Monday, July 17, 2006

Gothic Line Aftermath

Gothic Line – Italy – Aug 25th – Sept 23rd 1944

Browsing through a library copy of The Canadians in Italy 1943-45, I came across this excerpt at the end of Chapter XVII:

“Now that the Canadian Corps was across the Marecchia and astride the Emilian Way it could look back with pride to a great military achievement. That all eight phases of the operation to which Gen. Burns had committed his forces to on 10th September had been carried through substantially according to programme in spite of stubborn opposition and many difficulties was a remarkable tribute to the skill of those who drew up the plan and to the aggressive determination of the troops who fought and won the battle. Congratulatory messages came to the Canadians from many quarters, none warmer nor full of encouragement than those from the Army Commander. ... To General Burns he signalled:”

“ You have won a great victory. By the bitterest fighting since El Alamein and Cassino you have beaten eleven German divisions and broken through into the PO Valley. The greater part of the German Armies in Italy were massed against us and they have been terribly mauled. I congratulate you and thank you all. We must now hit hard day and night and force them back over the PO.”

"Not least in comradeship was the association with the 21st Tank Brigade, whose squadrons had not flinched from expending themselves in action with the Canadian Infantry, and were now withdrawn into Army reserve to rest and make good their losses."

The losses to 21st Tank Brigade were 306 and 52 Tanks with another 600 wounded of which 145th R.A.C. accounted for some 42% - 12th RTR 40% - 48th RTR – 18% - I guess that is why we called them "Golden Tracks" after they had two weeks rest as to our two days at Cattolica.


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