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

 

Forêt de la Londe

Forêt de la Londe was a Battle Honour granted to units participating in the battle to clear this feature during the drive to the River Seine. This was the final battle of the initial campaign the Canadian Army fought in North-West Europe during the Second World War.

Background

Following the defeat of the German Armies in the Falaise Gap, General Montgomery’s plan for the pursuit of the beaten army was to get Allied forces across the River Seine with great urgency, if possible effecting a second encirclement, with U.S. forces cutting off forces by sweeping up the left bank of the river. First Canadian Army was ordered to cross the Seine and clear the Le Havre peninsula, and the port itself. On 19 August, General Crerar, commanding 1st Canadian Army, issued orders to the two corps under his command and by 23 August the Army was fully on the move: 1st British Corps on an axis Lisieux-Pont Audemer and 2nd Canadian Corps along the line Trun-Vimoutiers-Orbec-Bemay-Elbeuf/Louviers. The British experienced heavy fighting, particularly at the River Touques, but by the 24th were across the River and advancing on Honfleur while 2nd Canadian Corps captured Bernay the same day, advancing against mostly “insignificant” opposition with the 2nd Division on the left, the 3rd Division in the centre and the 4th Division on the right. The corps armoured corps unit, with the divisional reconnaissance regiments, led the advance.1

 

The 2nd Canadian Division

The 2nd Division faced the heaviest opposition during the drive to the Seine, as their objectives were considered the most vital by the Germans. In their zone were positions covering the crossings at Rouen.

The Germans held exceptionally favourable ground. The open end of the sackshaped loop at the top of which Rouen stands is an isthmus roughly three miles wide, covered by the eastern end of the rugged area of thick woodland known as the Forêt de la Londe. Parts of this largely uninhabited region rise as high as 120 metres above the river. Just west of the narrowest point of the isthmus the forest is intersected by a valley similar to an old river-bed, running from near Moulineaux on the north to Port du Gravier on the south. This depression carries two railway lines which traverse it with the assistance of four tunnels. On the high ground immediately east of it the Germans had disposed their main forces.

If only because the enemy's operations were necessarily on a basis of short term improvisation, they presented a difficult problem to our Intelligence, which at first underestimated the German strength in the forest. A 2nd Canadian Corps intelligence summary issued on the night of 26-27 August described the enemy troops still "putting up stiff resistance" south of the Seine on our left flank as "nothing more than local rearguards". A 2nd Division summary sent out in the afternoon of 25 August contained the statement, "Civilians report large concentration of tanks early today in Forêt de la Londe", but this report was evidently considered to have been discredited, since a revised version issued five hours later omitted it. The division issued no more summaries until the night of 27-28 August. On the basis of the information available the G.O.C.'s appreciation early on the 27th was, "Boche has pulled out, and little opposition can be expected." The division's reconnaissance regiment was accordingly ordered to push forward to Rouen. It was soon checked.

Incomplete records make it difficult to reconstruct the progress of planning, but at one stage the intention apparently was that the 6th Brigade should clear the Forêt de la Londe of such enemy as might be present, while the 4th and 5th crossed the Seine at Elbeuf, alternating with the brigades of the 3rd Division. But the ultimate decision was to attack the forest on the morning of 27 August with the 4th Infantry Brigade on the right and the 6th on the left. The final plan settled upon for the 4th Brigade was that it would advance through Elbeuf with The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry leading, followed by the Essex Scottish; The Royal Regiment of Canada was in reserve. The two leading battalions were to seize the high ground overlooking the river north of the hamlet of Port du Gravier, and the Royal Regiment was to pass through and take up a position just south of Grand Essart. In attempting to carry out this plan the brigade ran into the enemy's main positions and made little progress.2

4th Brigade

The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry led the 4th Brigade up the main road after dark, taking the left fork of the road at Port du Gravier in error. They were halted by machine gun and mortar fire, and pulled back to positions immediately west of Port du Gravier. German fire from the heights north of the valley continued to inflict casualties. In the meantime, The Essex Scottish, to the rear of the R.H.L.I., also came under fire and deployed along the river. The brigade’s reserve battalion, The Royal Regiment of Canada, was then ordered to make a wide flanking movement to the north-west to attempt to pressure enemy defenders on the heights. They embarked on their mission at about 11:30hrs on 27 August, only making slow progress through the forest, and making contact with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, advancing on the right of the 6th Brigade. The latter were placed under the control of the 4th Brigade by divisional headquarters, and an attack across the Port du Gravier-Moulineaux road by the Royals was cancelled. Instead, they were instructed to rendezvous with The Essex Scottish in the woods, a junction that never occurred.

Just before midnight, commanders planned for another attack the next morning by the Royals to out-flank the German strongpoints dominating the axis of advance, with the Essex tasked to break through on the right, with the FMR returning to their own brigade.

Early in the morning of the 28th the Royal Regiment, then in position near a flag station or "halt" in the middle of the isthmus on the more westerly of the two railway lines through the valley, began an attack intended to capture a dominant area of high ground designated "Maisie", whose western portion formed a salient angle in the eastern wall of the valley, through which the other railway line tunnelled. Just as the move was about to begin, rations and water arrived. The battalion diary indicates the conditions under which the troops were fighting:

As the men had, generally speaking, been without water for about 18 hours and without food, except for odd scraps which they had carried with them, for a longer period, the Acting CO [Major T. F. Whitley] took it upon himself to allow the troops to eat and fill their water-bottles before starting the move. This resulted in "C" Coy crossing the start line at first light instead of in darkness, but it is extremely doubtful whether the darkness would have assisted our troops in any way as enemy positions had not been pinpointed.

"C" Company's immediate objective was "Chalk Pits Hill", another but lower salient feature north-west of "Maisie". It failed to capture it, and suffered heavily in the attempt. Major Whitley now called for artillery concentrations to prepare the way for a battalion attack. This took time to arrange, and "permission could not be obtained to lay down a medium concentration on Chalk Pits Hill itself as the exact position of units of 6th Bde on our left was not known". At 11:30 a.m. the battalion attacked. On the left flank Chalk Pits Hill again resisted all efforts; on the right the line of the second railway was reached and since it seemed that progress was being made the company here was reinforced with a second. However, these two companies likewise met heavy opposition and became widely separated from the rest of the battalion; and the attack again came to a stop.

On the right of the brigade front the Essex Scottish fared no better. Two companies went forward about 1:30 p.m. after heavy preparation by artillery and medium machine-guns; but as they moved down the steep slope into the valley at Port du Gravier they met heavy fire and were forced to dig in along the road north of the village. They withdrew after night fell.3

There was brief thought on the morning of August 28 to abandoning further attacks into Forêt de la Londe and to redeploy the 2nd Division into the bridgehead of the 3rd Division at Elbeuf. The decision was reversed, possibly, according to the Army's official history, due to heavy resistance there. At 16:00hrs on the 28th, a plan was drafted to pass a battalion through the two right-most Royal Regiment companies, who would then swing south-east to flank the position holding up the Essex Scottish. The commanding officers of both the R.H.L.I. (who would make the attempt) and Royal Regiment felt that the task was not within the abilities of a battalion now largely composed of reinforcements who had received little infantry training. They also noted the ground was favourable to the defence and suggested the Germans were presented in greater strength than intelligence had indicated.

The R.H.L.I., led by their second in command, moved forward slowly and it was past dawn on the 29th before they were past the first railway. Despite the cover of heavy concentrations of smoke laid down by artillery, German machine gun fire from the forested hills stopped the battalion; by early afternoon two of them had withdrawn and MG and mortar fire remained heavy. The battalion withdrew at the end of the day, the 2 i/c feeling further attack from that direction was doomed to failure. The same day, the Essex Scottish found that the Germans had pulled back on their front, and managed to advance 800 yards past the railway at Port du Gravier. Indeed, the Germans were beginning to withdraw from the area, and the 29th was the last day of resistance there.

6th Brigade

The 6th Brigade received its orders to clear the Forêt de la Londe on 26 August:

On 26 August the 6th Brigade was ordered to pass through the 5th, then in the Bourgtheroulde area, and clear the Forêt de la Londe. The objectives prescribed were, for The South Saskatchewan Regiment, the area La Bouille-Le Buisson; for The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, the area La Chenaie— Moulineaux, farther east; and for Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal the portion of the isthmus directly east of the railway triangle or "Y" in the northern sector of the valley through the forest. This had the effect, though we did not know it at the time, of directing the Fusiliers at the northern section of the enemy's main line of resistance.

On the morning of the 27th the brigade advanced along the road running north-east from Bourgtheroulde, except that Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal used the road running directly east. The South Saskatchewan Regiment, in the lead, soon found that the western portion of the brigade's objectives was clear of the enemy, but the Camerons, moving east through the forest in the direction of Moulineaux, ran into strong opposition including tanks and self-propelled guns and did not succeed in taking all their objectives. As for Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, they met the enemy at Le Buquet west of Elbeuf, and pushed him back towards his main line.4

Just after midnight on 27/28 August, the brigade was ordered forward again, aiming directly west of Oissel, presumably in hopes that they would be able to outflank the defences holding up the 4th Brigade. The South Saskatchewan Regiment was stopped at the railway triangle south of La Chenaie by sniper and machine gun fire, and fell back to Le Buisson to reorganize. The FMR, returning to brigade control, remained pinned down by MG fire throughout the day on the 28th west of Port du Gravier. That evening the SSR tried again to reach high ground west of Oissel, with assistance from the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, who had been dug-in on their first objective west of Moulineaux and enduring heavy mortar and artillery fire.


The Railway "Y" in the Fôret de la Londe, image originally published in "The Victory Campaign"
The original caption noted that "By the time this photograph was taken (1946), an additional railway line (curving into the woods in the background) had been built, evidently to by-pass the demolished bridge. The picture was taken looking west from the east side of the valley. The South Saskatchewan Regiment suffered heavily in fighting hereabouts on 28 August 1944."

The SSR attack began late, robbing them of the full benefit of their supporting artillery fire, and they advanced east along an escarpment overlooking the Seine, only to be held up again near the "Y". Their acting C.O. was killed in his carrier when it hit a mine, and further attacks that night and into the next morning had no result. German counter-attacks early on 29 August pushed the SSR back to the col with heavy losses, and the battalion continued to take casualties during the day. The brigade commander planned to order the Camerons forward to assist, but the brigadier was wounded also, and the divisional commander cancelled the planned attack. The brigade was ordered to consolidate in the valley. On the evening of the 29th, the SSR were deceived by fictional radio traffic from the enemy into withdrawing, requiring another attack supported by tanks and artillery, to re-establish themselves. That night, the Germans withdrew.

5th Brigade

The 5th Brigade had a limited role in the Forêt de la Londe operation, moving up on 28 August to support units fighting in the woods. When The Calgary Highlanders moved to the former positions of the Camerons west of Moulineaux on the 29th, they came under heavy shelling and small arms fire.

Lieutenant Stuart Moore's description of events on August 29th suggests something of the nature of the struggle in the forest. "Today has been a nightmare for the (Calgary Highlanders) in our hazardous position in the Forêt de la Londe. All day long we were subjected to heavy MG, rifle, Schmeis(s)er fire and to continuous harassing long range shellfire interspersed with 88 from the village of le Chanaie. We were dug in on the reverse slope of the high feature west of le Chenaie and had little protection from the type of fire that was directed at us...During the day the 6th Bde on our right flank had a very bad time as well as ourselves and finally at 1800 hours the SSR misinterpreted an order and withdrew from their vital position. Shortly afterwards the Camerons followed suit and it took considerable worry to get these two battalions back into position. In the evening the C.O. was called to Brigade and was greeted with the excellent and very welcome news that 5 Bde was to pull out."5


Photo originally published in "The Victory Campaign". The original caption read: "This mosaic, composed of air photographs taken on 24 May 1944, illustrates the 2nd Canadian Division's battlefield of 27-29 August 1944. The railway lines running from top to bottom indicate the course of the valley which proved such a serious obstacle"

Aftermath

The official Army historian summed up the battle as follows:

It is evident that in these three days of unpleasant fighting the 2nd Division failed to make any important impression upon the strong enemy positions east of the valley in the Forêt de la Londe. The hard-fighting Germans holding them carried out their task of covering the river crossings at Rouen, and withdrew only - when it had been completed. The difficulties of the division's task were very considerable. As the 4th Brigade reported, the enemy fought skilfully from commanding positions, excellently camouflaged. His mortar fire was accurate and the positions of the weapons were frequently changed. The dense woods made it difficult to keep direction, and to make matters worse our maps were inaccurate. The difficulty of pin-pointing the enemy's positions (and for that matter our own) rendered it impracticable to make full use of our artillery, and the same consideration, combined with the fact that the weather was rather poor for flying on 28 August and very poor on 29 August, deprived our troops of any effective air support.

The 4th and 6th Brigades suffered very heavily in this business. Of the battalions, only Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal (which as we have seen went into the battle already very weak) got off lightly, with 20 casualties for the three days 27-29 August. The South Saskatchewan Regiment suffered 185 casualties, 44 of them being fatal. The Royal Regiment of Canada had 118 casualties, the Camerons 99, the Essex Scottish 96, and the R.H.L.I. 59, making a total for the six battalions of 577. Lt.-Col. F. N. Cabeldu of the Canadian Scottish Regiment took command of the 4th Brigade on 31 August.6

Another historian has suggested:

The forest should probably just have been screened with one of the independent national brigades attached to 1st (Canadian) Army while 2nd Division bypassed to Rouen. But battles are not fought with hindsight and here (2nd Division's commander) Foulkes, with the information available to him, took what he believed to be the appropriate action. It turned out wrong but once the troops were committed deep in the forest it would have been most difficult to extract them and try something else. But for the weary troops it had been a bloody, dreary battle with little of the exhilaration of victory at the end. And more of its ilk were to follow.7

Battle Honour

The following Canadian units were awarded the Battle Honour "Forêt de la Londe" for participation in these actions:

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

  • Le Regiment de Maisonneuve

  • The Calgary Highlanders

Image:2gif6bde.gif 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal

  • The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada

  • The South Saskatchewan Regiment

Notes

  1. Stacey, C.P. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume III: The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-west Europe 1944-45 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1960)

  2. Ibid,

  3. Ibid

  4. Ibid

  5. Copp, Terry The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade 1939-1945 (Fortress Publications, Stoney Creek, ON, 1992) ISBN 0-919195-16-4 pp.114-118

  6. Stacey, Ibid

  7. McKay, A. Donald Gaudeamus Igitur "Therefore Rejoice" (Bunker to Bunker Books, Calgary, AB, 2005) ISBN 1894255534 pp.152-153


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