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Canada and World War 2

The Italian Campaign, 1943
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On the 10th of July 1943, Canadian, British, and American forces attacked Sicily from the sea. Operation Husky spearheaded the attack. Most soldiers had joined during 1939, and had 4 years of training. On the first day, Canadians suffered a total of 60 casualties, but they captured 650 enemy personnel. After a month of fighting, Canadians had endured 2310 casualties, including 12 nurses. Their objective, however, had been met.

Italian civilians became devastated with their loss. Soon they turned on their dictator, Mussolini, and drove him from power. Hitler, however, sent hundreds of thousands of troops to hold Italy under his control.

On the 3rd of September 1943, Allied forces pushed onto the mainland of Italy. Canadian troops found very little resistance at the "toe" (bottom area of Italy which looks like a boot) of Italy, but soon encountered German troops along the "boot". These Germans organized several lines of battle using the rugged terrain and mountains to their advantage.

In December, Canadians got as far up in Italy as Ortona, a city along the east coast. Ortona was surrounded by high ridges and acted as a natural fortress. The Germans were determined to keep this city and soon began to booby-trap houses, re-inforce buildings, and blow up dwellings to block the tiny streets.

Canadians were then forced to take Ortona street by street, and house by house. Soon, they developed a technique called "mouseholing". Once the Canadians took one house, they shot a hole from the attic into the next house. Once they were inside that house, they began to pour grenades and machine gnu fire until the house was taken. The process was slow, but successful, and Canadians soon earned a reputation as street fighters.

After just one week of fighting, Ortona was in Canadian hands. Most of the town was destroyed. Casualties were high. Canadian losses included 176 officers and 2163 men. Later, in June 1944, the Allies then took Rome. Canadian forces remained in Italy until early 1945. The Italian Campaign was overshadowed by D-Day, but it was a key part in the later Allied victory.

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Created by Sarah Lucas. Final History Assignment 2005-2006.