Onwards to Leonforte, July 21st, 1943

The Loyal Edmonton Regiment's first taste of combat was the engagement 3 miles south of Piazza Armerina on July 16th, 1943. After having chased off the 2nd Battalion of the 104 Panzer Grenadier Regiment from that position, the Loyal Eddies were ready to advance on Piazza Armerina itself.

Was it going to be heavily defended?  What was the enemies strength?

Artillery fire from the Germans on the Canadian position was countered with counter battery fire and the German guns were silenced. By nightfall the Germans had vacated Piazza Armerina and the Eddies moved in. With 3rd Brigade pushing past the Eddies (who are with 2nd Brigade) in Piazza Armerina, the Eddies were able to take a bit of a breather before they were again called into action.

Lieutentant Colonel R.M. Crowe and Major J.H.W. Pope - Commanding Officer and battalion second-in-command of The Royal Canadian Regiment, checking a map outside of Piazza Armerina on 17 Jul 1943. They were the only two RCR officers killed in action during the Sicillian Campaign. Pope was killed at Valguarnera trying to knock out a German tank with a PIAT. LAC Photo
  Approx 27 miles from Piazza Armerina is the town of Leonforte.

July 21st, 1943  - the Loyal Eddies were to assault Leonforte at 2100hrs. After a barrage on the Germans positions the Eddies were then to assault the town. Due to its size, all four companies were to be committed to the assault.
This assault would buy the engineers time to repair the main bridge into Leonforte which would allow the armour and anti-tank guns to aid in the Eddies assault.

The Germans would no doubt launch a counter-attack. Would the Eddies, without artillery or armour be able to hold their position?

To be determined....

Brown, Shaun R.G., "The Loyal Edmonton Regiment at war, 1943-1945" (1984).Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 11. http://scholars.wlu.ca/etd/11



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