In one furious week of fighting in December 1943, the First Canadian Infantry Division took Ortona, Italy, from elite German paratroopers ordered to hold the medieval port at all costs. When the battle was over, the Canadians emerged victorious despite heavy losses.
It is remembered in the Netherlands as "the sweetest of springs," the one that saw the country's liberation from German occupation. But for the soldiers of First Canadian army, who fought their way across the Rhine River and then through Holland and northwest Germany, that spring of 1945 was bittersweet. While the Dutch were being liberated from the grinding boot heel of the Nazis, their freedom was being paid for in Canadian lives lost.
"Confusing at times, narrator impossible"
At D-Day's end, the Canadians, who had landed on Juno Beach, were six miles inland - the deepest penetration achieved by Allied forces on this infamous day. But every soldier on this front line knew worse was yet to come. For in the darkness the Germans were massing, intent on throwing them back to sea. With dramatic intensity, Holding Juno re-creates the ensuing battle and ultimate Canadian triumph and includes fascinating first-person soldier accounts as well as photos and maps.
This is the story of the average Canadian who volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force told through the lens of one battalion - the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. This Highland Regiment fought in the Ypres Salient and in the Somme, at Vimy, Passchendaele, and Amiens. It suffered the first gas attack; its ranks were decimated as it fought at virtually every major battle in the European theatre.
"Oh, those brave men!"
In the Canadian imagination, the War of 1812 looms large. It was a war in which British and Indian troops prevailed in almost all of the battles, in which the Americans were unable to hold any of the land they fought for, in which a young woman named Laura Secord raced over the Niagara peninsula to warn of American plans for attack (though how she knew has never been discovered), and in which Canadian troops burned down the White House.
On June 6, 1944, the greatest armada in history stood off Normandy and the largest amphibious invasion ever began as 107,000 men aboard 6,000 ships pressed toward the coast. Among them were 14,500 Canadians, who were to land on a five-mile-long stretch of rocky ledges fronted by a dangerously exposed beach. Drawing on personal diaries as well as military records, Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory, June 6, 1944 dramatically depicts Canada's pivotal contribution to the critical Allied battle of World War II.
"Well done book, narration annoying"
On July 10, 1943, two great Allied armadas of over 2,000 ships readied to invade Sicily. This was Operation Husky, the first step toward winning a toehold in fascist-occupied Europe. Among the invaders were 20,000 Canadian troops serving in the First Canadian Infantry Division and First Canadian Tank Brigade - in their first combat experience. Over the next 28 days, the Allied troops carved a path through the rugged land, despite fierce German opposition.
Stretching like an armor-toothed belt across Italy's upper thigh, the Gothic Line was the most fortified position the German army had yet thrown into the Allied forces' path. On August 25, 1944, it fell to Canadian troops to spearhead a major offensive: to rip through that fiercely defended line. This gripping chronicle tells, through the eyes of the soldiers who fought there, of the 28-day clash that ultimately ended in glory for the Canadians.
On September 4, 1944, Antwerp, Europe’s largest port, fell to the Second British Army and it seemed the war would soon be won. But Antwerp was of little value unless the West Scheldt Estuary linking it to the North Sea was also in Allied hands. In his greatest blunder of the war, Field Marshal Montgomery turned his back on the port, leaving the First Canadian Army to fight its way up the long coastal flank. By the time the Canadians and others serving with them reached the area, it had been transformed into a fortress manned by troops ordered to fight to the death.
"Detailed and entertaining..."
The ninth book in the Canadian Battle Series, Breakout from Juno, is the first dramatic chronicling of Canada's pivotal role throughout the entire Normandy Campaign following the D-Day landings.
"Interesting look at the Canadian contribution"
For the Allied armies fighting their way up the Italian boot in early 1944, Rome was the prize that could only be won through a massive offensive. Military historian Mark Zuehlke returns to the Mediterranean theater of World War II with this gripping tribute to the Canadians who opened the way for the Allies to take Rome. The book is a fitting testament to the bravery of soldiers like the badly wounded Captain Pierre Potvin, who survived more than 30 hours alone on the battlefield.
With its trademark "you are there" style, Mark Zuehlke's 10th Canadian Battle Series volume tells the story of the 1942 Dieppe raid. Nicknamed "The Poor Man's Monte Carlo", Dieppe had no strategic importance, but with the Soviet Union thrown on the ropes by German invasion and America having just entered the war, Britain was under intense pressure to launch a major cross-Channel attack against France. Since 1939, Canadian troops had massed in Britain and trained for the inevitable day of the mass invasion of Europe that would finally occur in 1944.
At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War on July 17, 1936, 42 thousand Internationals, comprised of Canadians, Americans, and Spaniards, fought together on the side of the Republicans who were trying to throw back fascist dictator General Franco’s troops, which included countless German and Italian soldiers. By October 29, 1938 though, only two thousand Internationals were able to gather for a speech requesting them to withdraw. Despite all their efforts, Spain wanted to continue on its own, hoping the war would become a Spanish affair once again.