Glossary   |   Detailed Search   |   About Democracy at War     
Democracy at War: The Collection of World War II Newspaper Articles  
Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
Introduction Canada and the War Battles and Operations The Holocaust
History of World War 2 Battles
  - The Invasion of Poland, 1939
  - The Battle of the Atlantic
  - The German Invasion of Western Europe
  - The Battle of Britain
  - The Invasion of the Balkans
  - The Bomber Offensive
  - North African Campaigns
  - War in China, 1937-1945
  - Hong Kong, December 1941
  - Dieppe Raid, 1942
  - The Aleutian Campaign
  - The Burma Campaigns, 1941-1945
  - The Sicilian and Italian Campaigns, 1943-1945
  - The North West Europe Campaign, 1944-1945
  - D-Day and the Normandy Campaign
  - The Liberation of the Netherlands
 
  Search the Newspaper Archives     
 
Search for :
Find :

Appearing :
Detailed Search
World War 2 Battles and Military Operations
The ruins of Regalbuto: tanks of the Three Rivers Regiment in the town that was so hotly disputed in August 1943. - Photo Credit: Canadian Military Photograph No. 22667, CWM Reference Photo Collection
The ruins of Regalbuto: tanks of the Three Rivers Regiment in the town that was so hotly disputed in August 1943.
Canadian Military Photograph

The Sicilian and Italian Campaigns, 1943-1945

At the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the Allied leaders determined that, after they had gained all of North Africa, the next operation would be in the Mediterranean. The aim was to force Italy out of the war.

As the first step, on July 10, 1943, American and British armies landed in Sicily. On the left flank of the British were 1st Canadian Infantry Division and 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade. Flotillas of RCN landing craft supported the troops. Three Canadian bomber squadrons operated temporarily from bases in Tunisia to support the ground troops in Sicily and later in Italy. No. 417 Squadron, RCAF, flew its Spitfire fighter aircraft from the first to last of the Italian campaign.

The Allied armies occupied all of Sicily in a month. Most of the Italian garrison troops surrendered quickly, but three German motorized divisions fought skilful delaying actions.

On July 25, 1943, an Italian coup drove Mussolini from power. Italy surrendered unconditionally, but the Germans took control of the whole country.

In September 1943, two Allied armies landed in southern mainland Italy. Over the next year and a half, the Germans formed a number of defensive lines across the peninsula which the Allies were only able to capture at considerable cost. The Canadians were involved in terrible fighting around Ortona, on the Adriatic coast, in December 1943. About the same time, the Canadian government sent out the 5th Canadian Armoured Division and the headquarters of 1st Canadian Corps to Italy.

The Allies entered Rome on June 4, 1944, but the D-Day landings in France two days later made Italy seem so much less important. The Canadians played a leading part in the breaking of the Gothic Line crossing the Peninsula north of Florence in August 1944. In January 1945, they were recalled to join First Canadian Army in North West Europe. In all, 92,757 Canadian soldiers served in the Italian theatre and a quarter of these became casualties. 5,764 lost their lives.

Related Newspaper Articles