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World War 2 Italian Campaign Canadian troops played a vital role in the 20-month Mediterranean campaign which led to the liberation of Italy during the Second World War In fact this campaign was the first large-scale land operation in which the Canadian Army stationed in Great Britain took part In this campaign which was fought in Sicily from July 10 to August 6 1943 and in mainland Italy from September 3 1943 to February 25 1945 the fighting was particularly bitter The Germans taking full advantage of mountain peaks and swiftly running rivers made very Allied advance difficult and costly There were 25264 Canadian casualties in the fighting including more than 5900 who were killed Royal Canadian Air Force Canadian achievements in the area in the Second World War were remarkable The smallest of Canadas three services in 1939 with insufficient manpower and inadequate equipment the RCAF expanded by 1945 to the fourth largest air force of the Allied powers RCAF units took part in every major air operation overseas from the Battle of Britain to the bombing of Germany and in addition played an important role in air training and in the protection of shipping and transportation They flew every kind of aircraft there was from the workhorse Dakota to the Mosquito Halifax Liberator Lancaster and the glamorous Spitfire In all more than 232500 men and 17000 women served in the RCAF both in home defence and farther afield They flew into the German industrial heartland with the Desert Air Force in the Middle East on coastal patrol from Ceylon over the Burma Road the Norwegian fiords and out over the Atlantic on U-boat patrol In addition thousands of Canadians served with the RAF overseas Canadian air personnel were involved in three major areas of service during the war the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan the theatre of war overseas and the Home War Establishment The Atomic Bomb As millions
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