Battle of Ortona facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBattle of Ortona
|Part of the The Winter Line and the battle for Rome of the Second World War Italian Campaign|
Canadian Armour Passing Through Ortona, by Charles Comfort. Canadian War Museum (CN 12245).
|Commanders and leaders|
|Chris Vokes||Richard Heidrich|
|2 Battalions||2 Battalions|
|Casualties and losses|
|1300 civilian deaths|
The battalion of German paratroops were from the German 1st Parachute Division under Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich. The Canadian forces were from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division under Major General Chris Vokes.
It was part of the fighting on the Adriatic area in Italy. The battle has been called "Little Stalingrad" because of the violent, close fighting. The battle took place in the Adriatic Sea town of Ortona, with a population of 10,000.
The Eighth Army's attack on the Winter Line defences started on 23 November. By the end of the month, Allied troops broke through the Gustav Line defences. The Allied troops were fighting towards the Moro river, near Ortona.
Ortona was one of Italy's few deep water ports on the east coast. The Allies wanted to capture the port. The Germans had constructed a series of defensive positions in the town.
The Canadians had to battle the German 1st Parachute Division. These soldiers were experienced after many years of war. Adolf Hitler ordered them to defend Ortona.
The Canadian attack on the town was on December 20. The Germans had hidden machine guns and anti-tank guns in the town. This made it hard for Canadian tanks and infantry to move. The fighting was very violent. The soldiers fought for every house.
After six days fighting, 2nd Brigade's third battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, joined the battle. Tanks from 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade also joined the battle.
On 28 December, after eight days of fighting, the Germans withdrew from the town. The Canadians had 1,375 dead.
Images for kids
Battle of Ortona Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.