Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC) Part III, The Regiments

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC)

Part III, The Regiments 

The photos on these pages have been gleaned from the Library and Archives Canada collection and a few by the author.  Many of the photos were filed with detailed information missing from the caption section.  This set of photos has been collated and compiled by the author with information added where photos can be compared with existing tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.  There are errors in some of the data, and any additions, corrections or amendments to data concerning the posted photos here would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com. 

Data current to 29 Nov 2020.

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Regular Force

The Royal Canadian Dragoons - Three armoured reconnaissance squadrons and one armoured squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3299297)

Before there was armour...Royal Canadian Dragoons on parade, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1891. 

  (Author Photo)

Royal Canadian Dragoons, Great War Memorial, NBMHM, CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234065)

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4619742)

Centurion, RCD, Ex Certain Trek, SW of Wurzberg, Germany, 20 Oct 1975. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4692396)

Centurion, Ex Reforger IV, Germany, 23 Sep 1973. 

The Canadian Army took delivery of 274 Centurion Mk. 3 tanks between 1952 and 1953.  The Centurion had well-sloped armour, superior mobility and excellent gun and fire control systems compared with its then existing contemporaries.  The first 21 Centurions were delivered to the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Germany in March 1952, where they served with the Canadian contingent of the NATO forces based there.  The Centurions were used for training in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The Mk. 3 tanks were modified to Mk. 5 standard with the replacement of the co-axial Besa MG with a .30-calibre Browning MG.  Most of the Centurions in Canada retained 20-pounder main guns, while the Centurions in Europe were upgunned to the Mk. 6 standard with the L7 105-mm main gun and additional armour in 1962. The Centurions in service with 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (4 CMBG) in Germany were brought up to Mk. 11 standard in 1965 by fitting a .50-calibre Browning HMG aligned alongside the .30-calibre Browning MG, the fitting of a 100-gallon fuel tank on the rear hull plance, and the installation  of infrared night-fighting gear.  Nine Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV) were purchased by Canada in 1954, and four armoured vehicle laying bridge (AVLB) AFVs in 1966.  Centurions ended their service in Germany on 2 June 1977, and in Canada as late as 1979 when Leopard tanks began to replace them.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4692398)

Centurion tank and M113 APC, Ex Reforger IV, Germany, 25 Jan 1973.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4822869)

Centurion tank on Ex Grosse Rochade, Germany, 18 Sep 1975. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4728208)

Centurion tanks, last rollpast, Germany, 21 June 1977.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816325)

Centurion ARVs, Ex Reforger Oct 1974, Germany.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816313)

Centurion AVLB, 4 Field Sqn, RCE, Ex Reforger 74, Eilheim, Germany, Oct 1974. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4748878)

Centurion AVBL, Ex Regensprung, Lahr, Germany, 9 Sep 1975.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN Nos. 4234064)

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN Nos. 4234066)

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235688)

Centurion tanks on exercise in Germany, 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN Nos. 4235750)

Centurion tanks on exercise in Germany, 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235690)

Centurion tanks on exercise in Germany, 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235689)

Centurion tanks on exercise in Germany, 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4594337)

Centurion tank under a lone tree for cam, Northern Germany, 12 Oct 1974. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235425)

Ferret, RCD, Camp Gagetown, summer concentration, 1963. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235954)

RCD Ferrets with gun turrets on UN patrol, Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235956)

RCD Ferrets with gun turrets on UN patrol, Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235955)

RCD Ferret on patrol in Cyprus. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235957)

RCD Ferret on patrol in Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235910)

Ferret Scout car, LdSH, Cyprus. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235911)

Ferret Scout car, LdSH, Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235204)

RCD Ferret, UN patrol, Sinai, Egypt. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235205)

RCD M38 A1 CAN3 2¼ -ton 4 X 4 Jeeps on patrol in Sinai, Egypt. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 468470)

Beaver armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB),  Fallex 84, 4 CER, Germany, 2 Sep 1984.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4730764)

Beaver armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB), and M113 C & R Lynx, Langenhard trg area, Sep 1987. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4920777)

Beaver AVLB and Leopard, Fallex 84, Germany, Sep 1984. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849067)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849070)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849079)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4886179)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4619742)

Centurion, RCD, Ex Certain Trek, SW of Wurzberg, Germany, 20 Oct 1975. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849069)

Leopard tank, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, 1979. 

 (Author Photos)

Leopard C1 tank monument, Armour School, 5 CDSB Gagetown, 2015. 

 (Author Photos)

Leopard C1 tank with 105-mm L7 rifled-barrel Main Gun and two 7.62 MGs, multi-fuel, ten cylinder engine, 830 hp, 10-70-mm of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA), a weight of 42.5 tons, and operated with a four-man crew.  C Sqn, RCD, 5 CDSB Gagetown, 2015. 

 (Author Photos)

Leopard 2A4 with L/44 barrel, C Sqn, RCD, 5 CDSB Gagetown, Oct 2016.  

 (Author Photo)

Leopard 2A4M with L/44 barrel, C Sqn, RCD, 5 CDSB Gagetown, Oct 2016. 

 (Author Photos)

Leopard 2A6M with L/55 barrel, C Sqn, RCD, 5 CDSB Gagetown, Oct 2016. 

(Check out Anthony Sewards description of Leopards in action in Afghanistan here: http://tanknutdave.com/canadian-leopard-2-tanks/)

Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) - Two armoured squadrons and one armoured reconnaissance squadron.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397634)

Before they were equipped with tanks - Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH (RC)), June 1916. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524784)

M5A1 Stuart Mk. VI light tanks of the Reconnaissance troop, Headquarters Squadron, 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)), (5th Canadian Armoured Division), taking part in an inspection and marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4166576)

Final inspection of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division at Eelde Airfield, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.  Lined up are the tanks of the 5th Armoured Brigade, including the 2nd Armoured Regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), 8th Princess Louise's New Brunswick Hussars, and the British Columbia Dragoons.  Most of these are Sherman tanks with additional track on the glacis, interspersed with 17-pounder Firefly tanks, without the additional protection of welded-on track.

(Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN  No. 4166584)

M5A1 Stuart recce tank without turret, LdSH (RC) at a crossroads in Italy, ca. 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3200390)

LdSH (RC) Sherman V, Zuider Zee, 19 Apr 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202553)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank, LdSH (RC) with Dutch familes gathered around them at Harderwijk, Netherlands, 19 April 1945.  (Capt Jack H. Smith)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524865)

Sherman Vc Firefly, LdSH (RC) tank crew, with Dutch women and children at Harderwijk, Netherlands, 19 April 1945.  (Capt Jack Smith)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235604)

Canadian M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman tanks (most likely LdSH), in Korea.  A, B and C Squadrons LdSH fought independently in Korea from 19 April 1951 to 27 July 1953 as part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, 1st Commonwealth Division.  D Squadron was from the Royal Canadian Dragoons.  All four Squadrons were equipped with M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman tanks. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA115496)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Catherine", B Sqn, LdSH (RC), Imjin River, Korea, 16 July 1952.  The tanks came from US Army stocks.  Canadians also deployed M10s in Korea.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607685)

M3A3 Stuart Recce AFV, Italy, 5 Feb 1945. 

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

C Squadron Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in the snow during the Korean War. 

A Squadron Tanks had triangle markings on the side of the turret, B Squadron had square markings and C Squadron had circle markings. The inside was painted black to cover up the US White five pointed star. 

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo).

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Dalmatian", Royal Canadian Dragoon’s D Squadron in Korea.  D Squadron was a mixed unit but their Sherman tanks had spare tracks fitted onto the Sherman’s turret, where the Squadron marker would normally be painted. A ‘lazy D’ symbol was painted on the rear of the turret instead. The D was turned 90 degrees. The curve of the D at the bottom and the straight line of the D at the top.

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank in Korea, firing at enemy bunkers on Napalm Ridge, in support of the 8th ROK Division, May 1952. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883681)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank in a mine crater with damaged running gear, Koreaca 1952. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883687)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank in a mine crater with damaged running gear, Koreaca 1952.

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Argyle II", Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 2nd Armoured Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC) in Korea. 

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Cheetah", C Squadron, LdSH (RC) in Korea.  There is a White Star visible under the circle Squadron identity marker painted on top. 

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tanks of A Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 2nd Armoured Regiment in Korea.

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 2nd Armoured Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC) in Korea. 

 (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tanks of A Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 2nd Armoured Regiment in Korea. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883691)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank fitted with a dozer attachment performs roadwork, training in preparation for deployment to Korea, ca 1951-53. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883694)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank fitted with a dozer attachment performs roadwork, training in preparation for deployment to Korea, ca 1951-53. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883690)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank fitted with a dozer attachment performs roadwork, training in preparation for deployment to Korea, ca 1951-53. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3780239)

C SQN Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), M32B3 VVSS armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) operations on the Imjim River, Korea, 25 July 1951.  The ARV's name is "CONTENTENTED COW", commanded by RCEME Sgt Gord Hunter. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3780241)

Canadian recovery operations on the Imjim River, Korea, 25 July 1951. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3780243)

Canadian recovery operations on the Imjim River, Korea, 25 July 1951.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235490)

LdSH (RC) Centurion. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234429)

LdSH (RC) Ferrets on patrol with the 2nd Bn QOR. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235910)

LdSH (RC) Ferret, Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235911)

LdSH (RC) Ferret, Cyprus. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235914)

LdSH (RC) M38 A1 CAN3 2¼ -ton 4 X 4 Jeep on patrol in Cyprus. 

(CF Photos)

Leopard C2 MEXAS of B Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) ,first tank squadron deployed Oct 06-Feb 07, FOB Ma'sum Ghar in Panjwaii, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

 (Anthony Sewards Photo)

Leopards on parade, Edmonton, Alberta, 2016. 

12e Régiment blindé du Canada - Three armoured reconnaissance squadrons (with additional members serving with the RCD armoured squadron)

The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (a translation of its former name, the "12th Canadian Armoured Regiment") is an armoured regiment of the Canadian Army based in CFB Valcaertier, on the outskirts of Quebec City.  The regiment has both a Regular Force and a Primary Reserve unit.  The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada's abbreviation is 12e RBC.

In the Regular Force regiment, A, B and D Squadrons operate AFVs such as the Coyote and LAV III.  A and B squadrons are currently armoured (light equipped) squadrons, D squadron serves in the formation reconnaissance role, and C squadron is a shared armoured (heavy equipped) squadron . Each squadron is currently organized into four troops.  C Squadron, 12e RBC is equipped with the Leopard 2 main battle tank, located at 5 Canadian Division Support Base, New Brunswick, as part of C Squadron, the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank), CASF

The regiment mobilized as The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank), CASF, for active service on 1 September 1939. It was redesignated as The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank), CAC, CASF, on 13 August 1940. It was converted to armour on 23 November 1940, and to an army tank battalion on 11 February 1941, designated as the 12th Army Tank Battalion (The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank)), CAC, CASF. It was redesignated as the 12th Army Tank Regiment (Three Rivers Regiment (Tank)), CAC, CASF, on 15 May 1942; as the 12th Armoured Regiment (Three Rivers Regiment), CAC, CASF, on 26 August 1943; and as the 12th Armoured Regiment (Three Rivers Regiment), RCAC, CASF on 2 August 1945.

On 21 June 1941 it embarked for Britain. After two years of training, the 12th Armoured Regiment (Three Rivers Regiment) landed in Sicily on 10 July 1943.  The Regiment supported 1st Canadian Infantry Division throughout Operation Husky almost exclusively and gained a reputation for tenacity and courage.  The 12th CAR was the first Canadian armoured regiment to destroy Panzers in battle; a Panzer III and one of the Mark IV "Specials" were destroyed by its men at Grammichele on 15 July.  The regiment also took part Operation Baytown, landings on the Italian mainland on 12 September 1943 as part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade and were often called upon to support British infantry battalions.  On 8 March 1945 the regiment moved with the 1st Canadian Corps to North-West Europe as part of OPERATION GOLDFLAKE.  There it fought until the end of the war. The overseas regiment disbanded on 30 November 1945.  After the war, the regiment was given a (partially) French name: Le Régiment de Trois-Rivières (24th Armoured Regiment).  (Official Lineages: Volume 3, Part 1: Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments – Armour Regiments. Directorate of History and Heritage. 11 June 2010).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238637)

Churchill tank, Three Rivers Regiment, Worthing, UK, 22 July 1942. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3209253)

Churchill tank, Three Rivers Regiment on exercise in England, 8 Mar 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238631)

Sherman III tank, "ANZAC", Three Rivers Regiment, Termoli, Italy, 15 Oct 1943.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238680)

Tank crew of the Three Rivers Regiment with a knocked-out German PzKpfW IV tank, Termoli, Italy, 9 Oct 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397568)

Tank crew of the Three Rivers Regiment with a knocked-out German PzKpfW IV tank, Termoli, Italy, 9 October 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.)

Sherman III of the Three Rivers Regiment in Ortona, December 1943.  The stowage scattered about the tank is typical of an armoured unit in combat conditions. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574231)

Major Jimmy Walker, "B" Squadron commander, and his crew atop their Sherman tank of the Three Rivers Regiment near Lucera, Italy, 21 October 1943.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4166596)

Sherman tank crew with the Three Rivers Regiment, checking their map outside Ortona, Italy, Jan 1944.

(IWM Photo, NA10962)

A Three Rivers Regiment (12th Canadian Armoured Regiment, 1CAB), Sherman V towing a 6-pounder Anti-tank gun of the Perth Regiment, 5 CAD, at the Arielli River, Italy, 17 Jan 1944.  The division’s integral 5th Armoured Brigade (5CAB) was unable to support 11CIB in this action, as it had not received its tanks since landing in Italy. 

(Author Photo)

AVGP Cougar, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. 

(Author Photo)

M4A4 Sherman Firefly VC 17-pounder Monument 12e RBC. 

 (Author Photo)

M4A4 Sherman Firefly VC 17-pounder Monument 12e RBC.  This M4A4 is reported to have served with the Three Rivers Regiment in Sicily, Italy, and in the Netherlands during the Second World War. It was returned to Canada as a "War Trophy," and is on display as a monument in Trois Riviers, Quebec.  Its original 75-mm gun has been replaced with a 17-pounder anti-tank gun. The tank's original Serial Number is 5235, indicating it was accepted in Sep 1942.  The bullet splash plates on this tank are welded onto the air intake grill.   CFR No. WD CT150503, “Cathy”.  

Primary Reserves

The Governor General's Horse Guards - household cavalry/armoured reconnaissance.

The Governor General's Horse Guards is an armoured reconnaissance Infantry regiment in the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Army, part of 4th Canadian Division's 32 Canadian Brigade Group.  Based in Toronto, it is the most senior reserve regiment in Canada, and the only Household Cavalry regiment of Canada's three Household units.

Details from the regiment were called out on service on 26 August 1939 and on active service on 1 September 1939 as The Governor General's Horse Guards, CASF (Details), for local protection duties.  Those details called out on active service disbanded on 31 December 1940.  Subsequently, the regiment mobilized as the 2nd Canadian Motorcycle Regiment, CASF (GGHG) for active service on 24 May 1940.  It converted to armour and was redesignated as The Governor General's Horse Guards, CASF on 9 February 1941; as the 3rd Armoured Regiment (The Governor General's Horse Guards), CASF on 11 February 1941; as the 3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The Governor General's Horse Guards), CAC, CASF on 1 January 1943; and as the 3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The Governor General's Horse Guards), RCAC, CASF on 2 August 1945.  It embarked for Britain on 9 October 1941 and landed in Italy on 19 December 1943 as part of the 5th Armoured Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division.  On 20 February 1945 the regiment moved with the 1st Canadian Corps to North-West Europe as part of OPERATION GOLDFLAKE, where it continued to fight until the end of the war.  The overseas regiment disbanded on 31 January 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3240406)

Stuart recce tank minus the turret, 1st Tp, C Sqn, Governor General's Horse Guards, Cervia, Italy, 19 Jan 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191784)

Sherman tanks, Governor General's Horse Guards. 9 March 1945. 

 (Author Photo)

M4A2E8 Sherman, "Ares", Denison Armoury, 1 Yukon Lane, Toronto, Ontario. 

(Author Photo)

Governor General's Horse Guards memorial. Denison Armoury, Toronto. 

(Author Photo)

M4A2E8 Sherman, "Athene", Denison Armoury, 1 Yukon Lane, Toronto, Ontario. 

Governor General's Foot Guards

The Governor General's Foot Guards (GGFG) is one of three Royal Household regiments in the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Army (along with The Governor General's Horse Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards) and the most senior militia infantry regiment in Canada.  Civitas et Princeps Cura Nostra ("Our Care is Queen and Country") is the regiment's motto.

The regiment has an operational role that encompasses both the territorial defence of Canada and supporting regular Canadian forces overseas.  It also performs the mounting of the Ceremonial Guard on Parliament Hill and at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, a task it shares with the Canadian Grenadier Guards. This gives the regiment a role similar to that of the guards regiments of the British Army. The GGFG were formally allied with the Coldstream Guards of the United Kingdom after being informally allied with them since the formation of the regiment. The regimental dress uniform has buttons in pairs, similar to the Coldstream Guards, with a red plume (of different material and lengths, dependent on the rank of the soldier) worn on the left side of the bearskin.

The GGFG perpetuate the 2nd Canadian Battalion (Eastern Ontario Regiment), CEF, and 77th (Ottawa) Battalion, CEF.

Details from the regiment were called out on service on 26 August 1939 and then placed on active service on 1 September 1939 for local protection duties. The details were disbanded on 31 December 1940.

The regiment mobilized The Governor General's Foot Guards, CASF, for active service on 24 May 1940.  On 26 January 1942, it was converted to armour.  It embarked for Great Britain on 23 September 1942.  On 24 July 1944, it landed in France as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, and it continued to fight in North-West Europe until the end of the war.  The overseas regiment was disbanded on 31 January 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194838)

Visit of the General Dwight Eisenhower to units of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Gen Harry Crerar, centre.  29 Nov 1944. 

(DND Photo)

Canadian soldier of Governor General's Foot Guards, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, II Canadian Corps in an Otter Mark I Scout Car the day after the liberation of May-sur-Orne, Normandy, France, 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207585)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No.)

Sherman Ic Hybrid Firefly tank, 21st Canadian Armoured Regiment, Governor General’s Foot Guards (GGFG),  21 CAR, with the long barrel of the 17-pounder disguised with foliage.  There is an 8-barreled smoke grenade discharger mounted above the gun mantlet.  Germany, 11 April 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405744)

Sherman tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199723)

Orders Group in front of a Sherman tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944. 

 (Author Photos)

A Second-World War era Sherman tank nicknamed "Forceful III" in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, is dedicated to the memory of the members of the Governor General's Foot Guards killed during the Second World War while operating as an armoured regiment.

The Canadian Grenadier Guards

The Canadian Grenadier Guards (CGG) is a reserve infantry regiment in the 34 Canadian Brigade Group, 2nd Canadian Division of the Canadian Army.  The regiment is the second most senior and oldest infantry regiment in the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Army.  Located in Montreal, its primary role is the provision of combat-ready troops in support of Canadian regular infantry. However, as it is also a Household regiment, it performs similar ceremonial duties to the Guards regiments of the British Army, which primarily entails mounting the guard on Parliament Hill and at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, a task it shares with Canada's other Household infantry regiment, the Governor General's Foot Guards.  The Canadian Grenadier Guards is an allied regiment to the British Grenadier Guards.

During the Second World War, the regiment mobilized The Canadian Grenadier Guards, CASF on 24 May 1940.  It was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, The Canadian Grenadier Guards, CASF on 7 November 1940.  It was converted to armour and redesignated as the 22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), CAC, CASF on 26 January 1942 and as the 22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), RCAC, CASF on 2 August 1945.  It embarked for Britain on 25 September 1942.  On 26 July 1944, it landed in France as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, and it continued to fight in North West Europe until the end of the war.  The overseas regiment was disbanded on 15 February 1946.

On 1 June 1945, a second Active Force component of the regiment was mobilized for service in the Pacific theatre of operations as the 22nd Canadian Tank Battalion (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), CAC, CASF6.  It was redesignated as the 22nd Canadian Tank Battalion (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), RCAC, CASF and was disbanded on 1 November 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3302180)

Tank crews of the Canadian Grenadier Guards are briefed on maintenance of the tracks of a Ram tank, England, 24 January 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3208278)

Personnel of The Canadian Grenadier Guards stacking 75mm. shells near the regiment's positioned Sherman tanks south of Emmerich, Germany, 28 March 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3593377)

Guardsman R.W. Ferguson of The Canadian Grenadier Guards watches two French children examining his Centaur Mk. II anti-aircraft vehicle, Elbeuf, France, 28 August 1944. The 1st Canadian Centaur Battery was formed on 6 August 1944 and disbanded on 30 August 1944.   Manned by Canadian reinforcements and British Royal Artillery gunners, the unit consisted of three troops and a Headquarters.  The establishment for each troop included a Sherman Observation Post (OP) tank and three Centaur Mk. 4.  The battery saw action in mid-August before it was disbanded the same month. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3593376)

Centaur Mk. II anti-aircraft vehicle, Elbeuf, France, 28 August 1944, Canadian Grenadier Guards. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3401871)

Sergeants L.B. Armstrong and L.H. Stephens with the Canadian Grenadier Guards, mounting a movie camera on their Sherman tank "Liza", Donk, Belgium, 3 Oct 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524144)

Sherman Firefly tank of The Canadian Grenadier Guards, Almelo, Netherlands, 5 April 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234208)

Canadian Grenadier Guards, trooping of the colours, Montreal, ca 1960s. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234202)

Canadian Grenadier Guards and GGFG, trooping of the colours, Montreal, ca 1960s. 

The Halifax Rifles (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

 (Author Photos)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS (Serial No. 78-778), “Hellfire”.  This tank was on display on the West side of the Halifax Armoury.  It is currently stored at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia.

8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) - armoured reconnaissance

The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) is the longest serving armoured regiment in the Canadian Army.  It was formed on  4 April 1848 in New Brunswick where it has served continually ever since.  Today it is a reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment with 2 Squadrons. Its Regimental Headquarters(RHQ)and A Squadron is located in Moncton with B Squadron located in Sussex, New Brunswick.

In 1957 its name, 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's), was chosen for the formation of a new regular force regiment to serve in addition to the reserve regiment.  The Regular Regiment served in Gagetown, (now 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown), New Brunswick, Petawawa, Ontario, the Sinai, Cyprus, Iserlohn (Fort Beausejour), Soest and Lahr, West Germany. The Regular force regiment was disbanded in 1998. The reserve regiment of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) remains.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607530)

M3 Stuart Mk. I light tank of C Sqn, 5th Armoured Regiment (8th Princess Louise's (New Brunswick) Hussars), 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Aldershot, England, May 1942. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3534481)

Sherman tanks of "C" Squadron, 8th Princess Louise's (New Brunswick) Hussars, taking part in an indirect shoot on a German-held crossroads, Tollo, Italy, 4 February 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3512561)

Soldier, possibly a Cape Breton Highlander, examining the treads of a Sherman V tank, possibly of "B" Squadron, 8th Princess Louise's (New Brunswick) Hussars, during the assault on the Gothic Line, Italy, ca. 31 August 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3599666)

Sherman V tank armed with a 75-mm Gun, 5th Canadian Armour Regiment, 8th Princess Louise (New Brunswick) Hussars, Italy, 2 Mar 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3599664)

Sherman V tank armed with a 75-mm Gun, 5th Canadian Armour Regiment, 8th Princess Louise (New Brunswick) Hussars, Italy, 2 Mar 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396461)

Sherman tank armed with a 75-mm Gun, 5th Canadian Armour Regiment, 8th Princess Louise (New Brunswick) Hussars, Putten, Netherlands, 18 Apr 1945.  Churchill tank tracks attached to this tank as add-on armour.  (Capt Jack Smith)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396461b)

Sherman Ic Hybrid Firefly tank armed with a 17-pounder Gun, 8th Princess Louise (New Brunswick) Hussars, 5th Canadian Armour Regiment, Putten, Netherlands, 18 Apr 1945.  Firefly crews attempted to disguise the length of the 17-pounder gun barrel to confuse German anti-tank gunners by fitting a false muzzle brake half-way up the barrel and painted the forward portion in a counter-shaded pattern.  (Capt Jack Smith)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4301771)

HRH Princess Margaret inspecting Princess Louise, 8 CH, Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick, 1958.  Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters, CMM, DSO, MC, CD, CO of the 8th Hussars, is standing behind the Princess.  He was the top tank ace of the western Allies during the Second World War.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4976238)

Centurion tank, 8th Canadian Hussars, Sep 1960.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4976242)

Centurion tank, 8th Canadian Hussars, Sep 1960. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234829)

8th Canadian Hussars, Ferret, Germany. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234835)

8th Canadian Hussars, Ferret, Germany. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234827)

8th Canadian Hussars, Germany. 

(Author Photo)

Ferret Scout Car restored for ceremonies, 8th CH, one of two, Sussex, NB. 

(Author Photo)

Ferret Scout Car restored for ceremonies, 8th CH, second of two, Sussex, NB. 

  (Author Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS, 8th CH, Sussex, NB. 

  (Author Photo)

AVGP Cougar, 8th Hussars, Sussex, New Brunswick.

(Author Photo)

M113 C & R Lynx, 8th CH Memorial, Sussex, NB. 

(8th CH Photo)

3 Int Coy Honorary LCol H.A. Skaarup, 8th Canadian Hussars Honorary Col Lockyer, Maj (Retired) Tom MacLaughlin, 8th CH Memorial Service, 28 Oct 2017, Sussex, NB. 

The Ontario Regiment (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

The Ontario Regiment is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment currently based in Oshawa, Ontairo.  Formed in 1866, and more commonly known as the 'Ontarios', 'black cats' or 'ONT R' (pronounced "ON-tar"), the regiment ranks among the oldest continuously serving Reserve (Militia) regiments in Canada and is one of the senior armoured regiments in the RCAC.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607575)

Churchill Infantry Tank Mk. I of the 11th Army Tank Battalion (The Ontario Regiment (Tank)), 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade, being inspected by General McNaughton, right, and Brigadier Worthington, left, July 1941. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3718201)

Churchill Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge, Italy, ca 1943.

(IWM Photo NA5522)

M4A4 Sherman V tank, "Condor", 11th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Ontario Regt.) 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, 'C' Squadron, 1 Troop. Catania, Sicily, 4 Aug 1943.

At 2300 hours on 11 Aug 1943, Ontario Regiment tankers entered a rest area near Monte del Casale, Sicily, only to be attacked by several German bombers.  Bombs ignited an ammunition bunker causing hundreds of shells and bullets to explode.  Trooper Richard Arthuur Burry, 26, was killed and two other men wounded.  Burry was the last Canadian to die in Sicily due to enemy action.  He was also the Ontario Regiment's only fatal casualty.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3204885)

Major Irwin, Officer Commanding "C" Squadron, The Ontario Regiment, conferring with personnel of the squadron on the right flank of the Paterno front, Italy, 3 August 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3576479)

Sherman tank, Ontario Regiment, Colle d'Anchise, Italy, 26 Oct 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA114462)

Sherman V tank cammed up, Ontario Regimentt, San Angelo, Italy, May 1944.  (Alexander Stirton) 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574989)

Sherman tank with the Ontario Regiment during the advance to Rome, Italy, 12 May 1944.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3378550)

Troopers with a Sherman tank of the Ontario Regiment on a railway flatcar en route from Italy to Northwest Europe, Mouscron, Belgium, 24 March 1945. 

(Author Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS, "Conqueror", The Ontario Regiment Armoury, Oshawa, Ontario. 

The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

 (Joshua Paquin Photo)

G-Wagon, The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance, Toronto, Ontario, 2009.  

Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment

The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment was a Second World War Canadian armoured regiment created in 1940 with officers and men from two Militia regiments in Sherbrooke, Quebec.  The name is a blend of Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke, a francophone infantry unit, and the Sherbrooke Regiment, an English-speaking machine gun unit. The armoured corps lineage of the Sherbrooke Fusiler Regiment is carried forward by the present-day The Sherbrooke Hussars.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3514100)

Ram tanks with unidentified crew members of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, England, 18 July 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3255723)

Ram II tank, 27th Armoured Regiment, (the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment), 2nd Armoured Brigade training with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, 9th Infantry Brigade, in England, 13 Apr 1944. 

The regiment was formed as an infantry unit, The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment in 1940. It was converted to an armoured regiment in 1942 becoming 27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment) initially as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade. By the time it went into action it was in the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade.  The unit was demobilized in 1946 and its battle honours shared equally by the two predecessor units the Sherbrooke Hussars and the Sherbrooke Fusiliers.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 4542721)

Tank crew of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, 27 Canadian Armoured Brigade, changing the tracks on a Sherman III tank in England, 20 April 1944.  The soldier in front of the tank has directed the driver to reverse the drive sprockets to pull the T49 steel tracks to the rear while the soldier at the side of the tank is guiding the tracks over the steel suspension units.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 3514116)

Tank crew of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, 27 Canadian Armoured Brigade, changing the tracks on a Sherman III tank in England, 20 April 1944.  The soldier in front of the tank has directed the driver to reverse the drive sprockets to pull the T49 steel tracks to the rear while the soldier at the side of the tank is guiding the tracks over the steel suspension units.

(Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3226823)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank with turret reversed (larger storage box on the back of the turret), Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Caen, France, 11 July 1944. 

(IWM Photo, MH 3702)

Humber Mk. IV Armoured Car. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3514121)

Humber Mk. I scout car, Sherbrooke Fusiliers, England, 20 Apr 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3192195)

Sherman tank of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Caen, Normandy, 10 July 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA 192258)

Sherbrooke Fusiliers Sherman tank, Caen, Normandy.  The most prominent former member of the SFR is Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters who was later Director-General Training and Recruiting Canadian Forces.

 (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3397558) 

Sherman V tank, (Serial No. 8007), built by Fisher, Build No. 898, WD No.  T-152656, (Bomb), Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Zutphen, Netherlands, 8 June 1945.  

 (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3514141)

Sherman V tank, (Serial No. 8007), built by Fisher, Build No. 898, WD No.  T-152656, (Bomb), Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Zutphen, Netherlands, 8 June 1945.  

The second most important artifact from the Second World War, after the guidon, is a Sherman tank named "Bomb".  This M4A2 Sherman landed in Normandy on D-Day, served on the front lines throughout the campaigns from June 1944 to May 1945 in Germany without being destroyed or knocked out.  It was returned to Canada after the war, and has been a strong reminder of the sacrifices of the regiment.

 

 (Author Photos)

In his 2004 book, No Holding Back about Operation Totalize in Normandy in August 1944, author Brien A. Reid states that it is most likely that it was a Sherman Firefly belonging to A Squadron of the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment that actually destroyed the German Tiger tank number 007 that was commanded by SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann on 8 August 1944. Wittman was one of the highest scoring German tank commanders of the war.

Sherbrooke Hussars - armoured reconnaissance.

The Sherbrooke Hussars is a Primary Reserve armoured regiment of the Canadian Army and perpetuates the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment of the Second World War.

12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Milice) - armoured reconnaissance

The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (a translation of its former name, the "12th Canadian Armoured Regiment") is an armoured regiment of the Canadian Army based in CFB Valcaertier, on the outskirts of Quebec City.  The regiment has both a Regular Force and a Primary Reserve unit.  The 12e Régiment blindé du Canada's abbreviation is 12e RBC.

 (Jimderkairsser Photo)

 LAV-25 Coyote, 12e régiment blindé du Canada. 

(Author Photo)

Leopard C1 (Late) tank charge, CFB Gagetown, 1995. 

1st Hussars - armoured reconnaissance

The 1st Hussars is an armoured Primary Reserve regiment of the Canadian Army, currently based in London and Sarnia, Ontario.

Mobilization and deployment of the 1st Hussars during the Second World War

"Defence Scheme Number 3" was implemented on 1 September 1939 and saw the raising of 1st Canadian Division, Canadian Active Service Force.  The 1st Hussars provided Divisional Cavalry for CASF (1st Division).  In December 1939, the majority of 1st Division sailed for England, but the 1st Hussars stayed behind in London because there were not enough tanks to equip the regiment.

In January 1940, the 1st Hussars contributed the Headquarters Squadron and 'C' Squadron to the First Canadian Cavalry Regiment (Mechanised) (1 CCR (M)).  ('A' Squadron was mainly supplied by the Royal Canadian Dragoons and 'B' Squadron was filled by members of Lord Strathcona's Horse.).  1 CCR (M) was still part of the 1st Canadian Division.  In May 1940, 1 CCR (M) left London for Camp Borden where they trained on the Carden Loyd Machine Gun Carrier, the Vickers Mk. VIB Light Tank and the American M1917 light tank.  Although these tanks were obsolete, they served the purpose of training the regiment's members in tactics and vehicle maintenance.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607612)

Vickers Mk. VIB Light Tank, ca 1940. 

In January 1941, the Squadrons of 1 CCR (M) returned to their respective units as they became mobilised as regiments.

The Canadian Armoured Corps (CAC) was raised in August 1940 and the 1st Hussars found themselves organised within it.  In spring of 1941, 1st Hussars, now the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) (6 CAR), became part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, which departed to England in October 1941.  The regiment took up residence in Aldershot where they continued their training.  In early 1942, 6 CAR received some M3 Lee tanks and Canadian Ram Mk. I and II tanks.  The Hussars remained a part of 1 CAB until January 1943, when they were reorganised into the 3rd Canadian Army Tank Brigade along with The Fort Garry Horse and the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment.  In July 1943, 3 CATB was re-designated the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade (2CAB), a designation which remained until the end of the war.

6 CAR continued training in the village of Elstead in southern England before moving to Combined Operations Training Centre in Inverary, Scotland where they prepared for an Amphibious assault.  In December 1943, the First Hussars were introduced to Duplex Drive" (DD for short) tanks.  Initially the regiment was trained on the Valentine DD, until it was re-equipped with the M4A4 Sherman DD and the Sherman Vc "Firefly" in April 1944.

  (IWM Photo, MH 3660)

Sherman Duplex Drive swimming tank with waterproof float screens lowered. 

(IWM Photo, H35179)

Sherman Duplex Drive (DD) swimming tanks with waterproof float screens inflated, preparing for launch from a Landing Craft Tank (LCT) on an exercise in England prior to D-Day. 

 (Marianne Casamance Photo)

Sherman DD preserved at Courseulles sur Mer, Normandy.  Many of the bronze commemorative plaques fixed on the side of this tank are dedicated to the Canadians who landed at Juno beach on 6 June 1944.

The M4A4 version of the Sherman tank was powered by a petrol Chrysler A57 multibank 30 cylinder 21 liter engine that produced 470 hp.  This gave the tank a maximum road speed of around 25 - 30 mph (40 - 48 km/h).  It could carry 660 litres of fuel and had an operational range of around 120 miles (193 km) before it needed to refuel.  It was armed with a 75 mm M3 L/40 gun and two .30-60 Browning machine guns: one in the hull and another in the turret next to the main gun.

It was manufactured at the Detroit Tank Arsenal in America.  Records show that 7,499 of this version of the Sherman tank were produced between July 1942 and November 1943.  The tank's armour thickness ranged from 25 mm to 76 mm on the front.  It needed a five man crew: Commander, driver, gunner, loader and co-driver/machine gunner.

D-Day and Normandy

The DD tanks of the 1st Hussars were amongst the allied forces to come ashore in Normandy.  The Hussars were to support the infantry landing on the western half of Juno Beach.  At 07:15, 19 tanks of 'B' Squadron launched their Sherman V DDs from their landing craft into the English Channel some 4000 metres from shore of Nan Green Beach.  Of 'B' Squadron's 19 tanks, 15 made it to shore ahead of the Regina Rifles, whom they were tasked to support.

'A' Squadron launched some of their DDs some ten minutes later than 'B' Squadron, from approximately 1500 meters out and headed towards Mike Beach.  Only two of the four LTCs carrying 'A' Squadron were able to launch all their tanks off shore.  Of 'A' Squadron's 19 tanks, 10 were launched into the channel with seven of those making it to shore.  Five tanks were landed directly onto the beach, and four were stranded on a landing craft which struck a mine.  The tanks of 'A' Squadron were to support the Winnipeg Rifles, who were already fighting on the beach when they came ashore.

At the beach, many of tanks of the 1st Hussars stayed partially submerged just off shore in a hull down position.  After dropping their screens, they began engaging the German anti-tank guns, machine-gun nests and other strong points, allowing the infantry to break the beach defences and make its way inland.  'A' Squadron made its way inland to the village of Graye-sur-Merr where the Winnipeg Rifles were attempting to capture bridges over the Suelles River.  'B' Squadron helped clear Courseulles-sur-Mer before breaking out into the countryside.

At 08:20, 'C' Squadron's Sherman Vc Fireflies and Sherman IIIs were landed directly onto Mike Red beach, along with the regimental Headquarters Squadron.  By this time, resistance at the beach had been cleared.

After clearing Courseulles-sur-Mer,  The regiment made its way inland.  South of Reviers, 'B' Squadron encountered a German 88-mm anti-tank gun which knocked out six tanks before being put out of action.  Seven Hussar crewmen were killed in the engagement.  Due to these losses,'B' squadron was pulled back to the beach after the encounter.  As mentioned above, 'A' Squadron moved on to Graye-sur-Mer where the Winnipeg Rifles were fighting to secure the village.  'A' Squadron joined the fight in support of the Winnipegs, along with elements of 'C' squadron who were catching up.  After the village was captured, 'C' Squadron pressed on, with 2nd Troop reaching the regiment's objective of the Caen-Bayeux Highway, becoming the only Allied unit to reach its D-Day objective.  One survivor of D-Day said that "A German soldier actually saluted us on our way to the objective.  I guess he was surprised to see us this far inland".  However, 2nd troop had to pull back, as they were too far ahead of the rest of the force and too few to hold the objective.  At dusk, the regiment pulled back to the channel to rest.  The 1st Hussars suffered 21 killed, 17 wounded during the actions of D-Day.  'A' Squadron was left with 9 tanks at the end of the day and 'B' Squadron was reduced to 4 tanks.

After D-Day, the 1st Hussars continued to support infantry as it advanced and faced German counter-attacdks.  On 9 June, the Hussars supported the Canadian Scottish as they re-took Putot-en-Bessin and engaged German Panther tanks of the 1st Battalion, SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (of the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend), destroying 6.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405774)

PIAT anti-tank gunners of The Regina Rifle Regiment who knocked out a German PzKpfW V Panther tank thirty yards from Battalion Headquarters, Bretteville-l'Orgeuilleuse, France, 8 June 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405800)

Lance-Bombardier T. Hallam and Signalman A.H. Wharf, both of Headquarters, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), 5th Canadian Armoured Division, examining a knocked out German Mk. IV tank, near Pontecorvo, Italy, 26 May 1944.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226723)

German PzKpfW IV tank, knocked out by Canadians, Guchy, France, 9 July 1944. 

Battle of Le Mesnil-Patry

On the afternoon of Sunday, 11 June 1944, 'B' Squadron of the 1st Hussars was decimated during an abortive attack with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada on the hamlet of Le Mesnil Patry, North-West of Caen.  Panzergrenadiers, pioneers and tanks of the 12th SS Panzer Division were able to ambush the tanks of 'B' Squadron in part due to intelligence gleaned from the Hussar's own radio traffic after capturing wireless codes from a destroyed Canadian tank on 9 June. Using Panzerfausts. Panzerschrecks and anti-tank guns, the German forces were able destroy 51 Shermans, and inflict 61 killed or missing, 2 wounded and 11 captured on the 1st Hussars.  The Queen's Own Rifles suffered 55 killed, 33 wounded and 11 taken prisoner during the attack.  The attack is remembered as "The Black Day", "Black Sunday" and the "Black Sabbath" within the Regiment. It accounted for roughly one third of the 1st Hussars' dead over the entire war.

Capture of Caen

After the disaster at Le Mesnil Patry, the 1st Hussars were taken off the front lines to refit and regroup.  After a few weeks of rest and training the Hussars were back in action on 8 July 1944 as part of Operation Charmwood, with the objectives of capturing the village of Cussy and the Ardenne Abbey.  'A' Squadron supported the Canadian Scottish in its attack on Cussy, 'C' squadron was assigned to support the Regina Rifles in their attack on the Abby while 'B' Squadron and The Royal Winnipeg Rifles were held in reserve.  When the attack started at 18:30, the Hussars again found themselves opposing the 12th SS, including Panther tanks, anti-tank guns and infantry.  'A' Squadron and the Reginas had to first fight to secure their start line before proceeding to the Abbey.  At around 23:45, the Abbey, which had been the headquarters of  Kurt "Panzer" Meyer and the site of the execution of 20 Canadian POWs who were captured a month before, was captured.  By 9 July, portions of Caen north and east of the Orne River had been captured.

The 1st Hussars were again in action on 18 July during Goodwood which aimed to capture the portions of Caen South and East of the Orne. The Canadian portion of Goodwood was code-named Operation Atlantic, which aimed to secure a bridgehead over the Orne east of Caen.  The Hussar's objectives during Atlantic included the capture of the steelworks at Colombelles on the east bank of the river, the eastern suburbs of Giberville and Faubourg de Vaucelles.  By end of 19 July, all the Hussars' objectives were captured and the bridgehead was secure.

As Atlantic wound down, planning for an attack against Verrières Ridge began, known as Operation Spring.  As the Canadian's pushed south towards the Start Line on 20 July, 'A' Squadron of the 1st Hussars was tasked with supporting the attack on André-sur-Orne and the Beauvoir and Troteval farms by Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal.  Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal initially captured the village and the farms, but were pushed back by the counter-attacks of the 1SS Panzerdivision and 272nd Infantry Division.  The Beauvoir and Troteval farms would be retaken later in the evening with the assistance of the Hussar's 'A' Sqn.  Sporadic fighting continued for a few days as the lines stabilized below Verrières Ridge.  During this time, the Germans reinforced their positions on the ridge under the cover of storms that kept allied attack aircraft grounded.

Operation Spring began on 25 July. 'C' Sqn of the 1st Hussars were to support the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry in their attack against the village of Verrières and then continue to Rocquancourt with the Royal Regiment of Canada.  'B' Sqn was to support the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, the Calfary Highlanders and the Black Watch as they attacked the villages of Saint-André-sur-Orne, Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay, May-sur-Orne and Fontenay-le-Marmion.  Most of the attacks against the ridge met heavy resistance and were fought to a standstill by the Germans, with only the Village of Verrières being captured and held.  The attack cost 'C' Squadron 14 of its 19 tanks and 27 casualties.  These losses paled in comparison to those of the Black Watch who lost 310 of the 325 men who left the start line.  (McNorgan, Michael R. (2004). The Gallant Hussars: a history of the 1st Hussars Regiment. The First Hussars Cavalry Fund).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207720)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank, 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) (6 CAR), Zetten, Netherlands, 20 Jan 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205393)

Major A. D'Arcy Marks and Captain A. Brandon Conron with a Sherman tank of "C" Squadron, 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) (6 CAR), Colomby-sur-Thaon, France, 28 June 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, Ken Bell, PA-131777)

Sherman tank of the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) in Normandy, 28 June 1944.  The 6th CAR was one of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade's three regiments that landed in Normandy on D-Day.  Their role was to support any infantry who were in need of armour support, therefore the Brigade rarely fought as one entity.  One of the occasions when the Brigade did undertake an operation on its own was at Le Mesnil-Patry/Rots on 11 June 1944.  The battle ended with only partial success and severe losses to the Canadians.

 (First Hussars Museum Photo)

1st Hussars Sherman T269354.

The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC) is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Army, 5th Canadian Division, 36 Canadian Brigade Group.  The regiment is based in Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island. 

 (Author Photos)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS (Serial No. 65040), built by Fisher, with full skirts, Reg. No. 30123019.  Charlottetown Armoury.

 (Author Photo)

Ferret Scout Car Mk 1, Charlottetown Armoury.

The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal) - armoured reconnaissance

The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal) (abbreviated as RCH) is an armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Primary Reserve in the Canadian Army.  Its primary role consists of obtaining critical information about belligerents as well as their surrounding terrain.

In 1939, the 17th DYRCH paid off their horses (the last Canadian cavalry unit to do so) and were mobilized, becoming successively the 3rd Canadian Motorcycle Regiment and the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment (17th DYRCH), or 7th Recce, of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

In 1941, the 6th DCRCH were called upon to furnish the Headquarters Squadron of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division and were designated 15th Armoured Regiment (6th DCRCH).  In October 1943, the 5th Canadian Armoured Division landed in Italy and went into action in mid-January 1944.  The 6th later moved to France in February 1945.

In 1944, the 7th Recce participated in D-Day when members of B Squadron, tasked as beach exit parties and brigade contact detachments, landed on the Normandy beaches.  The 7th campaigned through Europe earning 11 battle honours.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3378681)

Humber Mk. IV Armoured Car, 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars, Normandy, 20 July 1944.  (Lt Ken Bell)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191645)

Dutch civilians on a WASP of 7th Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, celebrating the liberation of Zwolle, Netherlands. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405642)

7th Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Humber Mk. IIIA armoured cars, Vaucelles, France, 18 July 1944.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3230150)

Personnel of the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars transferring from a "Seep" (waterized jeep) vehicle to the Chevrolet C15A truck which serves as the unit's bus, Weener, Germany, 13 February 1946. 

The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) - armoured reconnaissance

The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) is a Primary Reserve armoured recconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Army.  The regiment is subordinate to 39 Canadian Brigade Group of the 3rd Canadian Division.  Established in 1883, it is the oldest military unit in Vancouver, British Columbia.  It parades at the Beatty Street Drill Hall at the corner of Dunsmuir and Beatty in downtown Vancouver.   The regiment has been variously designated as garrison artillery, rifles, and armoured, but has been reconnaissance since 1965.  It has received 41 battle honours in its history, and has been a unit of the RCAC since 1942.  (28th Armoured Regiment)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228470)

Ram II tank being serviced by troopers of the British Columbia Regiment training in England, 15 Jul 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574228)

Personnel of the 1st Armoured Brigade Workshop, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) working on the engine of a Sherman tank of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Italy, 13 October 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3211514)

Personnel of Headquarters Squadron, British Columbia Regiment, with their Sherman tank, Brasschaet, Belgium, 14 October 1944.
 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396351)

Sherman tanks of Headquarters Squadron, The British Columbia Regiment, loading ammuntion prior to shelling a German position near Meppen, Germany, 8 April 1945. 

 (Author Photo)

Ram II tank, outside the Beatty Street Armoury. 

 (Author Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, outside the Beatty Street armoury. 

The South Alberta Regiment

The South Alberta Regiment (SAR) was a Canadian regiment which served in the Second World War. The unit was created in 1924 as infantry and mobilized in 1940 as part of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division. When the division was reorganized as an armoured formation to satisfy demand for a second Canadian armoured division, the South Alberta Regiment was named 29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) and received Ram tanks in February 1942.[2] The unit was again renamed as 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in January 1943.

The SAR was deployed to northern France in mid-June 1944 (Normandy landings, D-Day was 6 June 1944), replacing their Ram tanks to be equipped with Stuart and Sherman tanks. They participated in the later battles of the Invasion of Normandy, taking part in Operation Totalize and finally closing the Falaise pocket in Operation Tractable. The South Albertas went on to participate in the liberation of the Netherlands and the Battle of the Scheldt. In January 1945, they took part in the Battle for the Kapelsche Veer. They spent the last weeks of the war fighting in northern Germany.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3943965)

Major D.V. Currie, VC, Breda, Holland, 25 Nov 1944.

Major David Vivian Currie of the SAR received the Victoria Cross for his actions near Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives, as the allies attempted to seal off the Falaise pocket. It was the only Victoria Cross awarded to a Canadian soldier during the Normandy campaign, and the only Victoria Cross ever awarded to a member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.

The Freedom of the City was exercised by the South Alberta Regiment in Nanaimo, British Columbia in April, 1941.

The SAR is now incorporated by amalgamation in the reserve reconnaissance regiment the South Alberta Light Horse.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396233)

Major David V. Currie (left, with pistol in hand) of The South Alberta Regiment accepting the surrender of German troops at St. Lambert-sur-Dive, France, 19 August 1944. This photo captures the very moment and actions that would lead to Major Currie being awarded the Victoria Cross.  Battle Group Commander Major D.V. Currie at left supervises the round up of German prisoners. Reporting to him is trooper R.J. Lowe of "C" Squadron. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3227188)

Major David V. Currie, VC, South Alberta Regiment, Humber Mk. I, Halte, Netherlands, 12 Nov 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202103)

Sergeant I.F. Chase cleaning his mess tin on a General Motors T17E1 Staghound armoured car of the South Alberta Regiment, Bad Zwischenahn, Germany, 29 April 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233163)

Sherman V tank crew, Troopers Holstrom, Lardner and Mitchell on the Sherman Command tank nicknamed "Clanky" of Captain David V. Currie VC, C Sqn, South Alberta Regiment, 4th Armoured Division, France, 28 July 1944.  Clanky was lost in action at Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland, but all the crewmen survived the war. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3200973)

M4 Sherman tank, South Alberta Regiment, Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, 29 Oct 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207715)

M4 Sherman tank, South Alberta Regiment, Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, 29 Oct 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA113675)

Sherman Ic hybrid Firefly tank, South Alberta Regiment, Calcar, Germany, Feb 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3401784)

Trooper M.E. Lucy of The South Alberta Regiment examining a German 75-mm Panzer IV (Panzerkampfwagen IV) tank near Xanten, Germany, 7 March 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228469)

Trooper J.C. McEachern hooking a cable between two Sherman tanks of The South Alberta Regiment, Louisendorf, Germany, 26 February 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3230680)

Alligator amphibious vehicle, North Shore Regiment of New Brunswick near Terneuzen in the Netherlands, 13 Oct 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3525752)

Buffalo with the North Shore Regiment near Nijmegen, Netherlands, 8 Feb 1945.  The Buffalo Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) is an amphibious warfare and amphibious landing craft.  Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3623235)

Buffalos transporting Cdn troops, Scheldt, 13 Oct 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191675)

Buffalo with German Prisoners of WAR (PW),  Scheldt, Netherlands, 13 Oct 1944. 

In Europe LVTs were mainly used for landings and river crossing operations as well as assaults in swampy zones.  By the end of 1943, 200 LVT-1 had been delivered to the British Army for training, in preparation for future operations in Europe. The U.S., British and Canadian armies used the Buffalo in the Battle of the Scheldt (1944), during the Operation Plunder crossing of the Rhine, along the Po River in Italy, across the river Elbe, and in a number of other river crossing operations.

 (DND Photos)

Alligator LVTs and Terrapin Amphibious vehicles operating in the Scheldt, Netherlands, Oct 1944. 

For the Rhine crossing the British 21st Army Group had some 600 Buffalos available, most of them used to transport the assault infantry. As mud was expected to hamper the Sherman DD tanks, some LVTs were armed with a 20-mm cannon and two machine guns to give fire support until bridges could be constructed across the river. The "Specials" were assigned to the 79th Armoured Division (which operated all specialist assault vehicles), that also provided Buffalos fitted with "Bobbin" carpets to create temporary roadways over the mud.

The South Alberta Light Horse - armoured reconnaissance

The South Alberta Light Horse, or SALH, is a Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment unit of the Canadian Army based in Medicine Hat and Edmonton, Alberta. The SALH is part of 3rd Canadian Division's 41 Canadian Brigade Group. The "Light Horse" designation comes from its light cavalry and mounted infantry origins.

The 15th Alberta Light Horse contributed to several active service units, including the 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment, remaining in the Calgary area until almost the end of the war. The South Alberta Regiment, recruited an active service battalion in the Medicine Hat area in the summer of 1940. This infantry unit trained in Canada until 1942 when it was reorganized as the 29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) and moved to England in August.

The SAR was granted 15 battle honours for its service overseas, redesignated the 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) in 1944. The unit was selected by Major-General F. F. Worthington to be the reconnaissance regiment of the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division because he wanted "keen-eyed prairie men" as his scouts. The 29th was again converted, with all armoured reconnaissance regiments, to the war establishment of a regular armoured regiment in 1944 and sent to France in July of that year. It fought through Normandy, Belgium, the Scheldt, the Rhineland, the Netherlands and Germany until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. Of particular note is that Major David Currie was awarded the Commonwealth's highest military award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, for his valour at St. Lambert sur Dives, France, during the battle of the Falaise Gap.

The 22nd Field Battery became part of the 13th Field Regiment, which landed with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on D-Day at Juno Beach.

The Edmonton Fusiliers raised two active battalions, one for the 6th Canadian Infantry Division and one for the 8th Canadian Infantry Division. Both these divisions were home defence formations that did not go overseas.

Meanwhile, the 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment had served in the Calgary area until January 1945 when it was shipped to England. It was disbanded a month later and broken up for reinforcements.

The end of the war saw the re-emergence of The South Alberta Regiment (infantry) in Medicine Hat and the 15th Alberta Light Horse (armoured) in Calgary. The 15th however, was not to keep its name, and it was united with the 22nd Field Battery and renamed 68th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RCA. This remained until 1954 when it united with The South Alberta Regiment of Medicine Hat and the 41st Anti-Tank Regiment out of Calgary to become The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regiment) out of Calgary. In 1958 "29th Armoured Regiment" was dropped from the name, and two years later, in 1960, the regiment was moved back to its old headquarters in Medicine Hat. The regiment remained an army reserve armoured unit until 1968 when it lost its tanks and was retasked as an armoured reconnaissance unit.

The two Edmonton units (19th Alberta Dragoons and The Edmonton Fusiliers) merged in 1946 as the 19th (Alberta) Armoured Car Regiment, RCAC. This regiment was renamed back to 19th Alberta Dragoons in 1958, but in the 1965 reorganization of the Reserves it was transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle.  Although it still legally existed, but had no personnel assigned to it.

In 1978 the SALH established an independent B Squadron in Edmonton to train out of Griesbach Barracks. Originally roled as reconnaissance, B Squadron transitioned to AVGP and was reroled as armoured in the early 1980s. The rest of the regiment followed suit and by 1985 the entire regiment was out of reconnaissance and back to being armoured.

In 2006 the South Alberta Light Horse and the nil-strength 19th Alberta Dragoons amalgamated, and the regiment now maintains the battle honours and traditions of its Edmonton predecessors.

The Saskatchewan Dragoons - armoured reconnaissance

The Saskatchewan Dragoons is a Primary Reserve armoured regiment of the Canadian Army.  The unit is based in Moose Jaw.  Their primary job is to assist the Regular Force in meeting Canada's military commitments.  Their training and equipment closely follow that of the Regular Force, which the Reserves are called upon to assist increasingly often.  The Saskatchewan Dragoons are part of 3rd Canadian Division's 38 Canadian Brigade Group.

 (Maxwell Toms Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, outside the armoury in Moose Jaw.

The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

(The King's Own or The KOCR), is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Army. Headquartered at the Mewata Armoury in Calgary, Alberta, the KOCR is a part-time reserve unit of 3rd Canadian Division's 41 Brigade Group.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3404613)

Churchill Infantry Tank Mk. IIIs of C Sqn, 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) on parade in England, July 1942. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607884)

Churchill Crocodile flamethrower tank, 1944.  

(Author Photos)

Churchill tank, on display at the Military Museums, Calgary. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 319473)

Churchill tank of the Calgary Regiment being examined by German troops after the raid on Dieppe, France, 19 Aug 1942.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4969643)

"Buttercup", an abandoned Churchill tank of the Calgary Regiment, left on the beach at Dieppe. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3192368)

Churchill tanks of the Calgary Regiment left on the beach with TLC No. 5 burning in the background after the raid on Dieppe, France, 19 Aug 1942. 

(IWM Photo, NA6209)

M4A4 Sherman tank, 14th Canadian Tank Regiment (Calgary Regt), Reggio, Italy, 3 Sep 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-144103)

Sherman’ tank ‘Adjunct’ of ‘A’ Squadron, 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), firing on Potenza in support of the advance of the West Nova Scotia Regiment.  (Alexander M. Stirton)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.)

Sherman’ tank ‘Adjunct’ of ‘A’ Squadron, 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), firing on Potenza in support of the advance of the West Nova Scotia Regiment, left, and being towed out of trouble on the right.  (Alexander M. Stirton) 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3229204)

Captain F.M. Ritchie of The Calgary Regiment climbs out of his camouflaged Sherman tank, San Leonardo di Ortona, Italy, 10 December 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585916)

Private G.C. Butcher, 48th Highlanders of Canada, examines the wreckage of a German PzKpfW III destroyed by the Calgary Regiment, San Leonardo di Ortona, Italy, 10 Dec 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4558187)

Sherman Tank crew, 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) in Italy, 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4558188)

Sherman Tank crew, 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) in Italy, 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202313)

Sherman tank 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) Tpr T.H. Baker, dispatch rider, armed with a .45-ca; Thompson SMG, Villapiana, Italy, 18 Sep 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3525076)

Infantrymen of the 1st Battalion, 5th Mahratta Regiment jumping from a Sherman tank of the Calgary Regiment during a tank-infantry training course, Florence, Italy, 28 August 1944.

(Author Photos)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, outside the Mewata Armoury, Calgary, Alberta. 

The British Columbia Dragoons - armoured reconnaissance

The British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Forces. It is based in Kelowna and Vernon, British Columbia.  The British Columbia Dragoons are part of 3rd Canadian Division's 39 Canadian Brigade Group.  The British Columbia Dragoons perpetuate the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles and the 11th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223022)

M3 Lee medium tanks, British Columbia Dragoons, Headley Down, UK, 12 Mar 1942. 

(City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1184-S3-: CVA 1184-1387) 

M3 Lee medium tank on parade on Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Oct 1942. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3718093)

Destroyed Sherman V with a D50878 low bustle turret without the pistol port. The wreckage is on the ridge road past point 204. The hill on the left of the photo, just rising with the summit out of shot is Monte luro. The hill in the back ground is across the valley from Gradara, possibly Italy, ca Sep 1944.  The tank has a diamond headquarters TAC sign.  This is a Canadian HQ tank that very likely is one of the BC Dragoon HQ section tanks knocked out on 1 Sep 1944 in an ambush near Point 204 on the Gothic Line.  The view here is looking east toward the Adriatic.  Lieutenant Colonel Fred Vokes (Major General Chris Vokes's brother) had taken a wrong turn and missed Point 204.  The rear tank in the column was knocked out by fire from a Panther and two self-propelled guns.  The other two tanks in the single file column were then knocked out.  Fred Vokes managed to reach Point 204 on foot only to be mortally wounded by a shrapnel round.  Despite this mishap, the BCDs managed to hold on to Point 204 in the face of numerous German counterattacks and by doing so spearheaded the breaking of the Gothic Line. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223023)

Sherman tanks of the British Columbia Dragoons being inspected by General Harry D.G. Crerar, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223025)

General H.D.G. Crerar, taking the salute during a marchpast of Sherman V tanks of the British Columbia Dragoons, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.  

 (Al Dadds Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, Kelowna, British Columbia. 

(Al Dadds Photo)

M113 C & R Lynx, Kelowna, British Columbia. 

(Al Dadds Photo)

AVGP Cougar, Vernon, British Columbia. 

The Fort Garry Horse - armoured reconnaissance

The Fort Garry Horse is a Primary Reserve armoured regiment of the Canadian Army based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It is part of 3rd Canadian Division's 38 Canadian Brigade Group.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396203)

Fort Garry Horse, Flail tank, Operation TRACTABLE, Bretteville-le-Rabet, France, 14 Aug 1944.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206454)

Fort Garry Horse, Shermans & Mail Jeep, Putte, Belgium, 11 Oct 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228088)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank of The Fort Garry Horse near the Beveland Canal, Netherlands, ca. 29 October 1944.  (Lt Ken Bell)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233133)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233126)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233130)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  4233129)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233170)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3257122)

Trooper J. McCallum and Corporal G.P. Patten of the Fort Garry Horse working on their armoured recovery vehicle, Putte, Netherlands, 6 October 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233128)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233129)

Sherman V of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), near Vaucelles, Normandy, July 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3229612)

Sergeant P. Harrison and Lieutenant J. Swainson with a Sherman tank of The Fort Garry Horse, which was the first Canadian tank to enter Germany, in the Hochwald, Germany, 3 March 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3209748)

Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada supported by Sherman V tanks of the Fort Garry Horse, South of Hatten, Germany, 22 Apr 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524187)

Infantrymen of Le Régiment de Maisonneuve riding on a Sherman tank of The Fort Garry Horse entering Rijssen, Netherlands, 9 April 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228083)

Sherman tanks of "C" Squadron, The Fort Garry Horse, passing infantrymen of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, Munderloh, Germany, 29 April 1945.
 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405701)
Trooper J.L. Dumouchelle and Corporal W.L. Corn cleaning a Sherman tank of The Fort Garry Horse used as a monument in Fort Garry Park, Doetinchem, Netherlands, 22 November 1945. 

Le Régiment de Hull (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

Le Régiment de Hull (RCAC) is a Primary Reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Army  The regiment is based in Hull, Quebec near Ottawa.  Active in all aspects of the day-to-day life of Outaouais residents, the unit is the only francophone military presence in the area. 

(Dennis Giguere Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank with Le Régiment de Hull on exercise, Camp Petawawa 1954.  Lt Henri Langlois (signal operator), LCol George Addy (left). Unknown Lt on right. 

 (Author Photos)

M4A2(76)W HVSS Sherman "Easy 8" tank (Serial No. 69215), built by Fisher, Reg. No. 30129694, “Chateauguay”, Régiment de Hull, de Salaberry Armoury, 188 Alexandre Taché Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec. 

In 1946 the first of 294 M4A2 (76-mm) Wet Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS) Sherman tanks arrived at Camp Borden and at the Long Pointe Ordnance Depot in Montreal.  The Canadians referred to this tank as the M4A2E8.  96 Stuart tanks were also delivered at the same time.  The new Shermans were manufactured by the Fisher Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, Michigan between May 1944 and May 1945.  M24 Chaffee light tanks were also purchased at this time.  Compared with the Shermans used by Canadians in the Second World War, the ammunition storage in the new tanks was improved by surrounding the racks with water and etheylene glycol-filled jackets to reduce the probability of explosion in the event of penetration of the armour by enemy fire.  The tanks equipped with this protection system were designated "Wet".  The M4A2E8 was powered by a pair of side-by-side mounted General Motors 6046 diesel engines producing 375 hp mounted in the rear of the hull.  The tank could sustain a speed of 48 kmh (30 mph).  Its main armament was a 76-mm M1A2 long-barreled, high-velocity gun fitted with a muzzle brake.  Its secondary armament included one Browning .30-calibre M1919A4 machine-gun mounted co-axially with the main gun, a bow machine-gun in the front of the hull, and a Browning .50-calibre machine-gun mounted on a post between the loader's and commander's hatches for AA protection.  The HVSS system used four wheels per bogie instead of two, which allowed tracks that were wider (165-mm) to be installed, and which made for better performance on soft ground and allowed for a smoother ride.  The M4A2E8 had a five-man crew.  The driver and co-driver sat in the front of the hull with the driver on the left and co-driver on the right.  The crew commander, loader and gunner sat in the turret.  The crew commander's position was on the right side of the turret, the loader sat on his left and the gunner sat in front of the commander.  After the first batch of the new tanks went to the RCD at Camp Borden 1946, another 30 went to the LdSH at Camp Wainwright, Alberta in March 1947.  Training on the tanks by the LdSH was also conducted at Camp Sarcee in Alberta, and at Camp Petawawa when the RCD moved there in the spring of 1948.

 (Author Photos)

M4A2(76)W HVSS Sherman "Easy 8" tank (Serial No. 69224), built by Fisher, Reg. No. 30129703, “Kiska”, Régiment de Hull, de Salaberry Armoury, Gatineau, Quebec.

 (Author Photos)

Centurion Main Battle Tank Mk. 5, 20-pounder main gun, CFR 52-81061, formerly at St-Hubert, FMC HQ.  Gatineau, Quebec.

 (Author Photos)

M113 C & R Lynx (Serial No. unknown), "Wrightville", Régiment de Hull, de Salaberry Armoury, Gatineau, Quebec.

The Windsor Regiment (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

The Windsor Regiment (RCAC) originated in Windsor, Ontario on 15 December 1936 as The Essex Regiment (Tank). It was redesignated as the 30th (Reserve) Reconnaissance Battalion (Essex Regiment) on 27 January 1942; as the 30th (Reserve) Reconnaissance Regiment (Essex Regiment), CAC on 8 June 1942; as the 30th (Reserve) Reconnaissance Regiment (Essex Regiment), RCAC on 2 August 1945; as the 22nd Reconnaissance Regiment (Essex Regiment), RCAC on 1 April 1946; as The Windsor Regiment (22nd Reconnaissance Regiment) on 4 February 1949; as The Windsor Regiment (22nd Armoured Regiment) on 1 October 1954; as The Windsor Regiment (RCAC) on 19 May 1958; as The Windsor Regiment on 19 September 1985. On 14 August 1997 the regiment reverted to its previous designation as The Windsor Regiment (RCAC).

Details from the regiment were called out on active service for local protection duties on 28 May 1940 as The Essex Regiment (Tank), CASF (Details).  The regiment subsequently mobilized an armour regiment designated the 30th Reconnaissance Battalion (The Essex Regiment), CAC, CASF for active service on 12 May 1942.  It was redesignated the 30th Reconnaissance Regiment (The Essex Regiment), CAC, CASF on 8 June 1942.  It served in Canada in a home defence and training role as part of Military District No. 12.  On 23 July 1943 it embarked for Britain where its soldiers were employed as assembly workers for unassembled vehicles arriving from Canada.  The regiment was subsequently disbanded on 31 March 1944

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3517271)

Officers of the Essex Regiment (fore-runner to the Windsor regiment) with a Loyd CTSC Tracked Starting and Charging Carrier, England, 27 January 1944 (L-R): Lieutenants R.S. Willis, F.A. Knight. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396411)

Infantrymen of The Essex Scottish Regiment lying in a ditch to avoid German sniper fire en route to Groningen, Netherlands, 14 April 1945. 

In the 1860s, with the Fenians threatening Canada, the Windsor area of Ontario felt the need to establish an army for their protection. It wasn't until 12 June 1885, however, that the regiment, known as the 21st Essex Battalion of Infantry, was authorized. It was formed by the amalgamation of five infantry companies in the Windsor area. The Regiment went through a number of name changes before settling on the Essex Scottish Regiment on 15 July 1927.

On 1 September 1939, the Essex Scottish Regiment, C.A.S.F. was mobilized. Within only a few days the Regiment had recruited a full strength force, including a notable number of Americans.

On 16 August 1940 the Regiment set sail for England as part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. It was two years later before they experienced their first fight, the Dieppe Raid, 19 August 1942, which left the Regiment almost completely decimated.

On that ill-fated day, a misleading message was received by the headquarters ship, which led officials to believe that the Essex Scottish Regiment had breached the seawall successfully and were making headway in the town, when in fact they were on the pebble covered beach, pinned down and being fired at by the enemy. By the end of the Dieppe Raid, the Essex Scottish Regiment had suffered 121 fatal casualties.

In July 1944, after regaining their strength, the Regiment moved on to northwestern Europe. They landed on the coast of Normandy and fought their way through France, Holland, and Germany until the end of the war in the fall of 1945.

By the wars end, the Essex Scottish Regiment had suffered more than 550 war dead and had been inflicted with the highest number of casualties of any unit in the Canadian Army during the Second World War, more than 2,500. The Regiment returned home after the war in 1945, where they were disbanded on 15 December 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205594)

Infantrymen of The Essex Scottish Regiment in Universal Carriers, 13 Apr 1945. 

Supplementary Order of Battle

Units on the Supplementary Order of Battle legally exist, but have no personnel or materiel.

4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards

The 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards is an inactive armoured regiment of the Canadian militia. 

During the Second World War, the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards was a Militia Regiment activated for Wartime Service with the Canadian Army (Active) in 1941.  A former cavalry regiment with roots in the Ottawa area that dated back to the late 1800s it was assigned to the RCAC which itself had been activated in 1940 . In 1942 it was redesignated the 4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards), the same year the first of its soldiers sailed for the United Kingdom where 4th PLDG joined 1st Canadian INfantry Division at Camp Aldershot.

4th Recce immediately began expanding its ranks, taking volunteers from infantry regiments serving in the United Kingdom and a steady flow of reinforcements from Canada.  Four squadrons were eventually raised in addition to the Regimental HQ Squadron. A reserve squadron, based in Ottawa continued to provide reinforcements throughout the war as well.

"A" Squadron of 4th PLDG landed in Sicily on 13 July 1943, as part of the Follow Up Forces.  Only "A" Squadron, commanded by Major Arthur Duck actually took part in the Sicily fighting.  B and C Squadrons were not fully equipped with the requisite number of "Otter" Light, and "Fox" Heavy Reconnaissance Cars and Universal Carriers until October, when the regiment was serving on the Italian mainland.  D Squadron was raised that winter when heavy rains and freezing temperatures rendered the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards' vehicles all but useless and the personnel from the latter squadron patrolled their sector on horseback instead.

4th PLDG took part in virtually all of the major actions in the campaign, which lasted just 38 days.  The regiment landed at Reggio di Calabria, on the Italian mainland on 3 September 1943, on the heels of 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade and immediately began providing 1st Canadian Infantry Division Headquarters with information with regard to the ground to the north including the condition of roads and bridges and the location and strength of enemy forces.  Each of the squadrons was composed of three scout troops and assault troop, equipped with a combination of Otter Light Reconnaissance Cars and Fox Heavy Reconnaissance Cars.  The Fox had a revolving turret fitted with a .50 calibre Browning machine gun as well as a Bren. 303 calibre light machine gun.  The Otter mounted a single Bren as did the Universal Carriers used to transport the Scout and Assault Troops.

When a reporter asked squadron commander Major Harold Parker as to what he and his men did in Italy he replied: "We keep driving until the enemy shoots at us.  Then we know he is there".  Parker was doing just that when his armoured car was struck by a 75-mm shell on the Torella-Duronia road.  The major was killed and his crew badly wounded.  The scouts, frequently operated well behind enemy lines: During the Hitler Line battles in May 1944 Sergeant Hubert Ditner, a farmer from Petersburg, Ontario, and his men took the opportunity to catch a few hours sleep in a roadside ditch.  He awoke to find that his section was sharing it with grenadiers from 44th Hoch und Deutschmeister Division.  Ditner, who spoke fluent German managed to get all ten to surrender without firing a shot. In a letter to his younger brother Ditner confessed that he "didn't know who was shaking more, Jerry or me."

One of the most notable engagements fought by 4th PLDG took place at Miglionico.  Numbers 4 and 8 (Assault) Troops, under Lieutenant Don White used a rail tunnel to infiltrate the rear area of positions held by Oberst Ludwig Heilmann's 3rd Fallschirmjager Regiment and launch the attack that killed an estimated 50 paratroopers and destroyed several trucks, an armoured car and a large quantity of ammunition.

All three squadrons were active, on the Italian mainland by the time 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards was transferred to the Infantry Corps.  The regiment was assigned to 12th Infantry Brigade of the recently arrived 5th Armoured Division on 13 July 1944.  The decision was the result of 8th Army commander General Montgomery's concern that the division lacked the sufficient number of infantry battalions to protect the division's tanks against attacks by enemy infantry armed with shoulder fired anti-tank weapons and self-propelled guns.  The regiment, having established a reputation for courage and tenacity while operating as scouts, soon distinguished itself in its new role. It was ordered to take Monte Peloso on 1 September 1944, also known as Point 253. The hill, part of the enemy's Gothic Line was targeted by 1st Division's gunners for the better part of an hour before C-Squadron began closing on the position at 13:10.  As the Princess Louise began climbing it they ran headlong into paratroopers from 3rd Fallschirmjager Regiment, preparing to mount a counterattack on nearby Point 204 and there was a furious, close-quarters gun battle prior to Lord Strathcona's Horse joining 4th PLDG in the assault on the main German defences, a handful of farm buildings midway up the slope.  The Shermans blasted the startled paratroopers from the buildings and the waiting Princess Louise cut them down with small arms fire.  By last light Point 253 was in Canadian hands.  The first battle as infantry had cost the regiment dearly, however: 35 men were dead and another 94 wounded.

A message penned by 8th Army's commander, General Leese, congratulated the Princess Louise for their victory, made that much more remarkable based on the unit's very brief training as infantry.

On a humorous note, members of the unit were once urged by General Simonds (GOC 1st Canadian Infantry Division) to beat a US Army unit into the Sicilian village of Enna and thus take credit for its capture.  A mixed bag of NCO's and troopers mounted their armoured cars and headed for the town only to be halted by a demolished culvert.  Not to be denied, the soldiers commandeered a mule and continued the race arriving in the village just as troops from 1st Infantry Division did so.  Though the weary Canadians were only too happy to clamber aboard one of the latter unit's jeeps and ride the rest of the way into town, the regimental history of the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards maintains that Corporal Jackson was first to dismount in Enna's piazza rendering the Canadian Army as the rightful liberators of the town.

The regiment was returned to its reconnaissance role, and Armoured Corps status on 15 March 1945 and finished the war in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after being transferred to the theatre as part of Operation Goldflake.  Fighting in a number of engagements with the heavily armoured German divisions as they fled, a role the unit had performed with some distinction in Italy, 4th PLDG suffered heavy losses.  Battlefield deaths, all ranks, for the entire year of 1944 were 150.  In the four months 4th Recce fought in North West Europe, a third of the time it was in Italy, it lost some 187 men. (4th PLDG History).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206255)

Fox Mk. I Armoured Car "Bardia", of B Squadron 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, Matrice, Italy, 27 Oct 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235515)

4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guard Standard Presented by Princess Alice (before 1965) on Parliament Hill, Ottawa. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235517)

4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guard Standard Presented by Princess Alice (before 1965) on Parliament Hill, Ottawa. 

12th Manitoba Dragoons

The 12th Manitoba Dragoons is an armoured regiment of the Canadian Army that is currently on the Supplementary Order of Battle. 

During the Second World War the Regiment mobilized the 18th (Manitoba) Reconnaissance Battalion, CAC, CASF, for active service on 10 May 1941.  It was redesignated the 18th (Manitoba) Armoured Car Regiment, CAC, CASF, on 26 January 1942; the 18th Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons), CAC, CASF, on 16 December 1942; and 18th Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons), RCAC, CASF on 2 August 1945.  It embarked for the Great Britain on 19 August 1942. On 8 and 9 July 1944 it landed in Normandy, France as a unit attached directly to II Canadian Corps, where it fought in North-West Europe until the end of the war

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202099)

General Motors Staghound T17E1, A Sqn, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, advancing towards Xanten, Germany near the Hochwald, 2 March 1945. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225543

12th Manitoba Dragoons Troopers on a General Motors Staghound T17E1, near Caen, France, 19 July 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225545)

Trooper Ernie Tester of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons lying on a cot in front of a General Motors Staghound T17E1, near Caen, France, 19 July 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191574)

General Motors Staghound T17E1, 18th Armoured Car Regiment, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, acrossing the Seine River, 28 Aug 1944. 

The Chevrolet T17E1 version of the Staghound was powered by two 97-hp GMC Hercules engines with a hydraulic transmission.  It was served by a five-man crew with three men fitting inside the fully-enclosed, power-traversed turret.  It weighed 14 tons and had a maximum speed of 90 kmh (55 mph) and a range of 720 km (450 miles).  It was armed with a 37-mm tank gun and co-axial and bow-mounted .30-inch Browning machine-guns.  A total of 2,687 Staghound T17E1s were built as well as 789 T17E2 AA vehicles.  The two Canadian armoured car regiments initially received 72 Staghounds each plus a number of additional vehicles allocated to HQ and various other organizations which were in service overseas during the Second World War.  A number were brought back to Canada after the war and at least 85 of these served until they were retired in 1964. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224498)

General Motors T-17E1 Staghound, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, UK, 30 Dec 1943. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524437)

General Motors T-17E1 Staghound, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Elbeuf, France, 28 Aug 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202102)

General Motors Staghound T-17E1 armoured car of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Blankenberghe, Belgium, 11 September 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202100)

German soldiers mounted on a Sd.Kfz.222, Reconnaissance Armored Car, surrendering to the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, one of whose General Motors Staghound T-17E1 armoured cars is seen at right, near Sogel, Germany, 10 April 1945. 

The 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars)

The 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars), commonly abbreviated to 8 Recce, VIII Recce or (within the British Army) 8 Canadian Recce, was the reconnaissance arm of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division during the Second World War.

8 Recce spent the first three years of its existence involved in training and coastal defence duties in southern England. It was not involved in the ill-fated Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942, and thus avoided the heavy losses suffered that day by many other units of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.  The regiment landed with its division in Normandy on 6 July 1944, one month after D-Day, and first entered combat as infantry in the ongoing Battle of Normandy.  The regiment's first two combat deaths occurred on July 13, when a shell struck a slit trench sheltering two men near Le Mesnil.

Following the near-destruction of the German Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer Army in the Falaise Pocket in August 1944, the remaining German forces were compelled into a rapid fighting retreat out of Northern France and much of Belgium.  8 Recce provided the reconnaissance function for its division during the advance of the First Canadian Army eastward out of Normandy, up to and across the Seine River, and then along the coastal regions of northern France and Belgium . The regiment was involved in spearheading the liberation of the port cities of Dieppe and Antwerp; it was also involved in the investment of Dunkirk, which was then left under German occupation until the end of war.  8 Recce saw heavy action through to the end of the war including the costly Battle of the Scheldt, the liberation of the Netherlands and the invasion of Germany.

An early demonstration of the mobility and power of the armoured cars of 8 Recce occurred during the liberation of Orbec in Normandy.  Over 21-23 August, the infantry of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division had succeeded in pushing eastward up to the west bank of the River Tourques, but they were unable to expand an initial bridgehead across the river because of the presence of enemy positions in Orbec on the east bank . Humbers of 8 Recce had meanwhile scouted out possible river crossings northwest of the town.  They succeeded in crossing the Tourques, then circled back to Orbec and attacked the German defenders unexpectedly from the north and east. Enemy resistance in the town was rapidly overcome and the division's advance towards the Seine could resume.

The reconnaissance role of 8 Recce often put its members well ahead of the main body of the division, especially during the pursuit of the retreating German army across northern France and Belgium in late August and September 1944.  For example, elements of 8 Recce entered Dieppe on the morning of 1 September 1944, a full 12 hours before the arrival of truck-borne Canadian infantry.  The liberation of Dieppe was facilitated by the withdrawal of the German occupying forces on the previous day . The unexpectedly early liberation allowed a planned and likely devastating Allied bombing raid on the city to be called off. 8 Recce was responsible for liberating many other towns in the campaign across Northwest Europe.

During the Battle of the Scheldt, 8 Recce advanced westwards and cleared the southern bank of the West Scheldt River.  In one notable action, armoured cars of 'A' Squadron were ferried across the river; on the other side the cars then proceeded to liberate the island of North Beveland by 2 November 1944.  Bluff played an important role in this operation.  The German defenders had been warned that they would be attacked by ground support aircraft on their second low-level pass if they did not surrender immediately.  Shortly thereafter 450 Germans surrendered after their positions were buzzed by 18 Hawker Typhoons.  Unbeknownst to the Germans, the Typhoons would not have been able to fire on their positions since the aircraft's munitions were already committed to another operation.

Shortly after midnight on the night 6–7 February 1945 (Haps, Holland), when 11 and 12 troops of C Sqn. patrolled and contacted each other and started back - 11 troop patrol was challenged with halt from, the ditch.  L/Cpl. Bjarne Tangen fired a sten magazine into the area from which the challenge came and then he and the others quickly took-up positions in the ditch, while the 3rd member of their patrol ran back and collected the 12 troop patrol, together with reinforcements from 12 troop and returned to the scene of firing.  The evening ended with the patrol taking one German prisoner and one deceased.  The German prisoner, Lt. Gunte Finke, was interrogated and he disclosed that he gave himself up after seeing the response of an estimated 30 men from the skirmish.  The German intention was to verify information that armoured cars were in the area; not to bother with foot patrol or prisoners, but to attempt to "Bazooka one of our vehicles with the 2 Panzerfaust that their patrols carried". L/Cpl.Tangen was awarded the Dutch Bronze Cross and Mentioined in dispatches, for this event.

On 12 April 1945, No. 7 Troop of 'B' Squadron liberated Camp Westerbork, a transit camp built to accommodate  Jews., Romani and other people arrested by the Nazi authorities prior to their being sent into the concentration camp system, entered on 17 April 1945, was just one of many Dutch towns liberated by elements of 8 Recce in the final month of the war.

8 Recce's last two major engagements were the Battle of Groningen, 13-16 April and the Battle of Oldenburg, in Germany, over 27 April to 4 May 1945.  Three members of 8 Recce were killed on 4 May, just four days before VE Day, when their armoured car was struck by a shell.  During the war 79 men were killed outright in action while serving in 8 Recce, and a further 27 men died of wounds.  (Alway, B. M.: "Battle History of the Regiment: 14 Cdn Hussars", 8th Cdn Recce Association, Victoria, BC, 1993).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3237870)

Universal Carrier, 14th Hussars, Beveland, Holland, 1 Nov 1944. 

Polish 1st Armoured Division, First Canadian Army

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397995)

Soldiers of the Polish 1st Armoured Division, France, 7 Aug 1944.

The Polish 1st Armoured Division (1 Dywizja Pancerna) was an armoured division of the Polish Armed Forces on the Western Front during the Second World War.   It was created in February 1942 at Duns, Scotland and was commanded by MGen Stanislaw Maczek.  At its peak the division numbered approximately 16,000 soldiers.  The division served in the final phases of the Battle of Normandy in August 1944 during Operation Totalize and the Battle of Chambois and then continued to fight throughout the campaign in Northern Europe, mainly as part of the First Canadian Army.

1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, 79th Armoured Division

 (DND Photo)

A Sherman from the Canadian 25th Armoured Delivery Regiment (The Elgin Regiment) in France.

 The Elgin Regiment badge.

On 28 August 1944, 1st Armoured Carrier Squadron was formed as a result of the use of Defrocked Priests during Operations Totalize and Tractable in August 1944 by 2nd Canadian Corps in the Normandy campaign.  The squadron was attached to 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment (The Elgin Regiment) for administrative purposes.  On 24 October 1944, 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment was formed from elements of 1st Armoured Carrier Squadron.  That squadron continued to exist and was joined by a second one, thus giving the Regiment two squadrons in total.  On 21 December 1944 the Regiment was assigned to 31st Armoured Brigade of British 79th Armoured Division which would act as the parent formation for both it and British 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment which was organized along similar lines as the Canadian unit.  The 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment was an ad hoc unit formed in answer to tactical requirements encountered by 1st Canadian Army in the Normandy campaign.

Battle Honours won during the Second World War: Le Havre, Boulogne 1944, The Lower Maas, The Roer, The Rhineland, The Reichswald, Cleve, Moyland, Goch-Calcar Road, The Hochwald, Xanten, The Rhine, Groningen, North West Europe 1944-45.

 (IWM Photo, NA24043)

Defrocked Priest Kangaroo in Italy, April 1945.

The decision to convert redundant tanks into personnel carriers was inspired by Allied experiences during the D-Day landings, where British and Canadian forces experienced much lower casualty rates by leading attacks on German lines with armour than did the Americans, who led with an infantry assault.  To General Guy Simonds, who was ordered to follow up the D-Day attacks with an assault on Falaise, this experience suggested both the usefulness of such armour-first tactics, as well as the further benefits of using armoured vehicles to transport troops, leading him to stress the issue while planning his assault, deeming it essential "...that the infantry must be carried in bullet-proof and splinter-proof vehicles to the actual objectives."  No such vehicles existed at that time, and this idea thus marked the advent of what are now called armoured personnel carriers. Carriers were made on the spot from extra M7 Priest 105-mm (4.1 in) self-propelled guns by removing the guns and welding steel plates across the gaps this left in the armour.  These modified tanks were entitled "Kangaroos" partially after the codename of the Army Workshops Detachment that produced them, and partially because of the idea that infantry would be carried in the belly of the tank as safely as a young kangaroo in its mother's pouch.

The order to convert 72 Priests into carriers by the commencement of Operation Totalize on 9 August was given on 31 July by Brigadier C. M. Grant, the Deputy Director of Mechanical Engineering at Headquarters Ultimately, 78 would be converted prior to the first engagement, in spite of the fact that the operation's start date had been advanced to 7 August, an impressive feat, as just one part of the conversion process was generally a seven-day operation.  The drivers for the new vehicles were swiftly and secretly recruited from the Armoured Corps reinforcements, artillery units, and the Elgin Regiment, and were rushed into service with almost no training, first seeing action during the attack on Falaise on the night of 7-8 August 1944.  

The attack on Falaise was carried out successfully, resulting in the capture of 200 tanks, 60 assault guns, 250 towed guns, and 2500 motored vehicles from the Germans, as well as an unhindered six-day advance.  The lead brigades of the assault had all been carried in the new Kangaroos, allowing them to move swiftly and providing the following results regarding the comparative casualties of the seven Canadian infantry battalions involved.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607881)

Kangaroos on the march in Normandy, ca July 1944.

On August 28, 1944, General Simonds' requests were granted, and the 1st Armoured Carrier Squadron was formed.  The unit was established as four troops of 25 carriers (though only 55 vehicles were then available), with personnel consisting of one commanding officer, four troop commanders, and 100 drivers, and was attached to the 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment (The Elgin Regiment) for administrative purposes.  When engaged in an operation, it would come "under command of various Infantry Brigades in turn."  Each carrier had a .50-inch Browning machine gun, and approximately 60% of the vehicles were equipped with radios, however, there was no co-driver to fire the gun or operate the wireless set.

After several months of operation, 21st Army Group concluded that the 1st Armoured Carrier Squadron was the best means to seize objectives and reduce infantry casualties, leading to their decision to form two armoured personnel carrier regiments—the British 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment, and the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment, both of which would belong to the 79th Armoured Division, with the 1CAPCR serving as the only Canadian regiment in the division.  

Official recognition of the change was delivered via the following proclamation:

"By authority of the GOC First Canadian Army, 19 October 1944, the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron ceased to exist as a separate entity and became a squadron of the newly-created I Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment. The Regiment to be commanded by Lieut. Col. Gordon M. Churchill, formerly 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment (Elgin Regiment) and 10 Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) with Major F.K. Bingham, Sherbrooke Fusiliers and First Hussars as Second-in-Command. Regimental Headquarters to be at 83 Van Ryswich St., Antwerp."

Due to the inclusion of the 1CAPCR in the 79th, known for its wide array of speciality vehicles, the regiment was also included in the 79th's classification as a secret operation, a principal reason for the scarcity of information regarding its activities.

After further petitioning on the part of Lieutenant Colonel Churchill, the regiment was given its final title of the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment on 1 January 1945.  The regiment was both formed and ultimately disbanded in the Netherlands, without attachment to any regimental home, city, or province, and its personnel were drawn from all over Canada.  In spite of its lack of a personal history, however, the regiment's high degree of success quickly molded them into a cohesive unit of high morale.  he secret, foreign-born Canadian regiment that few would ever hear of ended its short history in the Canadian Army as of 11:59pm (2359 hours) on 20 June 1945.

The 123 Light Aid Detachment (LAD), Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME), under the command of Captain E. Duncan, were initially formed on an ad hoc basis in August 1944 to provide maintenance services to the carriers.  When the regiment was formed, the LAD became an integral part of it and had a strength of 52 men.

The 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Signal Troop was assigned to the regiment on November 1, 1944, under the command of Lieutenant Donald H. Simpson of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS). 

(Sources: Churchill, Gordon (1945).  1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment: the History of the Kangaroos. Grodzinski, John R. (1995). Kangaroos at War, the History of the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, Canadian Military History Ramsden, Kenneth R. (1997). The Canadian Kangaroos in World War II: The Story of 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, Canada's Foreign-Born Secret Regiment. Ramsden-Cavan Publishing).

 (Author Photo)

Kangaroo "Marion II" in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  The original Marion was the first of many Canadian Kangaroos cut and bolted together in Holland and christened 'Marion', the name of the wife of Bill Copley, a Canadian soldier from St. Thomas, Ontario.  Bill and Marion were married in March of 1941 just before he went overseas.