History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

MARKET-GARDEN Sep 44

(Arnhem)

BERLIN Nov 1944

(Nijmegen)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Bazentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

Flers-Courcelette

.15-22 Sep 16

Thiepval

.26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Ypres, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
►Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
►Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Trasimene Line
►Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

►Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

►Gabbiano

1 Jul 44

►Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

►Tuori

5 Jul 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
►Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

St. André-sur-Orne

St. André-sur-Orne was a Battle Honour granted to units participating in the initial battles to take the heights south of Caen during the Battle of Normandy, the first phase of the North-West Europe campaign of the Second World War. The battle was a component of the larger Operation GOODWOOD and actions for which the battle honour for Bourguébus Ridge was granted.

Background

The background to the fighting at St. André-sur-Orne is described in detail in the Bourguébus Ridge article. Operation ATLANTIC was a component of Operation GOODWOOD, the largest British offensive operation mounted during the battle of Normandy. ATLANTIC was the first operation of the 2nd Canadian Corps (consisting of the newly arrived 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, the now-veteran 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Division). The objectives of the operation were to capture the portions of Caen beyond the Orne and establish a firm bridgehead in the countryside beyond.

 

 

By evening of July 19th, it seemed that the 2nd Canadian Corps had almost finished its part in Operation ATLANTIC/Operation GOODWOOD. When the tanks of the British 8th Corps began to withdraw from its furthest advance, however, the commander of the 2nd British Army called for the 2nd Canadian Corps to take over Bras as "soon as possible". On the 20th, the 8th Corps was ordered to halt, with the exception of 7th Armoured Division, who was to complete its capture of Bourguébus. The 3rd Canadian Division was left to relieve the 11th Armoured Division while the 2nd Canadian Division was to continue the advance southward and establish positions on the Verrières Ridge. The 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, not yet engaged, was ordered forward, with the Essex Scottish placed under command.1 There followed a costly series of clashes between the 6th Brigade and German units.

 
The Battle

The Verrières Ridge rose just under 90 metres, overlooking the flat terrain to the north and was of great tactical importance. On the morning of 20 July 1944, the 6th Brigade was crossing the Orne River in preparation to attacking the ridge, while the British 7th Armoured Division were in the process of approaching it from east of the Caen-Falaise road. A company of the Rifle Brigade, supported by tanks of the 4th County of London Yeomanry were repulsed by heavy opposition, and after the British 8th Corps and the 2nd Canadian Corps headquarters consulted each other, discussing the situation of two formations heading for the same objectives, it was decided that the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade alone would continue the attack. The British tanks were ordered to withdraw east of the road to support the Canadian advance with their fire.

The brigade's start line ran from a point south of Ifs to Hill 67, newly won and held by the Calgary Highlanders (see the article on Fauborg de Vaucelles)  at 15:00hrs. The objectives of the battalions, from west to east, were:

Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders South Saskatchewan Regiment Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal
St. André-sur-Orne Centre of Verrières Ridge Verrières


The units attacked behind British and Canadian artillery concentrations as well as Typhoon aircraft attacks. Two squadrons of The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment remained in reserve to counter-attack as necessary, one allocated to the Camerons and another to the FMR, but no tanks went forward with the infantry.2

Good progress was initially reported, with the Camerons capturing St. André and holding it despite heavy counter-attacks, where "in the open grain fields along the ridge German tanks roamed at will, machine-gunning the infantry and knocking out the handful of Shermans that had ventured forward."3 The unit was also subject to heavy fire from west of the Orne, on the other side of the river, and the heights of Hill 112, where German observers were safely ensconced because the hill remained in enemy hands.4

The FMR took both Beauvoir and Troteval Farms, but were unable to advance further up the heights of the Verrières Ridge. The most severe set-back came in the centre, where the South Saskatchewans put two companies on their objectives at 17:32hrs, about 30 minutes after heavy rain had put an end to air support and observed artillery fire.

The acting Commanding Officer, Major G. R. Matthews, ordered the battalion's anti-tank guns, and those of the 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment which were in support, to come forward and dig in. But the guns were intercepted during the forward move by a small group of enemy tanks which suddenly appeared through the mist and rain from the direction of Verrières. The tanks then turned their machine-guns on the infantry. Attempts were made to use the PIAT, but the battalion, unsupported by heavy anti-tank weapons, was soon scattered and suffered very heavily. No message from it reached the 6th Brigade for more than two hours after 5:55 p.m., when it reported that it was being counter-attacked by tanks and asked for help. Many soldiers took refuge in the tall grain and made their way back during the night. None of our own tanks seems to have got into action. The South Saskatchewan had 208 casualties in this sad affair. Major Matthews was among the 66 officers and men who lost their lives.

The Essex Scottish, who had had little sleep the night before and "little or no noon meal", were ordered forward, at the moment when the leading elements of the South Saskatchewan were coming on to their objectives, to occupy the area between Beauvoir Farm and St. André. Before reaching it the battalion encountered men of the South Saskatchewan retreating. Enemy tanks and artillery fire now struck the Essex. Two of its companies are reported to have broken, it became disorganized and lost very heavily. But its main body hung on in the area north of its assigned objective, and in the early hours of 21 July the two companies that had withdrawn, after being reorganized by the brigadier, were sent forward to rejoin it. In the meantime General Simonds had taken steps to secure his right flank against further enemy counter-attacks.5

The advance of the Essex was a scene of extreme confusion:

The Essex Scottish was to form the firm base for the advance and be prepared to support the SSR in the event of the expected enemy counter-attack. The Battalion had began its advance behind the 6th Brigade at midnight and only received a light breakfast and no noon meal before it was ordered to dig in, in view of the enemy, between Beauvoir Farm and St. André. Even before A and B Companies, the lead elements of the Essex Scottish reached this exposed position, they suffered casualties from sniper and machinegun fire as well as from mortar bombs and 88mm shells. As the first men were hit, their friends rushed to their aid until Major Thomson told them to continue the advance and leave the wounded for the stretcher-bearers. Art Fyles saw three men go down in quick succession, including Major Thomson, and was behind Lloyd MacDonald as his head was blown off by an 88mm shell. John Cross remembered that his section of eight from A Company was down to four men by this time. Captain T.E. "Si" Steele led D Company to its objective, the crossroads between St. André and Beauvoir Farm...There they had the support of one self-propelled M-10 anti-tank gun...C Company was on their right flank. All around lay the bodies of men from the SSR, brought down in the initial attack. There was no time to dig slit trenches in the hard ground of the objective before tank shells and machine-gun fire began to cut through the Scottish position. The carrier platoon had been ordered forward by Macdonald, but had been no help. An 88mm shell knocked out the platoon sergeant's carrier. When the men of the SSR began to filter back to the Essex position with news of the armoured counter-attack and heavy losses, the commanders of A and B companies conferred and decided to withdraw without orders from battalion headquarters or brigade.6

The heavy rain that began in the afternoon of the 20th continued into the 21st of July, and so did the German counter-attacks, and the enemy continued to press the weakened centre with a large effort by tanks and infantry. The survivors of the South Saskatchewan Regiment attack had withdrawn to regroup and the Germans broke into the positions of the Essex Scottish, forming a deep salient between the Camerons in St. André and the FMR clinging to the foot of the ridge. The Essex retreated and at 18:00hrs, the Black Watch, supported by tanks of the 6th and 27th Armoured Regiments, prepared to counterattack from Ifs behind a massive artillery preparation.7

Lieutenant-Colonel Cantlie (Commanding Officer of the Black Watch) called an Orders Group and quickly assigned tasks. The Sherbrookes provided B Squadron, which was almost at full strength, to go forward with the infantry. At 1800 hours the barrage began and the Watch leaned into it, moving up the hill in a "text book operation." The tanks remained at the crossroads until the battalions' anti-tank guns were in position. The Canadians now held a line which stretched along the road from St. André to the Caen-Falaise highway but they were still on the lower slope and Verrières ridge loomed ahead.8

While the Black Watch attack was successful in recovering the ground lost by the Essex Scottish, and in stabilizing the brigade front along the lateral road connecting St. André and the Troteval Farm, both Troteval Farm itself and Beauvoir Farm fell back into the hands of the Germans. Many men were lost from the forward companies of the FMR, and the Verrières Ridge itself remained in enemy hands as well. Enemy counter-attacks from the river flank continued throughout the day and though the Camerons and tanks of the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment dealt with them successfully, the Camerons suffered 81 casualties, including 29 dead.9

Battle Honour

The following Canadian units were awarded the Battle Honour "St. André-sur-Orne" for participation in these actions:

2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment)

Image:2gif.gif 2nd Canadian Division

  • The Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG)

Image:2gif4bde.gif 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • The Essex Scottish Regiment

Image:2gif6bde.gif 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal

  • The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada

  • The South Saskatchewan Regiment

Notes

  1. Stacey, C.P. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume III: The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-west Europe 1944-45 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1960) p.164

  2. Ibid, pp.174-175

  3. Copp, Terry The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade 1939-1945 (Fortress Publications, Stoney Creek, ON, 1992) ISBN 0-919195-16-4 p.58

  4. Stacey, Ibid, p.175

  5. Ibid, p.175

  6. Antal, Sandy and Kevin R. Shackleton Duty Nobly Done: The Official History of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment (Walkerville Publishing, Windsor, ON, 2006) ISBN 0-9731834-8-9 pp.450-451

  7. Stacey, Ibid, p.176

  8. Copp, Ibid, pp.58-59

  9. Stacey, Ibid, p.176


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