Dr Tim Cook, chief historian at the Canadian War Museum and author of more than a dozen books on Canadian military history, offers his insights into the battle, how it was fought and its place in Canada’s World War Two legacy.

Although tanks are vulnerable in urban areas, the Shermans supporting the infantry at Ortona were vital to the success of the bitter battle

Can you talk about the significance of the battle for some of the regiments involved, namely the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders?

I bristle a bit whenever I get that question because it took the whole division – everybody was thrown into the meat grinder. This was a brutal battle that went on for the better part of three weeks and it simply couldn't have been won by just one or two regiments. We often focus on the urban warfare element – it's an interesting and different part of Canada’s war up until that point – but the crossing of the Moro and The Gully were absolutely crucial too. It was a multi-phase, multi-regimental attack and you have to look at it in its totality.

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