Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

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 8 March 2018.

1st Canadian Tank Battalion cap badge and collar dogs.  (Anthony Seward Photo)

His Majesty's Land Ship (HMLS) "Canada", No. 521, Canadian commanded British Mk. I tank.  It belonged to C Battalion, Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps, during the First World War, June 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395254)

 (National Fim Board still Photo)

Canadian commanded British Mk. II Supply tank of the Great War having its Maple Leaf war crest and the name "Forage" painted on the glacis plate before battle in France, August 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395392)

British tank, Amiens-Roye Road, Battle of Amiens, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395391)

British tank returning with soldiers of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Amiens, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405526)

British tank HMLS Donner Blitzen being dismantled, June 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395256)

Tanks collected at the railway yard, Villers - Bretonneau, France after the end of the First World War, April & May 1919. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395412)

Canadian-built Ram II tanks in service at Camp Borden, Ontario, ca. 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232758)

Ram Mk. 1 tank, Canadian 14 cent stamp, 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2185072)

Ram tank crew on exercise ca 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232744)

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Regular Force

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

Before there was armour...Royal Canadian Dragoons on parade, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1891.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3299297)

 

Royal Canadian Dragoons, Great War Memorial, NBMHM, CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick.  (Author Photo)

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234065)

Centurion, RCD, Ex Certain Trek, SW of Wurzberg, Germany, 20 Oct 1975.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4619742)

Centurion, Ex Reforger IV, Germany, 243 Sep 1973.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4692396)

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.

Centurion tank and M113 APC, Ex Reforger IV, Germany, 25 Jan 1973. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4692398)

Centurion tank on Ex Grosse Rochade, Germany, 18 Sep 1975.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4822869

Centurion tanks, last rollpast, Germany, 21 June 1977. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4728208)

Centurion ARVs, Ex Reforger Oct 1974, Germany.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816325)

 

Centurion AVLB, 4 Field Sqn, RCE, Ex Reforger 74, Eilheim, Germany, Oct 1974.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816313)

Centurion AVBL, Ex Regensprung, Lahr, Germany, 9 Sep 1975.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4748878)

 

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN Nos. 4234064)

RCD Centurion, Germany, ca 1964.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN Nos. 4234066)

  

Centurion tanks on exercise in Germany, 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 tank under a lone tree for cam, Northern Germany, 12 Oct 1974.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4594337)

Ferret, RCD, Camp Gagetown, summer concentration, 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235425)

RCD Ferrets with gun turrets on UN patrol, Cyprus.  (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 Ferret on patrol in Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235955)

RCD Ferret on patrol in Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235957)

Ferret Scout car, LdSH, Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235910)

Ferret Scout car, LdSH, Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235911

RCD Ferret, UN patrol, Middle East.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235204)

 

RCD M38 A1 CAN3 2¼ -ton 4 X 4 Jeeps on patrol in the Middle East.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235205)

Beaver armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB),  Fallex 84, 4 CER, Germany, 2 Sep 1984.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 468470)

Beaver armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB), and M113 C & R Lynx, Langenhard trg area, Sep 1987.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4730764)

Beaver AVLB and Leopard, Fallex 84, Germany, Sep 1984.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4920777)

   

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  MIKAN No. 4849067)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  MIKAN No. 4849070)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  MIKAN No. 4849079)

Leopard AVBL, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  MIKAN No. 4886179)

Centurion, RCD, Ex Certain Trek, SW of Wurzberg, Germany, 20 Oct 1975.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4619742)

Leopard tank, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849069)

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 Photos)

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.  (Author Photos)

(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.

Before they were equipped with tanks - Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH (RC)), June 1916.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397634)

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. 3524784)

 LdSH Shermans. Second in line is a new Firefly without the additional protection of welded-on track, 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.)

M5A1 Stuart recce tank without turret, LdSH (RC) at a crossroads in Italy, ca. 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN  No. 4166584)

LdSH (RC) Sherman V, Zuider Zee, 19 Apr 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3200390)

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. 3202553)

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. 3524865)

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, MIKAN No. 4235604)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Catherine", C 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, PA115496)

M3A3 Stuart Recce AFV, Italy, 5 Feb 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607685)

C Squadron Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in the snow during the Korean War.  (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

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. 

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank "Dalmatian", Royal Canadian Dragoon’s D Squadron in Korea.  (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo).  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.

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.  (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A3(76)W HVSS tank in a mine crater with damaged running gear, Koreaca 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 "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.  (Stan Lucian, Tanks Encyclopedia Photo)

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. 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)

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. 3780239)

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

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

LdSH (RC) Ferrets on patrol with the 2nd Bn QOR.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234429)

LdSH (RC) Ferret, Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235910)

LdSH (RC) Ferret, Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235911)

LdSH (RC) M38 A1 CAN3 2¼ -ton 4 X 4 Jeep on patrol in Cyprus.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235914)

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. (CF Photos)

Leopards on parade, Edmonton, Alberta, 2016.  (Anthony Sewards Photo)

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).

Churchill tank, Three Rivers Regiment, Worthing, UK, 22 July 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238637)

Churchill tank, Three Rivers Regiment on exercise in England, 8 Mar 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3209253)

Sherman III tank, "ANZAC", Three Rivers Regiment, Termoli, Italy, 15 Oct 1943.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238631)

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. 3238680)

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. 3397568)

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)

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. 3574231)

Sherman tank crew with the Three Rivers Regiment, checking their map outside Ortona, Italy, Jan 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4166596)

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.  (IWM Photo, NA10962)

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”.   (Author Photos)

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.

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. 3240406)

Sherman tanks, Governor General's Horse Guards. 9 March 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191784)

 

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.  (Author Photo)

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.

Visit of the General Dwight Eisenhower to units of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Gen Harry Crerar, centre.  29 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194838(

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.  (DND Photo)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207585)

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.)

Sherman tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405744)

Orders Group in front of a Sherman tank, Governor General's Foot Guards, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, 6 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199723)

 (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.

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. 3302180)

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. 3208278)

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. 3593377)

Centaur Mk. II anti-aircraft vehicle, Elbeuf, France, 28 August 1944, Canadian Grenadier Guards.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3593376)

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. 3401871)

Sherman Firefly tank of The Canadian Grenadier Guards, Almelo, Netherlands, 5 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524144)

Canadian Grenadier Guards, trooping of the colours, Montreal, ca 1960s.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234208)

Canadian Grenadier Guards and GGFG, trooping of the colours, Montreal, ca 1960s.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234202)

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.

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. 3607530)

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. 3534481)

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. 3512561)

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

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. 3396461b)

HRH Princess Margaet inspecting Princess Louise, 8 CH, Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick, 1958.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4301771)

Centurion tank, 8th Canadian Hussars, Sep 1960. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4976238)

Centurion tank, 8th Canadian Hussars, Sep 1960.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4976242)

 

8th Canadian Hussars, Ferret, Germany.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234829)

8th Canadian Hussars, Ferret, Germany.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234835)

8th Canadian Hussars, Germany.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234827)

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.  (Author 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.  (8th CH Photo)

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.

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. 3607575)

Churchill Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge, Italy, ca 1943. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3718201)

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. (IWM Photo NA5522)

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.

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. 3204885)

Sherman tank, Ontario Regiment, Colle d'Anchise, Italy, 26 Oct 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3576479)

Sherman V tank cammed up, Ontario Regimentt, San Angelo, Italy, May 1944.  (Alexander Stirton, Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA114462)

Sherman tank with the Ontario Regiment during the advance to Rome, Italy, 12 May 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574989)

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

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

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

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

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.

Ram tanks with unidentified crew members of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, England, 18 July 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3514100)

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

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.

 

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. 4542721 and 3514116)

Sherman Vc Firefly tank with turret reversed (larger storage box on the back of the turret), Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Caen, France, 11 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3226823)

Humber Mk. IV Armoured Car .  (IWM Photo MH 3702)

Humber Mk. I scout car, Sherbrooke Fusiliers, England, 20 Apr 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3514121)

Sherman tank of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Caen, Normandy, 10 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3192195)

Sherbrooke Fusiliers Sherman tank, Caen, Normandy.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA 192258)

The most prominent former member of the SFR is Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters who was later Director-General Training and Recruiting Canadian Forces.

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. 3397558 and 3514141)

The second most important artifact from WWII, 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. His death is usually attributed to a Firefly of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

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.

 LAV-25 Coyote, 12e régiment blindé du Canada.  (Photo courtesy of Jimderkairsser)

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

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.

Vickers Mk. VIB Light Tank, ca 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607612)

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.

 

Sherman Duplex Drive swimming tank with waterproof float screens lowered.  (IWM Photo, Wikipedia)

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.  (IWM photo H35179, Wikipedia)

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.  (Photo courtesy of Cevenol2)

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.

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 June 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.

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. 3405774)

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. 3405800)

German PzKpfW IV tank, knocked out by Canadians, Guchy, France, 9 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226723)

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).

Sherman Vc Firefly tank, 1st Hussars, Zetten, Netherlands, 20 Jan 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207720)

Major A. D'Arcy Marks and Captain A. Brandon Conron with a Sherman tank of "C" Squadron, 1st Hussars Regiment, Colomby-sur-Thaon, France, 28 June 1944.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205393)

The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC) - armoured reconnaissance

he 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.

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. 3378681)

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. 3191645)

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. 3405642)

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

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.

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. 3228470)

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. 3574228)

Personnel of Headquarters Squadron, British Columbia Regiment, with their Sherman tank, Brasschaet, Belgium, 14 October 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3211514)

Sherman tanks of Headquarters Squadron, The British Columbia Regiment, loading ammuntion prior to shelling a German position near Meppen, Germany, 8 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396351)

Ram II tank, outside the Beatty Street Armoury.  (Mike Thornley Photo)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, outside the Beatty Stree armoury.  (Mike Thornley Photo)

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.

Major D.V. Currie, VC, Breda, Holland, 25 Nov 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3943965)

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.

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. 3396233)

Major David V. Currie, VC, South Alberta Regiment, Humber Mk. I, Halte, Netherlands, 12 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3227188)

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. 3202103)

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. 4233163)

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

Sherman Ic hybrid Firefly tank, South Alberta Regiment, Calcar, Germany, Feb 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA113675)

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. 3401784)

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. 3228469).

Alligator amphibious vehicle, North Shore Regiment of New Brunswick near Terneuzen in the Netherlands, 13 Oct 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3230680)

Buffalo with the North Shore Regiment near Nijmegen, Netherlands, 8 Feb 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3525752)

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.

Buffalos transporting Cdn troops, Scheldt, 13 Oct 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3623235)

Buffalo with German Prisoners of WAR (PW),  Scheldt, Netherlands, 13 Oct 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191675)

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.

Alligator LVTs and Terrapin Amphibious vehicles operating in the Scheldt, Netherlands, Oct 1944.  (DND Photos)

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.

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

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.

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. 3404613)

Churchill Crocodile flamethrower tank, 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607884)

Churchill tank, on display at the Military Museums, Calgary.  (Author Photos)

 

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. 319473)

"Buttercup", an abandoned Churchill tank of the Calgary Regiment, left on the beach at Dieppe.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4969643)

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

M4A4 Sherman tank, 14th Canadian Tank Regiment (Calgary Regt), Reggio, Italy, 3 Sep 1943.  (IWM Photo, NA6209)

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, 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, left, and being towed out of trouble on the right.  (Alexander M. Stirton, Library and Archives Canada Photo)

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. 3229204)

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. 3585916

 

Sherman Tank crew, 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank)) in Italy, 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 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. 3202313)

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

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

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.

M3 Lee medium tanks, British Columbia Dragoons, Headley Down, UK, 12 Mar 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223022)

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 Gradarapossibly 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. 3718093)

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. 3223023)

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

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.  (Al Dadds Photo)

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.

Fort Garry Horse, Flail tank, Operation TRACTABLE, Bretteville-le-Rabet, France, 14 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396203)

Fort Garry Horse, Shermans & Mail Jeep, Putte, Belgium, 11 Oct 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206454)

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. 3228088)

 

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

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. 3257122)

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

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. 3229612)

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. 3209748)

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. 3524187)

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. 3228083)
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.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405701)

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. 

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.  (Photo courtesy of Dennis Giguere)

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.  (Author Photos)

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.

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.  (Author Photos)

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

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. 3517271)

Infantrymen of The Essex Scottish Regiment lying in a ditch to avoid German sniper fire en route to Groningen, Netherlands, 14 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396411)

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.

Infantrymen of The Essex Scottish Regiment in Universal Carriers, 13 Apr 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205594)

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).

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. 3206255)

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

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

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. 3202099).

12th Manitoba Dragoons Troopers on a General Motors Staghound T17E1, near Caen, France, 19 July 1944(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225543

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. 3225545)

General Motors Staghound T17E1, 18th Armoured Car Regiment, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, acrossing the Seine River, 28 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191574)

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. 

General Motors T-17E1 Staghound, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, UK, 30 Dec 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224498)

General Motors T-17E1 Staghound, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Elbeuf, France, 28 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524437)

General Motors Staghound T-17E1 armoured car of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Blankenberghe, Belgium, 11 September 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202102)

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

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).

Universal Carrier, 14th Hussars, Beveland, Holland, 1 Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3237870)

Polish 1st Armoured Division, First Canadian Army

Soldiers of the Polish 1st Armoured Division, France, 7 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397995)

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.

Tank Support to the Canadian Corps in the First World War (1914-1918)

 (Anthony Sewards Photo)

1st Canadian Tank Battalion cap badge, collar dogs and shoulder flashes.

2nd Canadian Tank Battalion, 3rd Canadian Tank Battalion and Canadian Tank Corps badges.  (E Bay Photos)

**

British tanks advancing on Vimy Ridge, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395270)

His Majesty's Land Ship (HMLS) Canada, Canadian commanded British tank of the Great War June 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395254)

British First World War tank.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3395261)

On 15 September 1916, seven British tanks attached to Brigadier-General Brutinel’s Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade supported the Canadian attack on Courcellette, France during the Battle of the Somme.  British tanks also supported the Canadian Corps during the 8 August 1918 Amiens offensive.[1]

One detachment of three tanks was tasked to support the 2nd Canadian Division‘s 4th Infantry Brigade.  Another detachment of three was to work with the 6th Brigade, while the seventh tank was held in reserve.  One of the first tanks Brutinel inspected was a male tank, which meant that it was equipped with two 6 pounder Hotchkiss guns, was given the nickname Crème de Menthe.  The second tank, named Cordon Rouge, was a female version with a complement of Vickers machine-guns.  Two more tanks in the section were named Cupid, a male, and Cognac, a female.  During the battle, only one of the tanks, Crème de Menthe, was able to get into the German lines.  A soldier described seeing “a landship named the L.S. Crème de Menthe pass ahead, and go right up to the walls…its guns blazing…and the monster roared into the fort, while we could see the Germans streaming out behind it, offering an excellent target to the riflemen in the shell holes.”[2]

Although the 1st Canadian Tank Battalion was formally created by an Order-in-Council on 19 April 1918, the war ended before it could be employed.  Canada raised three tank battalions that together with a brigade headquarters, supply and workshop companies and a depot, would have comprised the Canadian Tank Brigade.  The 2nd Canadian Tank Battalion was formed in the UK and the 3rd Canadian Tank Battalion was being organized in Canada when the armistice was signed.  Originally, these tank units were designated as part of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, but on 29 Nov 1919, they were assigned to the very short lived Canadian Tank Corps.[3]

[1] Roger V. Lucy, Early Armour in Canadian Service, (Ottawa, Service Publications, 2009), p. 5.

[2] Michael R. McNorgan, Great War Tanks in Canadian Service, (Ottawa, Service Publications, 2009), p. 5.

[3] Roger V. Lucy, Early Armour in Canadian Service, (Ottawa, Service Publications, 2009), p. 6.

British First World War tank with Canadian soldiers on board, Amiens, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3405524)

British First World War tank with Canadian soldiers on board, Amiens, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3405525). 

British First World War tank marked TORONTO, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No.  3395386)

British tank damaged, Battle of Amiens, Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3395387)

Canadian soldiers advancing with a British Mk. II Male tank at Vimy, April 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522713)

British tank fresh from the factory, Wm. Foster & Co, Lincoln, UK.  ((Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395115)

British tank, Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3395259)

British tank, Nov 1916.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397301)

British tank, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395260)

British tank, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395267)

British First World War  tank, Vimy, Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada  Photo, MIKAN No. 3522071)

British late First World War  tank.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  33521931)

British First World War  tank, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3395263)

British Mark V “male” tank, showing short 6-pounder (57-mm) Hotchkiss gun in right sponson.  (Photo courtesy of United Kingdom Government)

Tanks preparing to go into action, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395266)

Tanks preparing to go into action, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395271)

Tanks preparing to go into action, July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395384)

Tanks preparing to go into action July 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395390)

British tank, Hourges, Battle of Amiens, 9 Aug 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395394)

British Great War tank "Britannia" in the Victory Loan parade, Toronto, 2 Nov 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395405)

According to Robert Robinson, this tank visited over 40 Cities, towns and camps in the USA and Canada between Oct 1917 and Jan 1919 (some more than once).  "Britannia" visited Canada twice, in 1917 and 1918.  She was in Toronto on both occasions and also in Hamilton and Montreal on at least one.  The early photos show she did not have the name "Britannia" on her front glacis plate during the first visit.  The tank underwent a makeover in Chacago after mid-1918.  "Britannia" was used to recruit British and Canadian soldiers (and some Jewish and Armenian volunteers as well).  It helped sell very large amounts of war bonds in both countries and even starred in a Broadway Musical!  Four US presidents (past, present and future) were involved in the visit these being Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Coolidge and Eisenhower.

The tank crew, under Captain Richard Haig (no relation to the Field Marshal) left for Britain after the 1918 visit, but the tank which had been transferred to the US Army went back to the USA.  The officer marching in front of the tank (shown below) is Captain Haig .  His stiff walk, due to his being shot through the knee in 1917 is apparent. He was the author of "Life in a Tank" (which is now available on the Internet for free down load). 

The 301st Us Tank battalion which had operated with British heavy tanks alongside the British Tank Corps in 1918 brought their surviving Mk V and V* tanks back to Camp Colt in Oregon and it joined them. The First Battalion Canadian Tank Corps were still training in Britain when the war ended and returned without their tanks. 

"Britannia" was located at Camp Polk, Oregon, in January 1919 after the crew had gone home.  It was one of a number of tanks which were transferred to the new US Army training camp at Camp Colt, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The US 301st heavy tank battalion carried  out a number of destructive tests of Anti-Tank (AT) mines in the early 1920s using one or more Mk IV tanks and this may have been the final fate of "Britannia".  

The U.S. Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center at Aberdeen, Maryland, has claimed that their tank is the former "Britannia" but as "Britannia" had a cab roof hatch (probably being a converted Mk IV supply tank with female sponsons) and the Aberdeen tank has no such hatch this is unlikely.  The US Army took delivery of a number of Mk IVs in Nov 1918 and the tank at Aberdeen is likely to be one of these.

British Great War tank Britannia in the Victory Loan parade, Toronto, 2 Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3408624)

British Great War tank "Britannia" in the Victory Loan parade, Queen Street, Toronto, 2 Nov 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3362109)

British Great War tank Britannia in the Victory Loan parade, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, 19 Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395404)

British Great War tank Britannia in the Victory Loan parade, Toronto, 2 Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395404)

British tank Britannia,  female tank, being tested at Camp Camp Yaphank, New York on 1 Feb 1918.  (NARA Photo)

Factory fresh Whippet tank, Wm. Foster & Co, Lincoln, England, ca. 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395114)

Turreted 4-wheel drive Jeffrey armoured truck, armed with two Colt machine-guns.  Originally developed for use by the Eaton Machine Gun Battery, T40s were ordered by Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, at a cost of $242,000.  This vehicle is on display at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, Toronto, Ontario, 1 Sep 1915.  Initially sent to the UK, they went unused until shipped to India and Ireland a year later.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395133)

Turreted 4-wheel drive Jeffrey armoured trucks, on display at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, Toronto, Ontario, 4 Sep 1915.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395131)

The Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade, also known as Brutinel's Brigade or the Brutinel Brigade, was the first fully motorized unit of the Canadian Army.   It was established on August 24, 1914 in Ottawa, Canada, as Automobile Machine Gun Brigade No. 1 by Canadian  Brigadier-General Raymond Brutinel, who initiated the program and was the unit's first commander.  The unit played a significant part in halting the major German offensive of March 1918.

The Brigade was originally equipped with eight Armoured Autocars mounting two Colt Model 1914 machine guns (later replaced with the standard British .303-inch Vickers MG) manufactured by Autocar in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.  Autocar also supplied six unarmoured support vehicles, four "roadsters" for the Brigade's officers, and an ambulance.

In 1918 Brutinel's force consisted of 1st and 2nd Canadian Motor MG Brigades (each of 5x8 gun batteries), Canadian Cyclist battalion, one section of medium trench mortars mounted on lorries (plus an assumed wireless and medical support).  This totalled 80 machine guns and about 300 cyclist infantry.

 

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade.  A few of the eight carriers of Brutinel's Brigade, April 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395367)

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade.  A few of the eight carriers of Brutinel's Brigade, April 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395368)

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade,  Amiens, France, Aug 1918.  Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522240)

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade,  Amiens, France, Aug 1918.  Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395366)

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade vehicles being inspected by HRH the Duke of Connaught, ca 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522760)

Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade vehicle casualties, ca 1918.  (German Army Photo)

 

Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, Arras-Cambrai Road, France, Sep 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522326)

Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, Arras-Cambrai Road, France, Sep 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 3522327)

Rolls Royce armoured car, No. 8 Armoured Car Sqn, March 1916, German East Africa.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395063)

   

Renault tank, Arras, France, Sep 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522273)

Renault tank in Allied service during the Great War, Sep 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522286)

French First World War Schneider et Saint Chamond CA 1 tank loaded on a train in Toronto, Ontario, 2 Nov 1918.  (John Boyd, Library  and Archives Canada Photo). 

French First World War Schneider et Saint Chamond CA 1 tank No. 61285, loaded on a train in Toronto, Ontario, 2 Nov 1918.  (John Boyd, Library  and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3401750). 

According to research by Robert Robinson, a French Schneider tank that had served with Groupe AS 17 du Groupement n° IV and that had seen action in France, was presented to Boston.  For some reason this tank was shipped through Canada on the Grand Trunk Railway as shown here in the railway yards in Toronto.   Its unit markings, an Ace of Hearts inside an inverted triangle can be seen on the side and rear of the tank. 

It was eventually displayed as the Soldiers and Sailors monument on Boston Common for a number of years as shown here identified as a Schnider M2 tank in the fall of 1918.  This tank was commanded by MdL Jean-Francois Caron of the 12th tank of the 12th Battery of Lt Lussigny.  Its first engagement took place on 9 July 1918 in l'Oise during an attack on a farm near Porte along with the 3rd Battalion of the 404th RI.  Group AS 17 was re-engaged in the Chaudun Sector from 18-25 July.  Lt Lussigny's Battery was engaged in this battle along with the 8th Zouaves.  Four tanks were put out of action at the head of the Lechelle ravine and MdL Jean Francois Caron was killed during the battle.  This was the last battle of Schneider tank No. 61285.  Repairs were made with the intention of using the tank in a a battle near St Mihiel in the Argonne forest.  An artillery report at the time noted several Schneider tanks were being repaired near Chaudun, but did not list No. 61285.  It may have been used in the battles from 12-26 Sep 1918 at St Mihiel in the Argonne alongside the Americans.  It was possibly the one transferred to the Americans when France gave them one Schneider and four Renault FT tanks.  The photos of the Schneider on the railcar in Toronto are also reported as being taken on 3 Nov 1918.  Its subsequent fate afterwards is murky, but it may have been the Schneider tank located at Aberdeen, Maryland for a while. 

A second Schneider tank, No. 62779, was sent to the USA on 28 July 1919.  This tank had reportedly been knocked out by a German shell at the Battle of Chateau Thierry, but no records have been found to confirm this.  It was given by the French government to commemorate the service of some 150 Vassar women during and after the First World War.  It was dedicated on 11 Nov 1920 and placed on display on the campus between Jewett and Josselyn Halls at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.  It may have been named "Fleur d'Amour".  No. 62779 deteriorated and was dismantled and removed ca 21 June 1934.  

 (Thesupermat Photo)

The sole surviving Schnieder tank, No. 62770, has been restored and is on display at the Musee des Blindes, Saumur, France. 

The Schneider CA 1 (originally named the Schneider CA) was the first French tank.  The Schneider tank was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare which on the Western Front prevailed during most of the Great War.  It specifically had to open passages for the infantry through barbed wire and then to suppress German machine gun nests.  After a first concept by Jacques Quellennec devised in November 1914, the type was developed from May 1915 onwards by engineer Eugène Brillié, paralleling British development of tanks the same year.  Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne in December 1915 began to urge for the formation of French armour units, leading to an order in February 1916 of four hundred Schneider CA tanks, which were manufactured by SOMUA, a subsidiary of Schneider located in a suburb of Paris, between September 1916 and August 1918.  The tank was of the "box" type, lacking a turret, with the main armament, a short 75 mm cannon, in the right side.  Generally it is considered a very imperfect design, even for its day, because of a poor lay-out, insufficient fire-power, a cramped interior and inferior mobility due to an overhanging nose section.  Improved designs were almost immediately initiated but the production of these, the Schneider CA 2, CA 3 and CA 4, was eventually cancelled.  The Schneider CA 1 tanks were widely used in combat during the last war years.  Their first action on 16 April 1917 was largely a failure, the tank units suffering heavy losses, but subsequent engagements were more successful.  In 1918 the Schneider tanks played an important role in halting the German Spring Offensive and breaking the German front in the French summer offensives.  They were active until the end of September 1918, less than two months before the Armistice of 11 November 1918, their numbers having dropped considerably due to attrition.  After the war the surviving tanks were mostly rebuilt as utility vehicles but six Schneider tanks were deployed by Spain in the Rif War in Morocco, and the type saw its last action in the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.  Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schneider_CA1.

Armour used by Canadians between the wars

Mk VIII Liberty tank.  (Library of Congress Photo No. hec.30686)

Mk. VIII Liberty tank being ferried across a river during a training exercise.  (US Army Photo)

Mk. VIII Liberty tank.  (US Army Photo)

Mk. VIII Liberty Tank.  (US Army Photo)

The Tank Mark VIII also known as the Liberty or The International was an Anglo-American tank design of the First World War intended to overcome the limitations of the earlier British designs and be a collaborative effort to equip France, the UK and the US with a single heavy tank design.  Only a few vehicles were produced before the end of the war in November 1918.  After the war, 100 vehicles assembled in the US were used by the US Army until more advanced designs replaced them in 1932.  A few tanks that had not been scrapped by the start of the Second World War were provided to Canada for training purposes.


Canadian armour and infantry observing the aerial bombing of German positions from a forming up point (FUP) on the Caen-Falaise Road, in preparation for continued heavy fighting through Normandy France, 8 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4164905)

Canadian Tanks and Armour in the Second World War

 

M1917 tanks arrive at Camp Borden, Oct 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3563837)

The M1917 was operated by a two-man crew and was armed with either a short 37-mm gun or a Browning .30-calibre machine-gun.  The tank was powered by an American four-cylinder 42-hp water-cooled Buda engine.  It had a top speed of 7 kmh (5 mph).  The Department of Munitions and Supply (DMS) was authorized to purchace 250 of these tanks.  A total of 236 were actually acquired and sent to Camp Borden.

M1917 tanks arrive at Camp Borden, Oct 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3325255)

M1917 tanks on exercise at Camp Borden, Oct 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.)

M1917 tank, Camp Borden, Maj Gordon Churchill, 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613389)

M1917 tank being examined by Col F.F. Worthington, Camp Borden, Oct 1940.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3325256)

Fox Heavy Reconnaissance Car with MGen F.F. Worthington in front of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232408)

2-pounder Anti-Tank gun mounted on a Universal Carrier, Camp Borden, Ontario, ca 1940.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607969)

Valentine tank, Angus Workshops, Montreal, 23 May 1941.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3195889)

Valentine (Cruiser) tank armed with a 2-pounder gun under construction in Montreal, 23 May 1941.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 31925884). 

The Valentine Infantry Tank Mk. III built by the CPR Angus Shops in Montreal, Quebec, was designed for the support of infantry in attack.  It entered production in England in 1940 and in Canada in 1941.  The first examples of this tank with a three-man turret went to the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicles Training Centre at Camp Borden where they were used for gunnery and tank commander training.  1,390 Canadian produced Valentines were sent to Russia, while 30 remained in Canada for trials and training.  Valentines were powered by a General Motors 6-cylinder, 2-cycle Diesel Engine and equipped with three-wheel Bogie assemblies.  Its main armament was an Ordnance QF 2-pounder Mk. IX gun and a .30-calibre Brownning M1919A4 machine-gun co-axially mounted on the mantlet.  War department numbers for the 30 Valentines in Canada ran from CT-138916 to CT-148945.

Valentine Bridgelayer tank, near Melfa, Italy, 23 May 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586332)

Ram Mk. I armed with the early 2-pounder gun in 1941  This was the first of these tanks built at the Montreal Locomotive works.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3554045)

Ram I tank crew, 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Aldershot, England, 24 Dec 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3525210)

Ram II tanks armed with 6-pounder guns on maneuvers, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232743)

Ram II tank with 6-pounder gun, marked No. 4, Canadian Armoured Corps Training Establishment, Camp Borden, Ontario, 7 July 1943.  (Lt Ken Bell Photo, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3587207)

 

Ram II tanks, Camp Borden.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232610)

Ram II tanks armed with a Mk. V 6-pounder gun mounted in the Mk. II mantlet, Camp Borden, Ontario.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232757)

Ram II tanks, Camp Borden.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232617)

 

Ram II tanks, Camp Borden.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232753)

Ram II tanks on maneuvers, ca. 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, WRC-3176)

 

Ram II on maneuvers in the UK, 22 Dec 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3587045)

Ram II tanks on manouevres in the UK, ca. 1943. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233146)

Canadian tanks, moving into position in support of an attack south of Caen, France, June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233173

Sherman V Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) Mk. I, Authie, Normandy, France July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA116535)

Sherman V Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) Mk. I, moving into position in support of an attack south of Caen, France, June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233174)

M3 Lee Tanks on a railway car, Buffalo, New York, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3285309)

M3 Lee medium tank in Canadian service on maneuvers in England, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607523)

M2A4 Stuart light tank with protective cover, England, 27 Mar 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3590671)

M4A4 Sherman V tanks of the Southern Alberta Regiment (SAR) and M5A1 Stuart tanks of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, a Ram II Observation (OP) tank with false wooden gun, Willys jeeps, Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) trucks and a Humber armoured car in the centre, laagered in the village square of Bergen-op-Zoom in the Netherlands, 31 Oct 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191555)

Troopers of a Canadian armoured brigade getting out of a new General Motors Canada fifteen-hundred weight armoured truck near Nijmegen, Netherlands, 5 December 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3262645)

Ram OP in Normandy.  84 of these were manufactured at the very end of Ram production.  It was a Ram II fitted with a dummy gun in place and two No. 19 Wireless sets inside.  These tanks accompanied the Sexton S.P. gun regiments as mobile observation posts for their FOOs.  (Anthony Seward)

Priest Kangaroo (aka "Defrocked Priest") converted into an Artillery Command Vehicle, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, moving into Delden, Netherlands, 4 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194297)

Gen Eisenhower visiting units of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Gen Harry Crerar, centre.  29 Nov 1944.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194838)

Kangaroo used by The Fort Garry Horse as an armoured ambulance, Holten, Netherlands, 8 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205159)

1st Cdn. Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment "Kangaroos" 1945 N.W. Europe. Squadron formed in Aug. 1944, Regiment formed in Aug. 1944, Served from Normandy to Oldenburg.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613390)

1st Cdn. Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment (Kangaroos) 1945 N.W. Europe. Sqn formed Aug. 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo,MIKAN No. 3613391)

Sexton 25-pounder SP Gun, NW Europe, Nov 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3197576)

M7B2 Priest 105-mm SP Gun, Gothic Line, Italy, Sep 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3512556)

 

M7B2 Priest 105-mm SP Gun, 34 Battery, 14th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, France, 20 June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205227)

M7B2 Priest of the RCA being inspected by King George VI, 25 Apr 1944.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191596)

Canadian Skink 20 mm Quad Anti-Aircraft Tank.  (DND Photo courtesy of Clive Law)

Canadian Skink 20 mm Quad Anti-Aircraft Tank.  (DND Photo courtesy of Clive Law)

Crusader Tank.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607599)

The Tank, Cruiser, Mk. VI or A15 Crusader was one of the primary British cruiser during the early part of the Second World War.  Over 5,000 tanks were manufactured and they made important contributions to the British victories during the North African Campaign.  The Crusader tank would not see active service beyond Africa, but the chassis of the tank was modified to create anti-aircraft, fire support, observation, communication, bulldozer and recovery vehicle variants, a number of which were used by the Canadian Army.

Daimler Armoured Car, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 28 May 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191619)

Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car, Sallenelles, France.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233183)

Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car, Sallenelles, France.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233182)

GMC C15TA armoured trucks with RHLI troops, Krabbendijke, Netherlands, 27 Oct 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205115)

The General Motors of Canada (GMC) C15TA Armoured Truck was based on the GMC Otter Light Armoured Reconnaissance Car which married the Chevrolet C15A Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) four-wheel-drive chassis, the GM 270-cubic-inch engine, and an armoured body built by the Hamilton bBidge Company.  From the front the vehicle resembled the Otter, while the rear was similar to the White Scout Car.  Its armour was only shoulder high, with weather protection provided by a canvas cover.  It came with run-flat tires and could hold an eight-man crew and their equipment.  The cab seating had two men facing outwards on each side, two faced the rear and two sat in the driver's compartment.  With some modification it could serve as an eight-man APC or as an armoured ambulance or load carrier.  From late 1943 to June 1945, GMC Oshawa built a total 3,961 C15TAs for British and Canadian contracts.  A number of these vehicles remained in military service in Canada after the war until July 1953.

GMC C15TA Armoured Truck, 13 Feb 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607686)

Heavy Transport Truck, Canadian Army, 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3356798)

Newly manufactured Sherman tank, ca. 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232685)

Infantrymen of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada passing Sherman tanks en route to cross the Orne River near Caen, France, 18 July 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205609)

Sherman Flail tank coming ashore from an Landing Craft Tank (LCT), Walcheren Island, the Netherlands, 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3614385)

Sherman Command tank ( nick-named Vancouver) commanded by MGen B.M. Hoffmeister, GOC 5th Canadian Armoured Division, at the Melfa River crossing near Castrocielo, Italy, 26 May 1944.  Command tanks were fitted with an extra radio beside the co-driver.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574213)

Major-General B.M. Hoffmeister, General Officer Commanding 5th Canadian Armoured Division, in the turret of the Sherman tank "Vancouver" near Castrocielo, Italy, 23 May 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3576486)

Sherman V tank on exercise in the UK, 5-10 June 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3600192)

Sherman Firefly Vc Tank being loaded onto an LST, ca 1944.  This tank has a counterweight on the turret bustle shown as the gun is traversed over the back deck.  The Firefly IC had a cast forward hull.  Also, there is no bow gunner/radio operator position, as that position was used for extra ammo for the main gun.  There is also an added armour plate in from of the drivers position and where the bow gunner used to be.  This particular tank was a "mutt", as it was part VC and part Sherman. They took a Firefly turret off of one that had the hull knocked out and slammed it on a Sherman hull.  Later the unit was issued a proper VC.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 416670).

M4 Sherman tank fitted with a dozer attachment performs roadwork.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3883694)

Cromwell Tank moving into position for an attack south of Caen, France, June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233175)

Cromwell Tank moving into position for an attack south of Caen, France, June 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233176)

DUKW with Canadian troops, Normandy, June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233777)

Dingo Armoured Car, 8th Royal Scots & 1 Canadian Parachute Battalion after crossing the Rhine, Bergerfarth, Germany, 25 Mar 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524486)

Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car test, Oshawa, Ontario, June 1943. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3196712)

Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car, "Flash", crew chatting with partisans, Bagnacavallo, Italy, 3 Jan 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3240447)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607603)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car.  (DND Photo)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.  (Author Photo)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car, (Serial No. CM4647096), RCA Museum, CFB Shilo, Manitoba.  (Clive Prothero-Brooks Photo)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car, (Serial No. CM4647096), RCA Museum, CFB Shilo, Manitoba.  (Clive Prothero-Brooks Photo)

Otter Mk. 1 Light Reconnaissance Car, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, Apeldoorn, Netherlands, 19 Apr 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396466)

Humber Mk. I Scout car, Falaise, France, 17 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206554)

Humber light reconnaissance car, Caen, France, 11 July 1944.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206446)

Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car, abandoned on the beach after the Dieppe Raid.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194752)

MGen Charles Foulkes, 1st Canadian Army in an armoured car named "Bardia".  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233281)

Humber Mk. III Armoured Car.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607595)

Canadian Humber Mk. III Armoured cars move across the Seine River, 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233288)

Standard Car 4x2, or Car Armoured Light Standard, better known as the Beaverette.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3604329)

Standard Car 4x2, or Car Armoured Light Standard, better known as the Beaverette.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3604330)

Standard Car 4x2, or Car Armoured Light Standard, better known as the Beaverette.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3604331

Morris Mk. I Armoured Car.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607961)

The Morris Mark I was used in infantry division reconnaissance regiments in the United Kingdom, and the 1st Canadian Infantry Division used them in Sicily and Italy. The Morris LRC was built by Morris Motor Company, and had an unusual configuration in that the three-man crew sat side by side, with the driver in the middle, a Bren Gun turret on the right side, and another crewman on the left with access to both a Boys Anti-Tank Rifle and a radio. The Mark I was a 2-wheel drive machine. Armour: 8-14mm.

Alligator with Universal Carrier, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, Rhine River, west of Rees, Germany, 24 Mar 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199886)

Infantrymen of the Toronto Scottish Regiment in their Universal Carrier, Nieuport, Belgium, 9 Sep 1944.  Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3262696)

Universal Carrier with high box siding, The Highland Light Infantry of Canada, England, 19 May 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199411)

Personnel of I Troop, 94 Battery, 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), riding an M-10 armoured vehicle aboard a Rhino ferry, Bernières-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3227153)

Infantrymen of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment and a Sherman V tank of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division awaiting orders to go through a roadblock, Wertle, Germany, 11 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223903)

A Sherman Vc Firefly of 5th Canadian Armoured Division assists troops of 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers, 49th (West Riding) Division to clear the Germans from Ede, Netherlands, 17 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. unknown)

Sherman tanks captured and used by the Germans, Armsfoot, Netherlands, 10 May 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3401790)

Universal Carrier with Vickers  .303-inch machine-gun, Saskatoon Light Infantry, Italy, 8 Mar 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520400)

Universal Carrier with Vickers .303-inch machine-gun, Saskatoon Light Infantry, Laurenzana, Italy, 19 Sep 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520408)

Universal Carrier, 4th Field Regt, RCA, Vaucelles, France, 20 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3222766)

Sergeant E. Owen (foreground) conducting an Orders (O) Ggroup for personnel of No.1 Protective Troop, Headquarters Squadron, 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade, alongside a Sherman tank, Vaucelles, France, 7 August 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3530147

Universal Carrier, Canadian soldiers 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade & German Prisoners of War, Authie, France, 9 Jul 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3198828)

Loyd Carrier of the Overseas Canadian Training School (note four road wheels and modified box chassis) armed with a .303-inch Vickers machine-gun.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607580)

Universal Carrier on a training exercise in the UK, 18 October 1940.  The crew are demonstrating the use of the 2-inch mortar in the rear and Bren gun on an anti-aircraft mounting.  (Government of the United Kingdom Photo)

Canadian Armour post Second World War

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank, Petawawa, Ontario, ca. 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234038)

Canadian Sherman M4A2(76)W HVSS tank (CFR No. 78-874), Camp Petawawa, ca. 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234039). 

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.

Centurion tank on exercise, Camp Gagetown, summer 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235213)

Centurion tank on exercise, Camp Gagetown, summer 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235424)

 

Centurion tank on exercise, Camp Gagetown, summer 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235505)

Centurion tank on exercise, Camp Gagetown, summer 1963.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235506)

 

Centurion Main Battle Tank, Armour training, ca 1965.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 42342260)

Officer cadets at Royal Canadian Armoured Corps School prepare ammunition for loading into Centurion tank at Meaford Tank Range, 3 Aug 1967.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4746855)

The author was transported on the back of this Centurion tank with other soldiers during a "Waincon" exercise at Camp Wainwright, Alberta in May 1975.

 

M113 APC, soldier with FNC1 rifle.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235868)

M113 APC, Severn River, Ontario.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235941)

 

M113 APC, Severn River, Ontario.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235944)

M113 APC, Severn River, Ontario.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235948)

M113 with TOW launcher and .50 HMG, Ex Brave Lion, 1986.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3931030)

Exercise Brave Lion was designed to test the Canadian Air-Sea Transportable Brigade Group, or CAST, whic was a Canadian Forces battle group dedicated to the rapid reinforcement of Norway in the event of a land war in Europe.  The Group was based on a mechanized infantry brigade, supported by two Rapid Reinforcement Fighter Squadrons equipped with Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighters and a variety of supporting units.  Manpower varied between 4,800 and 5,500 troops depending on how it was counted.  CAST formed in 1968 as part of a widespread realignment of Canadian forces in Europe, and disbanded again in 1989 when the Forces were recombined into larger battalion sized group in West Germany.

M113 C & R Lynx boarding a barge on exercise, Bavaria, Germany, 1964.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4221652)

Bandvagen BV-206 on operations 1988.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3930991)

 

AVGP Grizzly on exercise, Brennfjell, Norway, 30 Mar 1984.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3930986)

AVGP Grizzly on exercise, Skibotn, Norway, 1984.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3930983)

LAV III on duty, heading out of the Engineer Compound at 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick, 5 May 2014.  (Author Photo)

Bison Maintenance vehicle, call sign 88A, Kabul Airfield, Afghanistan, 2003, with a Lockheed CC-130 Hercules in the background.  (CF Photo)

LAV III, Armour School, ready to go to the field 5 CDSB Gagetown, Oct 2016.

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

The Canadian Army acquired 80 Leopard 2A4 and 20 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Netherlands in 2007.  Twenty Leopard 2A6M were borrowed from the German Army beginning in mid-2007 to support the Canadian deployment to Afghanistan, with the first tank handed over after upgrading by KMW on 2 August 2007, and arriving in Afghanistan on 16 August 16, 2007.  Two Bergepanzer 3 Büffel were purchased from the German Army for use with the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan.  An additional fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks were purchased from the German Army as Logistic Supply Vehicles (for spare parts).  A further 12 surplus Pz 87 were purchased from Switzerland in 2011 for conversion to armoured recovery vehicles.  A final total of 112 tanks of all variants is to be fielded by the Canadian Army: 82 gun tanks (42 2A4+, 20 2A4M CAN and 20 2A6M CAN - all delivered as of March 2016),  12 ARVs (11 of 12 delivered as of March 2016) and 18 AEVs (conversion of which is ongoing).

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849068)

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4886180)

The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) is designed to recover and tow vehicles bogged down or disabled by enemy action or mechanical failure.  It is also capable of carrying out bulldozing operations, changing components such as turrets on other vehicles, and fuelling vehicles. The winch has a 35,000 kg pull, up to 100,000 kg at 3 to 1 mechanical advantage.  The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle can pull maximum transmission unit power packs and, in a pinch, can pull the entire Leopard C2 turret, including the 105-mm gun.

Taurus ARV, Masum Ghar, Afghanistan. (CF Photo)

Wisent 2 Armoured Engineer Vehicle (AEV), 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, 24 Nov 2016.  (Author Photo)

The Wisent 2 Armoured Engineering Vehicle is is based on the Leopard 2 main battle tank and is designed to provide engineer support to mechanized combat forces. It is one of 17 produced by FFG in New Brunswick for the Canadian Army.  The Wisent 2 is capable of performing a wide range of tasks under battlefield conditions including dozing, ripping, excavating, craning, grappling, welding, cutting, winching, and towing”.

  (Author Photo)

MTV-R (Mobile Tactical Vehicle Recovery) Recovery vehicle, equipped with a 20,000 kg winch and an integrated crane.  This is an M113 ARV variant with Palfinger crane, Armour School lines, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.