Canada and the Italian Campaign – A Brief Synopsis

Often overshadowed by Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion and the operation to liberate the Netherlands, the liberation of Italy was Canada’s longest military campaign during World War 2. In my posts leading up to BBR23 – Ortona 80, I will explore the Canadian involvement in the Italian Campaign from the landing of Allied Forces in Sicily to the final Canadian battles near Ravenna. I am looking forward to learning more about the Italian Campaign and, in turn, writing these posts. I have done a lot of reading and have visited many of the World War 1 and World War 2 battlefields, memorials and cemeteries in northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, but I don’t really know much about WW2 in Italy. This will be fun!

The Italy Campaign Star
Awarded for operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.

Canadian troops played a vital role in the 20-month Mediterranean campaign which led to the liberation of Italy during the Second World War. In fact, this campaign was the first large-scale land operation in which the Canadian Army stationed in Great Britain took part.

In this campaign, which was fought in Sicily from July 10 to August 6, 1943, and in mainland Italy from September 3, 1943, to February 25, 1945, the fighting was particularly bitter. The Germans, taking full advantage of mountain peaks and swiftly running rivers, made Allied advance very difficult and costly. There were 25,264 Canadian casualties in the fighting, including more than 5,900 who were killed.

Over the next few weeks, leading up to my departure for Italy in late May, along with some personal comments about how your sponsorship for my ride helps Wounded Warriors Canada support our veterans, first responders suffering from Operational Stress Injuries and their families, I will explore the role that Canadians played in the liberation of Italy. As always, I welcome your comments and recommendations for posts. Also, I would like to reinforce that I am not a historian, but rather a Canadian who proud of the contributions that our military has provided throughout history.

A brief video regarding the Canadian involvement in Italy

Honour the Fallen; Help the Living

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