Before the 1st Canadian Corps could launch an attack on Ortona, the Canadians had to gain control of the important crossroads near the small village of Casa Berardi. On 14 December 1943, "C" Company of the Royal 22nd Regiment, commanded by Captain Paul Triquet, and seven tanks from the Ontario Tank Regiment occupied Casa Berardi. The Germans immediately staged a determined counterattack to retake the village.
By the evening of 15 December, the Germans had managed to encircle Captain Triquet's company and the Ontario tank unit. The fighting raged on through the night, and the following morning the Royal Canadian Regiment and the remainder of the Ontario Tank Regiment fought their way through to Casa Berardi.
When the Royal Canadian Regiment finally entered Casa Berardi, only 9 of "C" Company's 81 men were left. Captain Paul Triquet won the first Victoria Cross bestowed on a Canadian in the Italian Campaign for his dogged defence of Casa Berardi.