Battle of Ortona

OrtonaBattle for Ortonabloody battlecaptured the town of OrtonaFight for OrtonaOrtona lineOrtona was captured
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.wikipedia
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1st Parachute Division (Germany)

1st Parachute DivisionGerman 1st Parachute Division7. Flieger-Division
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.
From 14–27 December 1943, the division, under General-Lieutenant Richard Heidrich, saw action against the 1st Canadian Division in the Battle of Ortona.

Ortona

Ortona a MareOrtona, Italy
The battle took place in the small Adriatic Sea town of Ortona, with a peacetime population of 10,000. By the end of the month, the main Gustav Line defences had been penetrated and the Allied troops were fighting their way forward to the next river, the Moro, 4 mi north of the mouth of which lay Ortona.
In 1943 Ortona was the site of a bloody battle, known as "Western Stalingrad".

1st Canadian Division

1st Canadian Infantry Division2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade1st
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.
Soon after the conquest of Sicily, the division transferred to the British XIII Corps, but now serving alongside the British 5th Infantry Division (which had also fought in Husky), then landed in Calabria as part of Operation Baytown on the Italian mainland and fought its way up the Italian peninsula, participating in the Moro River Campaign and the division, now under Major General Chris Vokes, supported by tanks of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, took part in the Battle of Ortona, fighting against German Fallschirmjäger–crack air force paratroops of the 1st Parachute Division–over Christmas 1943.

Moro River Campaign

Moro RiverThe GullyCastel Frentano
By the end of the month, the main Gustav Line defences had been penetrated and the Allied troops were fighting their way forward to the next river, the Moro, 4 mi north of the mouth of which lay Ortona.
By 26 December, strong German defences had stalled Canadian forces during the Battle of Ortona and British and New Zealand forces in Orsogna.

Italian campaign (World War II)

Italian CampaignItalyItalian Front
Part of the Italian Campaign (World War II) the battle to liberate Ortona resulted in 2,300 Canadian casualties in a single month (including 500 dead) before the town was won for the Allies.
Although the Gustav Line was penetrated on the Eighth Army's Adriatic front, and Ortona was liberated with heavy casualties to Canadian troops, the blizzards, drifting snow and zero visibility at the end of December caused the advance to grind to a halt.

Richard Heidrich

Heidrich
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Winter Line

Gustav LineGustavRome-Arno
The British Eighth Army's offensive on the Winter Line defences east of the Apennine mountains had commenced on 23 November with the crossing of the river Sangro.
The eastern end of the line was held by the coastal town of Ortona, captured by Canadian forces in the fierce Battle of Ortona in December 1943 which became known as "the little Stalingrad."

Christopher Vokes

Chris VokesMajor General Chris Vokes, CBE, DSO
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.
He was the commander of the division during the Battle of Ortona, after which he was criticized for unimaginative tactics and frontal assaults.

Mouse-holing

mouse holehouse to house by cutting holesmouseholes
The house-to-house fighting was vicious and the Canadians made use of a tactic that had previously infrequently been used: "mouse-holing".
During the Battle of Ortona in 1943, the Canadian Army, which gave the tactic its name, used it to great effect, breaching the walls of buildings (houses within Ortona shared adjoining walls) with weapons such as the PIAT or Teller anti-tank mines.

1st Canadian Armoured Brigade

1st Canadian Tank Brigade1st Canadian Army Tank BrigadeCanadian
On 21 December 1943, the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders entered Ortona, assisted by the tanks of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade's Three Rivers Regiment.
Its regiments participated in the Battles of Potenza, Termoli, Ortona.

The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry)

Loyal Edmonton RegimentThe Loyal Edmonton RegimentEdmonton Regiment
The initial Canadian attack on the town was made on 20 December by Canadian 2nd Brigade's Loyal Edmonton Regiment with elements of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada under command.

90th Light Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

90th Panzergrenadier Division90th Light Division90th Light Infantry Division
In addition to the Canadian losses, the German 1st Parachute Division and the 90th Light Infantry Division (Wehrmacht) also suffered numerous casualties.
It was then very nearly wiped out in the bitter fighting with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division during the Moro River Campaign in late November 1943 and the Battle of Ortona in December.

PIAT

Projector, Infantry, Anti TankBritish PIATPIAT guns
This tactic involved using weapons such as the PIAT or cumbersome Teller anti-tank mines to create a large aperture in the wall of a building, as houses within Ortona shared adjoining walls.

Fallschirmjäger (World War II)

FallschirmjägerGerman paratroopersparatroopers
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Paratrooper

paratroopersparatroopparatroops
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Generalleutnant

Lieutenant GeneralLieutenant-Generalgeneral
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Canadian Army

CanadianArmyCanadian Forces Land Force Command
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Baptism by fire

baptism of fireand firebaptism-of-fire
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Allied invasion of Sicily

Operation HuskySicilyinvasion of Sicily
The Battle of Ortona (20–28 December 1943) was a battle fought between two battalions of elite German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich, and assaulting Canadian troops from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes, most of whom were fresh recruits whose baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Sicily.

Battle of Stalingrad

Stalingraddefeat at StalingradBattle for Stalingrad
The battle was known to those who fought it as the "Italian Stalingrad," for the brutality of its close-quarters combat, which was only worsened by the chaotic rubble of the town and the many booby traps used by both sides.

Booby trap

booby-trapbooby-trappedbooby traps
The battle was known to those who fought it as the "Italian Stalingrad," for the brutality of its close-quarters combat, which was only worsened by the chaotic rubble of the town and the many booby traps used by both sides.

Adriatic Sea

AdriaticAdriatic coastThe Adriatic
The battle took place in the small Adriatic Sea town of Ortona, with a peacetime population of 10,000.

Invasion of Normandy

Normandy invasionNormandyBattle of Normandy
By late 1943, the entire Italian campaign was not intended to win the war but to remove Italian troops from other areas of Europe, divert German forces from France and reduce the strength of the German army; the D-Day invasion was already in the planning stages for the following spring or summer.

Eighth Army (United Kingdom)

British Eighth ArmyEighth Army8th Army
The British Eighth Army's offensive on the Winter Line defences east of the Apennine mountains had commenced on 23 November with the crossing of the river Sangro.

Apennine Mountains

ApenninesApennineLigurian Appennines
The British Eighth Army's offensive on the Winter Line defences east of the Apennine mountains had commenced on 23 November with the crossing of the river Sangro.