Largest Allied Assault on 'The Gully' is Abandoned after Devastating German Retaliation
On 18 December, Vokes planned what would be the largest assault on The Gully during the campaign.
Beginning at 0800, Canadian artillery would bombard a 900-metre (3,000 ft) front, to a depth of 300 metres (980 ft). Every five minutes, the barrage would move 100 metres (330 ft) forward, continuing to pound German defences in the bombardment area. Less than 100 m behind this barrage, the 48th Highlanders would advance across the Ortona–Orsogna Lateral Road. At the same time, the 8th Indian Division would attack northward towards Crecchio, preventing German reinforcements from reaching The Gully. When the 48th Highlanders reached the Cider Crossroads, the Royal Canadian Regiment would move north, overrunning Cider itself, then advance up the Ortona–Orsogna road. Both battalions would be supported by tanks of The Three Rivers Regiment. At first, the attack went extremely well. However, when the artillery shifted their barrage, the German defences quickly recovered and their machine gun fire devastated the advancing forces. In C Company of the Royal Canadian Regiment, every platoon commander was killed or wounded. The attack was quickly abandoned.
During December 1943, the Patricia's were heavily involved in the operations of Villa Rogatti and the Gully, winning many individual and unit honours in the process, and spent Christmas in Ortona. The next major offensive came at the Hitler Line, west of Monte Cassino, in late May 1944 during the Allied advance to Rome.