BATTLE OF ORTONA

ARTEFACT

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE


The battle of Ortona was a very strategic plan of

importance, because it was one of Italy's few usable deep water ports on the east coast. This port was needed for docking allied ships and intern shortened the enemy's line of supply which at the time stretched back to Bari and Taranto.Ortona was part of the Winter Line defence system that the Germans had constructed with a series of skilfully designed interlocking defensive positions in the town.

After the Battle was over and the Canadians had defeated the Germans the entire 1st division took over the winter line of defence on the south side of the Arielle river. Both divisions German and Canadian were hurt very badly, Canadian qualities equalled 4206 men. Both german divisions (90th Light & 1st Paratroop) were thrashed Including some 400 German soldiers being held in Canadian PW cages.


After the battle of Sicily, Benito Mussolini was overthrown from power in Italy which created a pathway for the invasion of Italy. The allies wanted to take Ortona peacefully so they warned the people of Ortona and most 10,000 people had left. Canada had relieved all the male bodies from slave labour duties and the remaining people fled to the surrounding mountains and railway tunnels. This was a big relief for the people of Ortona because they were very afraid of the germans and glad they were relieved of control by Mussolini. Taking Ortona also relieved the British 8th Infantry Division because they were exhausted and had to fight their way to Moro, only 4 miles north of Ortona. So as you can imagine if the 1st division had not taken Ortona the British would have been slain.


Cause and Consequence

Many factors lead to the attack on Ortona. This Battle was all part of a plan called the Italian Campaign. This was the final push to defeat the Axis powers of Italy and Germany during World War II. Canada the U.S and Great Britain planned to invade Italy. The Allies wanted to draw German troops away from Italy and advance through Nazi-occupied northern Europe to Berlin then Germany. The Italian Campaign went from July 10, 1943, to May 2, 1945. The battle that came before Ortona was the battle of Sicily (Airborne Attack by Allies) which allowed the attack on Italy.


As well as this battle being a part of the Italian Campaign the reason why they wanted to attack from the south of Italy is so that the could surprise the enemy forces north of Italy and upwards though to berlin. It made the attack easier because it was a straight full on attack and gave them time when on Italy to regroup and such rather than attack from the heavily fortified north of Italy In which they would have to go through France but then they would be attacked by both Germany and Italy.

Continuity and Change

The Italian Campaign overall was a great success and achievement not only for the allied powers but also the people of Italy. The people of Italy were relieved of a Fascist government led by Mussolini. This battle led the allied powers one step closer to winning the war despite the many casualties. Italy was a monarchy from its unification in the second half of the 19th century until 1946, when it became a parliamentary republic following a national referendum. On 1st January 1948, it adopted a constitutional charter, which defines the political and civil liberties of citizens and the principles of government. Italy is headed by a President who appoints a Prime Minister, the elected head of government. I believe this is the result of the battle of Ortona and the Italian campaign, for a new government leader was chosen.