Rank: Private
Name
Lester Schauer
Nationality
Canadian
Unit
48th Highlanders of Canada R.C.I.C
Location
Italy
Date
December 8 1943
Survived the war?
No
1st Canadian Infantry Division

My Uncle Lester

Lester Schauer,  Elmer Schauer brother, unfortunately did not surivive the war. There is no specific information on how he died. Elmer Schauer told his daughter Brenda that Lester was crossing a bridge that blew up. But we cannot back that up with anything documented.

The Moro River Campaign

an important battle of the Italian Campaign during the Second World War, fought between elements of the British Eighth Army and LXXVI Panzer Corps (LXXVI Panzerkorps) of the German 10th Army (10. Armee). Lasting from 4 December 1943 to 4 January 1944, the campaign occurred primarily in the vicinity of the Moro River in eastern Italy. The campaign was designed as part of an offensive launched by General Sir Harold Alexander's Allied 15th Army Group, with the intention of breaching the German Army's Winter Line defensive system and advancing to Pescara—and eventually Rome.

Beginning on 4 December, four infantry divisions one British, one Canadian, one Indian and one New Zealand (which included an armoured brigade) and two armoured brigades (one British and one Canadian) of V Corps and XIII Corps attacked heavily defended German positions along the Moro River, achieving several exploitable bridgeheads by 8 December. Throughout the next week, nearly continuous combat operations by both sides—designed to keep one another pinned down created stagnated defensive positions near Orsogna and a narrow pit known as "The Gully". After being held at the Gully for 10 days, the Canadians succeeded in outflanking German defences, and forcing a German withdrawal to the Ortona–Orsogna Line. On 20 December, the line was attacked by both corps.

Taking the Moro

On 8 December 1943, Major General Vokes devised a new plan for taking the Moro River. While the 48th Highlanders of Canada and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry resumed the assault on San Leonardo from the southwest side of the town, the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) would break out of the bridgehead created by the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, then move southwest towards San Leonardo to link up with the 48th and PPCLI. The operation was scheduled to start on the afternoon of 8 December.

The attack began with a massive artillery barrage which pounded German positions continuously for two hours. At 16:00, the Saskatoon Light Infantry support battalion joined in, hitting German positions with bursts of machine gun fire. The moment the heavy bombardment lifted, the 48th Highlanders and the RCR both initiated their attacks. D Company of the 48th Highlanders was able to quickly cross the Moro, taking minimal casualties. However, B Company was subjected to heavy fire from German mortars and 88 mm (3.46 in) artillery positions. Eventually, however, both companies managed to establish strong positions on the western ridge overlooking San Leonardo. During the night of 8/9 December, units of the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) constructed a bridge over the Moro, to allow armour and equipment to move into San Leonardo the following day.

As the 48th Highlanders secured their positions west of San Leonardo, the Royal Canadian Regiment was involved in intense fighting southwest of San Donato. Two companies had advanced against strong and well prepared German defences of the 200th Panzergrenadier Regiment.[30] A Company was quickly tied down by German mortar fire, while B Company flanked German positions to the north of San Donato. By nightfall, all four companies held tenuous positions in the thick of German defences. On the night of 8/9 December, the RCR was subjected to counterattacks by the 200th Panzergrenadier Regiment which were repulsed with the support of continuous Canadian artillery shelling.

By the morning of 9 December, the RCE had completed the bridge across the Moro River, enabling the tanks of the 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment) to transport two companies of Seaforth Highlanders across the river into San Leonardo. By mid morning, San Leonardo had been cleared of German defenders, although strong positions still existed outside of the town. Within an hour, the Calgarys' tanks had broken through German positions near Sterlen Castle and two companies had linked up with the 48th Highlanders and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry within San Leonardo, finally establishing firm Canadian positions across the Moro River. Near the end of 9 December, German forces of the 90th Panzergrenadier Division fell back to their second defensive line: a formidable obstacle known as "The Gully".

Story provided by Elmers' daughter Brenda


Copyright: D-Day, Normandy and Beyond

1st Canadian Division

The 1st Canadian Division is an operational command and control formation of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, based at CFB Kingston. Formed during the First World War in August 1914, the 1st Canadian Division was a formation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The division was initially made up from provisional battalions that were named after their province of origin but these titles were dropped before the division arrived in Britain on 14 October 1914. Following the war, the division was stood down only to be re mobilized as a formation on 1 September 1939 as the 1st Canadian Infantry Division for service in the Second World War. The division was also reactivated twice during the Cold War.


1939-1945 Star
1939-1945 Star
Defence Medal
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-1945
War Medal 1939-1945
Italy Star
Italy Star

Veteran's personal file

48th Highlanders of Canada R.C.I.C

Lester in uniform
Lester in uniform
Riflemen of the 48th Highlanders of Canada take cover during German counterattack north of San Leonardo, 10 December 1943.
Riflemen of the 48th Highlanders of Canada take cover during German counterattack north of San Leonardo, 10 December 1943.
48th Highlanders of Canada advancing towards Adrano, Italy, 18 August 1943. Lester was still alive then.
48th Highlanders of Canada advancing towards Adrano, Italy, 18 August 1943. Lester was still alive then.
  • December 8 1943
  • Morro River cemetery, Ortona Italy

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