With four battalions now involved (the 5th Battalion, Royal West Kents had by now been tasked on the south east side of the village) supported by tanks, Villa Grande was finally cleared by the end of 26 December. [17] After approximately an hour of fighting by C and D Companies, Villa Rogatti had been occupied by Canadian forces shortly before dawn. [20] Col. Ware was advised to be ready to withdraw across the Moro River, should German forces counterattack. Two companies had advanced against strong and well prepared German defences of the 200th Panzergrenadier Regiment. [20] In order to allow the Canadian Division a greater concentration of force, on the night of 7/8 December, the Indian 21st Infantry Brigade from the Indian 8th Infantry Division amalgamated the western flank of the 1st Canadian Division into their own lines. The Moro River Canadian War Cemetery is located on high ground near the Adriatic Sea at San Donato, in the Commune of Ortona (about 5 kilometres south of the town) and the Province of Chieti. [citation needed], The allies had made gains and had broken into the Gustav Line but the failure to capture Orsogna put an end to the Allied plans of a strong drive up the eastern coast. [25][26] However, the single rifle company making the attack achieved little territorial gain and Lieutenant-Colonel Kennedy—commander of the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment—ordered a withdrawal at 15:40. Throughout the day, they encountered heavy machine gun fire during their attempts to enter Ortona. [27], By the morning of 9 December, the RCE had completed the bridge across the Moro River, enabling the tanks of the 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment) to transport two companies of Seaforth Highlanders across the river into San Leonardo. Panzergrenadierdivision) under Major General Carl-Hans Lungershausen succeeded by Colonel (Oberst) Ernst-Günther Baade on 20 December, and further inland of them was the 26th Panzer Division (26. [43] However, German forces had already evacuated The Gully, falling back to prepare for a strong defence of Ortona, with elements of the powerful 1st Parachute Division firmly entrenched in the town.[58]. Panzerdivision) under Brigadier General Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz with their right flank on Orsogna. [15] Within an hour, vicious fighting had erupted throughout the town as the two companies of Canadian infantry struggled to break the German defensive lines. [22], In the afternoon, having failed to capture San Leonardo, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment sent two rifle companies to the aid of the Seaforth Highlanders, as Seaforth B Company attacked positions west of San Leonardo — inflicting 129 casualties on German forces in the area. [18], By mid-morning, German counterattacks on PPCLI positions in the town had begun, involving tanks from the 7th Company of the 26th Panzer Regiment (26. [1] The Allied Eighth Army fought the German 10th Army in the vicinity of the Moro in December 1943. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moro_(Italian_river)&oldid=954807980, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 May 2020, at 12:12. Should this attack fail, the 1st Brigade's Seaforth Highlanders and the Royal Canadian Regiment would move through Casa Berardi and outflank German defences, forcing a withdrawal from The Gully. By nightfall, both battalions held a toehold on the western edge of Ortona, yet had encountered heavy resistance in their attempts to secure it. As PPCLI secured and held their bridgehead over the Moro River, the Seaforth Highlanders were struggling to enter San Leonardo. The offensives were scheduled to start on the morning of 6 December. Fallschirmjägerdivision) under Brigadier General (Generalmajor) Richard Heidrich on the coast, to their right stood the 90th Panzergrenadier Division (90. Every five minutes, the barrage would move 100 m (110 yd) forward, continuing to pound German defences in the bombardment area. By evening, B Company controlled the Cider Crossroads, having met virtually no resistance in their advance to the objective. C Company—under Captain Paul Triquet—pushed on toward Casa Berardi with support from the Ontario Regiment, while D Company found itself involved in firefights southwest of Casa Berardi. At first, the attack went extremely well. [5] East of the Apennine Mountain spine was the British Eighth Army, under General Sir Bernard Montgomery. On the evening of 15 December, the 1st/5th Battalion Essex Regiment from the Indian Division's 19th Indian Infantry Brigade, which had been held in reserve, was committed on the left flank of the Frontier Force Regiment to advance in the direction of Crecchio and overran a number of German positions. [33] Surprise was achieved as Traugott Herr, the commander of LXXVI Panzer Corps, had been persuaded that the New Zealanders would not be in a position to launch a major attack until 8 December. [64], After the offensive had ended, Alexander ordered aggressive patrolling in order to pin the units of the LXXVI Panzer Corps in the Adriatic sector and prevent Kesselring moving them to reinforce the XIV Panzer Corps front opposite Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark's U.S. Fifth Army where the Allied offensive would continue.[72]. [47], On 20 December 1943, the under-strength Loyal Edmonton Regiment moved toward Ortona, with the Seaforth Highlanders covering their eastern flank. Beginning on 4 December, four infantry divisions—one British, one Canadian, one Indian and one New Zealand (which included an armoured brigade)—and two armoured brigades (one British and one Canadian) of V Corps and XIII Corps attacked heavily defended German positions along the Moro River, achieving several exploitable bridgeheads by 8 December. In the early morning of 6 December, A Company was withdrawn and two additional Seaforth companies resumed the offensive. Panzergrenadier_Regiment) near Villa Rogatti. [57] Due to shortages of fuel and poor weather, H-Hour was postponed until 14:15. That evening, 1st Battalion 12th Frontier Force Regiment attacked on the left of the Gurkhas and established positions on the lateral road between Ortona and Orsogna running parallel to the Moro some 1,000 yd (910 m) north of the "Impossible Bridge". At the bottom all of the rivers are listed alphabetically. [68], Throughout the remainder of the week, the Battle of Ortona degenerated into a small-scale version of the Battle of Stalingrad, with vicious house-to-house fighting through the narrow streets and debris of Ortona. [52], However, the Germans launched a counterattack at 03:15 on 16 December, throwing in men from the 6th Parachute Regiment, sent by Herr to the 26th Panzer Division to relieve the exhausted 9th Panzergrenadier Regiment. Throughout the next week, nearly continuous combat operations by both sides—designed to keep one another pinned down—created stagnated defensive positions near Orsogna and a narrow pit known as "The Gully". Simultaneously, small arms fire prevented C Company from moving up the road from the Moro to San Leonardo, while D Company remained on the southern banks of the Moro throughout the early morning. In late 1943, the 15th Army Group under General Sir Harold Alexander were fighting their way northward in Italy against determined German opposition, commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, whose forces had prepared a succession of defensive lines.