The invasion of Sicily and the battle for Italy were the first full-fledged fighting for the Canadian Army. They performed well, and in December 1943 they would be handed the mantle, to crush the German Line at the Moro River and take Ortona. This was to be their first great test. Against brilliantly designed defensive works the Canadians cracked the Moro River Line, and turned into Ortona, where they would have to beat the Germans in hand-to-hand, and house-to-house fighting. They would have to ‘Mousehole’ their way to victory, and that’s what they did. Ortona was the Canadian Army’s first great challenge and its first great victory.
“The morbid fascination of destruction held us in its grip as life and its moments dissolved before our eyes. Over all, the deafening voice of guns beat a massive dirge like the unmuffled drums of Hell.” Charles Comfort.
by Norm Christie
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