Battle of Ortona

"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

Battle of Ortona

The battle of Ortona began at December 20th 1943 and ended on December 28th, lasting a total of 8 days. The battle took place in the Italian city of Ortana, located on the coast of Italy

Cause of the battle

The main objective of the battle for the allied forces was to liberate the city from German occupation. The city was very utile for the war, since it had the only deep water port on the east coast of Italy. And controlling the city meant, controlling the Adriatic sea; which was a main outlet to many European countries. And if the German occupation continued it would be deadly towards the allied forces.

the city of ortona

Majority of the 10,000 inhabitants, of Ortona had left before the battle, leaving a few civilians; large numbers of males had been removed for slave labour duties and the remaining civilians had largely fled to the surrounding mountains and nearby railway tunnels.
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Canadian Troops

Various Canadian regiments had fought in the battle of Ortona. Canadian casualties from the battle were nearly 1400 men, effectively taking the 1st Canadian Division out of the war for a short period in order to rest its wounds, while not much is known about the German casualties.

Canadian Regiments

  • 1st Canadian Armored Brigade

11th Canadian Armored Regiment (The Ontario Regiment)
12th Canadian Armored Regiment (The Three Rivers Regiment)

  • 1st Canadian Division
The Saskatoon Light Infantry (MG)

  • 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade
The Royal Canadian Regiment
The 48th Highlanders of Canada
The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

  • 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade
The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
The Loyal Edmonton Regiment


The Canadian army used a tactic they invented called mouse-holing. Mouse-holing is a tactic now used in urban warfare, in which soldiers create access to joining rooms or buildings by blasting through a wall. This tactic is used to avoid open streets, where advancing soldiers, are easily targeted by machine guns and sniper rifles. During the battle of Ortona, the Canadian Army used it to great effect.
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The battle of of Ortona had passed through Christmas, and to enlighten the mood, the Canadian soldiers held a Christmas meal. Soldiers were killed through out the day, travelling to and from a meal.
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Cities throughout Italy were being liberated by allied forces in hope of gaining the upper hand in the war. Canada was given the responsibility of taking Ortona. Which we did and it was a small but effective step to winning the war. On December 28th 1943 Germany withdrew from Ortona giving the Canada army the victory.
"Never was so much owed by so many to so few" Winston Churchill
Battle of Ortona - Canadian Army Newsreel
Battle of Ortona