After Ortona, Allied operations in Italy bogged down, an inevitable result of the effect of heavy rains and snow on the mountainous terrain. In early January, Canadian operations came under the control of Headquarters 1st Canadian Corps. Throughout early 1944, the Germans stubbornly held their ground along the Gustav Line. The Allies were able to breach the German fortifications at Monte Cassino on 18 May, but only after a massive bombardment. The Hitler Line, which lay several kilometres to the north, was the next objective. With the aid of the 1st Canadian Corps, the Allies attacked the Hitler Line at several points, finally breaching it on 23 May. For the rest of May and into June, they chased the retreating Germans towards Rome. On 4 June, American soldiers liberated the Italian capital.

The capture of Rome, although of some importance, did not end the Italian campaign. Fighting continued throughout 1944 and into the following year. The 1st Canadian Corps fought its way up the Italian peninsula through the Gothic and Rimini lines until it reached the Adriatic seaport of Ravenna on 4 December 1944. It was to be the costliest part of the Italian campaign. By Christmas, Canadian forces reached the Senio River. It was to mark the last major Canadian accomplishment in the Italian theatre. The Canadian government, responding to intense public pressure, decided to deploy its troops in Italy elsewhere in Europe. Participation in the Italian campaign had ended but not before the nation had sacrificed more than a quarter of the 92,757 individuals who served there: 5,399 dead in battle and 19,486 wounded, 365 other fatalities, and 1,004 taken prisoner. Having withdrawn 1st Canadian Corps from Italy, 1st Canadian Army, fighting together for the first time, could now be concentrated for the final push into the heartland of Germany.

 

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