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

 

Verrières Ridge - Tilly la Campagne

Verrières Ridge - Tilly la Campagne was a Battle Honour granted to units participating in the battle to clear this feature during the battles south of Caen, in particular Operation SPRING, during the Battle of Normandy. This was one of the battles fought during the initial campaign the Canadian Army fought in North-West Europe during the Second World War.

Background

General Montgomery, as commander of 21st Army Group responsible for all Allied land forces in Normandy, issued a directive to his four army commanders on 21 July (including Bradley of the U.S.1st Army, holding the western half of the bridgehead, Dempsey, commanding the British 2nd Army in the eastern half, Patton, of the U.S. 3d Army preparing to become operational pending the American breakout in Operation COBRA, and Crerar of 1st Canadian Army, also awaiting its first operational role). The directive noted an improvement in the general situation on the eastern flank since British offensive operations on 18 July, a firm bridgehead over the Orne, and the ability to move east, south-east or south. The directive went on to point out the necessity of moving the western flank into Cherbourg and the Brittany peninsula, while strengthening the eastern flank.

At noon on 23 July 1st Canadian Army became operational, taking over the sector of the 1st British Corps, whose troops came under command of General Crerar. The British 3rd, 49th (West Riding), 51st (Highland) and 6th Airborne divisions came under command, the latter including also the 1st and 4th Special Service Brigades. Crerar's first task was to advance the left flank of the corps eastwards beyond the Dives River to remove Ouistreham from the threat of enemy observation and fire and to enable the use of the port facilities in Caen. The 2nd British Army was ordered to keep its front active to lead the enemy to believe a major advance on Falaise/Argentan was possible, "and he must be induced to build up his main strength to the east of the R. Orne so that our affairs on the western flank can proceed with greater speed." An army reserve of a corps containing at least two armoured divisions was ordered.

The 1st U.S. Army was instructed to secure the Cherbourg peninsula in its entirety and advance on Brittany, and in particular the enemy-held ports there. The 3d U.S. Army was to be prepared to participate in the clearance of Brittany "when so ordered." U.S. forces had a large offensive code-named COBRA which would be precipitated by a heavy saturation bombardment by four-engine bombers to effect a breakthrough.

Montgomery's intentions are given in rather more detail in a letter which he wrote the Supreme Commander on 24 July. This explained that his conception of the Second Army operations was, first, an attack by the 2nd Canadian Corps at dawn on 25 July to capture the area Fontenay le Marmion—Point 122 (a feature on the Falaise road also called the "Cramesnil spur")—Garcelles-Secqueville; secondly, an attack on 28 July by the 12th Corps west of the Orne to capture the area Evrecy—Amaye; thirdly, an operation by the 8th Corps east of the Orne and through the Canadian Corps down the Falaise road, to cover the capture by the Canadian Corps of a large wooded area east of Garcelles. Finally, all these operations were in Montgomery's mind "preliminary to a very large scale operation, by possibly three or four armoured divisions", which he proposed to launch towards Falaise. This was evidently to be another "Goodwood"; and again the Army Group Commander emphasized, as he had before that operation, that its results could not be foretold. If the operation did not go well, it would, he said, be possible to withdraw into the firm base formed by the Canadian Corps and repeat it a few days later. He hoped that this large armoured thrust could go in about 3 or 4 August. While telling Eisenhower that General Bradley's offensive had been postponed on 24 July because of the weather, and might have to be postponed again for the same reason, Montgomery added that he was not going to "hold back or wait" on the eastern flank. He had ordered General Dempsey to go ahead on 25 July "anyhow", and the 2nd Canadian Corps was attacking at 3:30 a.m. In the event, both the American "Cobra" and the more limited Canadian operation ("Spring") went in on the morning of 25 July.1

The 2nd Canadian Corps thus remained under control of the 2nd British Army in July, and Operation SPRING was intended as a springboard for further operations by the Guards Armoured to seize what had been the objectives initially set for Operation GOODWOOD - the high ground at Cintheaux and the river crossings at Bretteville-sur-Laize. Intelligence was poor owing to weather that prevented photo reconnaissance, and prisoners of the 272nd Infantry Division spoke of their impression of the July 20 bomb assassination plot on Hitler but little real data regarding the elements of the 9th SS and 2nd Panzer Divisions that were in support. General Simonds, commanding the 2nd Canadian Corps, did believe that a simple repeat of the attack of 19 July (see the article on St. André-sur-Orne) would have little chance of succeeding. Unfortunately, the Canadians had little experience in night fighting, though the 2nd Division had at least started to study the tactical problems in 1943.2

German Situation

Study of German records after the war reveals that the enemy was expecting further attacks on the Caen front; on 22 July 47th Panzer Corps was directed to deploy the 2nd Panzer Division to an area north-west of Falaise while the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions were assembled in a triangle between the Laize and Orne Rivers. (In the event, the 2nd reached their destination on the night of 25/26 July and the 10th never redeployed at all). As SPRING and COBRA were about to break, seven German armoured divisions faced the 2nd British Army, most of them east of the Orne, while two armoured divisions were present on the American front.

The 2nd Canadian Corps was confronted by a most formidable array. Under the 1st S.S. Panzer Corps, the 1st S.S. Panzer Division (Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler) held the line from the vicinity of Cagny to Verrières. Thence to the Orne the 272nd Infantry Division was in the front positions, powerfully reinforced with a tank battalion and a panzer grenadier battalion each from the 2nd Panzer Division and the 9th S.S. Panzer Division, plus the reconnaissance battalion of the 10th S.S. Panzer Division. In close reserve north-west of Bretteville-sur-Laize was the balance of the 9th S.S., and more distant, north-west of Tournebu, the main body of the 2nd Panzer. On the opposite flank of the 1st S.S. Panzer Corps the 116th Panzer Division was waiting in reserve east of St. Sylvain.6 We did not know the full strength of these dispositions before the operation, and in particular did not know the 2nd Panzer had moved east from Caumont; but it was clear, and is still clearer today, that "Spring" was a very difficult proposition.

The Germans were now for the first time, many weeks too late for their own good, beginning to assume that a second Allied landing, in the Pas de Calais area, was no longer probable. The weekly report of Army Group "B", issued on 24 July for the week ending the previous day, remarked that the Allies now had at least 40 divisions in the bridgehead, and that there were still in Great Britain 52 "large formations", of which 42 could be moved to the Continent. These figures were, as always, greatly exaggerated; there were actually 31 divisions (14 British and Canadian, 17 U.S.) on the order of battle of the 21st Army Group on 25 July.8 The report, which was signed by General Speidel, the Army Group's Chief of Staff, proceeded:

The intentions of Army Group Montgomery seem to remain unchanged. The 2nd British Army will try to obtain a breakthrough in the general direction of Falaise in order to create the conditions required for the thrust on Paris. The 1st American Army will strive to attain its first operational goal: broadening the lodgement area as far as the line Domfront-Avranches.

There are no indications on hand regarding the date and target of the 1st American Army Group's attack. (Note - this is a reference to the fictitious 1st United States Army Group created in England as a deception, rather than the impending activation of the 12th U.S. Army Group.) In view of the continuing movement of forces to the Normandy front [from England] a far distant landing operation is becoming less probable, but the 15th Army's Somme-Seine sector is still in special danger. The more and faster Montgomery gains ground from the bridgehead towards the south, the less probable becomes a landing at a new point by the forces still in England...3

Planning

Planning for SPRING began when it became obvious that further progress in the direction of Falaise would necessitate the need for a deliberate attack. On 21 July the 2nd Canadian Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Simonds, held a preliminary "O" Group, and on 23 July, commanders down to the level of brigade commander were briefed. A final conference attended by all commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, as well as British 7th Armoured and Guards Armoured Divisions, was conducted at noon on 24 July, the latter having been under Simonds' command since 20 July. The operation instruction was issued by 2nd Canadian Corps after the conference, with D-Day confirmed for 25 July and H-Hour as 0330hrs.

It is fair to assume (though it is not recorded) that by this time Montgomery's order had reached Simonds through Dempsey. The instruction defined the intention as the capture of the high ground around Point 122; exploitation to widen the gap and clear the eastern flank by capturing the woods east of Garcelles; and further exploitation southwards to seize the high ground about Cintheaux on the Falaise road. This was to be carried out in three phases, the first being the capture of the line May-sur-Orne— Verrières—Tilly la Campagne. The second would consist of the capture of the line Fontenay le Marmion—Rocquan-court (that is, the ground immediately south of the Verrières Ridge) followed by that of Point 122. The third phase would be "exploitation as ordered by Commander 2 Cdn Corps".

This was generally in accord with General Montgomery's plan as described to the Supreme Commander. However, General Simonds has stated that in fact the attainment of these objectives was not considered likely. The opposing forces were known to be very formidable, and his understanding was that this was in fact to be simply a "holding attack" designed to occupy the enemy while the main assault was made on the American front. But such conceptions could be given no currency, and however well understood this interpretation of the forthcoming operation may have been on higher levels, it was not confided to the divisional commanders.4

The development of the planning had revolved around the view that the high ground north of Cintheaux was, according to Simonds, the "key to the German main defence system south of Caen". Further, it represented

..."the ultimate objective" and "necessary stepping stone" to continued advance. (Simonds) further reasoned that the builtup areas of St. André-sur-Orne and May-sur-Orne to the west offered the best cover for an attack in which even a partial success might gain the "very important VERRIERS ridge." It was clear to him, however, that deployment for such an attack would have to be conducted in darkness and the crest of Verrières ridge captured before daylight. According to Simonds, his plan finally "legislated both for success and the lack of it," this aspect being well-understood by Dempsey (commander of the 2nd British Army) who had also been advised it was probably too much to hope for a breakthrough. Bearing in mind that Simonds was roughly aware of the opposition he faced, this would appear to make sense. Whereas the dreaded 1st SS Panzer held the front from Verrières eastward, the 272nd German Infantry Division occupied the area between there and the Orne. The degree to which the 272nd had been reinforced by elements of 2nd, 9th SS and 10th SS panzer divisions does not appear to have been appreciated, however.5

The Plan

During the first phase, the two Canadian infantry divisions were to secure objectives on the Verrières Ridge; the 2nd Division to the west assigned May-sur-Orne and Verrières, and the 3rd Division to the east Tilly-la-Campagne.

In the second phase, the 2nd Division would continue to Fontenay-le-Marmion and Rocquancourt while the 7th Armoured Division moved up the middle to take the Cramesnil spur, and the 3rd Division would follow along to take Garcelles-Secqueville. Both armoured divisions were to stand by for possible further exploitation, with the Guards Armoured tasked to secure the woods east of Garcelles. Visibility was to be enhanced by use of "artificial moonlight", or searchlight beams reflected off of low cloud.

The simpler task was that of the 3rd Canadian Division, whose 9th Infantry Brigade was to be support by MMGs, heavy mortars, anti-tank guns, artillery and tanks.

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders, advancing from Bouguébus covered by the divisional artillery, would assault Tilly-la-Campagne. Assuming the success of this thrust, and of the 7th Armoured Division's to the Cramesnil spur, The Highland Light Infantry of Canada were to go through and take Garcelles-Secqueville.The 7th Infantry Brigade was available for exploitation, and the 8th was in reserve. The division's objective in the exploitation phase was the village of La Hogue. The left flank was to be secured by the 27th Armoured Brigade of the 1st British Corps, which was to be placed behind the 3rd Canadian Division.

The 2nd Canadian Division attack was somewhat more complicated. The road from St. Andre-sur-Orne to Hubert-Folie was to be the start line, but it still remained to be cleared. This task was allocated to the 6th Infantry Brigade, to be completed by midnight 24-25 July. To carry out this intention, Brigadier Young ordered the Camerons of Canada to expel the enemy from St. Andre and St. Martin de-Foutenay, and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal to take Troteval Farm. The division's main attack was to be made on a two-brigade front, the 5th Infantry Brigade being on the right with the Camerons of Canada under command, and the 4th Infantry Brigade on the left with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal under command. On the right The Calgary Highlanders were to advance from St. Andre to capture May-sur-Ome. Simultaneously The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry of the 4th Brigade would pass through Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal to take Verrières. The units of all three brigades not involved in the main attack (The South Saskatchewan Regiment, The Essex Scottish Regiment and Le Regiment de Maisonneuve) were to be in reserve under the 6th Brigade. The 22nd Armoured Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division would move up from Ifs to guard against any armoured counter-attack while the 2nd Division was attacking Fontenay-le-Marmion and Rocquancourt, and to be in readiness to go forward against the Cramesnil spur. The second phase of the 2nd Division attack was to begin at 5:30 a.m., with the Canadian Black Watch, with a tank squadron from the 6th Armoured Regiment, attacking Fontenay on the Orne flank and The Royal Regiment of Canada pushing through Verrières to take Rocquancourt.6

A large artillery support program was devised for the attack, with the divisional artilleries of both the 2nd and 3rd Divisions augmented by the British 25th Field Regiment and the 19th Field Regiment, RCA as well as three corps-level artillery formations (2nd Canadian Army Group Royal Artillery and the 3rd and 8th Army Groups Royal Artillery.) The weather was not a consideration and therefore air support was considered a "bonus"; in any event heavy bombers were being employed on the American front for COBRA. Medium bombers available to support SPRING were directed to bomb on red smoke shells fired to mark targets by Canadian artillerymen. These targets included the woods east of Garcelles at 2120hrs on 24 July (with a number of bombs having delayed-action fuses set for 0630hrs the next day) and again at 0730hrs on the 25th. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force were also instructed to fly "armed reconnaissance" over the battle area at first light on the 25th to interdict approaching forces or enemy leaving the target areas in the woods.

The Attack

Heavy anti-aircraft fire rendered the air attack on 24 July mostly ineffective, and only 15 of the 60 aircraft dispatched bombed the target. That evening, the 6th Brigade started the process of clearing the start-line for the 2nd Division. On the eastern sector of the divisional front, a company of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal took Troteval Farm with artillery, heavy mortar and tank support from The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment.

To the west, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, supported also by tanks of The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, became embroiled in confused fighting in the built-up area of St. Andre-sur-Orne and St. Martin-de-Fontenay, where iron mines and quarries magnified the defensive strength of the area. The Germans also made use of a mineshaft in a group of buildings dubbed "the Factory" due south of St. Andre, which connected directly with an extensive set of underground works. Other tunnels and air shafts led to the surface and one underground passage connected Rocquancourt with May-sur-Orne. The sum effect was to give the Germans the ability to redeploy men and weapons along the front under solid cover and out of sight, and to re-occupy positions even once they had been taken.

A further hindrance to operations was the fact that while Maltot had fallen to British troops, the Germans still occupied Hill 112 and other heights west of the Orne River, permitting flanking fire on Canadians maneuvering along the east bank. The Camerons found these conditions especially trying, and reported the "partial capture" of St. Martin shortly after midnight, and the start-line secure by 03:30hrs. In actual fact, resistance continued afterwards.


Operation SPRING 25 July 1944

Operation "Spring": The 3rd Division Front

The bombing mission on the woods at La Hogue was executed by 74 medium bombers between 06:12 and 08:30hrs, and though it was believed damage had been inflicted to enemy forces believed to be using the forest for shelter, it had no effect on the outcome of the ground attack which had already been held up along the front.

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders attacked Tilly-la-Campagne with three companies; "B" and "D" went forward east of a track leading from Bouguébus into Tilly, and "C" Company went in to the west of the track.

It was planned to provided some minimal illumination through 'Monty's Moonlight', shining searchlights on the clouds, yet not with sufficient illumination to provide the enemy with easy targets. The light would be sufficient to enable the men to keep station in relation to each other as they advanced. They were not yet aware that awaiting them in Tilly were veterans from the Russian Front, members of the 1st SS Panzer LAH. Untersturmführer Gerhard Stiller commanded a platoon of four tanks in the village but with a total of twenty tanks within easy call. While these were the long-serving Mk IV tank, smaller than Tigers or Panthers, they had an upgraded 75 mm gun, still more powerful than the normal Sherman 75 mm. With their low profiles the Mk IVs were lethal against infantry. Pits had been dug at strategic points in the rubble of Tilly so that the tanks could fire hull-down in the ground. They would be at a considerable advantage against high profile Shermans advancing across open ground. In support, infantry of 272nd Division were well sheltered in the machine-gun pits and cellars of Tilly.7


Canadian infantryman during Operation SPRING. Library and Archives Canada photo

The searchlights did not come on at H-Hour as planned, but came on during the advance; the commander of the North Novas complained later that they served to silhouette the attacking troops to the Germans, bringing down heavy MG fire (reports from the 2nd Division were more favourable regarding the use of artificial moonlight). Nonetheless, "C" Company managed to establish itself just to the north of Tilly with few losses.

"B" and "D", on the contrary, became fiercely engaged with enemy infantry whom our barrage had not subdued and who "shot and shouted and threw grenades like wild men". Although the companies got a foothold in an orchard at the north-east comer of the village and in the village itself, they could not clear the place. "A" Company, the reserve, was now sent forward to reinforce "C" and attack the village from the western flank. The attempt, however, caused heavy casualties and this company itself was pinned down. Contact with the battalion command post near the start-line was almost entirely lost and effective control within the assaulting companies was virtually impossible.

For a time the C.O. believed that "B" and "D" Companies were on their objectives, and at 5:25 he reported this. As the situation became clearer, at 6:14 he asked brigade headquarters for help from the tank squadron of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) which was waiting to support The Highland Light Infantry of Canada in the next phase. This was granted. In the meantime, Bren carriers and several self-propelled anti-tank guns were sent forward. They suffered heavy losses without improving the situation; and when "B" Squadron of the 10th Armoured Regiment moved up it met Panther tanks and anti-tank guns. It deployed to the west of the village and attempted to shoot the infantry into it. The squadron itself, however, was shortly cut to pieces, losing 11 tanks. In the afternoon the remnant was given permission to retire to Bouguébus, whence it continued to give what supporting fire it could. The Highlanders' Commanding Officer had wireless contact with only one of his forward companies ("C"). By this means he ordered his men to dig in and hold on where they were. This order can actually have reached few of the soldiers scattered in the fire-swept fields in and around the outskirts of the village, but most of them acted independently along the same line. In the afternoon the C.O. passed the word for the men remaining in the Tilly area to make their way back to Bouguébus when darkness fell. Approximately 100 all ranks got back in this manner. In the early morning of the 26th the Officer Commanding "A" Company returned with nine men. He reported that he thought small groups were still holding out in various parts of the village, but that the enemy had moved at least ten tanks and two infantry companies into the area, and that "it was very unlikely that any of the others would get out alive".8

After the failure of the attack and consultation among divisional command staff, The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were warned to reinforce the North Novas, but the order was never given "presumably because it was felt that they would accomplish little" according to the official Army history. The battalion's war diarist confided relief and confessed the need for a rest after long periods in the line since D-Day. The North Novas lost 61 killed, 46 wounded and surrendered 32 prisoners to the 1st SS.9 Both the North Novas and the SDG, along with the 9th Brigade, had their commanders replaced following the attack.

Simonds, sitting back at Corps HQ, believed until late afternoon of the second day that the operation was proceeding according to plan. Keller (commander of the 3rd Canadian Division) and Foulkes (commanding the 2nd) were equally out of touch with the reality of the situation on their divisional fronts. When everything appeared hopeless, Brigadier Cunningham (commanding the 9th Brigade), Lieutenant-Colonel Petch of the North Novies and Lieutenant-Colonel Christiansen of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders confronted Keller with the scope of their disaster and the futility of continuing the attack. Harsh words were exchanged.

Brigadier Young (of the 2nd Division) delivered the same information to General Foulkes - although without the same degree of forcefulness used by the 3rd Division's battlefield commanders. Foulkes agreed. Once Simonds possessed all the facts, he went to the Army Commander and recommended that the operation be called off. The debacle came as a bitter blow to his prestige, and he blamed himself for not keeping closer tabs on the battle as it developed.

In the wake of the operation's failure, Cunningham, Petch and Christiansen were sacked. Simonds wanted leaders the troops would follow, not commanders who simply issued orders expecting them to be obeyed.10

Historian John English expanded on the fate of the three commanders in his treatise on Canadians in the Normandy campaign. He noted that a major lesson learned by 3rd Canadian Division was the launching of attacks along broad frontages, which required the German defenders to disperse defensive fires and prevent the build-up of defences in depth. Attacking by battalions singly or in pairs permitted enemy divisional artillery and mortars as well as AFVs to be concentrated quickly at the point of attack, and for neighbouring enemy units to bring down enfilading fire, if they too were not engaged simultaneously. According to English, "This is what appears to have happened in the attack upon Tilly-la-Campagne, which action subsequently became tactically contentious." The SDG had been advised it was being left out of the battle because it had previously "had no rest" and their order to stand down after being warned to reinforce the North Novas was apparently the result of the argument between Cunningham, Petch, Christiansen and the divisional commander, Keller. The evening after the argument, Keller and Simonds discussed the matter and Simonds convened a board of enquiry to investigate the failure of The North Nova Scotia Highlanders to take Tilly. The board completed its work on 29 July; Brigadier Cunningham was sent to Canada to become commandant of Kingston staff courses. Petch was also removed, but Christiansen remained, until sending a letter on 3 August to Keller in which he admitted that he would refuse in future to send his battalion into action under certain circumstances.11

Operation "Spring": The 2nd Division Front

Lieutenant-Colonel J.M. Rockingham was not happy with the plan for his battalion, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.

"We were promised that (the start-line) would be cleared before dark on the night of the 24th," he wrote later. "Feeling that this was a bit risky and late, I asked to be given the task of securing the line myself but was not allowed to..."

The Fusiliers Mont-Royal...made a good start by taking (Troteval Farm), and shortly before darkness fell the (R.H.L.I.) received a message that their start-line was secure. Rockingham was still dubious. His plan was for B Company to be the centre of the attacking force with A to the right and D, plus one platoon of C, to the left. The rest of C Company would be held in reserve. The Carrier Platoon was to provide flank protection and the mortars were to be set up behind B Company's "forming-up" area. The scouts, under Lieutenant Hugh Hinton, went forward to begin taping the line, axis of attack and company positions. Rockingham waited, fearing the worst. Well before midnight a scout came back with the word. Enemy troops and at least three Panther tanks were holding the assigned start-line.12

Rockingham requested a delay to their start and mounted an attack with the reserve company in order to drive the tanks away. PIAT teams managed to do that, though "C" Company lost its officer commanding, who was killed during the fighting. The battalion crossed the start line for its attack at 04:10hrs, without benefit of the timed barrage due to the delay, and came under fire from machine guns, some of which were found later to have been tank-mounted weapons. Four tanks were destroyed by a 17-pounder anti-tank gun detachment of the 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment, RCA located at Troteval Farm. Medium artillery concentrations assisted flanking companies to get forward and the centre company to break into the village of Verrières, which was then counter-attacked by tanks. PIATs were again employed to resist this counter-attack, and the village was declared to be firmly held at 07:50hrs. The attack was carried forward, with support from the 7th Armoured Division, towards Rocquancourt, and reached a point 400 yards south of Verrières by 09:30hrs where the Royals were stopped by heavy fire. "C" Company suffered especially heavy losses. To their right, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment was stopped by German anti-tank guns sited north of Rocquancourt, and 30 German tanks were reported hull-down on a ridge between Fontenay and Rocquancourt, as well as north-east of Rocquancourt.13


The situation on the 5th Brigade front was confused from the beginning. Even the front line was in doubt; brigade headquarters staff sent to set up a tactical HQ in St. André, thinking it secure, found German soldiers in a house they were to occupy. The brigadier tried to inform the divisional commander that St. André was not in fact secure any more than St. Martin was, and requested the Maisonneuves be released from divisional reserve to clear the start line for The Calgary Highlanders. The divisional commander insisted that St. André was under control of the Cameron Highlanders, who in reality were under constant mortar fire and a stream of infiltrations and German counter-attacks. A heated discussion followed, and the Camerons were eventually allocated to the 5th Brigade to clear the start line, and proceeded with this duty on the night of the 24th, only hours before Operation SPRING was to start.14

The useful initial progress made on the left of the 2nd Division front had little parallel on the right. The Calgary Highlanders, attacking at H Hour in the hope of capturing May but finding the start-line not clear, had trouble from the beginning. It seems evident that elements of the battalion did fight their way into the northern outskirts of May twice during the morning, but were both times pushed out, retiring to the vicinity of St. Andre. The unit suffered heavily. Bad wireless communication prevented the Commanding Officer (Lt.-Col. D. G. MacLauchlan) from getting a clear picture of the positions of his companies or exercising effective control. The failure to clear May, and the continued presence of enemy elements in and about St. Andre and St. Martin and beyond the Orne, meant that the right flank of the subsequent Black Watch attack against Fontenay would be badly exposed, while the left would be under fire from the ridge.15


Canadian infantry move up during Operation SPRING. Library and Archives Canada photo

The attack of the Black Watch has garnered much attention, due to the devastating losses it incurred. The official Army history succinctly describes it as such:

At 3:30 a.m. the Black Watch moved into a forward assembly area in St. Martin. They found that there were still enemy in the village, and time was lost in clearing it in the darkness. During this process the Commanding Officer, Lt.-Col. S. S. T. Cantlie, was mortally wounded by machine-gun fire. The same burst wounded the senior company commander, and the command devolved upon Major F. P. Griffin. It was now too late to carry out the attack according to the original time-table, which called for artillery support at fixed times. Pending the making of a new plan coordinated with the artillery and tanks Major Griffin moved the battalion into St. Andre. He also sent a patrol to reconnoitre May. It entered the place and got the impression that it was not strongly held by the Germans. It appears, however, that the latter were merely reserving their fire for a better target.

Since it was considered essential to push the attack, Headquarters 5th Infantry Brigade at 6:47 a.m. ordered the Black Watch to do so. Major Griffin held an "orders group" to issue instructions for the attack, and arranged for assistance from the artillery and from the tank squadron of the 6th Armoured Regiment* which was supporting the battalion. In accordance with the plan thus made, the Black Watch advanced at 9:30 from the so-called "Factory" south of St. Martin across the open fields and the west end of the ridge directly against Fontenay. It had already had a good many casualties and it is reported that one company was now commanded by a sergeant. From the moment of crossing the start-line the battalion came under intense and accurate fire from the ridge, from May, and from the positions beyond the Orne; and men fell fast. The Black Watch nevertheless advanced with unwavering determination. Surviving officers believe that about 60 all ranks, led by Major Griffin, reached the flat top of the ridge. It appears that on or just beyond the crest they ran into a well-camouflaged enemy position strengthened with dug-in tanks.

What remained of the battalion was now "pinned down" by intense close range fire. Further advance being out of the question, Griffin ordered his men to make their way back individually as best they could; but very few succeeded in doing so. Officers of the battalion estimate that the four rifle companies committed to this attack numbered perhaps 300 officers and men, and that not more than 15 of them got back to our lines. The last survivors were probably overwhelmed early in the afternoon. When we later reoccupied the position, Major Griffin's body was found lying among those of his men.

From the moment when the attack went in there had been no communication with the battalion. The one wireless set known to have been with Major Griffin was in a jeep which was later found knocked out not far from the start-line; and the intensity of the fire made contact by runner virtually impossible. Brigadier Megill accordingly remained uncertain as to the unit's fate; artillery tasks, including the laying of smoke, were fired in the hope of assisting it to withdraw; and about seven o'clock in the evening Le Regiment de Maisonneuve delivered a further attack against May-sur-Orne. This also failed; the battalion reported coming under fire from machine-gunners in its rear who may have infiltrated through the mine workings.16

The official history reported also that despite the reports of Black Watch survivors, tank and artillery support did materialize; the assigned squadron of tanks of the 1st Hussars entered May-sur-Orne to provide supporting flanking fire, where they were heavily engaged, losing all three of the troop leaders' tanks to fire by anti-tank guns and Panther tanks and when no friendly infantry could be seen, the survivors withdrew, having lost all their officers during the course of the day. There was a belief by the brigade commander also that the fire plan of the 5th Field Regiment, RCA was carried out as planned, but the advance by the Black Watch had been slowed by enemy fire "to the point where the battalion was unable to take full advantage of our own bombardment."17

Historian Terry Copp noted that the Calgary Highlanders netted a hundred prisoners in their attack on May-sur-Orne and inflicted other casualties on the German defenders, without actually taking the objective, and that the Black Watch Forming Up Point and Start Line were both dominated by mortar and MG fire.

This situation was the result of divisional headquarters' failure to recognize that St. Martin and its factory area were well organized, strongly held, defensive positions. It is clear in hindsight that the first phase of "Spring" should have been an attack on St. Martin, not May-sur-Orne.18

Suspension of Operations

Communication hampered commanders at all levels during the battle. Copp cites as an example the Calgary Highlanders, who failed to provide runners as back-ups for their No. 18 wireless sets which were prone to radio jamming and failure. During the battle, brigade and divisional headquarters remained unaware of their situation, and the battalion's C.O. took few steps to ensure proper communication with his own companies.19 The corps commander, too, was affected by the flow of information, or lack of it. At 13:00hrs on the 25th, Simonds visited the British 22nd Armoured Brigade and concluded that Tilly and May-sur-Orne were to be held, with British tanks to pass through, despite the fact that in reality, neither objective had been occupied by Canadian troops during the day. Corps held out their belief that May-sur-Orne was firmly occupied as late as 16:25hrs. Plans were made at 17:30hrs for an evening attack on Rocquancourt by the 2nd Division with the entire corps artillery in support, and at 21:00hrs further attacks on May, followed by Fontenay-le-Marmion at first light on the 26th. The 9th Brigade was to secure Tilly during the night.20

All these plans were interrupted by strong German tank attacks on Verrières at 18:00hrs; German tanks broke through the R.H.L.I.'s western-most positions.

Nine tanks roared and clattered through the long wheat towards the ridge, filling the air with splinters of steel from their machine-guns and blazing away at both the 6- and 17-pounders with their main armament. This time the anti-tank guns got the worst of it; the Germans knocked out three and then continued to spray the area with machine-gun fire, pinning the RHLI down in their partly-dug foxholes. Some men just stared at them in frozen fascination but others started organizing tank-killing parties. Sergeant Tommy MacDonald took a PIAT and half a dozen men of 11 Platoon and worked his way down the blind side of a hedgerow on the forward slope, while three Mark IV`s slowly ground their way up the other side, firing into the barns and houses with their cannon and sweeping the ground before them with light automatic fire. MacDonald`s group got one with the PIAT and the others withdrew. Private Ray Meloche, the PIAT operator in 10 Platoon took off by himself from a trench that was under heavy fire and crossed thirty yards of open ground to a position from which he could engage two more Mark IV`s. His first shot knocked out one of them but immediately afterwards he was seriously wounded by fire from the other: nevertheless, he continued to fire his PIAT until it, too, withdrew.21

The battalion continued to fight over the Verrières position for three days, but continued to hold it in the face of German counter-attacks, with the assistance of British tanks and rocket-firing Typhoons, despite one accidental rocket attack on battalion headquarters due to an errant red smoke target marker. The R.H.L.I. were, after all was said and done, the only unit of 2nd Canadian Corps to seize and hold its objectives on 25 July, at a cost over the three days of fighting of exactly 200 men, including 53 dead.

Not recorded in the official history is the small part Le Régiment de Maisonneuve played; scheduled to attack at 19:00hrs, they were permitted to go ahead and ``C`` Company set out down the road to May-sur-Orne, with ``D`` Company following at H+15, following a barrage by two regiments of field artillery and four medium regiments. The enemy was still present in strength in ``The Factory`` and St. André and German fire made movement past the woods north of May impossible. The Maisonneuve spent the next four days in St. André holding it and trying to secure St. Martin, their part in the drama of SPRING having cost them 12 dead and over 40 other losses.22

In the meantime, the divisional commander had been conferring with his brigadiers; Brigadier Young of 6th Brigade felt that further operations on his front would not be successful until such time as the Germans west of the Orne had been cleared. Foulkes agreed and found on meeting with Simonds that the corps commander agreed with him. On going to the army commander, Simonds was able to get Dempsey`s approval to cancel the planned attacks for the morning of the 26th.23

Cost

The 25th had been a bloody day. It is impossible to give a precise total for the Canadian battle casualties of Operation "Spring". The official record for the date, for all Canadian Army units in North-West Europe, shows 1202, of which 362 were fatal. It is clear, however, that in this instance reporting channels became clogged and many casualties actually suffered on 25 July were reported as of later dates. The most extreme case is that of the Canadian Black Watch, which suffered more heavily than any other unit. Its casualties recorded under 25 July numbered 167 (83 being fatal).Yet although the battalion was not in action on 26, 27 or 28 July, 140 additional casualties are recorded for it on those days. It thus seems evident that the Black Watch actually had 307 casualties on 25 July. Five officers and 118 other ranks were killed or died of wounds. Of the 83 all ranks who became prisoners, 21 were wounded. Except for the Dieppe operation, there is no other instance in the Second World War where a Canadian battalion had so many casualties in a single day. For the infantry battalions of the 2nd Division, and The North Nova Scotia Highlanders, a total of 432 casualties are recorded for 26, 27 and 28 July, 113 being fatal. There were no major operations on these days, although there was some fighting (particularly in the Verrières sector) and a good deal of mortaring and shelling. Most of these casualties were certainly actually suffered on the 25th. We should not be far wrong if we estimated the total battle casualties of Operation "Spring" at about 1500, and the fatal casualties at about 450. Again excepting Dieppe, it was the Canadian Army's costliest day of operations in the Second World War. The 2nd Canadian Corps attack had struck a stone wall. The result is not surprising, in view of the strength of the German positions and the powerful force of high-category troops which was holding them. As with "Goodwood", so in the case of "Spring" the most important matter, in evaluating the operation, is its effect upon the enemy. It was particularly vital, as we have seen, to prevent him from observing that the American attack launched west of St. Lo on this same day was in fact the main Allied effort. It appears that in this respect the operation was useful, although from the beginning the Germans recognized it as a limited attack.24

Strategic Implications

The Canadian Army`s official historian suggests that German forces delayed by a period of 48 hours to redeploy armour from the east to deal with the American offensive in the west - Operation COBRA - which launched the same day as SPRING. As such, SPRING formed part of the extended ``holding attack`` that operations GOODWOOD and ATLANTIC had impressed on the Germans.

Battle Honours

The following Canadian units were awarded the Battle Honour "Verrières Ridge - Tilly la Campagne" for participation in these actions:

Image:2tankbde.gif 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars)

Image:2gif.gif 2nd Canadian Division

  • The Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG)

Image:2gif4bde.gif 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • The Royal Regiment of Canada

  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry

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

Image:3gif9bde.gif 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • The North Nova Scotia Highlanders

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. Copp, Terry The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade 1939-1945 (Fortress Publications, Stoney Creek, ON, 1992) ISBN 0-919195-16-4 p.67

  3. Stacey, Ibid

  4. Ibid

  5. English, John The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign (Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2009) ISBN 978-0-8117-3576-6 p.187

  6. Stacey, Ibid

  7. Tout, Ken The Bloody Battle for Tilly (Sutton Publishing Ltd., Thrupp, UK, 2000) ISBN 0-7509-2475-6 p.67

  8. Stacey, Ibid

  9. Ibid

  10. Foster, Tony Meeting of Generals (Methuen Publications, Toronto, ON, 1986) ISBN 0-458-80520-3 p.354

  11. English, Ibid, p.197. Christiansen was later recommended to command The West Nova Scotia Regiment; the recommendation came from Harry Foster, in July 1944 a brigade commander in the 3rd Canadian Division and in December 1944 the Major-General in command of the 1st Division. According to English (p.197) "He was supported in this request by Foulkes who, perhaps in a backhanded criticism of either Simonds or Keller, claimed to be 'fully aware of [the] circumstances concerning Christiansen['s] removal.'"

  12. Greenhous, Brereton Semper Paratus: The History of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) 1862-1977 (RHLI Historical Association, 1977) ISBN 0-9690754-0-5 pp.243-244

  13. Stacey, Ibid

  14. Copp, Ibid, p.72

  15. Stacey, Ibid

  16. Ibid

  17. Ibid

  18. Copp, Ibid, p.75

  19. Ibid, p.77

  20. Stacey, Ibid

  21. Greenhous, Ibid, pp.248-249. The Canadian Army`s official history gives the total number of tanks as eight.

  22. Copp, Ibid, pp.82-83

  23. Stacey, Ibid

  24. Ibid


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