under intermittent shell and mortar fire, which caused some casualties in all companies.4

In mid-morning, as the RHLI consolidated south of Barbery on high ground, the Royals continued to Moulines, bypassing Barbery to the east with the same order of march for their companies, with a squadron of tanks in support. "A" Company came under heavy machine-gun fire about 800 yards south-east of Barbery, passing through open grain fields. The company started working forward to a small wood near a crossroads, where it found a company of the RHLI under shell, mortar and small arms fire. The company sheltered in old slit-trenches and folds in the ground, but was unable to entrench due to the high volume of enemy sniping.

The tank support attempted to move up and deal with an enemy gun on the right flank, but the lead Sherman was hit coming up a sunken road immediately ahead of "A" Company, and when it brewed up the rest of the tanks withdrew.

Captain J.E. Strothers, who was acting company commander while Major Whitley was left out of battle, was now called back for a battalion orders group. He returned soon afterwards bringing with him a new plan of attack. The Royals were to clear Moulines as far as the bridge over the river and secure the high ground on the left of the stream about 1000 yards short of Point 151. "A" and "C" Companies were to advance on the right, and "B" and "D" Companies on the left, this time with "C" and "D" Companies leading.

"C" and "D" Companies moved off again at 5:30 in the afternoon, only to find that most of the enemy had by now withdrawn. Three German snipers, including a sergeant, were captured in Moulines. Well before last light the new position was secured. The day's fighting had cost the Royals ten other ranks killed and 57 wounded.

...During the course of the night the R.H.L.I. passed through to secure some high ground about a mile to the south-east, and the Essex Scottish moved forward to capture Point 184, two miles to the south. The Essex Scottish, however, did not take their objective and by morning had consolidated a defensive position on the Royals' left flank.5

Point 184 - Essex Scottish and The Royal Regiment of Canada

The Essex Scottish were warned at 20:00hrs on 11 August to prepare to move to take Point 184. An elaborate fire plan was devised using the divisional artillery, with extra artillery support, two squadrons of tanks, a platoon of MMGs from The Toronto Scottish Regiment, a troop of anti-tank guns, and a section of engineers.

B Company, the right forward company, ran into trouble at the forming up point as the enemy had not been cleared from that area. It was engaged with the enemy before it crossed the start line. As a result of this early action, the Company veered to the right and headed for the village of Tournebu instead of directly to Point 184. The two officers with B Company were wounded along with thirty men. At that juncture Acting Company Sergeant Major Stuart Kirkland took command and placed himself at the head of the remaining sixty riflemen. He ordered his Bren gun and mortar crews to direct their fire on a hedgerow that screened the village and held at least two machine-guns. He then had his men fix bayonets and led them in the charge to the hedgerow where they quickly overcame enemy resistance and captured thirty prisoners. they then moved into the village and began clearing the houses of Germans, capturing another nine. With the village clear, Kirkland sent a runner to battalion headquarters with the news and quickly consolidated his position before gathering the wounded for evacuation...

Lieutenant Ashbury noted that the carrier platoon had played a major part in the success of the operation when it stormed onto a field surrounded by a ditch, which held at least twelve machine-gun posts and five bazookas. They took seventy-five prisoners...Altogether, 150 prisoners were captured along with a good deal of equipment in exchange for twenty men killed and numerous wounded. The survivors dug slit trenches on the objective and remained there over night.6

CSM Stuart Kirkland received the Distinguished Conduct Medal from Field Marshal Montgomery in October 1944.

On the 13 August 1944, the battalion [Essex Scottish Regiment] was ordered to attack the feature point 184 and the woods 0544. "B" Company, with Sergeant Kirkland as Acting Company Sergeant-Major, was the right forward company. The forming up position had not been mopped up by the troops proceeding, with the result that the company became committed before crossing the start line. As a result of this, direction was lost and the company's axis of advance was interpreted as being towards Tourneau. On the outskirts of Tourneau, the only two officers in the company were wounded by heavy machine gun fire from the hedges which pinned the company down. Despite the loss of about 30 men from a company of 90, Sergeant Kirkland immediately took hold. Placing himself at the head of the remaining riflemen, he ordered the Bren guns and mortars to give covering fire while he led a bayonet charge against at least two machine gun posts in the hedge on the outskirts of the village, resulting in the destruction of the enemy position and the capture of about 30 prisoners of war. Following the assault, Sergeant Kirkland carried on the attack against the buildings on the outskirts of the village, directing the fire and leading his men in to clear the houses and more. Having completed this, he consolidated the company about the houses despatching a runner to report to Battalion Headquarters. Then he started arranging the collecting [and] evacuation of the wounded. During the whole of this action, communications over the wireless with Battalion Headquarters were spasmodic and he was left to his own resources. The fact that the company overcame the opposition which had pinned them to the ground was due entirely to the initiative and the gallant and spirited leadership of Sergeant Kirkland who, discarding any thought of personal safety, placed himself at the head of his men for the assault. His display of courage and singleness of purpose to come to grip and destroy the enemy was a source of inspiration to his men and is, and will be, an example to the regiment for all time.7

On 14 August, the Royals were once again tasked, this time to capture Point 184.

The route was to be along the main road to the south, and the order of march was to be "D" Company leading, with under command one troop of tanks, followed by "C", "B", and "A" Companies.

After moving off at nine o'clock (p.m. on August 14), "D" Company, under Captain A. Macmillan, had advanced about 500 yards down the road when the leading tank was knocked out by a (German) bazooka. At this, the remaining tanks withdrew and did not reappear till later in the afternoon. Thus deprived of its tank support, "D" Company was pinned down by severe machine-gun and mortar fire from both flanks. Nevertheless, by eleven o'clock the infantry had worked forward and occupied the ground in the vicinity of the knocked out tank; but when Lieutenant M.G. Berry's platoon attempted to drive off the enemy on the left flank, it made no progress and suffered heavy casualties...

Lieutenant Colonel Anderson thereupon ordered the companies to withdraw about 400 yards so that artillery fire could be brought to bear on the enemy positions. Unfortunately, before the artillery support could materialize, the Battalion Command Post was shelled, and, among other casualties, the artillery representative, Major Gordon Wren, was mortally wounded and his command vehicle put out of action. This delayed the artillery programme for about two hours, by which time the fire plan was cancelled by higher authority.8

At 14:00hrs, the divisional and brigade commanders arrived at battalion headquarters with information which led them to believe the enemy was withdrawing, and so "D" Company went forward without artillery support. The heavy volume of fire they received made it appear the Germans were, in fact, reinforcing their positions. "D" Company was left in place to provide fire support for "B" and "C" Company to make simultaneous attacks to the flanks, with tank support. "A" Company also provided fire support from its positions. The enemy, probably already beginning his withdrawal, was easily overwhelmed, yielding 60 prisoners and 12 machine-guns. The Royals consolidated atop Point 151 and the Essex were finally able to secure Point 184. Total losses for the Royals had been three killed and 41 wounded.9

Clair Tizon - Calgary Highlanders

By mid-August 1944, it began to look to many like the German Army in Normandy was finally collapsing, and the 5th Brigade War Diary reflected on the 10th that German forces opposite were mainly low-grade battle groups. The Calgary Highlanders' regimental newsletter noted in July 1945:

The tempo of the fighting decreased as we fought our way through Bretteville and Clair Tison. However, the fatigue of the pursuit increased as we tried, generally in vain, to engage the enemy at Urville, Fontaine-les-Pin, through the shelling at Orbec to Ste. Germain-la-Campagne. It was on the way to Orbec, as we passed through Vimoutier and Laboscraie, that we felt the first collapse of the German Army.

 

Nonetheless, despite the breakthrough to Falaise and the rout of the German 7th Army, there was still work to be done. A period of rest ended on the 12th by orders to move southwards again. On entering Mesnil-Touffrey in the late afternoon, enemy artillery fire killed Private Wallace Bradley, the C.O.'s driver. By last light on 12 August 1944, the Calgary Highlanders were ordered to pass through Moulines and move south to Clair Tizon, described as "a few stone farmhouses lying mostly on the north side of a narrow east-west blacktop road." It was located in a valley, with high ground to east and west, with the River Laise flowing through the town and irrigating the orchards and farmland that surrounded the small hamlet.

By advancing to Clair Tizon, the Highlanders would be leading the entire 2nd Canadian Division in their attempt to turn the German flank along the river. For the third consecutive time, the Calgary Highlanders were required to lead a 5th Brigade attack, as the other two battalions were too depleted. (The Maisonneuves were 231 riflemen short, effectively only being able to field two companies instead of four).

Hot food was brought up to the men at midnight on the night of 12-13 August, welcome after a day of marching in the hot sun. The Highlanders would go without sleep for another night. Brigadier Megill withdrew the planned armoured support from the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment, and the C.O. of the Highlanders was advised that tanks of the 27th Armoured Regiment would instead rendezvous during the morning at Le Mesnil, on the anticipated axis of advance. The advance started at 01:45. The route had not been reconnoitered and the night was especially dark. Enemy positions were unknown, and the battalion set off through thick trees. Only maps and compasses were available to guide the unit over sunken roads and unmarked tracks. The night is described by Bercuson's history as still and thick with mist.

Moulines was not in the hands of the 4th Brigade as expected, and it was apparent that any continued advance would be unsupported. Lieutenant Colonel MacLauchlan decided to push forward. Passing through an orchard south of Moulines, the battalion found a narrow dirt track, which they followed east for a kilometre, then turned south, and skirted the western edge of a thick wood before arriving at Le Mesnil just before dawn. The lead company was halted and ordered to wait; as battalion headquarters arrived, brigade ordered defensive positions dug around Le Mesnil.

At this point, a German Regimental Aid Post was captured, complete with enemy Medical Officer and wounded soldiers. Since RAPs are set up well to the rear of battalion fighting positions, it became apparent that somehow the entire battalion had infiltrated the German defences. Retreating German troops were encountered and seemed eager to surrender, many bearing safe conduct leaflets. One German jumped into Major Mark Tennant's jeep, desperate to give up. Some 75 soldiers were captured at Le Mesnil during the night.

German soldiers were reported near "D" Company's positions in the morning, to the left and rear of the battalion. A brief firefight resulted in many German casualties, and some companies, in the words of Roy Farran, "were fighting backwards in the direction from which they had come." The lead companies were engaged in shootouts with German transport on the road to the south, and prisoners from that direction included a German Regimental commander.

Signals Sergeant Alvin Palfenier, who had distinguished himself at May-sur-Orne, was wounded in the head, and loaded into a jeep with a medical orderly. The driver got lost on his way back to the Highlanders' RAP, and the jeep was captured. The driver escaped, but Palfenier disappeared. He was initially listed as missing; he today lies in the Bretteville-sur-Laise war cemetery.

The battalion stayed in Le Mesnil throughout the morning of 13 August. The tanks of the 27th Armoured Regiment arrived and the company commanders planned the advance on Clair Tizon with the C.O. It would be a mutually supporting affair, with companies covering each other by bounds. The advance started at 14:00, with "D" and "C" Company in front from left to right. "D" went through the north end of a triangular-shaped orchard west of Les Houlles - a small hamlet northwest of Clair Tizon. A "C" Company platoon meanwhile captured a suddenly encountered 88mm gun, driving the crew off. As "D" moved into Les Houlles, "B" moved through "C" into the south end of the orchard. "A" moved into a smaller orchard 400 metres west of Clair Tizon. All the while, German artillery fire harrassed the unit, and two tanks were lost. The battalion's anti-tank platoon brought up two 6-pounders in case enemy tanks were spotted.

"A" Company managed to secure an important crossroads in an orchard west of Clair Tizon, and "D" Company left Les Houlles to move through them, parallel to and north of the main road. The carrier platoon moved in to hold Les Houlles in their place. "C" moved toward Clair Tizon on the south side of the road. German artillery remained inaccurate, falling to the rear of the advancing Canadians, and Canadian armour tried to engage German 88mm guns. "A" Company followed "C" and "D" into Clair Tizon itself.

The bridge over the Laise was checked for mines by the battalion's pioneer platoon. The unit had three companies in the town, but all were west of the river, and so the CO ordered "B" Company to leave its position in the triangular orchard and move east, through Les Houlles, to the Laise. They moved at the same time battalion HQ made its move south through the same area, and German shelling sent the company to ground, ordered to stand firm until "A" Company could withdraw and assist them. The company was reorganized, and moved away from the area, towards the river, crossing the obstacle at 17:30. "A" Company also crossed the river at about this time.

German artillery observers, on high ground to the east less than a kilometre away, brought down heavy shelling, setting most of the buildings afire and knocking out two more Shermans. Tank fire and artillery of the 5th Field Regiment was called down on the Germans on the high ground. The Highlanders had two companies on each side of the river now, with a small bridge between them - but further movement into Clair Tizon was impossible due to the clear fields of observation German artillery observers had.

Aftermath

On the evening of the 13th, Le Regiment de Maisonneuve attacked south through the bridgehead towards Le Chesnaie, but were repulsed from the high ground east of Clair Tizon. A second attack through the Highlanders by the 6th Canadian Brigade managed to secure a bridgehead over the Laise River, taking high ground at La Cressonierre, on a ridge overlooking the Laise Valley. This assisted the forward movement of II Canadian Corps, and again put the Highlanders behind the front.

The action was overshadowed by Operation TRACTABLE that same day, with four divisions attacking towards Falaise after carpet bombing by heavy bombers. For the Highlanders, though, it was a time of rest. They marched northwest to Tournebu, having been without food and sleep for an extended period of time. For all intents and purposes, their involvement in the Battle of Normandy was over; the final act would be pursuing the defeated German armies to the Seine.

Casualties were "amazingly low", and morale high. They had improved greatly since Hill 67 and Bretteville. Their actions, according to Terry Copp, "unhinged German resistance on their right flank, assisting 4 Brigade's advance to Tournebu and 53rd (Welsh) Division's movement to Mortainville."

Three major decorations were awarded for this battle. The Commanding Officer received the DSO in October 1944, and the citation read as follows:

On 13 August 1944, the Calgary Highlanders under command of Lieutenant-Colonel MacLauchlan advanced along the low wooded country immediately to the west of River Laise to capture a crossing at Clair Tison. The battalion had just completed a night march through difficult country and was to be covered in its further advance by another brigade which was to secure the high ground on the right. This ground was not in fact captured and the Calgary Highlanders were therefore advancing, overlooked from both flanks. Undeterred by this or by the fact that Battalion Headquarters was under heavy shell fire and mortar fire throughout the day, Lieutenant-Colonel MacLauchlan pressed his battalion on making skilful use of the ground and passing companies through to successive objectives so quickly and steadily that the enemy was not able to determine the exact course of the battle and take any effective counter measures.

As a result of this determined drive, the battalion was able to form a firm bridgehead over the River Laise by 1800 hours that evening and to hold it in spite of all enemy attempts to dislodge the battalion until the flanks had been secured and another formation passed through to the high ground beyond.

Lieutenant-Colonel MacLauchlan, demonstrating outstanding leadership by his personal courage and example, determination and endurance enabled his battalion to inflict a severe defeat on the enemy in this important engagement.10

Lieutenant Ross was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star in April 1945. His citation read:

On 12 August 1944 the Calgary Highlanders were given the task of establishing a bridgehead across the River Laise near the town of Clair Tison. The operation involved the seizing of three intermediate objectives before the crossing could be made and the bridgehead secured. Communications were of paramount importance and when at the end of the second phase wireless failed liaison had to be established by an officer on foot.

Lieutenant Ross was chosen for this important role and although very tired from previous operations he set out immediately and under heavy enemy shell and mortar fire made his way to the forward companies and brought back the complete picture of the situation to his commanding officer.

As the battalion's position was such that immediate bold action seemed vital to the success of the operation, Lieutenant Ross volunteered to return to the forward companies, brief them and start them off. Reading the battle as he went he decided when he reached the fourth company that the opportune moment for a company to rush the bridge and seize the high ground on the far side of the river had arrived. He issued the necessary instructions accordingly and so accurate had been his analysis that the bridge was secured intact and the bridgehead established.

During all this time intense enemy fire was directed on the area in which he had to move about but regardless of the risks he was taking, Lieutenant Ross remained cool, and not only performed the task detailed, for which he had volunteered, but studied the progress of the battle and by using initiative and excellent judgement enabled his battalion to strike at the exact moment when the changes of success were greatest.

This officer's total disregard for his personal safety, his calmness and quick thinking more than compensated for the lack of normal communications and were in no small measure responsible for the successful establishment of this important bridgehead essential to the success of the brigade...11

Sergeant Harbut was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star in April 1945:

On the morning of 12 August 1944 the Calgary Highlanders prior to an attack on Clair Tison moved into Le Mesnil. A quick reorganization had to be made due to a report of enemy being on the left flank.

Lance-Sergeant Harbut in charge of a Bren group, by using initiative and very good judgement, so positioned his guns that a maximum volume of fire was soon brought down on the enemy. The resultant very large number of killed and wounded was so demoralizing to the remaining twenty that they speedily surrendered. Lance-Sergeant Harbut's effective and quick action in clearing up the area enabled his battalion to rapidly reorganize and prepare for further engagements.

Later that morning [his] company was ordered to seize and clear Les Houilles. During the approach to Les Houilles the company was stopped by very heavy machine gun fire. Lance-Sergeant Harbut by his unconcerned actions and daring example so encouraged his section that they too disregarded the fire. The whole company becoming infected with the same spirit, immediately advanced, captured Les Houilles, and forced the enemy to retire to Claire Tison.

The attack on Claire Tison was planned and launched immediately. D Company's two-inch mortars were concentrated under command of Lance-Sergeant Harbut. Although by now very tired, and in spite of the intense enemy machine gun and mortar fire brought down on his every movement, he skilfully directed and maintained the volume of fire from his mortars. By altering his position continually as his company advanced, he was able to support them on to their objective.

While consolidating D Company was subjected to a terrific enemy artillery and mortar barrage. Lance-Sergeant Harbut moved from trench to trench encouraging his men until wounded and ordered out for medical attention.

Lance-Sergeant Harbut's total disregard for personal safety, his initiative and outstanding leadership were an example to all ranks as well as being of immeasurable assistance in contributing to the success of this action.12

Battle Honour

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

Image:2tankbde.gif 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment)

Image:2gif.gif 2nd Canadian Division

  • 8th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars)

  • The Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG)

Image:2gif4bde.gif 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • The Royal Regiment of Canada

  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry

  • The Essex Scottish Regiment

Image:2gif5bde.gif 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada

  • The Calgary Highlanders

Notes

  1. Goodspeed, D.J. Battle Royal: A History of The Royal Regiment of Canada 1862-1962 (Royal Regiment of Canada Association, Toronto, ON, 1962), p.446

  2. Greenhous, Brereton Semper Paratus: The History of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) 1862-1977 (W.L. Griffin Ltd, Hamilton, ON, 1977) ISBN 0-9690754-0-5, pp.259-260

  3. Ibid

  4. Goodspeed, Ibid, p.447

  5. Ibid, p, 448

  6. Antal, Sandy and Kevin R. Shackleton Duty Nobly Done: The Official History of The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment (Walkerville Publishing, Windsor, ON, 2006) ISBN 0-9731834-8-9 pp.465-467

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

  8. Goodspeed, Ibid, p.449

  9. Ibid, pp.449-450

  10. Blatherwick, Ibid

  11. Ibid

  12. Ibid


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