As our bus made its slow and twisting way up the mountainside we got a close up look at the kind of ground over which our troops had to fight. It was easy to see why the Germans were able to hold onto their positions for so long. In my way of thinking, even second rate infantry could have done a creditable job of holding on to this rock ribbed bastion. What made it harder for our troops was that it was no slap dash bunch of nondescript infantry in position on the heights. It was the best of the best German fighting soldiers, the 1st Parachute Division who had made it so brutally tough for our men. They were the same men that fought it out toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball with our Seaforths and Edmontons in the narrow streets of Ortona. They were the same guys who stopped the Perths and the Cape Bretons in their tracks in their battle baptism in the valley of the Riccio River outside Ortona. Yeah, we Canadians knew them well.
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