6 June 2016

The forgotten front.

On June 4, 1944, Rome fell to the allies. American units lead by the joint Canadian American First Special Service Force (better known as the Devil's Brigade) were the first into the city. The event was soon forgotten, overshadowed by the D-Day landings just two days later. Though the Italian campaign was the bloodiest and most costly of the Western Front, it soon became an object of ridicule and one member of the British Parliament called the men serving there "D-Day Dodgers". The men themselves, at least the Canadians, called themselves "The Spaghetti League."

For the remainder of the war the allied troops in Italy were subject to shortages of supplies, outdated equipment, and replacement troops. Guns were often rationed to firing only three shells a day. The very terrain itself was against the Allies, and the interior of Italy favoured defense over attack. Italy became a sideshow to the main event in Normandy, and all efforts were concentrated there.

Today there shall be news broadcasts and old and new specials about the liberation of Europe. D-Day was a tremendous event, but Europe had already been invaded back in '43. I do not begrudge the vets who stormed ashore at Juno, Gold, Sword, Utah and Omaha the repute or glory they have won, no, not one comma of it. I am saying that we would do well from to remember from time to time the boys of the Spaghetti League.

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