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This volume, written by Lt-Col. G. W. L. Nicholson, Deputy Director, Historical Section, General Staff, is the second volume of the Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. The first, written by the Director, covered the Army’s organization, training and operations in Canada, Britain and the Pacific during the whole period of the war. The third, dealing with the campaign in North-West Europe in 1944–45, is in preparation.

The present volume describes in some detail the Canadian Army’s part in the Italian campaign – the operations which began with the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and, developing into an arduous advance up the Italian peninsula, ended with the German capitulation in May 1945. In this campaign soldiers from Canada fought a series of hard and bloody battles over some of the most historic ground in Europe. This account of it is more exhaustive, and based upon more complete investigation, than that included in the preliminary Official Historical Summary, The Canadian Army 1939–1945, which was published in May 1948.

The general principles upon which this History has been planned are stated in the Preface to Volume I. It is directed primarily to the general reader, and particularly to the Canadian reader who wishes to know what the Canadian Army accomplished and why its operations took the course they did. The practice with respect to documentation, and the reasons for it, are likewise described in Volume I. Since many of the documents cited in references are still “classified”, the fact that they are so cited does not necessarily imply that they are available for public examination. Officers and men are designated in the text by the ranks they held at the time of the events described. Decorations have not been appended to personal names in the text, but “final” ranks and decorations are given with the names of individuals in the Index.

In the event of readers observing errors or important omissions in this volume, they are asked to write to the Director, Historical Section, General Staff, Army Headquarters, Ottawa.

C. P. Stacey


Director, Historical Section