ORTONA: Canada’s Epic WWII Battle

Mark Zuehlke

On one blood-soaked week of fighting, December 20 to December 27 1943, 1st Canadian Infantry Division took Ortona Italy, from elite German paratroopers ordered to hold this medieval port town at all costs. The Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders, supported by tankers of the Three Rivers Regiment fought house to house in hand-tohand combat amid heavy shelling and wrested the town from the German defenders. When this vicious battle was over, 2,339 Canadians were dead or wounded. But the town called ‘Little Stalingrad’ was in Canadian hands.

Mark Zuehlke has been hailed by Jack Granatstein as Canada’s leading popular historian. Mark has won several awards, including the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2006 and in 2014, the prestigious Pierre Berton Award. Mark’s 13-title Battle Series from World War Two covers the Canadian Army in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. He is also the author of other military histories such as For Honour’s Sake: The War of 1812, and The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War.

Presented to RUSI-VI Luncheon on Wednesday, 8 November, 2023

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