Ortona: Canada's Epic World War II Battle by Mark Zuehlke

By Mark Zuehlke

A masterful retelling one of many significant victories of Canadian troops over the German army’s elite department in the course of WWII.

In one blood-soaked, livid week of battling, from December 20 to December 27, 1943, the first Canadian Infantry department took town of Ortona, Italy, from elite German paratroopers ordered to carry the medieval port city in any respect bills. soldiers serving within the dependable Edmonton Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders, supported through tankers of the 3 Rivers Regiment, moved from condominium to deal with in hand-to-hand wrestle amid heavy shelling and wrested town from the grip of the fierce German defenders. moving into Ortona have been a conflict of its personal. Ortona, the pearl of the Adriatic, stands on a promontory impregnable from 3 aspects, with seacliffs at the north and east, and a deep ravine at the west. The Canadian soldiers, drawn from nearly each nook of Canada, attacked from the south lower than the command of Major-General Chris Vokes, combating throughout slim gullies, mud-choked vineyards and olive groves, into the slender streets of Ortona itself. whilst the vicious conflict was once over, 2605 Canadians have been useless or wounded. however the city that had develop into often called "Little Stalingrad" used to be now in Allied palms.

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Rommel sent orders for the three desert columns to converge there. But that was more easily said than done. Early on the morning of April 6, Rommel himself was within a dozen miles of the fort, but he had only a handful of troops with him. Despite his best efforts, 29 the situation had deteriorated so badly that the bulk of his forces —out of were by sandstorms, confused about location. Some units notably the 5th Panzer Regiment, with most of the tanks were out of radio range and appeared utterly lost.

In their camp, faces are very pale and all eyes downcast. these Germans lay — Their nerves are taut to the breaking tune in Yugoslavian radio at night. '' They listened to a slight relief was to woman with a husky Marlene" about a soldier and his the barracks gate. Precisely at nine o'clock, Radio Belgrade girl by came on the air, dugouts softly hummed along with the singer. Just yards away, the Australians were listening and humming, too, and for a few and the men in their between these men fighting to the death in a godforsaken desert far from home.

When at the front, he relied on radio often small, short-range models to stay in touch with his headquarters. — — Imprinted on German army radios was the warning Der Feind hort mit The enemy is listening. Radios became vital tools in the mobile — warfare practiced in North Africa, but they had a dangerous flaw: Anyone with a receiver could listen in. The nature of desert war led scattered units to call one another for information and reassurance. The Germans tried to instill radio disci- —eliminating extraneous keeping messages and using coded or arcane language—but pline^ fic, traf- terse, were not entirely successful, and their opponents even less so.

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