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History World War Ii

Forgotten Victory

First Canadian Army and the Cruel Winter of 1944-45

by (author) Mark Zuehlke

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Oct 2015
World War II, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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During the winter of 1944–45, the western allies desperately sought a strategy that would lead to Germany's quick defeat. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers in trenches and dugouts suffered through the bitterest European winter in fifty years.

The Allied high command decided that First Canadian Army would launch the pivotal offensive to win the war—an attack against the Rhineland, an area of Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. Winning this land would give them a launching point for crossing the river and driving into Germany’s heartland.

But before the Allies could strike, Hitler launched a massive offensive towards Antwerp, the Battle of the Bulge. By the time the Germans were driven back to their start lines, the first thaws had begun. Previously frozen ground, ideal for mobile warfare, had turned to quagmire. Anticipating the Allied attack, the Germans broke dams and dykes to inundate great swaths of the Rhine's floodplain.

On February 8, 1945, First Canadian Army launched Operation Veritable. Advancing on the heels of the greatest artillery bombardment yet fired by the western Allies, thousands of Canadian and British troops advanced into an inferno of battle under orders to surrender not an inch of German soil. Infantrymen were forced to fight relentlessly, with little support and often in close quarters, for thirty-eight gruelling and costly days.

About the author

Hailed by Jack Granatstein as Canadas leading popular military historian and short-listed for both the 2007 and 2013 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history, Mark Zuehlke is the author of 26 books, including 14 devoted to military history. Tragedy at Dieppe is the latest in his bestselling Canadian Battle Series, which includes Ortona, The Liri Valley, The Gothic Line, Juno Beach Operation Husky, Holding Juno, Breakout from Juno, Terrible Victory, and On to Victory. He is also the co-author of The Canadian Military Atlas.

Zuehlke first began writing about the role Canadians played in World War II after discussing the Battle of Ortona with several veterans following a Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna, B.C. Discovering no book had been written on this pivotal battle, he decided to fill that gap, which resulted in the publication of Ortona: Canadas Epic Worl

Mark Zuehlke's profile page


  • Winner, Pierre Berton Award

Other titles by Mark Zuehlke