Introduction to the Study of MILITARY HISTORY for Canadian Students Edited by COLONEL C.P. STACEY, O.C., O.B.E., C.D., FORMER DIRECTOR, DIRECTORATE OF HISTORY, CANADIAN FORCES HEADQUARTERS OTTAWA Sixth Edition, 4th Revision DIRECTORATE OF TRAINING CANADIAN FORCES HEADQUARTERS Introduction to the Study of MILITARY HISTORY for Canadian Students Edited by COLONEL C.P. STACEY, O.C., O.B.E., C.D., FORMER DIRECTOR, DIRECTORATE OF HISTORY, CANADIAN FORCES HEADQUARTERS OTTAWA Sixth Edition, 4th Revision DIRECTORATE OF TRAINING CANADIAN FORCES HEADQUARTERS PREFACE This sixth edition, 4th revision of Military History for Canadian Students has been published in response to a continuing demand, particularly by the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. Revisions have been limited to minor textual changes, and the book lists have been brought up to date. In its present form, this book continues to serve as a useful introduction to the study of military history. W.A.B. Douglas Director of History National Defence Headquarters ii F O R E W O R D THE STUDY OF MILITARY HISTORY This pamphlet is designed to provide an introduction to the study of mili- tary history suitable for Canadian students and particularly for members of the Canadian Officers Training Corps. It is not intended to provide in itself a completely adequate account of the subject, but merely to supplement other books such as Colonel A. H. Burne’s The Art of War on Land. Books by British and American authors usually take little account of Canadian aspects of military history, and while it is obviously desirable that Canadian students should not limit their knowledge of the subject to Canadian campaigns, it is equally important that they should know some- thing of the military history of their own country. This pamphlet, accordingly, offers nine examples of campaigns of Canadian interest chosen from different periods of history. It also includes a very brief history of the development of Canadian Army organization. All this material is reprinted from the Canadian Army Journal. The comments on the campaigns are presented mainly in terms of the usu- ally accepted Principles of War. Those principles, in the form adopted by the Canadian Chiefs of Staff, are printed as an appendix. Another appendix offers definitions of a few military terms with which the student requires to be fa- miliar. A very brief list of books for further reading is also included. Some knowledge of military history is an essential part of any officer’s education. It is unnecessary to labour the argument. There has been no great modern commander who has not been in some degree a student of war; and while it might be argued that changing conditions and changing weapons reduce the value of the study of the campaigns of the past, the fact remains that the fundamental problems and principles of military leadership do not change as a result of technological advances. The Principles of War can be illustrated from ancient as well as modern campaigns. There is in fact no campaign, of whatever date, from which something cannot be learned con- cerning the behaviour of human beings at war. iii The intelligent officer will not of course expect the study of history to pro- vide him with formulas to overcome every situation that may confront him. An officer who tries to solve his problems by consciously searching the historical precedents will not have a long career. Nevertheless, the judicious study of history can be an essential aid even in tactical or administrative matters. This is particularly the case, naturally, with recent history. Many lessons have been learned over and over again, at unnecessary cost in lives, simply because of neglect of the experience of the past. It is not in matters of tactical detail, however, that military history makes its main contribution to the education of a soldier. The historical study of military institutions and campaigns is an admirable method of training and conditioning the mind for the solution of the problems of the present and the future. By thoughtfully reading the records of the campaigns and great captains of the past the modern soldier can discover the qualities of mind and heart which go to the making of a great commander, and can thereby prepare himself for his own future tasks. “Providence”, says Colonel G. F. R. Henderson in his life of Stonewall Jackson, “is more inclined to side with the big brains than with the big battalions.” Jackson’s own career is evidence that the best means of training the intellect for the larger problems of command is the study of past wars. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE ii FOREWORD: The Study of Military History iii THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY I: The First Two Centuries: The Old Militia...............................1 II: The Volunteer Militia, 1855-1902 ........................................11 III: The Early Twentieth Century, 1902-1918 ............................22 IV: The Canadian Army, 1919-1953 ..........................................31 CAMPAIGNS AND BATTLES, 1690-1945 SIR WILLIAM PHIPS’ ATTACK ON QUEBEC, 1690 ...............47 THE CONQUEST OF CANADA, 1758-1760...............................57 THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA, 1812 ..............................65 THE NORTH-WEST CAMPAIGN, 1885 .....................................75 THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE, 1917.....................................86 THE BATTLE OF AMIENS, 1918 ................................................98 THE CONQUEST OF SICILY, 1943 ..........................................109 THE NORMANDY ASSAULT, 1944 .........................................122 THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT, 1944...................................134 APPENDICES A: The Principles of War ..............................................................147 B: Glossary of Some Basic Terms Commonly Used in Military History ..........................................................150 C: Books for Further Reading.......................................................151 MAPS The Attack on Quebec, 1690 ........................................................51 The Conquest of Canada, 1758-1760 ..........................................59 The Detroit Campaign, 1812...........................................................67 The North Shore Line, 27 March 1885 .......................................78 v North-West Campaign, 1885........................................................80 Vimy Ridge, April 1917 .................................................................89 The Battle of Amiens, 8-11 August 1918 .....................................104 The Conquest of Sicily, July-August 1943 ...................................112 The Normandy Assault, 6-12 June 1944 ...................................128 Battle of the Scheldt, October-November 1944............................137 vi THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY I: The First Two Centuries: The Old Militia The history of the Army in Can- The French Regime ada is as long as the history of the It can be said that a militia based country itself, and forms a larger on the principle of universal service part of it than many Canadians real- existed in the St. Lawrence valley ize. The Canadian soldier of today and in Acadia from the earliest years is the heir of a very old and a very of French settlement there in the first proud tradition, and a tradition pe- decade of the seventeenth century. In culiarly his own. The Canadian every pioneer community surrounded Army shares many historical experi- by warlike natives, every settler must ences with other forces - particu- perforce be a soldier too on occasion; larly the British Army - but some of and French Canada was no excep- those that helped to shape it are tion. uniquely Canadian and are shared About the middle of the century, with nobody. when there were still only a couple The present account is no more of thousand settlers in New France, than a thumbnail sketch of the long something like a formal militia sys- process that has brought the Army to tem began to take shape. We have an its present stage of development. It order issued in 1651 by the Governor mentions only the salient points in to the “captain of the inhabitants of the story. It is concerned primarily Three Rivers”, requiring the people with organization, not with cam- to have arms and to drill, and to take paigns and battles it is designed to turns at guard duty. After 1663, provide some background for those when company rule ended and the more dramatic episodes, which are French Crown assumed direct control rather more familiar to most Canadi- of the colony, an efficient and formi- ans and some of which are described dable defence organization came into elsewhere in this pamphlet. existence. 1 2 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY The basic conditions which made These were of two categories; units such an organization necessary are of the regular army of France, the evident. Three menaces faced New troupes de terre; and units of colo- France: the Iroquois, who terrorized nial regulars, the troupes de la ma- the colony for many decades; the rine. British colonies, which were much Regiments of the French regular more populous than the French and army proper served in Canada at only which were involved in four long and two periods. In 1665 the famous bitter wars with them from 1689 on- Carignan-Salières Regiment arrived wards; and behind the British colo- to conduct a campaign against the nies the naval and military power of Iroquois. Most of it was sent back to Britain herself, which at last was France in 1667-68; and regular regi- brought to bear to destroy the empire ments appear in Canada again only in of France in America. That New 1755, when the last great struggle for France succumbed to these menaces the colony is beginning. In 1758 only after over seventy years of con- Montcalm had eight fine French flict was due in great part to the effi- regular battalions under his com- ciency of her military system. mand. Two more were at Louisbourg The system was effectively cen- in Cape Breton Island. These regu- tralized in a manner unknown in the lars were the most formidable ele- thirteen English colonies. At the ment in the final defence of New head of it was the Governor, who in France. addition to being the political ruler However, from the time when the of the colony was also the com- Carignan regiment was withdrawn mander of all its military forces. He the colony was garrisoned by regular retained this position even in the forces permanently localized there. presence of a large force of regulars These were termed troupes de la ma- from France commanded by a senior rine simply because they were under general. In the last days of French the Ministry of Marine, which ad- rule this centralization of authority, ministered the French colonies; to long a source of strength to the col- call them marines, as is sometimes ony, became a disadvantage; for it done, is misleading. They were or- enabled Governor de Vaudreuil to ganized in independent companies, interfere with the military disposi- which were united into battalions tions of Montcalm with injurious only when some great crisis required effect. it. As a result of this organization, The basis of the defence system of their discipline and general effi- New France was the presence of a ciency were rather lower than those considerable body of regular troops. of the regulars proper. The number THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 3 of companies varied from time to these captains of militia acquired time. In 1687 there were 32. Before civil as well as military functions and the beginning of the Seven Years’ became the local administrators and War there were 30, but in 1756 the mouthpieces for the central govern- number was increased to 40, the au- ment. thorized strength of each being fixed In the frontier wars of the seven- at 65 men. In the course of time, the teenth and eighteenth centuries the commissioned ranks of these compa- militia of New France had an impor- nies had come to be filled largely tant part. Since the militia companies with Canadians; the men were re- comprised all the able-bodied men of cruited in France, but there may have their parishes, it will be understood been some Canadians among them that they could be called out for ser- too. vice as a whole only in great emer- * * * gencies, such as that arising out of The third element in the Canadian Phips’ attack in 1690, when the mili- defensive system was the Militia. tia played a vital role. However, it What may perhaps be called the first was easy to call upon the companies generalized Canadian militia regula- to furnish detachments for prolonged tions are contained in a letter from or distant service, and it may be as- King Louis XIV to Governor de sumed that these would as far as pos- Courcelles dated 3 April 1669. It sible be composed of volunteers.* instructs him to divide the inhabi- Small militia forces of this sort are tants into companies; to appoint offi- found taking part, along with the cers; and to ensure that drill is car- regulars, in almost every action the ried out once a month and that the French fought against the English militiamen have arms and ammuni- and their Indian allies. It was in the tion ready for use at all times. Nor- guerrilla warfare of the forests that mally, as the system developed, each the Canadian militiaman made his parish had one company of militia, greatest and most distinctive contri- composed of all the male inhabitants bution. In the words of Parkman, the capable of bearing arms; but a popu- habitant was “more than ready at any lous parish might have two or more. The Captain of Militia was an impor- * A report written by General Murray in 1762 sketches the organization as the British found it at tant man in the parish. He was not the Conquest: “The Canadians are formed into a the seigneur, but a substantial habi- militia for the better regulation of which each par- tant whose commission served to ish in proportion to its extent and number of inhabi- tants is divided into one, two or more Companies confer upon him a position in the who have their proper officers ... From these Com- community second only to that of the panies detachments are formed, and sent to any distance and in 1759 and 1760, the whole were in seigneur himself. As time passed, arms for the defence of their country.” 4 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY time for any hardy enterprise; and in the farmer-soldiers on duty for only a the forest warfare of skirmish and few weeks at a time. surprise there were few to match As a normal thing, it will be ob- him. An absolute government used served, the militia had no organization him at will, and experienced leaders higher than the company, and it is guided his rugged valour to the best probably fair to say that normally the account.” parish captain of militia was more an The forces used by the French in administrator than a commander, and this warfare were usually of very his company more a source of man- mixed composition. Take for instance power for ad hoc units than a tactical the one that intercepted and crushed unit itself. When larger units of militia General Braddock’s British army as it were organized in a crisis, they were advanced on Fort Duquesne in 1755. commanded by officers of the colonial The majority of its members were regulars. In New France’s last cam- Indians; but of the white troops two paigns, in 1759-60, militia were actu- thirds were militia, the rest being co- ally incorporated into the regular units lonial regulars. It is true, however, of both types; in 1759, 108 selected that on this occasion a good many of militiamen were attached to each bat- the militia ran at the first volley (the talion of the troupes de terra, and in commandant at Duquesne explained 1760 almost the whole of the elective indulgently that they were only militia was distributed through the youngsters); and so the regulars regular force. At the Battle of the played a part disproportionate to the Plains of Abraham (13 September smallness of their numbers. This was 1759) this infusion of militia into the the case in many actions. regular battalions may have helped The militia did much work apart produce the French disaster, for we from combat duty. A great deal of read of the militiamen, having fired transport work was involved in main- their muskets, throwing themselves taining the western posts and the down to reload in the backwoods man- Indian trade and supporting military ner, and thereby making confusion in operations. This was done by militia the ranks. The most useful contribution boatmen and was a heavy tax on made by militia was probably that of manpower. At the same time, the the sharpshooters who skirmished on needs of agriculture constantly hin- the French flanks and to some extent dered the employment of the militia covered the retreat of the defeated in the field. If seeding and harvest army. were interfered with, the colony All the various forces we have de- would starve; and Montcalm found scribed so far were infantry; and in- that he could keep the great body of fantry was the master arm in opera- THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 5 tions in a heavily forested country of organization date earlier than 1855). primitive communications. The artil- The French regular regiments went lery arm was represented in the back to France under the terms of the French army in Canada in the Seven capitulation, and the colonial regu- Years’ War by two companies of 50 lars were allowed to do the same, gunners each, which seem to have though many of the officers and men been on the same basis as the troupes chose to remain in Canada. Never- de la marine. As for cavalry, it was theless, it was clearly understood that little used; but in 1759 Montcalm the militia system went on as before, organized from the militia a corps of and during the period of “military 200 mounted volunteers. government” much use was made of In these last years of New France the captains of militia. Although all the country’s manpower was mobi- these officers had been required to lized to the limit. The whole popula- resign, the great majority had at once tion of Canada was only perhaps received new British commissions; 65,000, yet about 13,000 militia were and they in fact carried on the whole called out to help defend Quebec of the local administration of justice. against Wolfe. It was all for nothing. Unfortunately, when civil govern- Wolfe’s smaller but more efficient ment was set up in 1764 it was con- army of regulars, backed by British sidered that the law prevented Ro- sea power, won the day. A sound man Catholics from exercising judi- military system had postponed the cial functions, and this useful link in final catastrophe, but in the end the the chain of government was broken. odds were too great. The colony ca- It appears, however, that the captains pitulated in 1760; the Treaty of Paris of militia were still considered to ceded it to Great Britain; and the retain their military functions, Militia of Canada found themselves though the loss of their civil ones owing allegiance to a new sovereign. greatly reduced their general impor- tance. The Militia As early as 1764 the British mili- after the Conquest tary authorities raised a battalion of The most remarkable thing about Canadians, to take part in the Pontiac the military system in the early days War. It was recruited by volunteering of British rule is the extent to which (though not entirely without the threat the French system simply continued of compulsion) and was commanded to exist. There was, it is true, no by a former officer of the French co- permanent continuity of units (as we lonial regulars. It did good service shall see, no unit in the modern though it saw no fighting. Thereafter, Army has an officially recognized however, except for sonic limited 6 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY attempt to use the militia to produce thirteen seaboard colonies, and in men for transport service, the system 1775 the troops of the revolutionary tended to fall into neglect, and it government invaded Canada. Gover- seems that no annual muster or train- nor Carleton called upon the militia. ing was held. Some of the King’s “new” (French) Every colony of British America subjects rallied to his cause, others had its compulsory-service militia joined the invaders; but the great system, which however it might be majority, not surprisingly, were con- neglected in peacetime received due tent to watch the British and the attention in time of war. The first Americans fight it out. Quebec, and elected assembly of Nova Scotia Canada, were saved for the Crown by (where Halifax had been founded as a troops brought from England by the British naval station in 1749) passed a Royal Navy. In 1777 a militia ordi- stringent militia law at its initial ses- nance was enacted, the first militia sion in 1758. It required every male legislation since the conquest; until inhabitant between 16 and 60 to serve then the old French laws had suf- and to furnish himself at his own ex- ficed. The new law was based upon pense with “a Musket, Gun, or Fuzil, them. Like the Nova Scotia act, it not less than Three Feet long in the defined military age as 16 to 60. Barrel, two spare Flints, and Twelve Captains of militia were required to Charges of Powder and Ball”. Regi- turn out their companies for drill on mental musters were to be held every the last two Sundays in June and the six months, and commanding officers first two in July. Provision was made were to “draw forth” their units every for drawing as many men as required three months, “to exercise them in from the companies and marching Motions, the Use of Arms, and shoot- them (“tho’ still as militia”) in con- ing at Marks, or other military Exer- junction with the regular forces to cises”. This, of course, was in the any place where they might be middle of the Seven Years’ War. needed, and keeping them in service * * * until the need was over. For a decade after the Treaty of The revolting colonies won their Paris, the Union Jack flew from the independence, but failed to absorb Gulf of Mexico to Hudson Bay, and Canada and Nova Scotia; and from defence was mainly a question of 1783 onwards the new and smaller protection against the western Indi- British America had a new and dif- ans. But an attempt by the British ferent defensive problem. For a cen- Government to finance the garrisons tury or more, defence meant almost required for this purpose by taxing exclusively defence against the the colonists led to rebellion in the United States. British naval power THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 7 protected the provinces from over- This militia - later quaintly called seas invasion, but could not prevent the “sedentary” militia* - was a very attack from the south. And it must be cheap force to maintain, for it existed remembered that in those days war only on paper for 364 days a year. with the republic was far from “un- Battalions were organized on a terri- thinkable”. It actually happened torial basis, one or more per county once, in 1812-14; and there was as a rule, and slates of officers were grave danger of it many times there- appointed to them; but in normal after. The great turning-point, after times they were not armed, uni- which Anglo-American and Cana- formed, paid or trained. Only once a dian-American relations show steady year did the battalion appear as such improvement, is the Treaty of Wash- - on “training day” or “parade day”, ington of 1871, which settled the long the Fourth of June, the birthday serious Anglo-American issues aris- of King George III; and usually it did ing out of the American Civil War. not present a very martial appear- Luckily, though the United States ance. Much fun was made of the had both many more people and far spectacle of civilians, in mufti or odd more wealth than British North Amer- bits of uniform, carrying ancient ica, it was not a military power. Its weapons or no weapons at all, stum- military potential was not organized, bling awkwardly through a few drill and it maintained only a very small movements and ending the day, in regular army. In these circumstances, many cases, by getting splendidly defence against it was not an impossi- drunk at the expense of the C.O. But ble problem to solve. The system the people who made these jokes adopted for the purpose was essen- didn’t understand what was really tially the old one with which we are going on. The annual “training” was already familiar. The most vital fea- not really training, but a muster pa- ture of it was a considerable garrison rade; it served to keep the battalion of British regulars, usually compara- rolls up to date and to remind the ble in strength to the whole US. citizen that he was in fact a militia- Army. The colonial contribution was man, liable to be called out to defend a militia organized on the traditional his country in a time of crisis. basis of universal compulsory service. The War of 1812 The system did not vary much be- tween colonies. When a new colony This was the organization that de- was set up - as was done in Upper * Canada in 1791 - legislation establish- This term does not seem to have ap- peared in legislation until the Canadian act of ing the normal militia was usually 1855, but it was in common use at least as passed very shortly. early as 1812. 8 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY fended Canada successfully during only) recruited in the provinces; the War of 1812. It must be empha- these were borne on the list of the sized that the popular Canadian leg- British Army and may be considered end of the ploughboys who beat off colonial regulars. Another, the Cana- the invader with just a little help dian Voltigeurs, though raised under from the regulars doesn’t hold water. the Lower Canada militia law, was in No one can read the records of the virtually the same category. Few war without realizing that the profes- Canadians realize that the Volti- sional soldier played the dominant geurs’ gallant commanding officer, role in saving the colonies. Not only Colonel Charles de Salaberry, per- did he provide leadership which was haps the most renowned native Ca- usually competent and was some- nadian hero of this war, was himself times inspired; he bore the brunt of a regular soldier, who had learned nearly every engagement. Consider his trade in the 60th Rifles. the casualty lists of Lundy’s Lane, The Sedentary Militia as such was the bitterest action of the war. The rarely found in the battleline unit that suffered most heavily was (Lundy’s Lane however exemplifies the 89th Foot, a British regular regi- the way in which sedentary units ment, now the Royal Irish Fusiliers were some- times called out to help (Princess Victoria’s); it had 254 in a temporary crisis). Its organiza- casualties, including 29 killed. A tion was “administrative rather than battalion of Incorporated Militia, a tactical”. It provided an effective long-service unit on a quasi-regular mobilization system which made the basis, had 142 casualties (7 killed). manpower of the provinces readily But the local units of the sedentary available. From the sedentary units force, which were present to the the most willing or most suitable number of 500 men, had only 22 men could be, and were, drafted casualties altogether and only one away into long-service units which man killed.* These figures tell the after a few months’ duty approxi- story. Canadians, and other British mated fairly closely to regulars. Americans, played a great part in the The successful issue of this war war; but the most effective local probably had an unfortunate influ- units were those most closely assimi- ence on Canadian military policy. lated to regulars. Among them were The successes were largely due to five “Fencible” regiments (units li- effective prewar preparations, but the able for service in North America preparations had been made by the Mother Country, not the colonies. * The small proportion of killed to wounded is said to have been due to the The people of British America were Americans’ use of buckshot. left with a vague idea that “the Mili- THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 9 tia” had done the job, and this led found the men for the volunteer them to think that it was time enough regiments recruited at imperial ex- to start preparing for war after war pense, during the next couple of had begun. This idea was to die very years, to protect the frontier in the hard. troubles that the rebellion touched The result was that the militia, off. When filibusters from the system was little altered for nearly United States landed near Prescott half a century. Britain continued to on the St. Lawrence in November provide a costly regular garrison at 1838, they were attacked within a her own expense; British America few hours by two columns. One was was content to maintain her eco- headed by a party of Royal Marines, nomical paper militia with its annual the other by a detachment of the muster.* Yet it must be remembered 83rd Foot (today the Royal Ulster that the colonies were poor, thinly Rifles); but the majority of the populated, and torn by political dis- troops were Canadians, partly from sension; they could not and would the new volunteer regiments. partly not have supported an expensive from the local militia units. In this military organization. And as an aux- “Battle of the Windmill,” a very iliary and support to the regular fierce little action, the sedentary forces the old militia had much to force, fighting in their own door- commend it under the conditions of yards, gave a good account of them- the day. selves. But it was regular rein- Through the Anglo-American cri- forcements that finally dislodged the ses of the first half of the nineteenth raiders. century the system continued to do By the middle of the century a yeoman service in all the North new era was beginning. The North American provinces. The sedentary American colonies had lately units could always be called out in achieved a very full measure of self- their own organization to meet a government. sudden emergency, and could al- They were growing in wealth and ways furnish volunteers for ad hoc population; and parliamentarians and units raised for a longer commit- publicists in Britain were now ask- ment. The sedentary units of Upper ing, with good reason, whether it was Canada came marching in to To- not time that the British taxpayer was ronto to defend the government relieved of the financial burden of against the rebels of 1837; and they colonial defence. These new condi- tions were shortly to produce funda- * As late as the fiscal year 1857-8 Nova Scotia and New Brunswick together spent mental changes in the military poli- only £432 on their own defence? cies of Canada. 10 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING Boissonnault, Charles-Marie, Histoire politico- Frégault, Guy, Iberville le conquérant (Montreal, militaire des Canadiens Français, Tome I, 1944). (Trois-Rivieres, 1967). Goodspeed, D.J., (ed), The Armed Forces of Canada 1867-1967 (Ottawa, 1967). Caron, Ivanhoe, éd., Le journal de l’expedition du Lanctot, Gustave (éd) “Les règlements de la Milice Chevalier de Troyes d la baie d’Hudson en 1686 canadienne en vigueur sous le regime francais et (Beauceville, 1918). au debut du régime anglais, 1651-1777”, in Rapport des Archives publiques (Ottawa, 1940), Cruikshank, E.A., Inventory of the Military Docu- translated and published as “Canadian Militia ments in the Canadian Archives, (Ottawa, Regulations under the French Regime and Early 1910), (publications of the Canadian Archives - British Rule, 1651-1777” in the Report of the No. 2), French translation published as Inven- Public Archives. taire des documents militaires dans les Archives Morton, Desmond, “Aid to the Civil Power: The canadiennes, (Publication No. 2.) Canadian Militia in support of Social Order, 1867-1914”, Canadian Historical Review, LI (December, 1970). Morton, Desmond, “The Canadian Militia and French Canada”, Histoire Sociale/ Social His- tory, No. 3, (June, 1969). Preston, Richard A., “The Transfer of British Mili- tary Institutions to Canada in the Nineteenth Century”, in Hamilton, William B., (ed), The Transfer of Institutions (Durham, N,C., 1964). Roy, Pierre-Georges, “Un regiment de volontaires canadiens-francais en 1764”, in Bulletin de Re- cherches historiques, XXI, 1915. II: The Volunteer Militia, 1855-1902 The Militia Act of 1855 time of prosperity, made the moment The Crimean War of 1854-56, a propitious for some widening of co- war in which Canada had no direct lonial military responsibilities. So part, helped to produce an important the government of the Province of alteration in her military arrange- Canada (the former Upper and Lower ments. For some years past, the Brit- Canada, united under one legislature ish Government, aided by the condi- in 1841) appointed a commission to tions mentioned in the last chapter advise on the best means of reorgan- and the tranquil state of Anglo- izing the militia. It reported early in American relations, had been reduc- 1855, and a new militia act based ing the regular garrison of the North upon the report was passed later in American colonies. When war with the year. Russia broke out, and an expedition- The heart of the commissioners’ ary force had to be sent to the Cri- scheme was the retention and im- mea, there was an immediate further provement of the old Sedentary Mili- reduction. In 1855 there were only tia, with its basis of universal com- about 3000 soldiers in British North pulsory service. (They recommended America; there had been 7000 a cou- in fact that arms, accoutrements and ple of years before, and nearly twice ammunition for 100,000 men should that number in 1838-42. be obtained and kept in the province In these circumstances some sub- to equip this force in the event of its stitute for the regulars was necessary having to be called out; but this pro- - particularly since the colonial po- vision fell by the wayside in the lice arrangements were still inade- course of the bill’s passage through quate and the troops had often been Parliament) But the scheme’s most called upon to support the civil original feature was the provision of power. The patriotic excitement of a new and separate force of Volun- the war, and the fact that it was a teers. These volunteer units would be 11 12 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY uniformed and armed even in peace- tion came later. The oldest infantry time, and would carry out annual regimental date in the list is 1859, training, for which their members reflecting the fact that in that year could draw pay. The new act pro- the nine independent companies of vided that the volunteers (termed by Montreal were formed into a battal- it the “Active Militia”) should not be ion.* more than 5000 in number. It is clear Many units of the modern Army that its underlying conception was claim, with varying degrees of justi- that only the ancient system of uni- fication, descent from military or- versal service could defend the prov- ganizations existing before 1855; all ince against full-scale attack by the regiments claim, very properly, to be United States, but that the new situa- the inheritors of the traditions of the tion required in addition a small par- earlier units that existed from time to tially-trained force always available time in their recruiting areas; but no to deal with sudden minor emergen- organization date earlier than 1855 is cies. recognized in the Army List. The tiny volunteer force created In many respects the formation of by the Militia Act of 1855 is the im- the volunteer force marks a turning, mediate origin of today’s Canadian point in the history of Canadian mili- Army (Militia). The largely paper tary organization. Notably, it repre- units of the old Sedentary Militia are sents some advance towards genuine not perpetuated in the present-day self-defence, an assumption by Can- organization; but the modem Army ada of larger military responsibili- List contains five batteries of artil- ties. This was reflected in the accep- lery which carry organization dates tance of the increased expenditure in 1855. Those dates testify that caused by the new force. Until 1855 these units were among the first the Canadian militia had cost the formed under the new organization. province only about £2000 a year. There are also three armoured Now the cost leaped up to about corps regiments (and one artillery £25,000. Of course, this was still regiment) which incorporate cavalry small potatoes - only about half the troops, and four infantry regiments cost of a single regular battalion; but (as well as one armoured regiment it was an important new departure. and one artillery battery) which in- And the new force was capable of at corporate rifle companies formed least some slight degree of independ- that year. The volunteer cavalry and ent action, where as the Sedentary infantry units organized under the * The First Battalion Volunteer Militia Ri- 1855 Act were all independent troops fles of Canada, now The Canadian Grenadier or companies. Regimental organiza- Guards. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 13 Militia could never be anything but who chose to serve, became in prac- auxiliary to a regular force. Admit- tice the country’s only military force. tedly, the volunteers’ efficiency The Ten Years’ Crisis could not be expected to be high, since the act of 1855 provided for The volunteer force was relatively only ten days’ annual training for popular from the beginning - so cavalry and rifles, and twenty days much so that in 1856 the legislature for artillery; but the idea of having permitted the formation of unpaid any kind of trained force in being corps in addition to the paid ones was almost entirely new.* authorized the year before. But there, It must also be noted that, in spite after a depression set in, the militia of the emphasis which the commis- appropriations were cut and the con- sioners of 1855 laid upon the impor- dition of the force declined accord- tance of maintaining the principle of ingly. This was unfortunate, since universal service, their report marks serious trouble with the United the beginning of that principle’s de- States was just around the corner. cline. Indeed, the decline was rapid. In the spring of 1861 the Ameri- The annual enrolment was main- can Civil War broke out. The follow- tained for a time, but the Sedentary ing autumn the British Empire was Militia of Canada was never called almost drawn into it, when the Union upon for service in any crisis after Navy took two Confederate diplo- 1855. In Nova Scotia for a few years mats off a British steamer on the in the ‘sixties the whole sedentary high seas. This “Trent Affair” force was called out for brief train- brought an Anglo-American war ing, but this was a flash in the pan. closer than it has ever been since The volunteers were always more 1814. About 11,000 British troops available than the Sedentary Militia were hastily sent to Canada, increas- in a sudden emergency, and of ing the total strength of the regular course more efficient. More and garrison of British North America to more, as time passed, the compulsory some 18,000 men. (The force had service principle survived only as a been increased at the end of the Cri- legal obligation. The volunteer mili- mean War, and though it was re- tia, composed of those Canadians duced again later a precautionary reinforcement was sent immediately * Before 1895 there were in existence a after the Civil War broke out.) The very few volunteer units, slept together, and immediate crisis ended when Presi- in some degree trained, merely as a result of dent Lincoln surrendered the two the public spirit of officers and men. The Canadian Militia Act of 1846 had authorized Southerners; but it left deep bitter- such units. ness behind it, which was increased 14 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY later by the depredations of the Ala- whether the Dominion of Canada bama and other Confederate cruisers could have been brought into being fitted out in British ports and by in 1867. These critical years also had Confederate attempts to use Canada great influence on Canada’s military as a base of operations. system. In particular, they served to The Civil War finished in 1865, confirm the country’s allegiance to but immediately the Fenian Brother- the volunteer idea. hood, an Irish-American organization The Trent Affair had caused the in the United States, began promot- institution for the first time of a de- ing attacks on Canada. An invasion fence portfolio in the Canadian min- on a considerable scale was at- istry; John A. Macdonald, in addition tempted in June 1866, and the Cana- to being Attorney General for Can- dian volunteers had their baptism of ada West, was designated “Minister fire in fighting in the Niagara penin- of Militia Affairs”. It also led to ar- sula. A Fenian band defeated a de- rangements being made to call out a tached column of volunteers at large number of the Sedentary Mili- Ridgeway and slipped away before tia for training; these were cancelled larger forces which were closing in when the immediate crisis passed. could make contact. The Fenians The Canadian government, however, continued to be a constant menace seeing that the United States was until another raid was broken on the now a military power and realizing Vermont and New York borders in that another crisis might come at any 1870 and a smaller enterprise failed moment, appointed a new commis- in Manitoba the next year. All this sion to advise on militia organiza- time Anglo-American relations were tion. It reported that only a large in a critical state and the U.S. Gov- trained force could meet the new ernment showed no very strong de- situation; and in the spring of 1862 sire to interfere with the Fenian op- the John A. Macdonald - George E. erations until the Alabama question Cartier government brought in a mi- was liquidated in 1871 by Britain’s litia bill providing for a force of agreeing to arbitrate it on terms un- 50,000, to be raised by voluntary favourable to herself. enlistment as far as possible, but The most important result of this thereafter by ballot (i.e. by lot). But decade of chronic crisis was the fed- Parliament would not have it; the bill eration of British North America. was defeated, and the government Other causes were also at work, but fell. The episode was doubtless without the immediate menace of widely interpreted as a warning Fenianism and the fear of an Anglo- against attempting to apply conscrip- American war it is very doubtful tion in Canada in time of peace. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 15 The succeeding government, ward to enlist. In 1866 the provincial headed by John Sandfield Macdonald defence appropriations rose to nearly and L.V. Sicotte, at first did nothing $2,000,000, and the strength of the except to augment the volunteer volunteers, less than 20,000 in the force, which by the beginning of spring of that year, was up to 33,750 1863 amounted to about 18,000 men. by the end of 1867.* The year 1866, But during that year the tide of the when the Fenian menace reached and Civil War turned against the Confed- passed its high tide, left a permanent eracy, and the people and govern- mark on the Canadian Army List. No ment of Canada became increasingly less than 38 battalions of infantry alarmed; and two new military laws and rifles, and ten batteries of artil- were now passed - a volunteer act lery, were organized in that exciting increasing the force to 35,000, and a twelvemonth. Many of these are still militia act providing for “service on the list in one form or another; battalions” recruited by ballot and some of our present artillery batteries trained for up to six days annually. represent infantry regiments formed Such battalions were enrolled up to a in 1866. strength of 88,000 men, but were The Military System never called out for training. How- of the Dominion ever, one very useful measure was carried out at this time - the forma- The military system set up for the tion of military schools for officer new nation after Confederation was training, conducted by the regular largely a transcript of that of the units in the province. These were Province of Canada. This was no popular and effective, and soon pro- shock to the Maritime Provinces, for vided a considerable reserve of they too had volunteer forces, having qualified young men who would copied the “volunteer movement” of have been invaluable if it had be- 1859 in the mother country. It is true come necessary to embody the ser- that Nova Scotia„ as we have seen, vice battalions. had lately tried the interesting ex- The Fenian troubles did much to periment of calling out the whole make the country volunteer-minded. Sedentary force for annual training; The volunteer units were not ill- but the training period was only a suited to the task of dealing with filibustering expeditions; the imme- * These figures are for the Province of diate threat of such raids led the leg- Canada (after 1 July 1867, the Provinces of islature to spend money more freely Ontario and Quebec). Despite the statutory limit of 35,000, the government of Canada on the force than ever before, and the had imposed a Ceiling of 25,000 until the young men of Canada pressed for- raids of 1866. 16 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY few days and the units were not passed at the time. Finally, when the armed or uniformed. new National Defence Act, codifying The first federal Militia Act was almost all defence legislation in a passed in 1868. It set up the Depart- single statute, was passed in 1950, ment of Militia and Defence and di- the old universal-service provisions vided the whole country into Military were eliminated as archaic, thus end- Districts - nine in number in the first ing a story that had begun three hun- instance. It maintained, in theory at dred years before, in the early years least, the ancient principle of univer- of the French regime. sal compulsory service. Section 4 The “Reserve Militia”, then, re- ran: mained strictly a paper force. The The Militia shall consist of all the male Volunteer Militia was Canada’s first inhabitants of Canada, of the age of eighteen and only line of defence apart from years and upwards, and under sixty-not ex- the Royal Navy. The British Army, to empted or disqualified by law, and being British subjects by birth or naturalization; but which the country owed so much, Her Majesty may require all the male inhabi- took its leave within a few years of tants of the Dominion, capable of bearing Confederation: the last imperial arms, to serve in case of a Levee en Masse. troops left Quebec on 11 November In practice, there was never any 1871. A regular garrison remained at resort to this portion of the Act. The Halifax, just as garrisons remained at enrolment of the “Reserve Militia”* Malta and Gibraltar; later in the cen- (in effect, the old Sedentary Militia) tury a smaller force was stationed at was taken for the last time in 1873. Esquimalt; but the old military sta- (Latterly, it had been taken, not by a tions in Central Canada saw the Eng- muster, but by house-to-house can- lish soldiers no more. To replace vass.) In the various emergencies them, the Canadian government took which arose at home and abroad in a very modest measure. It raised in the latter part of the nineteenth cen- October 1871 two batteries of garri- tury and the first half of the twentieth son artillery which could protect and no need was found for using the maintain the fortifications of Quebec compulsory-service provisions of the and Kingston and also serve as Militia Act. In both World Wars, schools of gunnery for the militia bat- conscription was necessary, but it teries. (They did some infantry in- was provided by special statutes struction too.) This was the earliest * Under the act of 1868, the Volunteer Mi- nucleus of the Canadian regular ser- litia, the Regular Militia and the Marine vice, called today the Active Force. Militia constituted collectively the Active The two batteries, “A” and “B”, still Militia. The Reserve Militia was all men “Not saving in the Active Militia of the time be- exist as sub-units of the 1st Regiment, ing”. Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 17 The departure of the British regu- ion Arsenal, started production at lars coincided in time with the end of Quebec in 1882. Thus, in a very the Fenian troubles and the begin- modest degree, the country gradually ning of better times in Anglo- became increasingly self-sufficient. American and Canadian-American The most important advance since relations. And the Canadian parlia- Confederation came in 1883. Since ment and public, who had taken an the departure of the imperial troops interest in defence in the ‘sixties be- the militia’s declining efficiency had cause there was an actual enemy in led many observers to the conclusion the gate, now lost interest again. De- that the presence of some regular fence expenditure fell in 1876-7 to units was essential to the health of $690,000, the lowest annual total in the citizen force; and the formation the country’s post-Confederation of instructional corps of cavalry and history. Limited funds meant limited infantry similar to “A” and “B” Bat- training (for many years the rural teries had long been recommended. regiments, which did all their train- Now a new Militia Act was passed ing in camp, were allowed to train containing the following section: only every second year) and enthusi- It being necessary in consequence of the asm and efficiency suffered accord- withdrawal of Imperial regular troops, to ingly. From 1874 onwards the Militia provide for the care and protection of forts, was commanded by a General Offi- magazines, armaments, warlike stores and such like service, also to secure the estab- cer Commanding who was a British lishment of Schools of Military Instruction in regular lent to Canada. In the cir- connection with corps enlisted for continuous cumstances of the day the officers service, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to raise… one troop of cavalry, three batteries of who held this appointment found it artillery, (of which two shall be “A” and “B” rather frustrating. Batteries now embodied), and not more than However, there were occasional three companies of Infantry,- the whole strength of which several corps shall not ex- useful developments. The Royal ceed seven hundred and fifty men ... Military College of Canada was es- tablished at Kingston in 1876, and An amended act passed in 1886 thereafter was a source of qualified raised the number of infantry com- officers for both permanent and non- panies to five and the total strength permanent corps. (The universities permitted to 1000 men. As a result of began to be drawn upon effectively this new policy there came into exis- for this purpose only in 1912, when tence in 1883 a Cavalry School the first contingents of the Canadian Corps (now The Royal Canadian Officers Training Corps were Dragoons) and an infantry School formed.) A Government Cartridge Corps (now The Royal Canadian Factory, later known as the Domin- Regiment); while the artillery batter- 18 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY ies were brigaded as The Regiment and of administrative services. Medi- of Canadian Artillery. The third bat- cal and transport services had to be tery (“C”), at Esquimalt, was not organized after the shooting began: actually formed until 1887.* A Since 1868 the Militia Act had pro- School of Mounted Infantry was vided that “a military train, and a formed at Winnipeg in 1885. These medical staff, as well as commissar- innovations, plus some increase in iat, hospital and ambulance Corps” the grant for the militia’s annual might be formed when required; but drill, raised the country’s defence this was not done until the crisis expenditure considerably; for the arose.) All things. considered, it is fiscal year 1883-84 it was above not surprising that there were some $1,200,000. tactical setbacks; but the force did the job it was sent to do, and did it pretty rapidly. The first shots were The North-West Campaign fired on 26 March; and Louis Riel’s The little Permanent Force, as it headquarters at Batoche was cap- came to be called, went into action tured and the back of the movement for the first time as part of the North- broken on 12 May. In the interim West Field Force organized to sup- more than 3000 men had been press the rising in the valley of the brought from the East over the still North Saskatchewan in 1885. This uncompleted C.P.R., and three col- was the first occasion when Canada umns had been organized and had. conducted a campaign entirely on her moved against the centres of disaf- own; the whole force, except the fection. G.O.C., Major-General (later Sir) No very great improvement in the Fred Middleton, and a few staff offi- condition of the militia is visible cers, was Canadian. Nearly 6000 during the decade following this troops were employed, including 363 campaign, except in the strength and of the Canadian regulars and 550 efficiency of the permanent units. Mounted Police. It was very much an The inadequacy of the militia’s train- improvised army, and improvised at ing, and the deplorable state of its very short notice. Middleton re- clothing and equipment, continue to corded that some of the militiamen in be the burden of the G.O.C.’s annual his own column “had never fired a reports. But in the last years of the rifle” before they joined it. Equally century a wind of reform begins to serious was the lack of trained staff blow. An important turning-point is a queer international incident of 1895. * All these permanent corps were granted There was a long-standing dispute the prefix “Royal” in 1893. between Britain and the United THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 19 States over the boundary between of his thought and action is indicated Venezuela and British Guiana. Now in a sentence from his 1898 report: President Cleveland sent a message “The militia force of Canada is not to Congress on the subject which under the existing system, an army, amounted to a threat of war. Before in its true sense; it is but a collection the matter blew over it occasioned of military units without cohesion, the Last important military prepara- without staff, and without those mili- tions ever made in Canada against tary departments by which an army is attack by the United States. The mili- moved, fed, or ministered to in sick- tia at this time was still armed with ness.” The object of his policy was .45 single-shot Sniders issued during the creation of a “militia army” - a the Fenian troubles. The Snider had balanced force of all arms, possess- never been more than a stopgap ing the administrative services with- weapon (it was the 1855 Enfield out which no army can take the field, muzzle-loading rifle converted into a and well enough trained and breech-loader) and by 1895 had been equipped to have a real military obsolete for many years. The crisis value in emergency. The same gen- led the government to rearm the mili- eral line was followed by Lord Dun- tia with the most modern magazine donald (G.O.C. 1902-4). He too got rifle then available the .303 long into trouble, and got dismissed; but Lee-Enfield. Improved artillery his period of command was one of weapons and some machineguns reform and advance. During these were also purchased. And from 1897, years, when Sir Frederick Borden for the first time since 1876, all was Minister of Militia and Defence regiments were trained every year. (1896-1911), the militia was almost Major-General E. T. H. (later Sir transformed. A proper Corps of En- Edward) Hutton, General Officer gineers - there had been a few engi- Commanding, 1898-1900, was not a neer units since Confederation - tactful man and seems to have found came into existence; so did a Medi- it hard to believe that a G.O.C. Ca- cal Corps, an Army Service Corps, nadian Militia owed the Canadian and other depart, mental corps. Even Government the same respect and a Signalling Corps was set up - be- obedience that the Commander-in- fore one existed, as a separate entity, Chief in Britain owed the govern- in the British Army. The Permanent ment there; and in the end a quarrel Force was increased to 1500 all with Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s ministry ranks in 1903. led to his departure. Nevertheless, he There were also reforms on the left a mark, and a useful one, on the staff side. Militia headquarters at country’s military system. The line Ottawa was reorganized. From 1905 20 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY onwards two vacancies in the Staff The raising of the First Canadian College in the United Kingdom were Contingent deserves a glance. The reserved for Canadians; and Hutton first British proposal was that the set up a Militia Staff Course to in- colonies should provide independent struct citizen officers in staff duties. companies; but after a moment of The professional calibre of the Per- reflection Canada preferred to offer a manent Force was raised and the battalion of infantry under a Cana- military knowledge of militia offi- dian lieutenant colonel. This was the cers improved.* small beginning of an important and persistent Canadian idea: a national The South African War preference for having Canadian In the midst of these reforms, and troops operate as far as possible con- making a considerable contribution centrated under a single Canadian to them, came Canada’s participation command. The battalion was raised in the South African War (1899- as a second battalion of The Royal 1902). This was the first occasion Canadian Regiment, and was made when units of the Canadian forces up of volunteers from 82 different served in a campaign abroad (the militia units.* The Permanent Force Canadian Voyageur Contingent, provided about 150 men. The unit which took part in the Nile Expedi- sailed for Cape Town 16 days after tion of 1884-5, was a civilian organi- the order to recruit it was issued, and zation, though officered by militia distinguished itself in the Battle of officers). The force provided was Paardeberg after only four months of small. about 8300 men altogether, existence. including a battalion to garrison Small as the whole episode was - Halifax and so release British troops. the war cost Canada just 89 fatal Nearly 5000 were in units raised by battle casualties, and less than three the United Kingdom or that raised by million dollars in money - it was Lord Strathcona, and cost the Cana- important in the country’s military dian taxpayer nothing. Canada sent history. It did much to revive public fewer than 2500 men in her own con- interest and pride in her forces; the tingents, and even they were paid by four V.Cs. won in South Africa Britain after reaching South Africa, served as symbols of Canadian Canada merely making up the differ- prowess in the field. It disseminated ence between British rates of pay and up-to-date military knowledge within her own. * In due course, the units that had made * These reforms are described in more de- the most substantial contributions of volun- tail in Appendix B to C. P. Stacey, The Mili- teers to the South African contingents re- tary Problems of Canada (Toronto, 1940). ceived the campaign honour “South Africa”. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 21 the militia and thereby helped the another American war “unthinkable”; cause of militia reform. And it em- but the young nation was finding that phasized the fact that Canada could there were other dangerous prob- not avoid involvement in the issues lems. Participation in the war in of world politics. Once, Canadian South Africa set a precedent for lar- defence had meant defence against ger participation in the greater crises the United States and nothing else. which the new century was to bring. Now people were beginning to call SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING Boissonnault, Charles-Marie, Histoire politico- Stacey, C.P., Canada and the British Army, 1846- militaire des Canadiens français, Tome I, 1871 (London, 1936). (Trois-Rivieres, 1967). Annual Reports, Department of Militia and Defence. Denison, George T. Soldiering in Canada (Toronto, Thorgrimsson, Thor, and Russell, E.C., Canadian 1900). Naval Operations in Korean Waters, 1950-1955 Goodspeed, D.J., (ed), The Armed Forces of Canada (Ottawa, 1965). 1867-1967 (Ottawa, 1967). Dept. of Militia and Defence, Report upon the Hamilton, C.F., “The Canadian Militia”, Canadian Suppression of the Rebellion in the North-West Defence Quarterly 1928-31. Territories, and Matters in Connection Hitsman, J. Mackay, Safeguarding Canada 1763- Therewith, in 1885 (Ottawa, 1886). 1871, (Toronto, 1968). Dept. of Militia and Defence, Supplementary Re- Morton, Desmond, Politicians and Generals: Poli- port, Organization, Equipment, Dispatch and tics and the Canadian Militia, 1868-1904 (To- Service of the Canadian Contingents during the ronto, 1970). War in South Africa 1899-1900 (Ottawa, 1901) Preston, R.A., Canada and “Imperial Defence”, and Further Supplementary Report... 1899-1902 (Toronto, 1967). (Ottawa, 1902). III: The Early Twentieth Century, 1902-1918 Preparing for Armageddon the General Staff, who would re- The period between the South place the Commander-in-Chief as African War and the outbreak of the the government’s senior military First World War in 191.4 was a time adviser. of continued reform and expansion. These recommendations were The situation in Europe became acted on, and were copied in Can- steadily more strained and, it was ada. A new Militia Act was passed more and more evident that there in 1904. This provided, “The Gov- was danger of Britain’s being drawn ernor in Council may appoint a Mi- into conflict with Germany. This litia Council to advise the Minister possibility is the explanation of on all matters relating to the Militia many developments in Canada. which are referred to the Council The “Dundonald incident” of by the Minister. The composition, 1904, in which the Canadian Gov- procedure and powers of the Coun- ernment dismissed the General Offi- cil shall be as prescribed.” The cer Commanding, coincided in time composition of the Council (the with important developments in Minister as President; four Military military administration in the United Members - Chief of the General Kingdom resulting from the South Staff, Adjutant General, Quarter- African War. A committee headed master General and Master General by Lord Esher recommended the of the Ordnance; the Deputy Minis- abolition of the once of Com- ter as Civilian Member and the Ac- mander-in-Chief and the substitu- countant of the Department of Mili- tion of an Army Council presided tia and Defence as Financial Mem- over by the Secretary of State for ber; and a civilian Secretary) was War and comprising both civil and prescribed by an order in council military members. The First Mili- later in 1904. Although the new act tary Member would be the Chief of continued to permit the appoint- 22 THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 23 ment of a major general to be Minister became the practical “charged with the military com- Commanding Officer of the Mili- mand of the Militia”, Lord Dun- tia”.* donald was the last G.O.C. Hereaf- The Militia Act of 1904 fixed the ter, as in the United Kingdom, the limit of strength of the Permanent senior military adviser to the gov- Force at 2000 men. Shortly, how- ernment was the Chief of the Gen- ever, it had to be raised again. The eral Staff. The first C.G.S. to be Royal Navy was concentrating its appointed was Major-General Sir forces increasingly in home waters Percy Lake; the first Canadian to to meet the German threat. This led hold the appointment was Briga- to the decision to abandon Halifax dier-General W. D. (later General and Esquimalt as Imperial naval Sir William) Otter, appointed in bases, and this in turn to the with- 1908. drawal of the British garrisons. The thirty years during which Early in 1906 the last British troops British officers acted as command- left Canada and the two fortresses ers of the Militia had been a period were transferred to the Canadian of transition. It is hard to see how Government. An amendment to the any other system could have Militia Act raised the authorized worked better in the circumstances strength of the Permanent Force to of the time, but the arrangement 5000, and steps were taken to re- could not have been perpetuated. cruit additional men to replace the The position of the British G.Os.C. British garrisons of these bases. By had always been difficult, and their 1914 the actual strength of the force difficulties had been increased by had risen to 3000 all ranks. their inevitable lack of acquaint- During these years of preparation ance with Canadian conditions. preceding 1914 the strength, arma- And the new system of administra- ment and efficiency of the Non- tion proved a better one. A careful Permanent Active Militia were all student of the history of the Army improved. The force was popular and writes of the situation after 1904, received considerable encouragement “It is a fact that disputes between from the government, both during Sir the Minister and the principal sol- Frederick Borden’s tenure as Minis- dier became fewer, and of more ter of Militia and, after the change of limited scope. It is a further fact government in 1911, under Sir Sam that after the change the soldiers had more of their own way than * Colonel C. F, Hamilton, “The Canadian Militia: The Change in Organization” (Cana- before.” This was the case even dian Defence Quarterly, Vol. VIII, October though after 1904 “the civilian 1930). 24 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Hughes. The number of men trained Officers throughout the Empire increased from 44,000 all ranks in performing General Staff duties 1909-10 to 57,000 in 1913-14. Dur- were to be members of this one ing the same period Militia expendi- body, while however remaining re- ture rose from less than $6,000,000 sponsible to and under the control to nearly $11,000,000. However, the .of their own governments. This twelve days’ annual drill which was arrangement, though it did not be- permitted did not allow much more come permanent, is commemorated than the teaching of the simplest ru- by the title still held by the senior diments. The result was that when soldier in Great Britain: Chief of the the First World War broke out Can- Imperial General Staff. ada had available no force capable of In one respect Canada had al- playing an immediate active part; she ready strayed from the principle of had, however, a foundation upon uniformity of armament. Her forces which an important structure could had adopted the Ross rifle in 1902. be built. The chief reason for adopting it, and A series of Imperial Conferences the best one, was that it offered the had made improved arrangements prospect of rifles for the Militia be- for military co-operation within the ing manufactured in Canada. The Empire. The Colonial Conference of possibility of having the British 1907 and the Defence Conference of Lee-Enfield so manufactured was 1909 witnessed considerable ad- investigated but the company con- vances. Several of the Dominions, cerned refused the government’s and particularly Canada, were overtures and in consequence a con- doubtful of proposals that they tract was made for production in should earmark definite contingents Canada of the Ross. The latter for use in a future crisis; but there proved an excellent target weapon was agreement upon maintaining but in 1915 it showed itself inferior general uniformity throughout the to the new short Lee-Enfield under Empire in matters of war organiza- service conditions. The Canadian tion, armament and equipment, forces overseas were re-armed with training doctrine, etc. This was very the Lee-Enfield in 1916.* sound policy in the circumstances of The closer links with the British the day, and it paid large dividends forces evident in this period appear in 1914. Approval was given also to the principle of an Imperial General * The complicated story of the Ross rifle is Staff, branches of which would exist told in detail in Appendix III to Colonel A. F. Duguid, Official History of the Canadian in all the self-governing nations of Forces in the Great War 1914-1919, General the Empire. Series, Vol. I (Ottawa, 1938). THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 25 in visits to Canada by two eminent active service than in any manoeu- British soldiers, Sir John French vres since the Fenian troubles. (1910) and Sir Ian Hamilton (1913). Until the twentieth century the These officers held the appointment defence forces of Canada had been, of Inspector General of Overseas in the main, land forces only, and Forces and visited Canada by invita- such naval militia as had existed at tion. One result of Sir John French’s various times was administered by report was the reorganization of the the Militia Department. There was, Militia in Eastern Canada on a divi- of course, no air force, for heavier- sional basis (six divisions and four than-air flying began only in 1903. mounted brigades), on the principle However, some contribution by of providing in peacetime an organi- Canada to naval defence became a zation that could be used in war. The matter of urgent discussion early in Divisions replaced the six eastern the new century, and in 1910 Par- Military Districts; in the west the liament passed the Naval Service Districts continued to exist and the Act which was the origin of the highest formation was the brigade. It Royal Canadian Navy. The Navy may be noted that in 1905 a move in was controlled by a Minister of the the direction of higher organization Naval Service who was also Minis- had been taken when the Districts in ter of Marine and Fisheries; this Eastern Canada were grouped into arrangement lasted until 1922. Two four “Commands” for training and old cruisers were purchased from administrative purposes. These were the Admiralty as training ships, but now abolished. political controversy turning on the On the eve of the outbreak of war question of a national fleet versus a in August 1914 the Non-Permanent contribution to the Royal Navy mili- Active Militia was at the greatest tated against any large progress, and strength Canada’s citizen force has the force was still in its infancy ever possessed in a time of peace. when war came. The first aeroplane Fully 59,000 troops carried out flight in Canada took place in 1909; training that year, and “had the war in the same year demonstrations not broken out, the number would were given at Petawawa for the Mi- have reached 64,000”. Over 34,000 litia Council; however, no Canadian trained in camps. At Petawawa, military flying service was organ- which had been acquired as a cen- ized until after war broke out.* tral training camp in 1905, ap- The First World War proximately 10,000 were assembled * In the United Kingdom the Royal Flying for training under conditions said to Corps was organized in Jars, its nucleus being have corresponded more closely to the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. 26 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY The First World War, 1914-18, designated concentration centre at was in many respects the most im- Valcartier, and by 8 September over portant episode in Canadian history. 32,000 men had been collected That it had the effect of greatly en- there. The 1st Canadian Division, hancing Canada’s national status sailing in an impressive convoy of was very largely due to the size of 31 transports, left Gaspé Basin on 3 the forces the country raised and the October and entered Plymouth importance of their contribution in Sound eleven days later. the field. The units of the Canadian Expe- Before the outbreak of war a mo- ditionary Force were new units bilization scheme was in existence. raised for the occasion, although In addition to plans for the general after some discussion the point was mobilization of the Militia, there satisfactorily established that they was a plan for providing one divi- were units of the Canadian Militia. sion and one mounted brigade for The infantry units of the C.E.F. service abroad. However, on 31 July were, in general, numbered battal- 1914, on Sir Sam Hughes’ instruc- ions not wearing the badges of pre- tions, orders were sent out voiding war militia regiments, though there this scheme and enjoining consid- were a few exceptions to this rule, eration of plans on a new basis. In notably in the case of the one Per- fact, the First Canadian Contingent, manent Force infantry unit, The which was offered by the Canadian Royal Canadian Regiment. The pro- Government even before Britain’s cedure followed in 1914 was that declaration of war, was organized individual militia regiments were by the rather peculiar procedure of called upon to provide volunteers direct communication between Mili- for the C.E.F. units being raised in tia Headquarters in Ottawa and the their areas. A good many of the men 226 individual units of the Militia, enlisted into the new units came bypassing the Divisions and Dis- from the public and had had no tricts. This arrangement might have training. The vast majority of the led to chaos, but the abounding en- officers, however, had held commis- ergy of the Minister of Militia and sions in the Non-Permanent Active the enthusiasm of the units and the Militia. country at large produced a rapid The immature state of Canada and valuable result even by these and Canada’s military organization means. The British Government had in 1914 was reflected in the fact that suggested a force of one division. an officer of the British regular By 18 August volunteers for over- army (Lieutenant-General E. A. H. seas service were arriving at the Alderson) was appointed to com- THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 27 mand the 1st Canadian Division. British formation; it has been called When the Canadian Corps was “the most powerful self-contained formed in France in September striking force on any battlefront”. 1915, Alderson became its com- The 5th Canadian Division, which mander; and only in June 1917 was had been formed in England, was a Canadian, Lieutenant-General Sir broken up and used for reinforce- Arthur Currie, a pre-war officer of ments, except that its divisional ar- the N.P.A.M. who had been given a tillery was brought to France and brigade of the 1st Division in 1914, used to increase the artillery re- appointed to command the Corps. sources of the Canadian Corps. And all through the war virtually In the beginning, and for the every first-grade staff officer in the greater part of the war, all Canadian Corps was a British regular. soldiers were volunteers, and the The one division raised in 1914 Corps was kept up to strength by was the nucleus of a formidable voluntary enlistment. But in 1917 force. When the Canadian Corps declining recruiting made compul- was first formed it bad a strength of sory service necessary, and Parlia- only two divisions, but in August ment passed the Military Service 1916 it reached its full strength of Act to provide for it. a measure ex- four divisions, each of three bri- cited much opposition, particularly gades of four battalions. In 1918 a in Quebec. Of the men actually sent proposal was made for reorganizing overseas, only about eleven per cent the Corps. At this time the British were draftees, though the proportion Army, faced with a serious crisis in would have increased had the war reinforcements, reduced its infantry been prolonged. There was no re- brigades from four battalions to duction in the establishment of the three. The suggestion was that Can- Corps, and - unlike the five-division ada should follow suit and convert Australian Corps, whose strength the existing Corps of four divisions was greatly reduced and which was into an Army of two corps of three withdrawn from the line, on its gov- divisions each on the smaller estab- ernment’s insistence, early in Octo- lishment. General Currie success- ber 1918 - it remained in action to fully opposed this proposal. The the end. Canadian brigades continued to con- The Corps in Action sist of four battalions and the Corps Of the Canadians’ battles on the organization was maintained. The Western Front there is no need to result was that the Canadian Corps speak at length here. The 1st Divi- was far stronger, in the final stages sion entered the line in France in of the war, than any comparable February 1915, and in the following 28 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY April, in the Second Battle of Ypres, national spirit moved more and it stood up to the first German gas more strongly in the Canadian attack. The withdrawal of troops on Corps, and it was reflected in the its left exposed its flank, but it hung actions and policy of the Corps on. The Commander-in-Chief of the Commander, who, like his country, British Expeditionary Force, Sir grew steadily in stature under the John French, reported later, “In stress of responsibility. It is true spite of the danger to which they that, throughout, the Corps func- were exposed the Canadians held tioned as part of the British armies their ground with a magnificent dis- in France and was always under the play of tenacity and courage; and it operational command of a British is not too much to say that the bear- Army Commander.* This was es- ing and conduct of these splendid sential and was never questioned; troops averted a disaster which nevertheless, in 1917-18 a growing might have been attended with the autonomy was evident even in op- most serious consequences”. Such erational matters. It appears in the was Canada’s first appearance on facts, attested by Sir Arthur Currie’s European battle-fields. It was one of biographer, concerning the attack on few important defensive actions the the Passchendaele Ridge in the au- Canadians fought. Their normal role tumn of 1917. This assault across a was that of assault troops, which in sea of liquid mud was a particularly the trench warfare of the Western formidable job; even the Australians Front usually involved heavy losses. and New Zealanders had failed to The Canadians carried an in- take the Ridge. Currie was asked to creasing share of the battle burden detach two divisions to attempt the on the British front as the war pro- operation. He replied that he would gressed. In April 1917 the Corps not accept the task except on the gave an impressive demonstration of condition that the Corps would go its power and efficiency in the cap- as a whole. It is known too that he ture of Vimy Ridge; and in 1918, in declined to serve under the Fifth the final epic “Hundred Days” that Army. He was supported by the began with the great triumph in Commander-in-Chief, Sir Douglas front of Amiens on 8 August and Haig, who also saw to it that he was ended with the German surrender on * On the other hand, “in matters of or- 11 November, General Currie’s ganization and administration, the Canadian Corps served to a large extent as the Government ... retained full responsibility in spearhead of the victorious British respect to its own Forces”, and in July 1913 a “Canadian Section” was formed at G.H.Q. armies. British Armies in France to deal with these As the months passed a Canadian matters. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 29 given the time and the resources had no air force of her own, though which he required for mounting the Sir Sam Hughes did authorize a tiny attack. The result was that the care- nucleus in 1914 and Canadian fully-prepared offensive succeeded. squadrons were being organized at The Ridge was taken by a succes- the end. But about 24,000 Canadi- sion of operations which followed ans, many of them first enlisted in the timetable almost exactly; though the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the cost was staggering. served in the Royal Flying Corps, Finally, in the spring of 1918, in the Royal Naval Air Service and the crisis occasioned by the last (after its formation on 1 April 1918) great German offensive, when Cur- the Royal Air Force; and more than rie found that divisions were being 1500 of these lost their lives. At taken from him to such an extent least a quarter of all the officers in that the Canadian Corps was being the Imperial air forces were Canadi- broken up, he asserted himself ef- ans, and the individual quality of the fectively. As a result of his repre- country’s fighting airmen was the sentations the Corps was reunited, very highest. The Royal Canadian and all four Canadian divisions re- Navy started the war at a disadvan- mained under his command during tage, with a very small existing the heavy fighting down to the Ar- force overshadowed by political mistice. The record of those battles wrangles. In 1914, when an infor- gives strong support to the view that mal inquiry was made of the British Canadians fight most effectively as Admiralty as to whether it would a united national force. Currie him- recommend an expansion of Cana- self wrote after the war that the Ca- dian naval forces, the reply favoured nadian Corps, “while technically an concentration on the army. Conse- army corps of the British Army, quently, Canada’s sea forces re- differed from other army corps in mained comparatively small. Never- that it was an integral tactical unit, theless, at the Armistice they num- moving and fighting as a whole”. bered over 5000 men. A large pro- The Canadian effort in this war portion served in the Atlantic Coast was enormous by any standard, and patrols, a force of small craft, the cost in blood was great. In all, it mainly trawlers and drifters, which is recorded, 619,636 men served in guarded Canadian ports and waters the Canadian Expeditionary Force; against the German submarines. At 424,589 all ranks went overseas; the end, the Royal Canadian Navy and 60,661 sacrificed their lives. In was operating 134 vessels, not in- such fires as this are nations forged. cluding motor launches. In the First World War Canada Throughout the war, however, 30 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Canada’s national effort had cen- was written a new chapter of Cana- tered heavily upon her land forces dian history, proud, sorrowful and and on the Western Front. Amid the exalted. blood and fire of that grim arena SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING (in addition to works already cited) Boissonnault, Charles-Marie, Histoire politico- Nicholson, G.W.L., Canadian Expeditionary Force militaire des Canadiens français, Tome I 1914-1919 (Ottawa, 1964).* (Trois-Rivières, 1967). Underhill, F.H., “The Canadian Forces in the War”, Chatalle, Joseph, Histoire du 22e Bataillon canadien in Sir Charles Lucas, ed., The Empire at War français (Québec, 1952). Vol. II (London, 1923). Cummins, 1.F., “Imperial Conferences and Imperial Urquhart, Hugh M. Arthur Currie, The Biography of Defence” (Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. a Great Canadian (Toronto, 1950). IV, October 1926). Annual Reports, Department of Militia and Defence Currie, Sir Arthur, “Canada: Defence” (Encyclo- and Department of the Naval Service. paedia Britannica 13th edition, 1926). Report of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Goodspeed, D.1., (ed), The Armed Forces of Can- Canada, 1918 (London, n.d.). (contains Lt.- ada 1867-1967 (Ottawa, 1967).* Gen. Sir Arthur Currie’s “Interim Report on the Hyatt, A.M.J., “Sir Arthur Currie and Conscription - Operations of the Canadian Corps during the A Soldier’s View”, Canadian Historical Re- year 1918”) view, Vol. 1, No. 3., September, 1969. . * Canadian official histories are available in French and English IV: The Canadian Army, 1919-1953 Between the Wars (though on a nonprofessional basis) Considering the tremendous ef- under the control of the Air Board, fect of the First World War on al- which was constituted under an act most all other departments of Cana- of 1919. But the economy axe fell in dian life, it is curious how little in- 1922, and the activities of all three fluence, on the whole, it had on services were curtailed thereafter. Canada’s military policies. It would The Permanent Active Militia’s almost seem that Canadians be- strength was again reduced. The lieved that this “war to end war” Royal Canadian Air Force* was fi- had really done so; for there was nally placed upon a solid basis, with remarkably little interest in military permanent, non-permanent and re- matters in Canada for nearly twenty serve components, in 1924; but its years after 1918. Broadly speaking, work for years afterwards was the country reverted to its pre-war mainly on “civil government air defence policies, and even went fur- operations”. Most of the vessels of ther, maintaining the barest mini- the Royal Canadian Navy were mum of armed force. placed in reserve and its strength in A brief flurry of interest immedi- men was materially reduced. ately after the Armistice was re- Steps were taken to preserve in flected in an amendment to the Mili- the Militia the great traditions of the tia Act, passed raising the maximum Canadian Expeditionary Force. Two permitted strength of the Permanent new infantry regiments were added Force from 5000 to 10,000. This to the Permanent Force: Princess policy, however, was never carried Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, into practical effect, although in perpetuating the first Canadian 1920 the force’s strength rose to combatant unit to reach France; and 4125 all ranks compared with 3000 the Royal 22e Régiment, perpetuat- before the war. The British Gov- ing the celebrated French-speaking ernment presented Canada with sev- eral naval vessels; and in 1920 the * The King had granted it the prefix Canadian Air Force was organized “Royal” in 1923 31 32 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY unit of the C.E.F., the 22nd Battal- change in military - administration ion. But restricted establishments during these years. In 1922 Parlia- kept these units very small, and at ment passed the Department of Na- no time between the two World tional Defence Act, which provided Wars could the Permanent Force for the organization of a department have put an effective infantry bri- of that name whose Minister was to gade in the field. Most of the war- be “charged with all matters relating time units were perpetuated in the to defence, including the Militia, the Non-Permanent Active Militia. Per- Military, Naval, and Air Services of petuations were accorded to Militia Canada”. Thus all the defence ser- units on the basis of the volunteers vices came under the control of one they had provided for C.E.F. battal- minister, who directed the work ions, and in 1929 Battle Honours formerly supervised by the Depart- were awarded, where appropriate, to ment of Militia and Defence, the perpetuating units. Department of the Naval Service, On paper the postwar establish- and the Air Board. This was a useful ment of the N.P.A.M. was imposing; reform and probably produced a it provided for eleven divisions and material increase in both efficiency four cavalry divisions. This, how- and economy. It was the economy ever, had little practical meaning, motive that the Prime Minister, Mr. for the actual strength of the force Mackenzie King, mainly empha- was considerably less than it had sized in discussing the proposal in been before the war. In 1928, the Parliament. It is probably fair to say number of men trained was only that economy was the dominant 34,000. The sums of money avail- consideration in the military policy able for training were in fact some- of every Canadian government until what smaller than before 1914. after 1935. There were almost no purchases of The Department of National De, new equipment, and the stocks left fence Act came into effect at the over from the war became increas- beginning of 1923, and at that time ingly obsolescent. No attempt was a Defence Council, on which the made to revive the pre-war divi- Director of the Naval Service and sional organization; the country was the Director, R.C.A.F. had seats, again divided into Military Districts replaced the old Militia Council. A whose headquarters controlled train- short-lived and ineffective move ing and administration, and no field was made in the direction of inte- formation existed above brigade gration of the three services on the level. military as well as the political There was however an important level. The Chief of the General Staff THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 33 was redesignated by order in council of a world situation which was dete- “Chief of Staff, Department of Na- riorating daily, the Canadian people tional Defence” and also became and their representatives in Parlia- Inspector General of the Militia, ment again began to take an interest Navy and Air Force. This arrange- in defence. Hitler had been in con- ment was strongly resisted by the trol of Germany since 1933; Japan Director of the Naval Service* and had been engaged in aggression may be said to have never become against China since 1931. A very effective. It was abandoned in 1927, modest programme of rearmament when the senior soldier’s appoint- was adopted in 1936. ment was again styled “Chief of the In the new plan the Air Force was General Staff”. given the highest priority and the As the years passed, expenditure Navy came second, with the Militia on the three armed services gradually third. This reflected the fact that the increased. It had fallen below programme was presented as primar- $13,500,000 in 1924-25. By 1930-31 ily one of home defence. This in turn the total disbursements of the De- reflected the fact that Canadian gov- partment of National Defence rose to ernment policy at this period, when about $23,700,000. At this moment, public opinion appeared to be di- however, the world depression, vided as to what course Canada whose advent had been signalled by should follow in the event of another the Wall Street crash of October war, was based on “no commit- 1929, led to renewed drastic econo- ments” in advance of an actual crisis. mies, and in 1932-33 the Department The Army aspect which received spent little more than $14,000,000. most consideration was coast de- In the later stages of the depression, fence, and the Pacific coast got most un-employment relief funds financed attention. In spite of the low priority a number of construction projects of given the Militia, the actual funds military importance, but little was available to it increased materially done for the forces themselves. during the pre-war years, and the Rearmament and Reorganisation general condition of the force im- About 1935, under the influence proved in proportion. The total ex- penditure of the Department of Na- * This appointment was changed to “Chief tional Defence rose to nearly of the Naval Staff” in 1928. The Director, R.C.A.F. (redesignated Senior Air Officer in $35,000,000 in 1938-39; the Mili- 1932) reported through the Chief of the Gen- tia’s share was about $15,700,000. It eral Staff until 1938, when he was made di- had had $17,200,000 the year before, rectly responsible to the Minister of National Defence and his appointment was denomi- which compared favourably with nated “Chief of the Air Staff” $8,700,000 at the depth of the de- 34 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY pression. Canada or wait for weapons and In September 1938 came the equipment from England. In either “Munich Crisis”, which forced even case there would be a long delay. the most optimistic to realize how Not a great deal was done before the serious was the danger of war and outbreak of war to develop Cana- how unlikely it was that Canada dian production, although an impor- could stand aside if war came. The tant contract was let for the manu- shock was reflected in the defence facture of Bren guns. A good many estimates for 1939-40, which rose to small orders were placed in Britain, about $64,500,000 for the three ser- but not much material was delivered vices. But these appropriations, au- before the war began. thorized in the spring of 1939, came In 1936 the Militia underwent too late to have much effect before important changes in organization. Hitler launched his war. It had long been recognized that the The whole defence programme existing organization made little encountered very serious difficulties sense. The paper establishment of in the matter of supply, and it be- 11 divisions and four cavalry divi- came evident that a country which sions was absurdly inflated, and over a long period has maintained moreover the force was not properly very small forces and no defence balanced: it contained too many industry to speak of cannot greatly infantry and cavalry units in propor- improve its defences at short notice tion to the artillery and the other merely by spending more money. technical arms and the services. It Canada had no armament industry,* was now reorganized on a theoreti- and the British factories which were cal basis of six divisions and one her traditional sources of supply cavalry division (though these divi- were working to capacity under sions were not actually formed); the Britain’s own rearmament plan. Ac- number of cavalry and infantry units cordingly, the choice was either to was reduced, that of units of other develop production facilities in arms and services increased. Fea- tures of the new organization were * Although the country had made a large the first appearance of armoured industrial contribution in the First World War units - although the Canadian Ar- it was mainly in the manufacture of shells. N moured Corps did not come into o weapons were made except Ross rifles. In the Second World War it was to be different. being until 1940 - and the triumph A great variety of weapons were manufac- of mechanization. Except in the tured, and in great quantity. It should be cavalry, where he got a very brief noted however that the absence of a prewar armament industry resulted in Canadian arms reprieve, the horse virtually disap- production not reaching its peak until 1943 peared from the establishment. But THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 35 for the present, unfortunately, the points and manning coast defences tank battalions had no tanks and the had already been ordered on 25 Au- “mechanized” units of the Non- gust. Now the Mobile Force of two Permanent Active Militia had no divisions and ancillary troops con- vehicles. templated in the pre-war defence The state of the Militia in 1939 scheme was ordered to mobilize. No can be briefly described. Its actual corps headquarters was formed at strength had not greatly increased. this time. Later in September the The Permanent Force numbered Government decided to send one only a little over 4000 men; the division overseas, the intention be- Non-Permanent Active Militia’s ing that it should take its place in strength was about 51,000 - less due course alongside the British than in 1914, though the country’s forces which were beginning to population had grown greatly in the move to France. The 1st Canadian interim. Larger appropriations, Division, commanded by Major- however, had lately helped raise the General A. G. L. McNaughton, ar- standard of training; 46,521 all rived in the United Kingdom in De- ranks trained in 1938-39 as com- cember 1939. pared with 39,175 in 1934-35, and Unlike the C.E.F. of 1914-18, there was a particularly large in- the force mobilized in 1939 was crease in camp training and atten- mainly composed of service battal- dance at schools of instruction. The ions or regiments of existing units equipment was still in the main that of the Militia, wearing familiar of 1918. At the outbreak of war the titles and badges. In contrast with Militia possessed exactly four mod- the 1914 policy also, there was no ern anti-aircraft guns and four anti- question in 1939 of employing tank guns. Its armoured component British commanders or staff offi- had fourteen light tanks, almost all cers. To a considerable extent, of which had just been received. Canada’s own Permanent Force provided for her expanded wartime The Second World War army the personnel which the Brit- Germany invaded Poland on 1 ish Army had found for the Cana- September 1939. Although Great dian formations of the First World Britain did not declare war until 3 War. September, nor Canada until 10 In common with other Allied September, the Canadian Govern- countries, Canada did not begin to ment decided to carry out partial exert a really massive effort until mobilization at once. Precautionary the disasters in Norway, France and action for protecting vulnerable the Low Countries in the spring and 36 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY summer of 1940 demonstrated how brigade groups of a 6th Division. dire was the crisis. The Army* was Now, in March 1942, this division now greatly expanded, a 3rd and was completed and two more divi- then a 4th Division being mobilized. sions, the 7th and 8th, were formed. In 1941 an armoured division was Two of the three home-defence di- raised and was subsequently desig- visions were stationed on the Pacific nated the 5th Canadian Armoured Coast. They continued to exist until Division. In 1942 the 4th Division the autumn of 1943, when the tide was converted into an armoured in the Pacific had turned and the division for overseas service. The Japanese had been expelled from the Canadian field force in Britain was Aleutian Islands. Two of the divi- steadily built up until by the end of sions were then disbanded and the 1942 it had reached nearly its final third reduced. stage of development. A Canadian The Army in Action Corps had been formed in December 1940. In the spring of 1942 the First The experiences of the Army in Canadian Army came into existence, the Second World War differed with Lieutenant-General McNaugh- widely from those in the First. In ton as G.O.C.-in-C. Ultimately the particular, it was a long time before overseas force amounted to an Army the Canadians got into action. Al- Headquarters, two Corps Headquar- though it had been assumed that ters, three infantry divisions, two they would join the British Expedi- armoured divisions, two independ- tionary Force in France, the Allied ent armoured brigades, and a great defeat in the campaign of 1940 and number of ancillary units. the expulsion of British forces from Although the attacks upon Cana- the Continent intervened before the dian soil which had been widely 1st Canadian Division could take foretold before the war never mate- the field. One brigade reached rialized, it was thought necessary to France only to be withdrawn. maintain considerable forces for Thereafter the main Canadian field home defence, particularly after force found itself for a long period Japan entered the conflict in De- helping to protect the United King- cember 1941. In July 1941 the Gov- dom. This was an important task, ernment had authorized forming for particularly in 1940-41 when the home-defence purposes the three shadow of invasion hung over the English beaches; but it began to pall * The designation “Canadian Army” was after the German attack on Russia in substituted in the autumn of 1940 for the time-honoured but now less appropriate term 1941 rendered invasion much less “Militia”. likely. The Canadian Army Over- THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 37 seas fought its first battle only on 19 the Canadian Government to depart August 1942, when two brigades of from the traditional Canadian policy the 2nd Division, with some other of concentration, but it now desired troops, supported by large naval and a reunion of its forces overseas un- air forces, raided Dieppe. The casu- der a single command; and both the alties were very heavy, and the town Government and the troops were was not taken; but the lessons glad when early in 1945 it was pos- learned helped to lay the foundation sible to move the 1st Corps to for the successful assault in Nor- North-West Europe, where it came mandy in June 1944. under the command of General H. Canadian troops were not com- D. G. Crerar, who had commanded mitted to a protracted campaign un- the First Canadian Army since til July 1943, when the 1st Canadian March 1944. Division and 1st Canadian Army The departure of the 1st Corps Tank Brigade took part in the as- for Italy to fight as part of the Brit- sault on Sicily. They were sent to ish Eighth Army had left the Cana- the Mediterranean at the request of dian Army in England with only one the Canadian Government, which corps, three divisions and an in, de- felt that it was important to end the pendent armoured brigade. The re- Army’s long inaction and give part sult was that during the greater part of it at least some battle experience. of the eleven-month campaign in Later in the year the 1st Division North-West Europe beginning in and 1st Army Tank Brigade saw June 1944 the majority of the for- action on the Italian mainland and mations serving under General Cre- took Ortona after desperate fighting. rar were non-Canadian. The 3rd Ca- The Canadian force in the Mediter- nadian Infantry Division and 2nd ranean was augmented at this time Armoured Brigade took part in the by the arrival of Headquarters 1st famous assault on the coast of Nor- Canadian Corps, Corps Troops and mandy on 6 June, fighting under the the 5th Armoured Division. The 1st British Corps. The 2nd Canadian Corps came into action in the spring Corps, commanded by Lieut.- of 1944. It played an important part General G. G. Simonds, came into in the Liri Valley offensive which action during July; and in the same produced the capture of Rome, and month Headquarters First Canadian again in the autumn in the heavy Army took over the extreme left- fighting which broke the Gothic ward sector of the Allied front, Line and led to the capture of which it never afterwards relin- Rimini and Ravenna. Temporary quished. It fought throughout as part and special circumstances had led of Field-Marshal Montgomery’s 38 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY 21st Army Group, which also in- mans back into the Western Nether- cluded the Second British Army and lands. The 2nd Corps, pushing at times an American army as well. northward, cleared Northern Hol- In the breakout from the Nor- land. In North-West Germany the mandy bridgehead in August 1944, enemy still fought bitterly as he re- and the battle of the Falaise Gap treated, and the Canadians remained which followed, the First Canadian in action until the German surrender Army played a great part and paid a became effective on the morning of heavy price for victory. It pursued 5 May 1945. At this time the First the defeated Germans through Canadian Army’s line stretched Northern France and Belgium to the from the lower Rhine almost to Scheldt, taking the Channel Ports by Bremen, and eight divisions (five storm, and subsequently had the Canadian, two British, and one Pol- task of clearing the Scheldt Estuary ish) were fighting under its com- and opening the great inland port of mand. Antwerp. This was done in a month In the war in the Pacific the Ca- of bloody fighting which ended nadian Army played only a small early in November. In February part, for the main field force had 1945 the Canadian Army, with sev- been built up in the United Kingdom eral British divisions under com- before Japan attacked. In the au- mand, drove south-east to clear the tumn of 1941 the British Govern- corridor between the Rhine and ment asked for two battalions from Maas Rivers and prepare the way Canada to reinforce the garrison of for crossing the Rhine. This task Hong Kong. They arrived there just was completed by 10 March, again three weeks before the Japanese at great cost; but the damage in- attack in December and lost heavily flicted upon the German Army in during the brave defence which this Battle of the Rhineland was came to its inevitable end on such as to preclude its offering very Christmas Day. In 1942 the Japa- effective opposition in the later nese invaded the Aleutian Islands, fighting east of the Rhine. and the Canadian Army gave some In the initial Rhine crossing on assistance in evicting them the fol- 23 March only a few Canadian units lowing year. A Canadian brigade were committed, but the main force group formed part of the military shortly came into action again and force directed against the island of advanced astride the Dutch-German Kiska, but when the assault troops frontier. Lieut.-General C. Foulkes’ landed it was found that the Japa- 1st Canadian Corps from Italy, com- nese had withdrawn. ing in on the left, drove the Ger- It seemed likely that a final at- THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 39 tack on the Japanese home islands the overseas field, but N.R.M.A. would be necessary, and arrange- soldiers were not actually sent over- ments were made for a Canadian seas until a shortage of infantry re- division to take part. This formation inforcements developed late in was to be organized on American 1944. lines and serve under United States During the Second World War higher command. However, it never 630,052 Canadians, including 25,251 went into action. Japan had been women, served in the Active Army, seeking a way out of the war ever in addition to 100,573 called up un- since hostilities ended in Europe, der the National Resources Mobiliza- and in August 1945 the use against tion Act. Approximately 370,000 all her of a terrible new weapon, the ranks of the Army served overseas in atomic bomb, hastened the end. She the European zone; while some 2,800 surrendered a few days later, before served in the Pacific war zone, apart the organization of the Canadian from the 5,300 engaged in the Kiska Army Pacific Force was complete. operation. The Army’s fatal casual- During this war the Army fol- ties numbered 22,917. lowed in the footsteps of the Cana- In the Second World War, unlike dian Corps of the First World War. the First, Canada maintained large As in the earlier conflict, the Cana- naval and air forces of her own; in dian formations served under British 1940, Parliament authorized what higher command in operations, al- amounted to separate departments most, though not quite, as though of government to control these ser- they had been British themselves. vices. Nearly 250,000 Canadians However, in matters of organization served in the Royal Canadian Air and administration, including disci- Force and about 106,000 in the Na- pline, Canadian autonomy was val forces. Both services played complete. As in the First World War distinguished parts and suffered also, all Canadian overseas soldiers heavy losses. The Air Force had were volunteers for a long period. more fatal casualties than the Army The European crisis of 1940, how- in proportion to its strength. The ever, led to the enactment of the Army thus no longer enjoyed the National Resources Mobilization near-monopoly of the national ef- Act, which provided for compulsory fort which it had had in 1914-18; service for home defence, and from and yet it still maintained a certain then onwards considerable numbers primacy. Not only was it far the of men were called up. In 1942 a largest of the services; it was also national plebiscite authorized the in a definite sense the most na- extension of compulsory service to tional. 40 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY The Royal Canadian Air Force States as well as Canada, bound and the Royal Canadian Navy both themselves to consider an armed found their identities submerged to attack against any of them an attack some extent in the British services against them all; and they agreed to with which they fought. But the “maintain and develop their indi- Army served under Canadian com- vidual and collective capacity to mand up to the Army Headquarters resist armed attack”. This was a re- level; and as in the previous war action to the advance of militant many of the public saw in it the em- Communism, which had appeared bodiment of the national spirit. particularly in the coup d’etat which brought a Communist government to Cold War and Korea power in Czechoslovakia early in Canadian military policy after the 1948. Second World War showed a The establishments fixed for the marked contrast with that pursued Canadian armed services in the pe- after the First. It would seem that riod immediately after the war pro- the people of Canada had now de- vided for larger regular forces than cided that peace would not be se- ever before. The regular strength of cure without organized forces to the Army was tentatively fixed in protect it. At any rate, Canada after 1946 at about 25,000 men. This 1945 did not reduce her armed permitted the maintenance of a forces to insignificance, as she had small but effective mobile striking done after 1918. force, a brigade group in strength, An important factor in producing always ready for action-something the new policy was a change in atti- Canada had never had before. At the tude towards commitments abroad. same time it provided for headquar- The policy of “no commitments” ters staffs, training establishments, was replaced by readiness to join personnel to assist the administra- with other nations in organizing tion and training of the Reserve collective defence. This found ex- Force, and the miscellaneous units pression in Canada’s attitude to the essential to the functioning of a United Nations after that organiza- modern army. As for the Reserve tion was set up in 1945, but still Force (the former Non-Permanent more strikingly in her advocacy of a Active Militia), the 1946 plan pro- North Atlantic alliance and her sign- vided for “six divisions, four ar- ing of the North Atlantic Treaty in moured brigades and selected corps 1949. By that treaty the signatory and army troops for an Army of two nations, twelve in number at first corps, together with coast-defence and including Britain and the United and anti-aircraft units”. The country THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 41 was divided into five Commands, ous international situation dubbed whose headquarters could serve as the “Cold War” and the new re- divisional headquarters in emer- sponsibilities accepted through the gency, with subordinate Areas for North Atlantic Treaty, it immedi- local administration. ately began to rise again. In 1951 a A feature of the post-war pro- greatly expanded defence pro- gramme was increased integration gramme was adopted; it was esti- of the three fighting services. In mated to cost about $5,000,000,000 1946 Canada returned to the system, during the next three years. The in abeyance since 1940, by which a following year the programme was single Minister controlled all three further enlarged. The defence esti- services. The arrangements for the mates for 1952-53 amounted to training of officer cadets were uni- $2,001,725,000. As in the 1936 fied. In 1948 the Royal Military programme, there was heavy em- College at Kingston and the former phasis on the Air Force in the new Naval College at Royal Roads, B.C., one. began to work as joint services col- These developments were largely leges, producing officers for the due to the Korean War, which broke Navy, the Army and the Air Force. out in June 1950. The United Na- A third cadet college, primarily for tions, under the leadership of the French-speaking students, was set United States, rallied to defend up at St. Jean, P.Q., in 1952. In South Korea against invasion by the 1950 a consolidated National De- Communist North. Canada, in addi- fence Act replaced the separate stat- tion to providing a small naval force utes governing the three fighting and a contribution to the Pacific forces, and provided, among other airlift, raised for service in Korea an matters, a uniform code of disci- infantry brigade group basically pline for them. Early in 1951 a Per- composed of second battalions of manent Chairman of the Chiefs of the three Active Force infantry Staff Committee was appointed, regiments then existing. One battal- with the duty of coordinating the ion was sent to Korea shortly, and three forces’ operations and train- the whole brigade group was there ing. by the spring of 1951. That summer The expenditure of the Depart- it was incorporated in the 1st Com- ment of National Defence as a monwealth Division which was then whole fell from the wartime peak formed. ($2,938,000,000 in 1944-45) to The Canadians gave a good ac- about $196,000,000 in 1947-48; but count of themselves among the ra- under the influence of the danger- zor-back hills of Korea. There is no 42 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY need to give details here. In No- 1954 the strength of the Active vember 1950, when it appeared that Force was 49,978 all ranks and that the United Nations were winning a of the Reserve Force 46,506. The decisive victory, Communist China contrast with the situation before intervened and pushed their forces 1939 was remarkable, and it was back. But the Chinese were held and clear that there had been what pushed back in their turn, and the amounted to a revolution in Cana- war turned into a stalemate. In July dian defence policy. Particularly 1951, truce negotiations began. striking was the change in the atti- Fighting while they continued was tude of the public. A people who usually limited to relatively minor traditionally had been very unwill- operations. Losses also continued, ing to do much in the way of mili- however; and in the autumn of 1952 tary preparation in time of peace and spring of 1953 there were fierce had clearly learned a great deal from local actions. By 27 July 1953, the hard experience of two World when at long last a truce was signed, Wars. the Canadians had suffered a total of 1543 battle casualties, of which 309 had been fatal. The small war in Korea had become the third most costly overseas conflict in Canada’s history. While Canadian soldiers were fighting in Korea, others were mov- ing to Europe to join the armies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion. An infantry brigade group was raised for this purpose, largely through the agency of Reserve Force units, in the spring of 1951. It arrived in Germany later in the year and took up quarters in the British Zone. As a result of these events, the Army’s strength greatly increased. For the first time in history, except for the periods of the two World Wars, the regular force outnum- bered the citizen force. At 31 March THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN ARMY 43 SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING Schull, Joseph, The Far Distant Ships (Ottawa, Barclay, C.N., The First Commonwealth Division 1953)* (Aldershort, 1954). Tucker, G.N., The Naval Service of Canada (2 vols., Boissonnault, Charles-Marie, Histoire politico- Ottawa, 1952). militaire des Canadiens français (Trois- Wood, H.F., Strange Battleground (Ottawa, 1966).* Rivières, 1967), 2 tomes. Air Historical Section, RCAF Logbook (Ottawa, Goodspeed, D.J., (ed), The Armed Forces of Canada 1949). 1867-1967 (Ottawa, 1967).* Annual Reports, Department of National Defence. Nicholson, G.W.L., The Canadians in Italy (Ottawa, Department of National Defence, Canada, The 1967).* Canadians in Britain, 1939-1944 (2nd ed., Ot- Stacey, C.P., The Military Problems of Canada tawa, 1946). (Toronto, 1940); The Canadian Army 1939- White Papers on Defence, issued by the Minister of 1945 (Ottawa, 1948); Six Years of War (Ottawa, National Defence. 1955); Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada 1939-1945 (Ottawa, 1970); and The Victory Campaign (Ottawa, 1960).* * Canadian official histories are available in French and English CAMPAIGNS AND BATTLES 1690-1945 SIR WILLIAM PHIPS’ ATTACK ON QUEBEC 1690 The campaign that took place the religious hatreds existing be- around the infant city of Quebec in tween Puritan New England and the autumn of 1690 is a small epi- Roman Catholic New France. sode in Canadian history but not It was fortunate for the French without significance. It was one of colony that this same year 1689 the earliest occasions when the mili- saw the return as Governor of the tary forces of Canada were in action old but formidable veteran Count on a considerable scale. Although a Frontenac,* perhaps the stoutest fairly large force of French regulars defender it ever had. During the was present, the actual fighting was winter of 1689-90 Frontenac sent almost all done by Canadian mili- out three war parties - over the tiamen under their own officers. snow against the frontiers of the And there are definite military les- English colonies. The blows struck sons to be learned even from these by these expeditions goaded New minor actions which took place over England and New York into mak- two and a half centuries ago. ing a great effort to clear the French from America. In 1690 they The Background of the Attack produced a grand design for an at- The year 1689 saw the beginning tack upon New France and in par- of the series of conflicts between ticular upon the centre of French Britain and France which is some- power, the town of Quebec. times called the Second Hundred The English colonies were far Years’ War. In that year the War of stronger than New France in popula- the League of Augsburg (called by tion and in wealth. Luckily for the Americans King William’s War) French, however, the English were broke out in Europe. Inevitably it disunited and full of mutual jealousy. was fought on the western as well as In these circumstances, the courage, the eastern side of the Atlantic, and sound leadership and effective or- French and English colonists were soon at each other’s throats in a * He was now 69. He had served a previ- struggle which was embittered by ous term as Governor, 1672-82. 47 48 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY ganization of the French community Frontenac Prepares for Defence enabled it to resist its aggressive and numerous neighbours not only in Count Frontenac, anticipating the 1690, but for two generations after- attack, had taken steps to strengthen wards. Its autocratic system of gov- Quebec. At this time the place was ernment, while certainly adverse to far from being the fortress which it the progress of the colony in the long later became. There was a small fort run, was favourable to military effi- in the Upper Town and a few guns ciency. When at last New France fell mounted; and the cliffs gave the it was not the American colonies that town good natural protection on two conquered it, but a great armament of its three sides, fronting the St. dispatched from England, backed and Lawrence and St. Charles rivers. transported by the Royal Navy. But the side looking south and west The English colonies’ plan for towards the open country was com- the campaign of 1690 was con- pletely unprotected, and Frontenac ceived on lines similar to those now fortified it for the first time. followed with success seventy The defences which he provided years later; but the military re- here consisted of “palisades and sources of the colonies at this time small stone redoubts at intervals;” were unequal to carrying out such a they were obviously not much more great conception. The intention was than fieldworks. They did not en- to make a double attack. A land close any part of the great hump of expedition was to move up the line Cape Diamond, the site of the mo- of the Hudson River and Lake dem Citadel, on which there were Champlain against Montreal; while, no buildings at this time. Frontenac simultaneously, a seaborne force says in his report that he felt “un was to sail up the St. Lawrence and presentiment” that it was very im- attack Quebec. The command of portant to get on with this work, and this latter enterprise was given to it was nearly finished when on 31 Sir William Phips, a “rude sailor” July 1690 the Governor left Quebec who owed his reputation and his for Montreal, evidently to take knighthood to his success in sal- measures to resist the expected vaging the cargo of a wrecked overland attack. As it turned out, the Spanish treasure galleon, and had English expedition against Montreal little military experience. Phips’ came to practically nothing. Internal attempt to carry out the scheme quarrels among the colonists them- produced one of the most dramatic selves and inadequate preparations episodes in the early history of combined with a timely onslaught of Canada. smallpox to defeat it. The main SIR WILLIAM PHIP’S ATTACK ON QUEBEC 49 body never got beyond Lake Phips made a very slow voyage. George, and the only blow struck He was hampered, in his own was a hit-and-run raid by a small words, “by bad weather and con- party on La Prairie, across the St. trary winds,” and had no pilot to Lawrence from Montreal, on 4 Sep- show him the way up the St. Law- tember. rence. He arrived at Tadoussac on 3 Phips’ expedition by sea was a October. (The English called this more formidable threat. However, it date 23 September, for they were was launched far too late in the sea- still using the Old Style calendar.) son. Phips had devoted the spring to The squadron did not reach the Isle a successful expedition against Port of Orleans until 15 October, and it Royal in Acadia; and the Quebec anchored close below Quebec only enterprise was held up in the hope on the 16th. This dilatory approach of getting help, in the form of arms had robbed Phips of his best hope of and ammunition, from the home an easy victory, for when he entered government in England. But that the river Frontenac was still in government was fighting a war in Montreal. On 10 October a report Ireland, and sent no assistance. Only that a hostile fleet had sailed from on 9 August did Phips’ fleet finally Boston led him to set out for Que- set sail from Hull, near Boston. It bec. The next day he heard that the consisted of from 30 to 34 ships enemy ships had actually been (different accounts vary slightly) sighted in the St. Lawrence. Fronte- with more than 2000 men on board. nac paused just long enough to send The troops were Massachusetts mili- orders to Callières, the Governor of tia; the ships were not war vessels, Montreal, to follow him to Quebec and only four of them were of any with all his troops except a small size. Unlike the later colonial expe- garrison, and to collect as many as dition which took Louisbourg in possible of the militia on the way; 1745, this one got no assistance then he pushed on by canoe, through from the Royal Navy; and no British a violent storm, to the capital. He regular troops were involved. At reached it on the morning of 14 Oc- this period, although France main- tober, when Phips was still seven tained an effective regular force in leagues away. Canada, the only English troops in Frontenac’s arrival raised the spir- America were a few inefficient in- its of garrison and people, and he dependent garrison companies. Both himself tells how “la resolution et la French and English colonies had gayeté” shone in the faces of the in- militia systems based on the obliga- habitants as they made their prepara- tion of universal service. tions. The Governor was de, lighted 50 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY to find that during the past few days Savage,” evidently to distinguish the Town Major of Quebec, Prévost, him from his father, another Major had greatly improved the batteries Thomas Savage, for he was a man and other defences. A map prepared, of 50. The reception he got is a part probably the following year, by the of Canadian legend, but unlike engineer Robert de Villeneuve indi- many legends it is fully supported cates that, all told, there were 23 by the evidence of the people who cannon mounted by the time Phips were there. The emissary, blind- appeared. Six of these were in two folded, was led up to Fort St. Louis, batteries in the Lower Town, and where he found himself, as reported three were emplaced to cover the later in a letter written by James crossing of the St. Charles River. Lloyd, a Boston merchant, “in a Quebec was still not especially stately Hall” full of brave Martiall strong, but it was stronger now than men. He proceeded to present the ever before; and with nearly 3000 ultimatum, which demanded an an- fighters to defend it, as it had after swer within an hour. But the men- Callières came marching down St. aces concocted by the Puritan men Louis Street with his merry men of God did not have the effect Phips from the upper country on the eve- had hoped for. Frontenac told Sav- ning of 17 October, it proved more age proudly that he would not keep than equal to beating off the amateur him waiting as long as an hour; he warriors of New England. did not recognize the new King (William III) in whose name the Phips Before Quebec English came; and neither he nor his On the morning of the 16th took officers had any intention of surren- place the famous episode of the flag dering Quebec. When Savage asked of truce. Phips sent to Frontenac a for a written answer, the Governor letter (carefully composed by the made the haughty reply that has expedition’s four chaplains) de- been familiar to generations of manding the surrender of Quebec. schoolboys: “No! I have no answer The messenger was one Major for your General save from the Thomas Savage.* The New England mouths of my cannon and from my accounts call him “young Thomas musketry; let him learn that this is not the way to summon a man like * The letter has been preserved and is me. Let him do his best, and I shall published in Parkman. Although Savage do mine.” The New Englander was wrote an account of the campaign, which has taken back to his boat and reported also been preserved, he makes no mention of his mission to Frontenac. His impressions of to his commander. If Lloyd is to be the incident would have been interesting! SIR WILLIAM PHIP’S ATTACK ON QUEBEC 51 52 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY believed, Frontenac’s bold attitude that had to carry it out. It required a “startled” Phips’ men, for they had degree of co-ordination between the been “preached to other things.” force afloat and that ashore to which However, an English council of the New Englanders’ discipline was war had prepared, or now prepared a not equal. plan of attack, which is described The Fighting on Shore both by Savage and by Major John Walley, the second - in-command of The English continued to act the expedition. Like the planners of slowly. Nothing was done on the the raid on Dieppe in 1942, the 16th, and on the 17th bad weather Massachusetts men confronted a prevented a landing. Finally, on the fortified town and a formidable 18th, the militia were put ashore on coast; like them, they were faced La Canardière without meeting any with the choice between a frontal immediate resistance. Major Walley, attack and encirclement from the who commanded the landing force, flanks; and like them they tried to says that it numbered between 1200 combine the two. The scheme and 1300 men. adopted was to land the main body Count Frontenac had a definite of the troops on the section of the plan, which he outlines in his dis- Beauport shore called La Ca- patch to the Minister of Marine. nardière, across the St. Charles east Although he had three French regu- of the city. The landing force was lar battalions he did not propose to then to advance across the St. send them into the broken country Charles, which was fordable, with beyond the St. Charles. This area, the help of the fleet’s boats, which he says, was “impracticable for were also to bring in the field guns large bodies of troops, because of and land them on the Quebec side of the woods, the rocks and the mud the St. Charles. Walley writes; [of the foreshore] ... and suitable ... it was alsoe agreed that, when we were over only for little platoons skirmishing the river, the men of warn were to sail up with the in the Indian way, which our sol- town, and when they perceived we were upon the diers are not capable of doing.” hill, especially if we then fired a house, they were then to land 200 men under their guns, and were to Frontenac was obviously no Brad- make a brisk and resolute charge to enter the town; dock. But he had other troops well alsoe agreed that Shute and others of the larger vessels that were not men of warr, were to go be- fitted for guerrilla work “our Cana- yond the town, that the enemy might think we had dian officers and other volunteers, another army to land there... and the people of the country, along The weakness of this plan was with those French officers and sol- that it was too complicated for the diers who had already become used untrained and inexperienced forces to this sort of thing.” Among the SIR WILLIAM PHIP’S ATTACK ON QUEBEC 53 “Canadian officers” present were at although they advanced some dis- least two of the eleven famous Le- tance they lost fairly heavily (ac- Moyne brothers, native Canadians cording to Walley, four killed and who deserve a high place on the not less than 60 wounded) and soon roster of Canadian fighting men. camped for the night. They expected One of them, Jacques, Sieur de the ships’ boats to come in with the Sainte-Hélène - the seigneur of St. tide before dawn to help them cross Helen’s Island - was to be the great the St. Charles, but they were disap- hero of the defence. Frontenac pointed, the shipmasters blaming the planned to use his local irregulars to wind for the failure. But the six harass the New England landing cannon, which the plan required party. His main battle, however, he should be put ashore west of the St. intended to fight on the open ground Charles, were prematurely landed, on the Quebec side of the St. without Walley being warned, close Charles, which was more suitable to his camp. He had no means of for European tactics. The river getting them across the river. could be forded only at low water, Phips’ whole scheme was falling and Frontenac hoped that the New apart. There is no evidence that the Englanders would come at him proposed feint above the town was across it. Then, with the stream ris- ever made; and on the evening of ing behind them, he planned to at- the 18th Phips himself took action tack them with his brigade of regu- quite contrary to the plan. The four lars, drive them downhill into the large ships, not waiting for Walley’s St. Charles and destroy them com- men to cross the St. Charles, moved pletely. It was a sound plan, de- up the river, anchored before Que- signed to make the best use of the bec and opened fire. The batteries forces at Frontenac’s disposal; but replied, and firing went on until as it turned out the invaders never after dark. Early the next morning made enough progress to give him the cannonade was resumed. The the chance to put it fully into opera- ships went in close (“within tion. musquett shott,” says Phips) and the When Walley’s men landed Fron- six big guns in the Lower Town tenac sent out the militia of Mont- bore the brunt of the action. Ste- real and Three Rivers, under Ste- Hélène had come back to the city Hélène, to help the Beauport men and was laying the guns in one of and the local Indians harry them. As the batteries. The English were soon as the English began to move forced to break off the action on the inland they came under fire from 19th after several hours’ firing, among the trees and bushes, and when their ships, and particularly 54 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Phips’ flagship, the Six Friends, had took place. No Englishman crossed been seriously damaged. They had the St. Charles. The incredibly ac- shot away most of their scanty sup- tive Ste-Hélène was now back on ply of ammunition without doing the Beauport side, leading and in- much harm to the solid stone build- spiring the Canadian skirmishers ings of Quebec or inflicting any who were engaged with the head of casualties worth mentioning. the English column. This was his In the meantime, the New Eng- last fight, for in it he received a land landing force had remained mortal wound from a musket ball. inactive and made no attempt to His brother Longueuil was wounded exploit such diversion as the bom- in .the same affair, in which the bardment provided. The men suf- French lost two other men killed. fered greatly from cold (winter was The English boats came in coming on early) and lack of essen- shortly before dawn, but there was tial supplies (the shortage of rum so little darkness left and his men seems to have been the main com- were in such confusion that Walley plaint); and there was smallpox in thought it best to put off the evacua- the camp. The fleet’s boats still did tion until the next night. There was not come; and on the night of the further minor fighting on the 21st, 19th a council of war decided to with Walley sending out parties of recommend that the force re-embark skirmishers to hold the French back. on the night of the 20th, with a view That night the boats appeared again, to making another attack elsewhere and the English force was evacuated after the troops were refreshed. On without interference from the the morning of the 20th Walley French, whose outposts did not even went aboard the flagship and Phips discover what was going on. Per- reluctantly agreed to the suggestion. haps they would have done better if On this day there was another Ste-Hélène had still been on his skirmish. According to Monseignat, feet. The English, as the result of the author of one of the best French some misunderstanding, left five of accounts, in the afternoon the Eng- their six guns behind them. Lloyd lish vanguard was seen marching quaintly says that they hoped to re- along the bank of the St. Charles as cover them next day, “but by that though intending to cross. Frontenac time they spoake french.” now moved his regular battalions Frontenac had probably failed to out to his chosen ground, formed fathom the enemy’s intention to them in order of battle and placed make an immediate evacuation. He himself at their head. But the battle had missed an opportunity for of- for which he had set the stage never fensive action which might have SIR WILLIAM PHIP’S ATTACK ON QUEBEC 55 wiped out the landing force. It proud of the manner in which they seems likely that in any case he con- had met and repulsed the attack, but tinued to feel that his European much of the explanation for the vic- troops were unfitted to an offensive tory lies in the inefficiency of the movement in broken country, and New England force. The great Bos- feared that any attempt to use them tonian historian Parkman penned in in this manner might produce a dis- 1877 what may be regarded as the aster. He preferred to sit tight. best possible commentary : “Massa- The English attempted nothing chusetts had made her usual mis- more. A council of war on the 22nd take. She had confidently believed did not finally decide to abandon the that ignorance and inexperience attack, although many of the offi- could match the skill of a tried vet- cers argued that their men were un- eran, and that the rude courage of fit for action, sickness being ram- her fishermen and farmers could pant. But on the 23rd and 24th an triumph without discipline or lead- exchange of prisoners was arranged ership... A trading republic, without and effected, and the New England trained officers, may win victories; fleet then dropped down the river on but it wins them either by accident, its way back to Boston. Some of the or by an extravagant outlay in ships never reached home, and money and life.” many men who had survived the Frontenac’s defensive measures fighting died on the voyage. The were well calculated. As we have failure of the expedition was a pain- said, the only serious allegation that ful blow to Massachusetts, who had can be made against him is that of spent a great deal of money on fit- over-caution. He repulsed the en- ting it out and was now obliged for emy, but because he did not feel the first time in her history to resort equal to taking the offensive he did to an issue of paper currency. While not destroy him. It must be said in Boston mourned, Quebec rejoiced. Frontenac’s favour that with the But the English retreat had come season so far advanced (when Phips none too soon, for New France was appeared it was over a month later short of food, and with almost all than the date of the Battle of the the able-bodied men in the country Plains of Abraham in 1759) the assembled at Quebec there would Governor had only to hold his posi- soon have been no way of feeding tion for a limited time, and the ap- them. proach of winter would then inevi- tably drive the invaders away. All Comments the same, he had a larger force than The French had reason to be Phips’, and it was of better quality; 56 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY and he had an opportunity, by run- ated. Notably, the slowness of their ning some risk, to strike a most tell- proceedings at every point deprived ing blow at the English in America. them of all chance of achieving that We can admire his realistic recogni- Surprise which was their best hope tion of the shortcomings of Euro- of victory. Not entirely through the pean-trained troops in American fault of the colonial planners, their warfare; but did he not, perhaps, Administration was inadequate; the overdo it? expedition was launched without It may seem almost ludicrous to being provided with the supplies discuss this small episode, which essential to success. The spirit of sometimes verges on the comic, in Co-operation was sadly lacking terms of the Principles of War. Nev- within the New England force, with ertheless, in this as in every action the results that might have been ex- the operation of those principles can pected. Finally, as the consequence be observed. of many circumstances, but mainly The static defensive measures of the absence of energetic, determined Frontenac and Prévost made ample and informed leadership, it seems and most useful provision for Secu- clear that the Morale of the expedi- rity; what was lacking in the French tion declined steadily from the mo- operations in the final phase was the ment when it arrived before the en- Offensive Action which might so emy. The New Englanders were for- usefully have been launched from tunate not to suffer a worse disaster this firm base. The failure of the than the one that actually befell English to implement effectively them. their plan for a double attack en- abled Frontenac to effect at Quebec BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN a Concentration of Force which Francis Parkman, Count Frontenac and New France made their success there virtually under Louis XIV (Boston, 1877 and later edi- tions). (Still the best general account.) impossible. This concentration was Gerald S. Graham, Empire of the North Atlantic facilitated in turn by the Flexibility (Toronto, 1950), Chap. IV. (Note: The foregoing narrative is based mainly conferred upon the French by their upon documents contained in Ernest Myrand, 1690: possession of easy and rapid water Sir William Phips devant Québec (Quebec, 1893) and W. K. Watkins, Soldiers in the Expedition to communications, byway of the St. Canada in 1690 (Boston, 1898). There are addi- Lawrence, from one end of the col- tional documents in Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1689- ony to the other. 1692 (London, 1901); and James Lloyd’s letter is in The English colonists, on the the Report of the Public Archives of Canada, 1912. The chief French official reports, transcribed from other hand, seem to have sinned the French archives, are in Public Archives of Can- against almost every sound principle ada, Series C 11A, vol. 11.) of action that has ever been enunci- THE CONQUEST OF CANADA 1758-1760 British policy in the campaigns the result of the celebrated “reversal of the Seven Years’ War which re- of alliances of 1756, brought the sulted in the transfer of the sover- predominant sea-power, Great Brit- eignty of Canada from France to ain, into alliance with the rising Great Britain affords a classic ex- military state, Prussia, whose army, ample of grand strategy. In particu- commanded at this time by an able lar it exemplifies the co-ordination and ruthless sovereign, Frederick of effort between several widely the Great, was becoming a major separated theatres of operations in factor in the European power pat- such a way as to ensure decisive tern. success in the area where it is most The long intercolonial struggle desired. The architect of this effec- had brought Britain less success in tive strategy was the elder William America than might have been ex- Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham. pected. The English in America out- numbered the French twelve to one, The Seven Years’ War but their fourteen disunited and un- The year 1755 saw the outbreak cooperative colonies were ill organ- in America of the fourth of the se- ized for war by comparison with ries of Anglo-French colonial wars New France. The Treaty of Utrecht that had begun in 1689. The two (1713) had given the British Nova powers were not officially at war in Scotia, but they had failed to make Europe until the following year, headway against the colony on the when the Seven Years’ War broke St. Lawrence. As the Seven Years’ out and Britain and Prussia were War drew on, the rival empires were ranged against France, Austria, Rus- struggling for the control of the sia and, later, Spain. This alignment, Ohio and Mississippi valleys. The 57 58 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY British colonies were exposed to the British commander-in-chief, Lord imminent danger of being con- Loudoun, did not venture to deliver tained, between the Alleghanies and an attack on the great French naval the Atlantic coast, by a chain of fortress of Louisbourg in Cape French military posts connecting Breton Island because he was doubt- Canada with Louisiana. The very ful whether his naval support was first shots of the war were fired in equal to mastering the French ships the Ohio Valley in 1754, between based there. French outposts and troops com- Pitt and his System manded by Colonel George Wash- ington, who had been sent by the The coalition ministry of Pitt and governor of Virginia to warn the Newcastle came to power in June French off. 1757, and it was Pitt who made the In 1755 the British government war plan for 1758. His strategic sys- intervened on a large scale in the tem seems to have evolved in his intercolonial conflict. Edward Brad- mind rather gradually, but we may dock was sent out as Commander- describe it in the complete form in-Chief, and the British Army, rep- which it had assumed by the spring resented by two regular infantry of 1758. battalions, made its first attempt at For Pitt, North America was the operating actively in America. The vital theatre, the area where the is- expedition, advancing on Fort Du- sues of the war centred and where quesne, was disastrously defeated at the harvest was to be reaped. But the hands of an inferior French and action in Europe was to play a vital Indian force. The next two years part in achieving the desired result. witnessed a largely unrelieved series France was to be contained and kept of British disasters. The French busy there while a vigorous cam- commander Dieskau did meet defeat paign deprived her of her posses- on Lake George a couple of months sions in America. British subsidies after Braddock’s reverse, but in encouraged and supported Prussia 1756 a new general, the Marquis of and helped to keep her armies in the Montcalm, arrived from France. His field. A small British army* oper- first move was against Oswego, the ated on the Continent and made its only British post on the shores of the Great Lakes, which he captured * There were only six British infantry bat- out of hand. In 1757 he took Fort talions at the battle of Minden in 1759. In the William Henry, on Lake George, same year 23 were employed on the continent of America, plus others in the West Indies. In and ended for that year any idea of a the beginning Pitt had been unwilling to send British advance on Montreal. The any British troops at all to fight in Europe. THE CONQUEST OF CANADA 59 60 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY contribution. And the main strength quesne. Amherst took Louisbourg, of the Royal Navy was concentrated and thereby weakened the French off the ports of France, blockading naval position in North American them and preventing the French waters and helped to cut New fleet either from carrying rein- France off from Old France. Forbes forcements to Canada or delivering took Duquesne, renamed it Fort Pitt a counter-attack against Britain. (the city of Pittsburgh now occupies This containment was made more the site) and ended the French effective by seaborne raids deliv- dream of controlling the Ohio val- ered against the French coast. In ley. A subsidiary operation took these same years British soldiers Fort Frontenac (Kingston) and crip- and sailors were defeating the pled French naval power on Lake French in India and founding a Brit- Ontario, thereby seriously interfer- ish empire there; but this was ing with communications with the achieved with Pitt’s concurrence West. But Montcalm defeated Aber- rather than at his instigation. cromby heavily at Ticonderoga and Combined with all this was the held the main French position for main offensive in America. Large that year. British land forces were sent thither The Campaign of 1759 and supported by powerful naval squadrons. The British colonies Pitt, nothing daunted, planned a were given a strong lead and en- still greater effort for 1759. Am- couraged to place important forces herst, the successful assailant of of their own in the field, the home Louisbourg, was now given the government paying most of the cost. chief command in America and or- Even so, Montcalm held his own dered to strike by the Lake Cham- in 1758. Pitt’s plan for that year plain route, or by the upper St. Law- involved three attacks. The main rence from Lake Ontario, at Mont- movement, under General James real or Quebec. James Wolfe, whose Abercromby, was directed by the conduct as a brigadier at Louisbourg line of Lake Champlain towards had caught Pitt’s eye, and who was Montreal. Another major blow, un- only 32, was given an essentially der General Jeffrey Amherst, was independent command and a more aimed at Louisbourg. Thirdly, uncertain task: a direct sea-borne Brigadier John Forbes was given attack on Quebec by the St. Law- command in the southern colonies rence. Pitt also desired an attack on and ordered to undertake such of- Fort Niagara, at the Lake Ontario fensive operations as he thought fit. end of the Niagara River. He chose to march against Fort Du- It must be remembered that at the THE CONQUEST OF CANADA 61 same time significant events were strongly recommend was a powerful taking place in Europe. British diversion against the coasts of the troops, British fleets and British southern British colonies. But the money were at work there, and the French government preferred to aim French court was too busy with the diversionary attack at Britain these menaces near home to pay herself. As we have just seen, this much attention to Canada’s plight. scheme failed. This was the year when a partly The forces defending Canada British army under Prince Ferdinand consisted basically of eight regular of Brunswick won the battle of battalions from France; 40 compa- Minden,* and when a French plan to nies of colonial regulars; and the invade England was defeated by citizen militia, perhaps as many as Admiral Hawke’s victory of 13,000 strong. These forces were Quiberon Bay. Minden, Quiberon, weaker than the attackers in both and Quebec were the names that quantity and military quality; and were to make 1759 for - Englishmen they had to be divided to meet the the annus mirabilis - the wonderful various British menaces. The main year. body under Montcalm protected As the crisis of the struggle ap- Quebec against the seaborne threat; proached, New France was almost but three regular battalions, eight entirely cut off from the Mother companies of colonial regulars and a Country and the French forces there considerable number of militia, un- felt themselves orphans. The British der Brigadier Bourlamaque, were control of the North Atlantic, stationed on Lake Champlain to though not absolute, was so com- guard against Amherst; and detach- plete as to discourage any large- ments held Fort Niagara and the scale attempt to reinforce Canada in other western posts. The French the spring of 1759, and none was position was further weakened by made. Indeed, Mont-calm and the lack of good understanding be- Vaudreuil did not really press for tween Montcalm and his superior, one. (They asked for drafts and spe- Governor de Vaudreuil. cialists - and even so didn’t get all The British farces moving to the they asked for). What they did attack were large and efficient. Wolfe had 8500 troops, almost all regulars. * This victory saved Hanover from con- quest. Hanover being a possession of King His force was transported and backed George II, it was a natural objective for the by a powerful fleet commanded by French, offering the hope of diverting British Vice-Admiral Charles Saunders. The forces from America and perhaps providing a makeweight against British conquests there in relations between the naval and mili- a peace settlement. tary commanders were excellent. 62 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Amherst had 11,000 men, about half ing them to keep constantly on the colonials. Another column com- move. Wolfe was able to choose his manded by Brigadier Prideaux moved point of attack freely; and, when he against Fort Niagara. had finally made his brilliant - or The centre attack achieved little. fortunate - choice, the navy put him Amherst, a skilful administrator but ashore at the precise time and place very deliberate in action, advanced he desired and next day he won his ponderously. The French abandoned battle. The small forces actually en- Ticonderoga to him, but stood ready gaged on the Plains of Abraham were to fight at Isle aux Noix in the apparently about equal in strength; Richelieu, covering Montreal. The but Wolfe’s men were almost all pro- Commander-in-Chief spent so much fessional soldiers, while many of time preparing a necessary flotilla Montcalm’s were amateurs; and this for Lake Champlain and building a is the explanation of the result. quite unnecessary fortress at Crown Wolfe and Montcalm both fell. Que- Point that the campaigning season bec surrendered a few days later. ended before he had accomplished The Campaign of 1760 anything to assist Wolfe’s opera- tion. Prideaux was killed in besieg- The French field army was not ing Fort Niagara, but his successor captured with Quebec; Montreal re- Sir William Johnson beat off a re- mained untaken; and another cam- lieving force and took the place. paign was necessary to complete the However, the decisive point was conquest of Canada. Through the Quebec, and Wolfe and Saunders winter of 1759-60 the British under had to win their fight there without General James Murray held Quebec. the co-operation of other British Early in the spring Montcalm’s suc- forces. cessor, Lévis, marched against the There is no space to tell the tacti- city. Murray went out to meet him cal story of Wolfe’s campaign here. and was defeated on 28 April in the It is enough to note the advantage he battle of Ste. Foy. This action in the derived from the co-operation of the snow was New France’s last victory. fleet. British naval control of the St. Murray fell back into Quebec and Lawrence enabled him to threaten Lévis besieged him. The colony Montcalm at one point after another, might still have been saved for moving his forces about the theatre France by powerful aid from the of operations as he chose. The ships, mother country. But the fleet that slipping up and down the river, kept came up the St. Lawrence in May the French in a constant state of un- was British, not French. certainty and wore them out by forc- For the final campaign, Pitt again THE CONQUEST OF CANADA 63 called upon the British colonies for like the striking of a clock, Am- great efforts. He gave Amherst a herst’s wide-flung movements free hand, and the Commander-in- chimed together at the appointed Chief resolved on a triple attack. hour.” With the British forces con- Brigadier Haviland would make the centrated, and their own men desert- advance upon Montreal by Lake ing in shoals, Lévis and Vaudreuil Champlain; Murray would sail up had scarcely more than 2000 troops the St. Lawrence from Quebec; and to face 17,000. They had no choice Amherst himself, with the main but to capitulate; and on 8-9 Sep- army, over 10,000 strong, was to tember Montreal, and Canada, move down the St. Lawrence from passed into British hands. Thus Lake Ontario. This converging ended the long struggle between strategy prevented any possibility of France and Britain in North Amer- French forces withdrawing into the ica. west, where Detroit was still in Comments French hands. The French hoped to concentrate against the smaller de- Sea power is the dominant fact in tachments successively and defeat the conquest of Canada. The war in them in detail; but they were un- America was fought mainly by equal to the task. forces from Europe; and as long as On the Lake Champlain line, Isle British forces could cross the Atlan- aux Noix and St. Johns had to be tic freely, and French forces at- abandoned to Haviland’s superior tempting to do so were exposed to force, which soon drove on to the the almost certain prospect of inter- St. Lawrence. Murray simply by- ception and defeat, the ultimate re- passed the French garrisons on his sult was a foregone conclusion. route; and the only serious obstacle The Seven Years’ War affords an encountered by Amherst was a petty excellent example of Selection and fortification, Fort de Lévis, on an Maintenance of the Aim. For Pitt the island at the head of the St. Law- war was an American war; its object rence rapids near the modem site of was the security and extension of Prescott. He landed guns and sol- the British dominions in America; emnly and systematically blew it to and he never lost sight of this. All smithereens. After losing some men his measures, in Europe and Amer- in descending the rapids, he landed ica alike, were primarily directed on the island of Montreal. (“I have towards this end. His operations in suffered by the Rapides not by the Europe were containing operations. enemy”, he wrote later.) In the His eyes and his efforts were fixed words of Sir Julian Corbett, “So, upon Quebec and Montreal, and he 64 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY moved towards those objectives BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN with single-minded energy until they were attained. Casgrain, Abbé H.R., Guerre du Canada, 1756- 1760: Montcalm et Lévis, 2 vols., (Québec. Thanks to this single-mindedness, 1891). and to British naval superiority, he Chapais; Thomas, Le Marquis de Montcalm (1712- 1759), (Québec, 1911). was able to effect a destructive Con- Corbett, Sir Julian, England in the Seven Years’ centration of Force in the decisive War: A Study in Combine Strategy (2 vols., London, 1907). theatre. The great military strength of Frégault, Guy, La guerre de la conquête, 1754-1760 France was devoted to European en- (Montreal, 1955), translated and published as The War of the Conquest, 1754-1760 (Toronto, terprises, while Britain, whose total 1969). military power was much smaller, Gipson, L.H., The Great War for the Empire: The Victorious Years, 1758-1764 (The British Em- was allowed to bear down the French pire before the American Revolution, Vol. VII) detachment in Canada by superior (New York, 1949). Kimball, G.S., ed., Correspondence of William Pitt numbers. Here is a true Economy of ... with Colonial Governors and Military and Effort. The British effort, it is true, Naval Commanders in America (2 vols,, New York, 1906). was tremendous; but unlike the still Parkman, Francis, Montcalm and Wolfe (3 vols., greater effort of France it was put Boston, 1884 and later editions), Stacey, CP., Quebec, 1759 (Toronto, 1959). forth so efficiently as to ensure “an Trudel, Marcel, L’affaire Jumonville (Quebec, effective concentration at the deci- 1953). Waddington, Richard, La Guerre de sept ens: his- sive time and place”. The place was toire diplomatique et militaire (5 vols., Paris, Canada, and the result was the con- n.d.) (1899 ff.). Wrong, George M., The Fall of Canada (Oxford, quest of the country. 1914). Finally, a word on Co-operation. In this war in America the British Army and the Royal Navy worked together in a manner which has of- ten been cited as inter-service con- cord at its best. In particular, the hand-in-glove partnership between Wolfe and Saunders at Quebec is remembered as a monumental ex- ample of what can be achieved when all selfish considerations are subordinated to the achievement of the maximum combined effort to- wards the defeat of the enemy. THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA 1812 The Principles of War can be il- lem that faced him was one of ex- lustrated by small campaigns as well treme difficulty, for the force at his as great, and by old campaigns as disposal was very small and the well as those of our own times. It boundary line to be defended was would be difficult to find a series of very long. operations providing a much better There was only one British regi- object lesson than those of 1812 in ment of the line in Upper Canada. which Major-General Sir Isaac Brock This was the 41st (which is now the defeated the attempt of superior Welch Regiment). There was also a United States forces to conquer the considerable detachment of the 10th Province of Upper Canada. This Royal Veteran Battalion, another of campaign, fought nearly a century the Royal Newfoundland Fencibles and a half ago against an adversary (chiefly used as marines on the who is now our fast friend and essen- Lakes) and one artillery company, tial ally, will repay study by anyone Behind these regular forces stood the seeking enlightenment as to the provincial Militia, which was simply qualities that make a great com- the men of military age organized in mander. paper battalions on a basis of univer- sal service, and at the outbreak of The Situation at the Outbreak of War war virtually without training. A When the United States declared considerably larger British force, war in June 1812, General Brock was including five battalions of the line, in command of the forces in Upper was stationed in Lower Canada. All Canada and was also temporarily told, the two Canadas (now Ontario administering the civil government and Quebec) were defended by of the province. The military prob- roughly 7000 troops fit to be consid- 65 66 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY ered regulars; of these, only a little into their hands at an early date. The over 1600 were in the upper prov- Americans, however, instead of act- ince. ing in this manner, operated mainly The United States Government against the frontier of Upper Canada, had of course a relatively tremendous chopping at the upper branches of reservoir of manpower to draw upon, the tree rather than the trunk or the but its regular army was small. roots. In a long view this was fortu- Though the establishment when war nate, but it meant that the first shock broke out was more than 35,000 all of their attack had to be met by very ranks, the actual strength was much inadequate British forces. less. The total number of regulars In the first months of the war, serving may have been in the vicinity however, the defenders had one de- of 13,000. Moreover, a large propor- cided advantage: they possessed a tion of these were very recent re- distinct naval superiority on the cruits, and the effective force was Great Lakes. This was due to the certainly not superior to the British existence of the force known as the regulars in the Canadas alone. Dur- Provincial Marine of Upper Canada. ing the war, the United States called In a naval sense this force was very into service over 450,000 militiamen; inefficient (it was primarily a trans- but the average efficiency of these port service and was administered by citizen soldiers, as events on the bat- the Quartermaster General’s Depart- tlefield amply showed, was decid- ment of the Army); but its armed edly low. vessels were superior to anything The greater part of the British possessed by the Americans on the force had, however, to be retained in Lakes in the beginning, and it was in Lower Canada, for strategically this great part responsible for the preser- was the most important part of the vation of Upper Canada in the first country. Had the Americans followed campaign. It must be noted that at a sound line of operations, they this time the land communications of would have concentrated against the province were extremely primi- Montreal, using the excellent com- tive, the roads being very few and munications available by Lake very bad. Only by water could troops Champlain and the Richelieu River. be moved with any speed. The capture of Montreal would have Against this advantage we must severed the essential line of commu- balance a disadvantage. A large pro- nication - that by the St. Lawrence - portion of the population of Upper on which the defence of Upper Can- Canada were recent immigrants from ada entirely depended, and the whole the United States, people who could of that province would have fallen not be expected to come forward to THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA 67 68 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY repel an American invasion. Many realized that the best hope of carry- other Upper Canadians, though loyal ing out his task successfully lay in enough in a passive way, considered assuming a vigorous local offensive. that the Americans’ superiority in The First Blow: Michilimackinac physical strength made defence use- less. In view of the Canadian school- A matter of great importance to book legend of 1812, it may come as the salvation of Canada was the atti- a surprise to some people to know tude of the Indians on both sides of that in July Brock wrote to the Adju- the border, particularly in the west. tant General at Headquarters in In view of the great disparity be- Lower Canada as follows: tween the white populations of Can- My situation is most critical, not from any ada and of the United States, and the thing the enemy can do, but from the disposi- thinness of the western population tion of the people - The population, believe me on both sides, the behaviour of the is essentially bad - A full belief possesses them all that this Province must inevitably succumb - Indian tribes was likely to be deci- This prepossession is fatal to every exertion - sive. If they were friendly to the Legislators, Magistrates, Militia Officers, all, Americans, or even neutral, Upper have imbibed the idea, and are so sluggish and Canada would be much more diffi- indifferent in all their respective offices that the artful and active scoundrel is allowed to cult to defend. If their active aid parade the Country without interruption, and could be enlisted for the British commit all imagine able mischief… cause, the province’s chances would What a change an additional regiment would make in this part of the Province!* Most be very much better. of the people have lost all confidence - I how- All this was very clear to General ever speak loud and look big… Brock, and as early as December No commentary upon the cam- 1811 he emphasized it in a letter to paign of 1812 should overlook this Sir George Prevost, the Governor element in the situation. With General and Commander of the greatly superior forces assembling Forces, remarking, “before we can on the frontier, and with the morale expect an active co-operation on the of the population (which was largely part of the Indians, the reduction of identical with the Militia) at such a Detroit and Michilimackinac, must low ebb, many a commander would convince that People ... that we are have adopted a supine defensive earnestly engaged in the War”. He attitude. It was the greatness of had thus formed, well in advance of Brock that, far from allowing these the outbreak of war, the elements of circumstances to discourage him, he a plan. Upper Canada was to be de- fended by a series of offensive * Another regiment, the 49th, was sent to strokes with limited objectives, Upper Canada in August. which would have the special ad- THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA 69 vantage of influencing the Indians displeased Brock; but Hull took no to take the British side. On learning active steps to dislodge it, and it that the United States had declared continued to hold the fort at Am- war, Brock sent instructions to Capt. herstburg and the territory around it, Charles Roberts, commanding the a constant threat on the American’s small British post at distant St. Jo- flank. seph Island, near Sault Ste. Marie, The British naval superiority now giving him discretion as to whether made itself felt. The last 60 miles of to stand on the defensive or to at- Hull’s line of communications run- tack the American garrison at Mi- ning back to Ohio lay along the chilimackinac. Roberts decided to shores of Lake Erie and the Detroit attack, and on 16 July, the day after River, and was always exposed to he received these orders, he em- interruption by an enemy having barked his few regulars and a body control of the water. Hull twice sent of Canadian fur-traders and Indians detachments back to “open the (a little over 500 men in all) and led communication”; both were cut up, them against Mackinac. The British by British Indians under Tecumseh seized the heights commanding the and troops from Amherstburg, in fort and dragged up a gun; and the engagements on 5 and 9 August. American commander, who had had The Provincial Marine had previ- no information of his country’s dec- ously captured a schooner carrying laration of war, had no choice but Hull’s official correspondence. surrender. This early and bloodless More mail was captured in the fight success brought the neighbouring on the 5th. The American general tribes flocking to the British stan- was easily discouraged. He began to dard, and it had a great influence, withdraw from Canada to Detroit on accordingly, on the subsequent 7 August, and completed the with- events on the Detroit frontier. drawal on the 11th. On this frontier the Americans at- The Capture of Detroit tempted their first offensive. Briga- dier-General William Hull, an old General Brock with his small and inefficient officer, had ad- force could not take the offensive at vanced from the interior of Ohio any point on the frontier without before the declaration of war, with leaving other points unguarded, and some 2500 men; and on 11 July he had the Americans been enterprising crossed the Detroit River and in- and efficient his situation would vaded Canada. The small British have been impossible. As it was, his force on that frontier did not resist own first move was to the Niagara his crossing - which considerably frontier, where he contemplated an 70 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY attack on Fort Niagara. However, he pose collecting a force for the relief did not attempt this, arguing that it of Amherstburg.” was more important to get on with On the night of 5 August, the training the militia; and the Ameri- same day on which he prorogued the cans made no immediate offensive Assembly, Brock himself sailed move in this sector. Brock then re- from York for the head of Lake On- turned to York (now Toronto), the tario. Pushing rapidly on overland to provincial capital, for the session of Port Dover, he found the relief force the legislature. This gave him an awaiting him there, along with boats opportunity, in his civil capacity, of to carry them up Lake Erie. (Colo- addressing himself to the province nel Thomas Talbot, the redoubtable and giving a strong lead to its peo- founder of the Talbot Settlement, ple, so many of whom were uncer- had had considerable difficulty with tain and disheartened. the militia of the district, but had By the time the Assembly was finally obtained a fair number of prorogued, it was clear that for the volunteers.) On the 8th Brock em- moment the main threat to Upper barked his tiny “mass of manoeu- Canada was on the Detroit frontier. vre”, which amounted in all to about Brock immediately launched a vig- 50 regulars and 250 militia with one orous counter-offensive. Hull’s in- 6-pounder, and, coasting along the vasion and a bombastic proclama- lake shore, reached Amherstburg tion which he had issued had con- and made a junction with the British siderably discouraged the Canadian force there on the night of 13 Au- militia along the Detroit, but when gust. Bad weather and bad boats had Brock asked those assembled at delayed the movement, which nev- York for volunteers to march ertheless seems very rapid in the against the invaders, more came existing circumstances. forward than transport could be The general immediately divided found for. The general had already his whole force into three miniature ordered a small regular reinforce- “brigades”, two consisting of militia ment to Amherstburg. He had tried stiffened by small regular detach- to organize a force to operate on the ments and the third of the main Thames, but this had been largely body of the 41st Regiment. On 15 frustrated by the unwillingness of August orders were issued for cross- the militia in the nearby districts. ing the Detroit and moving against He now dispatched 100 militiamen the American army. from York to the Long Point district Few officers would care to cross on Lake Erie. At that place, he a broad river with the prospect of wrote to Prevost on 29 July, “I pro- attacking on the farther shore a THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA 71 force twice as strong as their own in tion of poor Hull by sending him a a fortified position. Brock himself demand for surrender which re- recorded afterwards that his colo- marked that, while he did not intend nels advised against it. The general, to “join in a war of extermination,” however, was taking a “calculated the Indians would “be beyond con- risk”. The captured correspondence troul the moment the contest com- had told him how low was the mences”; and soon after daylight on Americans’ morale and how dis- the 16th the little British force couraged their commander, and the crossed the river in boats and landed very fact of their retreat from Cana- three miles below Detroit. The army dian territory had further empha- consisted of some 700 white troops, sized the poor state of their army. of whom 400 were militia, and 600 Even so, his decision remains a fine Indians, with five small field guns. example of the offensive spirit The battery opposite Detroit was which wins battles.* served on this day by gunners On the evening of 15 August landed from the Provincial Marine. Brock opened fire upon Fort Detroit Although Brock does not mention it, with five guns which had been em- Hull in his apologia emphasizes that placed on the Canadian shore. The the British landed “under cover of bombardment inflicted some casual- their ships of war”, and it is clear ties and further discouraged the that co-operation between the land Americans; Brock had made a judi- forces and the Marine was close cious contribution to the disintegra- throughout. Brock had planned to take up a * Brock’s own account of his appreciation strong position and trust to the ef- of the situation has been preserved; “Some fect of his artillery fire to compel say that nothing could be more desperate than Hull to come out and meet him in the measure, but I answer that the state of the Province admitted of nothing but desperate the open field, He now received remedies. I got possession of the letters my information, however, that a de- antagonist addressed to the Secretary at War, tachment of 500 men had left De- and also of the sentiments which hundreds of his army uttered to their friends. Confidence troit three days before and that their in the General was gone, and evident despon- cavalry were only three miles in rear dency prevailed throughout. I have succeeded of his own force. He accordingly beyond expectation. I crossed the river con- took another bold decision - to make trary to the opinion of Cols. Procter, St. George, etc.; it is therefore no wonder that an immediate assault upon Detroit. envy should attribute to good fortune what in The troops advanced upon the fort, justice to my own discernment, I must say, but before the attack could begin the proceeded from a cool calculation of the pours and contres.” (Brock to his brothers, 3 American commander sent forward September 1812.) a flag of truce and proposed a dis- 72 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY cussion of terms. The sequel was the citizens.* Canadians now realized surrender within an hour of Hull’s that a successful defence of the whole army (including the detach- country was quite possible. The ment above referred to), with 35 militiamen whom so many had con- guns and a great quantity of other sidered dupes suddenly became arms and stores. saviours and heroes, and before the Thus General Brock had won a year 1812 was over the Canadian resounding victory and entirely re- legend that attributes the saving of moved the menace to the western the country primarily to the militia frontier, almost without firing a was already well on the way to es- shot. Well might he write to the tablishment. Commander-in-Chief, “When I de- The Final Phase of the Campaign tail my good fortune Your Excel- lency will be astonished”. There Having saved the situation in the was, however, more than good for- west, Brock handed over the forces tune to thank for what had hap- there to a subordinate and rushed pened. The energy and boldness back east; he arrived at Fort George with which Brock himself had acted on the Niagara eight days after De- were the chief causes of this ex- troit surrendered. For a time opera- traordinary result. tions were suspended as the result of On Hull’s own showing, it was an armistice negotiated by Prevost, the vulnerability of his communica- and during this period the United tions (constantly exposed to inter- States brought up additional strength ruption as a result of the British to the Niagara frontier. control of the water), and the fear On 13 October the Americans of the Indians, that induced him to collected here began to cross into his ignominious surrender. As he Canada at Queenston. Brock, with put it, the loss of Mackinac had characteristic energy and offensive “opened the northern hive of Indi- spirit, galloped to the spot; and in ans” and the expectation of the up- leading the small force on the per tribes “swarming down” upon ground against the Americans, who his army went far to take the heart had gained the summit of the es- out of him. What the success at carpment, he fell in action. He never Mackinac had done in the case of knew that the capture of Detroit had the Indians the capture of Detroit brought him a knighthood. His suc- may be said to have done among the white population of Upper Can- * “The militia have been inspired by the recent success with confidence - the disaf- ada. This brilliant victory silenced fected are silenced,” (Brock to his brothers, 3 the croakers and encouraged loyal September 1812). THE DEFENCE OF UPPER CANADA 73 cessor, General Sheaffe, collected power which the Americans largely all available troops and destroyed lacked: a naval force equal to con- the invading force later in the day, trolling the Lakes and their connect- winning a victory which further ing rivers; a small but efficient body raised the spirits of the people of of regular troops; and trained offi- Upper Canada. In November an- cers capable of skilful and energetic other incompetent American com- leadership. The forces were tiny, but mander made a gesture at invasion in the circumstances they were on the Niagara above the Falls, but enough. this came to nothing. The campaign- There have been few campaigns ing season ended with no part of in which the vision, energy and de- Upper Canada held by the Ameri- cision of a commander have been cans, and with an important section more influential than in this one of of the Territory of Michigan in Brit- 1812. The manner in which Brock ish occupation. rose superior to discouragements Although the war went on for two which a lesser man would have used more years, the worst danger to Up- as excuses for inactivity may serve per Canada had passed in 1812. In as an object lesson to every officer that year, when the British forces who would learn the arts of com- were so small and the morale of the mand. population so low, the Americans Most if not all of the Principles had their great opportunity. That of War as they are defined today they failed to profit by it was due could be illustrated from this cam- partly to their own unpreparedness, paign. We will mention only some but to a large extent also it was due which seem to appear in it with spe- to Isaac Brock. cial clarity. The whole campaign exemplifies Comments in a particularly striking manner the Although Canadian histories have importance of Maintenance of Mo- rarely recognized this, the success- rale. It was in great part superior ful defence of Upper Canada was morale that enabled Brock’s force to due in great part to the fact that the impose upon and overcome Hull’s; province was better prepared for and this superiority in morale was war than the United States. The lat- mainly the result of bold and effec- ter had a great superiority in num- tive leadership. In turn, the victory bers and physical power, but their at Detroit itself gave a fillip to Ca- power was not organized. The nadian morale generally which Mother Country had provided in made the continued defence of the Canada the elements of organized country possible. There has never 74 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY been a better illustration of Lord had to guard compensated, to a con- Montgomery’s remark, “High mo- siderable extent, for the forces’ rale is a pearl of very great price. smallness, and made a great contri- And the surest way to obtain it is by bution to the saving of Upper Canada success in battle.” in this campaign. It would be difficult also to ad- duce a better example of the divi- BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN dends to be gained from Offensive Adams, H., The War of 1812 (Washington, 1944). Desloges, Jacques, “Le myth de Chateauguay’’, in Action. In spite of the odds against Revue Québec-Histoire I, 4, déc. 1971. him, Brock saw the importance of Hitsman, J. Mackay, The Incredible War of 1812 (Toronto, 1967). seizing the initiative from the en- Mahan, ELT., Sea Power in its Relations to the War emy and taking the offensive; and of 1812 (London, 2 vols., 1905). Zaslow, M. (ed), The Defended Border; Upper the results which he obtained should Canada and the War of 1812 (Toronto, 1964). be an inspiration to every com- (Note: The foregoing narrative is based on mander who is faced by superior documents contained in E. Cruikshank, Documents relating to the Invasion of Canada and the Surren- forces. der of Detroit, 1812 (Ottawa, 1913), the same au- Similarly, we see in this campaign thor’s Documentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in the Year 1812 (Welland, n.d.) a successful application of the prin- and W. Wood, Select British Documents of the ciples of Concentration of Force and Canadian War of 1812 (Toronto, 3 vols. in 4, 1920- 28) ). Economy of Effort. Brock could not concentrate material force superior to that of the enemy, but he did con- centrate all the force he had the means to move. Of his superiority in moral force, there is no need to speak further. His resources were slender, but he employed them judiciously and produced at the decisive time and place a concentration which proved equal to the task. His opera- tions also illustrate the principle of Flexibility. British naval superiority on the Lakes conferred upon him “physical mobility of a high order”, enabling him to use his limited re- sources to the best advantage. The manner in which he was able to shut- tle his forces freely and rapidly back and forth along the long frontier they THE NORTH-WEST CAMPAIGN 1885 The North-West Campaign of from 1871 until 1883 had consisted 1885 was a minor affair as cam- of artillery only, had now been ex- paigns go, but has some importance panded by the addition of small in the military history of Canada. It units of cavalry and infantry. Never- was the first occasion when the Ca- theless, an adequate staff did not yet nadian forces conducted a campaign exist, nor did the administrative ser- without British assistance. It gave vices essential to maintaining an the units of the new Canadian Per- army in the field.* manent Force their baptism of fire. In the North-West Territories, And small as the operations were, when the rising began, there were there is still something to be learned few military resources. No regular from them. troops were stationed there, and the only effective militia units in the Background of the Campaign whole of the still largely unpopu- With the causes of this unfortu- lated prairie country were one infan- nate little civil war we have nothing try battalion, one troop of cavalry to do. What is more important to and one battery of artillery, all at note is the rudimentary nature of the the small city of Winnipeg. The military organization Canada had North-West Mounted Police were available to deal with the crisis only 550 strong and not in particu- which arose in the North-West in larly good shape for campaigning. 1885. The Active Militia, as the To make matters worse, communi- volunteer force was now termed, cations with the East were still im- was deficient in both training and perfect. The Canadian Pacific Rail- equipment. No unit was allowed way was under construction but was more than 12 days’ annual training, incomplete. In these circumstances, and rural units trained only every organizing a force for action in the second year. Little equipment had North-West, and concentrating it in been bought since the Fenian trou- bles. Fortunately, however, the Do- * These matters are discussed above, minion’s tiny regular force, which pages 17-18 75 76 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY the theatre of operations, were very Qu’Appelle, from which a practica- considerable tasks. ble trail led towards Riel’s head- The prospective enemy was not quarters at Batoche, he telegraphed without formidable aspects. The to the Minister of Militia and De- Saskatchewan halfbreeds who ac- fence, Mr. (later Sir) Adolphe knowledged the leadership of Louis Caron, “Matter getting serious, bet- Riel were good shots and good ter send all Regular* and good City horsemen, and would be fighting on Regiments”. ground with which they were thor- Back at Ottawa Caron was work- oughly familiar. There were over ing energetically to get reinforce- 25,000 Indians on the plains, and if ments into the North-West. The two they all joined the movement it regular artillery batteries had al- would be very serious. Fortunately, ready been placed under orders to as it turned out, not more than per- move, and on 24 March the Minister haps 1000 halfbreeds and Indians had telegraphed Mr. Harry Abbott, actually rose in arms. Under these who was in charge of building the conditions, the worst problems the C.P.R. west from Sudbury, “Make military commanders had to encoun- all necessary arrangements for ter were the result of logistical dif- transport and subsistence of four ficulties and of the inexperience of hundred men to Winnipeg over their troops. line”. Abbott set about doing so, but advised the Minister to work Concentrating the Field Force through Mr. (later Sir) William Van On 23 March the situation in the Home, the railway’s vigorous Gen- North-West had become so serious eral Manager. Van Home proceeded that the Government instructed the to organize the movement. It is no- General Officer Commanding Cana- table that the feeding of the troops dian Militia, Major-General Fred en route was arranged by the C.P.R., Middleton, to go to Winnipeg at not by the Militia Department. The once. Travelling by rail through the latter’s organization would scarcely United States, he arrived there on have been equal to the task at that the 27th. Bloodshed had already date. taken place, a party of Mounted Po- When the movement began there lice and local volunteers having were still four gaps in the railway been repulsed by Riel’s adherents at north of Lake Superior, although the Duck Lake the previous day. The whole line was graded “from Mont- General decided to take the field immediately with the Winnipeg mi- * As a matter of fact, not all the regular litia units. Before moving by rail to units were used. THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN 77 real to the summit of the Selkirks”. were traversed in contractors’ The steel was laid to the vicinity of sleighs taken off the work of con- Lochalsh, 68 miles west of Chapleau. struction, the others on foot over the There was then a gap of 42 miles. ice of Lake Superior, there being Beyond this there were about 93 only sleighs enough for the bag- miles of track, then another gap of gage. And the movement was rapid. some 17 miles. Now came 15 more Caron telegraphed to the officers miles of track, on which there was commanding the leading detach- little rolling stock, and a third gap 20 ments on 31 March, “Wish you to miles long. Rail transport was avail- travel night and day. I want to show able for the next 52 miles. The final what the Canadian Militia can do.” gap, about seven miles, was just east Many books say that the two regular of Nipigon. From Nipigon to Winni- batteries which formed the first peg the line was complete.* flight made the journey from the To move a force with guns and East in four days. The actual facts horses over this line in bitter winter are stated in a telegram which Lt.- weather (the temperature went as Col. C. E. Montizambert, who was low as 22 below zero) was no small in command, sent to Mr. Caron from task, but thanks to the railway’s Winnipeg on the evening of 4 April: efficient arrangements and the “Just arrived at nine-forty with cheerful determination of the offi- Mounted division, exactly one week cers and men it was successfully from Renfrew. Garrison division done. On the rail stretches the men following behind me. No casualties were carried in flat cars “boarded up of any kind.” On the same day Lt.- about six feet and a half, and filled Col. W. D. (later General Sir Wil- with hay”. The first and third gaps liam) Otter telegraphed from Jack- fish Bay: “All well and in good spir- * These details are from an interview with its, travelling night and day. Yester- Van Horne in the Toronto Globe of 30 March day ‘C’ Company [Infantry School 1885. The contemporary accounts seem to Corps, now The Royal Canadian indicate that though the fourth gap was east of the present Nipigon, topography forced the Regiment] and Queen’s Own [Ri- units to march through the woods and across fles] had to march twenty miles the neck of Nipigon Bay and entrain at Red across the ice and did it splendidly”. Rock, several miles west of Nipigon. Different It was a good performance, and account, of the North Shore march vary slightly on details, and indeed the gaps short- there is little doubt that the speedy ened steadily as construction proceeded. The arrival of the eastern troops at Win- last unit to move, the Montreal Garrison nipeg, reinforcing the effect of the Artillery, arrived at Winnipeg on 20 May on the first through passenger train from the promptitude with which Middleton East. himself had acted, did much to keep 78 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY the Indians quiet. transport and the time of the year is All told, 3323 all ranks were the worst for traffic, but I will over- moved from the East during the come that”. campaign. In Manitoba, where a Middleton has often been criti- number of new units were raised for cized for the manner in which he the emergency, 1222 all ranks took used his mounted troops. He em- the field; and 789 were organized in ployed actively only new units im- units raised on the prairies west of provised in the West, while the Manitoba. None of these figures trained cavalry brought from the include the Mounted Police. East (both regular and militia) were Supply transport and medical kept on the line of communica- services all had to be improvised on tions. This policy, however, was the spur of the moment. The first suggested to him by high authority. real Canadian medical service was On 29 March the Prime Minister, temporarily organized for this cam- Sir John Macdonald, had sent him paign. As for the transport service, what he called “some of my crude nearly 1800 civilian drivers were ideas”. Sir John wrote in part, “It employed, at very large expense. occurs to me that with the breaking Transport, indeed, was the great up of the winter, the roads will be limiting factor in the campaign. almost impassable for infantry, and Middleton realized this as early as that the services of a mounted force 28 March, when he telegraphed will be nearly, if not quite, indis- Caron, “The great difficulty will be pensable... If you can get men THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN 79 enough from the prairies, they whiskey detectives of them, - they would, of course, be much more should be soldiers”. Nevertheless, serviceable than town bred men N.W.M.P. detachments did excellent who compose our cavalry.” The work for Strange and Otter, and won Government, indeed, had already golden opinions from those officers. authorized a former militia cavalry After the rising was suppressed, the officer now living near Calgary to Government offered the Commis- raise one improvised mounted sionership of the N.W.M.P. to Lord unit.* Middleton himself records Melgund, who had served as Mid- that he considered it very necessary dleton’s Chief of Staff. When Mel- to have horses which were accus- gund declined, another outsider was tomed to the country, and this made appointed. him refrain from using the militia Melgund - afterwards, as Lord cavalry with the columns. Minto, himself Governor General - Although mounted troops might was serving as Lord Lansdowne’s seem at first glance the most useful Military Secretary at Government type of force for prairie operations, a House in Ottawa when the rising serious practical consideration set began. He had been a regular sol- limits to their employment. On 12 dier, and had lately seen active ser- May, when he had had plenty of ex- vice in the Egyptian campaign of perience, Middleton telegraphed to 1882. Some Canadian officers re- Caron, “If more troops are necessary sented Middleton’s apparent pref- then good infantry is the best for even erence for Englishmen and regu- Mounted Infantry unless mounted on lars; his appointment of Lt.-Col. Indian ponies require so much forage, Bowen Van Straubenzee, a Cana- that it cannot be carried.” dian long in the British Army, and Middleton made surprisingly lit- now on the permanent staff of the tle use of the Mounted Police. He Militia, to command his infantry left the main body of the force sit- brigade nettled militia officers ting static in Prince Albert. He ap- whose rank antedated Van parently lacked confidence in at Straubenzee’s. (The 1883 Militia least some of their officers, and in Act, like earlier ones, gave British this he was not entirely alone. One regular officers seniority over all observer wrote, “they are not the militia officers of the same rank, force they were... they have been but said nothing of Canadian regu- demoralized ... by making simply lars.) But Middleton’s appoint- ments can be defended on the * Sir Joseph Pope, ed., Correspondence of ground of the importance of mili- Sir John Macdonald (Toronto n.d.), 340-41. tary experience. 80 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN 81 The Three Columns Advance have followed a bad setback. What could happen to untrained men on By about 11 April Middleton, af- the battlefield had been demon- ter some uncertainty, had developed strated by the panic which overtook his plan of action. He himself with a militia force at Ridgeway during the largest force, amounting finally the Fenian Raid of 1865. On 15 to about 800 men, advanced up the April a civilian who knew the re- Touchwood Trail towards Batoche. gion well, Mr. (later Sir) Sandford Another body of about 550 men had Fleming, warned the Minister of been concentrated under Lt.-Col. Militia that the country which Mid- Otter at Swift Current. Middleton’s dleton was approaching, broken and original intention was to have it co- well adapted to ambushes, was very operate with him in the advance on favourable to the Indian and half- Batoche. Ultimately, however, it breed style of fighting. He wrote, was ordered to “relieve” Battleford. “Even a momentary check... would The Prime Minister had directed cause thousands of Indians who are Middleton’s attention to that place, at present quiet to rise. The great and it was calling for help. Farther danger is haste. Would it be possi- west, Major-General T. B. Strange, ble to make General Middleton a retired regular officer, who had aware that what is needed at the been the first commander of “B” moment is not courage but a super- Battery and is sometimes called “the fluity of caution, much very much father of the Canadian Artillery”, depends on the first meeting, one had been placed in command in the mistake would be followed by the District of Alberta, and he advanced most disastrous consequences. A from Calgary in the direction of little delay will strengthen the Gen- Edmonton. Thus three columns were eral and weaken the rebels.” Caron moving north from the line of the passed the warning on to Middleton. C.P.R. into the disaffected area “Beware of surprise”, he tele- along the North Saskatchewan. graphed. Middleton has been accused of On 16 April Middleton’s column conducting the operations which reached the South Saskatchewan at followed with excessive caution. Clarke’s Crossing. Hearing that Riel But the critics have paid too little had men on both sides of the river at attention to the extraordinary green- Batoche, and that his force was not ness of most of his troops (some of large, the General took the doubtful whom “had never pulled a trigger” course of dividing his own force before the campaign began) and the between the two banks. On the 23rd serious consequences which might the column advanced towards Bato- 82 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY che. The following day the troops arrived, he reverted to his original on the right bank encountered Riel’s intention and moved directly against people, who had taken up a well Batoche. This time he kept his covered position barring the way at whole force on the right bank of the Fish Creek. There was a stiff en- river, on which Batoche stood. On 9 gagement which cost the troops ten May the column came in contact fatal casualties. with the insurgents’ position there. The result was not better than a They were well dug in in concealed draw, though the enemy ultimately rifle-pits, and Middleton, feeling withdrew. Three days later Middle- that time was on his side and desir- ton sent the Minister impressions of ing to avoid heavy casualties and the affair which, he said, he had not the possibility of a reverse, pursued wished to communicate even in cy- cautious tactics. For three days he pher: skirmished in front of Batoche. In a telegram to Caron he said that he As I told you in my telegram the troops be- haved well on the occasion of their first meeting proposed to “peg away”; he had with the enemy, but I must confess to you that it plenty of ammunition and the enemy was very near being otherwise, and if it had not had not. He felt himself in a “rather been for myself and A.D.C.’s it would have been a ticklish position” and needed “more disaster. You will probably have heard that I exposed myself needlessly. That is not the case… troops”. He now ordered some of I saw that one of two things must be done; either I the units on his line of communica- must retire the men which would have ended in a tion to move up to help him, and rout or I must do my duty to the Government and run certain risks. I did so and I am glad to say was Caron called out more regiments; successful, ably and energetically assisted by my but the serious fighting was over two aides who deserve well of Canada. Once I had before reinforcements could arrive. them in hand things became safe, but I at once saw that with every inclination to do the best, the On 12 May Middleton was able to officers were little or no assistance to me. That is report to Caron that he had just made the weak spot in the force… a general attack and carried the whole settlement, the troops behav- The Attack on Batoche ing extremely well. Middleton wrote, Evidently shaken by this experi- “Now find that all the trouble I have ence, Middleton decided to change taken with my three regiments* has his plan, and instead of pushing on borne good fruit and the four-day to Batoche to move to Prince Albert advanced post work in front of the and wait for Otter to join him before attacking. However, after a few * The 10th Battalion “Royal Grenadiers” days’ rest at Fish Creek during (now The Royal Regiment of Canada); the 90th “Winnipeg” Battalion of Rifles (now The Royal which he contrived to evacuate his Winnipeg Rifles); and the Midland Battalion (a wounded and some reinforcements composite unit from Ontario). THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN 83 Indians and Half-breeds has made surrendered a few days later. them more like what I want.” People In the meantime, the other col- who disliked Middleton circulated umns had been having their own the story that his hand was deliber- troubles. Otter had relieved Battle- ately forced by militia officers who ford successfully, but he then de- put in the attack without orders, but cided, without consulting Middle- this is not supported by the contem- ton, to make a reconnaissance in porary records, including letters writ- force against Chief Poundmaker, ten by the two Commanding Officers whose Indians had been threatening most concerned. There seems how- the settlement. The result was an ever to have been an element of the engagement at Cut Knife Hill on 2 fortuitous in the result. Middleton May which cost Otter eight killed had made a demonstration with his and 14 wounded and ended in his mounted troops against the flank and withdrawing to Battleford. (The rear of Batoche on the understanding trails of both Otter’s guns - that when this had drawn the en- N.W.M.P. 7-pounders served by “B” emy’s attention the infantry would Battery - had broken under the advance in front. The direction of the strain of firing.) As for General wind prevented the mounted troops’ Strange’s column, it duly reached firing from being heard, with the Edmonton and pushed on down the result that the infantry advance was North Saskatchewan. On 28 May not made when planned. This how- Strange had a brush with Chief Big ever may have been fortunate, since Bear at Frenchman’s Butte, and re- the absence of activity in front led tired “to more open ground” after the enemy to neglect that part of his suffering slight casualties. position and when the infantry fi- The final phase of the campaign nally did attack the opposition was consisted of mopping up. On 24 less than might otherwise have been May Middleton’s force reached Bat- the case. Years later Middleton wrote tleford and formed a junction with that be had planned to make his final Otter; on the 26th Poundmaker came attack that day, but this seems rather in and surrendered. Middleton’s doubtful; his telegram to Caron sent column then moved on up the North immediately after the fight says, “I Saskatchewan and made contact saw my chance and ordered a general with Strange in the vicinity of Fort advance.” Whatever the precise facts Pitt.* Big Bear’s band broke up may be, Batoche was taken, at a cost for the final day’s operations of five * Forts Pitt and Carlon had been evacu- ated by the N.W.M.P. early in the rising, the killed and 25 wounded. This success Police from Carlton withdrawing to Prince broke the back of the rising, and Riel Albert, those from Pitt to Battleford. 84 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY when pursued, and the chief finally Strange wrote privately to his wife surrendered on 2 July. complaining of Middleton’s treat- In the campaign as a whole the ment of him, Mrs. Strange, who was loss to the Government forces acquainted with Mr. Caron, amounted to 38 killed and 115 promptly sent the letter to the Min- wounded. The insurgents’ losses ister! She took the precaution, how- cannot be precisely stated, but were ever, of warning him not to let her probably somewhat higher. husband know what she had done. General Middleton was no gen- Comments ius, and he lacked the happy faculty of getting on with Canadian soldiers Although the force placed in the which some British generals in Can- field in the North-West in 1885 per- ada had been blessed with; but his formed its task successfully, the conduct of the campaign was more basic impression left by the cam- competent than has often been ad- paign is that a country which had mitted, and his difficulties were done so little in the way of military formidable. The material he had to preparation for many years was for- work with was very imperfect, and tunate to surmount this crisis with- if the enemy had been stronger or out more serious difficulty. The more enterprising the results might units of the Militia did far better have been embarrassing. As it was, than they might have been expected the North-West Field Force carried to do in all the circumstances; but out its task successfully and rapidly. the tactical mishaps which were The records of the campaign re- encountered emphasize the fact that flect an ignorance of normal mili- a community which has to rely upon tary procedure which was not sur- almost totally untrained troops to prising in the circumstances. Very meet a sudden emergency is running irregular “channels of communica- the risk of disaster. tion” were sometimes used. (That so Considering the campaign in many battalion commanders chose terms of the Principles of War, the to communicate direct with the Min- result indicates that Middleton made ister of Militia was perhaps influ- a sound appreciation when he de- enced by the fact that as many as cided to direct his main effort five of the units in the North-West against the centre of disaffection at were commanded by Members of Batoche. This was an example of Parliament.) There was a general proper Selection and Maintenance absence of goodwill between the of the Aim. Sound policy, indeed, various commanders, and a good would have dictated a still heavier deal of backbiting. When General concentration against this vital THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN 85 paint; but Middleton and the Gov- task. The fact that the movement of ernment were deluged with requests the troops from the East over the for protection from settlements unfinished Canadian Pacific, and the throughout the West, and political transport for the columns in the necessity required more dispersion theatre of operations itself, were than strictly military considerations successfully improvised, is much to would have justified. the credit of all concerned. How- It is clear that Administration ever, had the Militia possessed a dominated the campaign. Once con- proper stag and supply organization, siderable forces were brought to improvisation would have been un- bear on the centres of the rising, the necessary, money would have been result was not in doubt; but concen- saved, and there would have been trating and maintaining those forces less risk of calamity. was a very heavy administrative BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN e Beauregard, Georges, Le 9 Bataillon au Nord- Stanley, G.F.G., Louis Riel (Toronto, 1963); The Ouest (Québec, 1886). Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Daoust, Charles R., Cent-vingt jours de service actif Rebellions (London, 1936). (Montréal, 1886). Strange, T. Bland, Gunner Jingo’s Jubilee (London, Denison, G.T., Soldiering in Canada (Toronto, 1893). 1900). Dept. of Militia and Defence, Report upon the Hamilton, C.F., “The Canadian Militia: The North- Suppression of the Rebellion in the North-West west Rebellion, 1885” (Canadian Defence Territories... (Ottawa, 1886): Report of Lieuten- Quarterly, January 1930). (The best military ant-Colonel W .H. Jackson ... Principal Supply, critique.) Pay and Transport officer to the North-West Middleton, Sir Fred, Suppression of the Rebellion in Forces... (Ottawa, 1887); Report of the Com- the North-West Territories of. Canada, 1885 missioner of the North-West Mounted Police (Toronto, 1948: a reprint of articles in United Force 1885 (Ottawa, 1886). Service Magazine 1893-4). Morton, Desmond, The Last War Drum (Toronto, (Note: The foregoing narrative is based largely 1973). on the Caron Papers in the Public Archives of Can- Ouimet, Adolphe, La vérité sur la Question Metisse ada. A letter of Lt.-Col. H.J. Grasett of the Royal au Nord-guest; biographie et récit de Gabriel Grenadiers, describing the action at Batoche, was Dumont sur les événements de 1885 (Montréal, kindly provided by the Ontario Archives,) 1889). THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 1917 On the summit of Vimy Ridge in losses on the Western Front, espe- Northern France, far-seen across the cially at Verdun and on the Somme surrounding plains, stands the great- without breaking the deadlock which est of Canada’s European war memo- trench warfare had imposed upon a rials. It commemorates one of the battlefield stretching from the Swiss most resounding British tactical tri- border to the North Sea. The year umphs of the First World War, and 1917 was to see great changes in the one of the most famous victories of opposing orders of battle. The United the Canadian Army. In plain and States entered the war in April, but rugged words the inscription tells the many months were to pass before it visitor the story “The Canadian could make its strength felt effec- Corps, on April 9th, 1917, with four tively in Europe. Russia underwent a divisions in line an a front of four revolution in March, but Kerensky’s miles attacked and captured this socialist Provisional Government ridge.” which came to power strove to con- Vimy Ridge is worthy of attention tinue the war against Germany. Not because it is perhaps the most cele- until November did Lenin’s Bolshe- brated Canadian battle of 1914-18. It viks, in a second revolution, oust is also, however, an episode from Kerensky; they then proceeded to which the soldier can learn much - an make peace. In these circumstances, outstanding example of a successful the 1917 campaign in the west wit- “set-piece” attack against formidable nessed another series of great battles prepared positions. of position, bloody and, in the strate- gic sense, inconclusive. Allied and Enemy Plans for 1917 The original Allied plan to con- The year 1916 had seen both Al- tinue the Battles of the Somme during lies and Germans suffer tremendous the spring of 1917 with four French 86 THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 87 and three British armies was can- The Germans, who had had even celled when General Nivelle, a com- heavier casualties than the Allies in paratively junior officer, was ap- 1916, had decided to conduct a de- pointed Commander-in-Chief of the fensive campaign on the Western French Armies of the North and North Front during the coming year, and to East and entrusted with the overall attempt to bring Britain to her knees direction of the spring operations. with their U-boat campaign. While Instead of waging a campaign of attri- the French were changing both their tion Nivelle hoped to break the en- commander-in-chief and their plans emy’s will to fight by a smashing Hindenburg and Ludendorff were blow delivered by 46 French divisions trying to decide whether to shorten along the Chemin des Dames (be- their front by withdrawing from two tween Reims and Soissons) while salients south of Arras and conserve diversionary attacks were mounted the troops saved for more urgent elsewhere on the British and French tasks elsewhere. Moreover the sectors. Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Somme battles had demonstrated that Haig agreed to extend his Fourth the existing system of rigid defence Army’s front 25 miles southwards so was no longer suitable, since British that additional French divisions might artillery had been able not only to be withdrawn for Nivelle’s offensive, batter out of recognition the forward but insisted that his own more limited trench system, 400-600 yards in preliminary attack should extend as depth, but also neutralize the entire far north as Vimy Ridge. The acquisi- forward zone falling within range of tion of Vimy Ridge, in addition to its guns, to a depth of 1500-2000 securing the left flank of the opera- yards. Therefore, towards the end of tions to the south, would deprive the 1916 Ludendorff had introduced a enemy of a valuable vantage point. new tactical doctrine, instructing The task of capturing it was assigned infantry to fight a mobile defence in to the Canadian Corps of General a series of zones once the lightly- Horne’s British First Army, while held forward trenches had been over- General Allenby’s Third Army run; even though strongpoints might launched the main British attack momentarily be cut off, counter- along the valley of the Scarpe.* attacks by special reserve formations (supported by artillery) could destroy * The attack of the British 17th Corps be- tween the Scarpe and the Canadian Corps the attackers struggling across the boundary extended on to the lower sections of forward zones cratered by their own Vimy Ridge, but it is officially considered part of bombardment. Steps were taken, the First Battle of the Scarpe which, along with the Battle of Vimy Ridge, forms a portion of therefore, to convert the additional “The Battles of Arras, 1917.” authorized rear lines of defence into 88 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY zones capable of mobile defence in operations were to be launched on depth. The formidable “Siegfried” Easter Monday, 9 April. Nivelle’s position constructed behind the Ger- main attack went in on 16 April. man salients became known to the The Ridge and the Plan Allies as the Hindenburg Line and its more northerly adjunct (the “Wotan” Running across the western edge of position) as the Drocourt-Quéant the Douai plain and rising to a maxi- Switch. The offensive launched up mum height of some 350 feet above it, the Ancre valley during January and Vimy Ridge protected the important early February by the British Fifth industrial area around Lille held by the Army forced the Germans to yield Germans and dominated the Lens- some ground and decided them to Bethune coal-producing area. The withdraw from these salients, al- highest summit, known as Hill 145, though not from the stronger posi- where the Canadian memorial stands tions further north in the valley of today, was at the northern end. A more the Scarpe and atop Vimy Ridge. Not southerly height was called Hill 135. until mid-March, however, did they From the latter the ridge broadened make an ordered withdrawal of and sloped gradually to the south-west nearly 20 miles into the Hindenburg and south, with only a few villages and Line. In accordance with a prear- copses to break the monotony of its ranged plan aptly named “Alberich” surface, until it reached the upper after the malicious dwarf of the Ni- reaches of the Scarpe river. Its eastern belung Saga, they laid waste the slope, steep and wooded, dropped whole evacuated area. sharply to the Douai plain, in one place The German withdrawals elimi- over 200 feet in 750 yards. To the nated the possibility of a French sub- north Hill 120 (“the Pimple”) over- sidiary attack and altered the opera- looked the smaller Souchez river, be- tion planned for the British Third yond which the high ground continued Army. The latter was now to break to the northwest as the Lorette ridge. through the advanced defences cov- Late in 1914 the French had tried ering the Hindenburg Line, crack and failed to drive the enemy from that position itself and advance to- Vimy Ridge. Attacks the following wards Cambrai. If this succeeded the year gained some ground on the for- British Fifth Army would enlarge the ward slope but this was lost in 1916. frontal attack and the Cavalry Corps When the Canadian Corps took and the available reserve divisions over the sector during October the would exploit. The role of the First German forward defences were Army remained unchanged, however, found to consist of three lines of as the capture of Vimy Ridge. Both trench, protected by deep belts of THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 89 90 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY barbed wire and interspersed with (Southern) operation; if this was suc- elaborate redoubts and concrete ma- cessful, the Pimple and the Bois en chine-gun emplacements; the major Hache were to be assaulted 24 hours part of the garrison was housed in later as a separate (Northern) opera- deep dugouts, tunnels and caves bur- tion. rowed into the chalk. The second Attacking on a 7000-yard front position on the reverse slope was a stretching from Ecurie to west of mile to the rear on the north-west Givenchy, the four Canadian divi- and two miles on the south-east. sions (in numerical order from right Running diagonally between these to left) were to carry out the first and two, from the village of Vimy main operation, with the British 5th southwards, was an intermediate line Division as corps reserve. The tasks of trenches. Supporting artillery was of the Canadian divisions differed in disposed chiefly along the upper scope due to the fact that, while their edge of the woods which covered the trenches ran north and south and escarpment or along the open ground their advance was to be eastward, the at its foot, sheltered by the Arras- Ridge ran from south-east to north- Lens railway embankment. During west. The Canadian right would have the winter a third system of trenches, to cover 4000 yards to its final objec- running through Oppy and Méri- tive, but an advance of 700 yards court, was begun. The German Sixth would place the 4th Canadian Divi- Army had been slow to alter its for- sion on the summit of Hill 145. Divi- ward dispositions, however, and sions were to attack on two- brigade most of the defended localities about frontages, and capture of the first Vimy Ridge were still in the front objective would carry the whole rather than the rear of the battle zone across the three enemy forward as March came to an end; moreover, trenches for an average gain of 700 the reserve divisions were held too yards. This should give the 4th Ca- far back to counter-attack promptly. nadian Division possession of Hill The Canadian Corps was com- 145. The extent of the advance and manded by Lieut.-General Sir Julian the capture of each objective were to Byng (afterwards Field-Marshal Vis- be reported back by patrolling air- count Byng of Vimy). His prepara- craft. After a pause of 40 minutes for tions were based on a First Army consolidation the attack was to be plan of operations dated 31 January; resumed, The 1st and 2nd Canadian subsequent changes were in detail Divisions were to carry out a further only. Capture of the main crest, and advance of 400 yards; the 3rd would particularly Hill 135 and the village press on slightly to reach the far edge of Thélus, was the objective of a first of the Ridge and units of the 4th, THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 91 advancing down the reverse slope of Preparations for the Attack Hill 145, were to seize the German No particular secret was made of reserve trenches there. By zero plus the plan, except as regards the day 95 minutes these latter divisions and hour of attack, and the Canadi- should have secured their final ob- ans were given an unprecedented jective. opportunity to learn their roles. The 1st and 2nd Divisions would Thoroughness was the keynote of the then employ their reserve brigades preparations. In the rear area the against the remaining objectives. The German defences were reproduced in latter’s sector being wider, the Brit- full-scale detail from aerial photo- ish 13th Infantry Brigade would be graphs, with tapes to mark trenches introduced on the left. This third and flags to mark strongpoints, and phase would clear the enemy out of repeated rehearsals were held. All the last segment of his intermediate ranks were well acquainted with the line, secure the village of Thélus and sector on their own side of No Man’s breach the second-line trenches in Land. Great numbers of detailed this sector. Final attack would secure maps were provided. Meanwhile the the remainder of these and give the Engineers were extending the roads Canadians possession of the eastern and light railways so that the neces- escarpment. While patrols moved sary stores and ammunition could be forward as far as the Arras-Lens moved forward. Complementary in- railway embankment the final posi- creases in telephone and telegraph tion: all along the corps frontage facilities, water supply and other would be consolidated against services were undertaken. Even counter-attack by a line of posts though this activity was carried on in among the woods on the eastern full view of the enemy, little effort slope; machine-gunners were to be was made to disrupt the preparations. taken along for that specific purpose. It was planned to destroy the en- Subsequently a main line of resis- emy’s defences by a two-week bom- tance would be constructed 100 bardment. With the aid of aerial pho- yards behind the crest (on what tographs all essential targets were would then be the reverse slope) carefully tabulated and arrangements while additional machine-gun posts made to take immediate action upon were built a further 100 yards to the the correlation of information subse- rear. The later Northern operation quently obtained from aircraft, bal- would be carried out by the left (4th) loons, sound rangers, flash spotters Canadian Division and the 24th and ground observers. It was empha- (right) Division of the adjacent Brit- sized that success would depend ish 1st Corps. largely upon close co-operation be- 92 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY tween artillery and machine-guns and 280 guns were allotted harassing fire between the Intelligence sections of tasks, and trench mortars were to First Army and Canadian Corps join in the destruction of the fore- Headquarters. Observed fire would most German trenches. be laid down daily on trenches, dug- The first phase of the bombard- outs, concrete machine-gun em- ment began on 20 March, but only placements and other strongpoints, about half the batteries participated entrances to tunnels, road-junctions, in order to conceal as long as possi- ammunition dumps and light rail- ble the great concentration of artil- ways to a depth of 4000-5000 yards lery on such a narrow front. The behind the German front line; it was guns of the Third Army joined in on realized, however, that apart from 2 April for the second and more in- the foremost lines of defence the tensive phase which the Germans total destruction of barbed wire en- called “the week of suffering.” Spe- tanglements would be out of the cial attention was given to the vil- question. By night attention would lages of Thélus, Les Tilleuls and be switched to the enemy’s commu- Farbus and the German support nications which would be harassed troops resting there were driven into by incessant shell and machine-gun the open fields with a consequent fire. Unprecedented importance was loss in sleep and efficiency. Numbers attached to counter-battery work, the of Germans in the forward trenches ruling principle being that isolated went without food for two or three batteries should be dealt with first, days and were further exhausted by since those that were closely grouped the endless task of trying to keep could be more easily and economi- open the entrances to their deep dug- cally neutralized later by high explo- outs. The persistently bad weather sive and gas shells. These tasks were impeded the flow of ammunition to be carried out by 245 pieces of required to replenish our forward heavy artillery and 618 field guns dumps but increased the effect of the and howitzers placed at the disposal shelling, causing the enemy’s for- of the Canadian Corps, assisted by ward defence system to lose its con- 280 more guns of the flanking Brit- tinuity in places. ish 1st Corps. The resulting density Nightly raids were conducted dur- was one heavy gun for every 20 ing the bombardment, varying in size yards of frontage and one field gun from a few individuals to the 600 all for every 10 yards, a considerable ranks sent out by the 10th Canadian increase over the firepower available infantry Brigade on 31 March. It was for the earlier Somme offensive. The learned that the Ridge was defended Canadian Machine Gun Companies’ by five regiments; four of these had THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 93 been in the line for at least five fields and railway installations and, weeks and many of the rifle compa- although the weather was far from nies were greatly reduced in strength. ideal, these operations were contin- The first and second trenches were ued on each succeeding night. manned by a forward battalion of The Attack, 9 April each regiment, a second battalion was either in the third trench or im- Easter Sunday found the Canadian mediately to the rear as close sup- Corps augmented to a strength of port, while the third battalions were approximately 170,000 all ranks, of resting in villages five or six miles whom 97,184 were Canadians; apart back and could not reach the battle- from the British 5th Division in field in less than two hours. Thus corps reserve the non-Canadians there would be approximately 5,000 were chiefly artillery, engineer and troops to oppose the initial attacks by labour units attached for special 15,000 Canadians and a reinforce- tasks. That evening the infantry bat- ment of 3,000 to meet the 12,000 talions began to move forward to Canadian and British troops avail- their assembly areas, guided by lu- able to support the first attacks or minous painted stakes and in many press forward to the subsequent ob- cases completing their journey jectives. The only further German through one of the elaborate subways reserves were two divisions 12 to 15 constructed by the tunnellers before- miles distant near Douai. hand. The enemy’s forward wire had Haig points out in his dispatch been cut and patrols now cut lanes that the artillery preparation de- through the Canadian wire so that pended largely upon air reconnais- forward companies could file sance. Accordingly, “a period of very through to occupy the shallow heavy air fighting ensued, culminat- ditches in No Man’s Land from ing in the days immediately preced- which they would assault. By 4 a.m. ing the attack in a struggle of the the troops were in position, without utmost intensity for local supremacy alarming the German outposts a bare in the air.” Bad flying weather and 100 yards away. superior German aircraft and equip- Not until 5:30 a.m. did the batter- ment resulted in the Royal Flying ies open fire. After three minutes of Corps suffering considerable losses; rapid fire on the German forward but thanks to its good work some 86 trench the field artillery barrage be- per cent of the enemy’s 212 active gan to creep forward, lifting 100 batteries were located. Starting with yards every three minutes. Ahead of the night of 5 April limited bombing it a bullet-swept zone was created by was carried out against German air- 150 machine-guns. Simultaneously 94 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY the heavy guns deluged the German from its second objective, reached battery positions and ammunition according to timetable, Thélus and dumps with high explosive and gas the rounded summit of Hill 135 shells, the latter killing horses and could be seen through the snow and thus putting an end to the mobility of smoke. Enemy machine-gun posts guns and wagons. Observation posts had caused a considerable number of either had been destroyed or now casualties, however. On the 3rd Divi- were clouded by smoke and their sion front so much destruction had telephone communications disrupted. been caused by the artillery that the Seldom has counter-battery work enemy was unable to offer any seri- been so effective. ous resistance. By 7:34 a.m. the 7th A driving wind from the north- and 8th Brigades had secured their west made the attacking infantry second, and in this instance final, shiver as they followed the barrage objective-roughly a mile of the crest closely across the cratered and soggy of Vimy Ridge. As their patrols ground; but it blew the falling snow moved down the wooded eastern and sleet into the defenders’ faces. slope they were fired on by snipers, Furthermore, coming after a com- however, and casualties began to paratively quiet night the first hurri- mount. cane of the bombardment had taken The 4th Canadian Division had the enemy garrison by surprise and the hardest fighting of the day. In its many failed to get out of their deep attack on Hill 145 the 11th (right) dugouts before Canadian infantry- Brigade ran into a German strong- men were at the entrances. There was point which had been repaired fol- some hand-to-hand fighting, but the lowing an earlier bombardment. Ma- assault was a rapid and unqualified chine-gun fire combined with uncut success. Within thirty minutes the six wire caused heavy losses here, and assaulting battalions of the 1st Cana- this affected the advance of the 12th dian Division had cleared all three (left) Brigade which at first had trenches of the German forward de- made good progress. It was not until fences. After the planned pause dur- repeated attacks had been made and ing which the objective was consoli- darkness was falling that the last of dated under cover of a standing bar- the enemy was driven from the rage, the rear companies continued summit. the advance behind the creeping bar- Although it was assumed that the rage to capture the intermediate line. 1st and 2nd Divisions would meet The experience of the 2nd Canadian less opposition assaulting their third Division, advancing on a frontage of and fourth objectives there was no 1400 yards, was very similar; and absolute certainty that the Germans THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 95 were “on the run:” it was considered slope of the Ridge, following close necessary, therefore, to adhere to the behind a creeping barrage and clear- artillery programme. Thus only at ing both within thirty minutes, 8:35 a.m. did the reserve brigades though not without heavy loss. The move forward to the attack, with the Canadian Corps now occupied the British 13th Infantry Brigade on the whole of its original objectives. left front of the 2nd Division’s wider The necessity of employing the sector. By 11 a.m. the 1st Canadian 10th Brigade in this last attack meant Division’s 1st Brigade was in pos- that a delay of 24 hours would be session of its third objective, 1100 necessary before it could participate yards distant, while the 6th Canadian in the second (Northern) operation and 13th British Brigades had passed against the Pimple. Again assisted by through the German intermediate line a snowstorm and driving wind, two to occupy respectively Thélus village of its battalions launched this previ- and the fortified ground north of it. ously-rehearsed attack at 5 a.m. on Moving forward again at midday 12 April, moving forward behind a they cleared the second system of barrage fired by 96 field guns. Here trenches on the reverse slope of the also the German first and second Ridge, and passed through Farbus. trenches had been almost obliterated By late afternoon patrols had pene- by the earlier bombardment and only trated to the railway embankment slight opposition was encountered and the units were consolidating from the badly dazed garrison. their gains in anticipation of counter- Meanwhile the 73rd Infantry Brigade attack. As the neighbouring 51st Di- of the British 24th Division captured vision of the 17th Corps did not the Bois en Hache to complete the achieve its final objective until the operation. following morning a defensive right Following the discovery that the flank had to be extended back to the Germans were making a general intermediate line. withdrawal an advance was ordered Subsequent Operations, 10-14 April along the whole Corps front on the Artillery reconnaissance aircraft afternoon of 13 April. The next directed harassing fire on German morning, however, patrols came up reserves moving forward across the against stiffened resistance along the Douai plain, with the result that ef- forward defences of the German fective counter-attacks never materi- third line, running through Oppy and alized. On 10 April the 10th (re- Méricourt. This was far enough from serve) Brigade of the 4th Canadian the Ridge to reduce the advantages Division assaulted the two German of observation and was too strong to trenches remaining on the reverse attack without intensive preparation 96 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY by heavy guns which could not be subsidiary accomplished nothing. moved forward until the almost On the lower “tactical” level, on obliterated roads had been rebuilt. the other hand, the Battle of Vimy Here the Canadian advance was Ridge presents a bright picture: a stayed for the moment. The operation sound plan effectively carried out. had cost the Corps over 11,000 casu- With all arms and services it was the same alties. - labour crowned with success. The Heavy Artillery destroyed the field defences, si- The first phase of the Battles of lenced the enemy’s batteries and broke up his Arras was at an end. The Third Brit- reserves; the Field Artillery fired a perfect ish Army had had good success in barrage under which the infantry moved steadily forward in accordance with an exact front of Arras, though it had not got time, table overcoming one centre of resis- through the Hindenburg Line, and tance after another and proceeding to one this combined with the Canadian objective after another; and as each objective advance at Vimy had resulted in the was reached it was consolidated and machine guns disposed to meet counter attacks. capture of more ground and more The wounded were brought back and prisoners than any previous British cared for, ammunition, rations, and forage offensive on the Western Front. Niv- were brought forward at the proper time and in the proper order; there was neither hurry, elle’s offensive on the Chemin des nor confusion, nor delay. To an unusual ex- Dames was a bloody failure and was tent the course of this battle can be followed followed by widespread disaffection by the orders issued...* in the French armies. The brunt of The preparatory bombardment the rest of the year’s campaign was ruled out the possibility of achieving to fall on the British, whose centre of Surprise on the strategic level, but a activity moved northwards to Flan- useful degree of tactical surprise was ders. obtained on 9 April. Much of the Comments success obtained was due to effective On the “strategic” level the opera- Co-operation between the arms and tions of April 1917 were unsatisfac- services. The increased importance tory from the Allied viewpoint. As so of the assistance of the air arm is a often on the Western Front in this notable feature of the operation in war, one sees the effect of lack of this connection. Efficient detailed clear-cut Selection and Maintenance Administration was, as always, the of the Aim. Important local successes forerunner of victory. Finally, the were gained without achieving any thorough preparations made and the genuine effect upon the outcome of pains taken to ensure that every indi- the war. The plans made for exploita- vidual fully understood his own task tion were ineffective, and the main * Col. A. F. Duguid, “Canadians in Bat- operation to which those at Vimy and tle, 1915-1918” (Annual Report, Canadian on the Scarpe were supposed to be Historical Association, 1935). THE CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE 97 helped to produce and maintain the formidable as the breaching of the high Morale required to carry enemy’s long prepared defences on through successfully an operation so Vimy Ridge. BOOKS ON THE OPERATION Boraston, J.H., (ed.), Sir Douglas Haig’s Des- Lucas, Sir Charles (ed.), The Empire at War, Vol. II patches (December 1915 - April 1919) (London, (London, 1923) contains a long section by Pro- 1919). fessor F.1-1. Underhill, “The Canadian Forces Carnoud, Claudius, L’épopée du Vingt-Deuxième in the War.” (Montreal, 1919). Nicholson, G.W.L., Canadian Expeditionary Force, Chaballe, Joseph, Histoire du 22 e Bataillon cana- 1914-1919 (Ottawa, 1964).* dien français (Quebec, 1952). Spears, E. L., Prelude to Victory (London, 1939). Duguid, A. Fortescue, “Canada on Vimy Ridge,” Wood, H.F., Vimy (Toronto, 1967). Canada Year Book, 1936. Worthington, Larry, Amid the Guns Below: The Edmonds, Sir James K, A Short History of World Story of the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918 (To- War I (London, 1951). ronto, 1965). Fails, Cyril, Military Operations, France and Bel- Wynne, G.C., “The Hindenburg Line” and “The gium, 1917, Vol. 1, The German Retreat to the Wotan Position,” Army Quarterly, January and Hindenburg Line and the Battles of Arras (Lon- April 1939 respectively. See also the useful don, 1940). (History of the Great War, Based on anonymous article, “The Other Side of the Hill: Official Documents). Battle of Arras, 9th of April, 1917,” Army Jones, H.A., The War in the Air: Being the Story of Quarterly, April .1939. the Part Played in the Great War by the Royal Historical Section, Army Headquarters, Ottawa, Air Force Vol. III (London, 1931). “Les Canadiens à la crête de Vimy en 1917” in Revue Historique de l’Armée (Paris), XI1, 2, 1956. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 1918 The “Great War”, 1914-19, was that prolonged artillery bombard- the first overseas conflict in which ment, if only heavy enough, could Canadian military forces played a crush out all life in an area, leaving major part. It is a most vital incident assaulting infantry merely the task in the national history of Canada of mopping up. Time and again it and, quite apart from its purely mili- was tried, but invariably after the tary importance, one with which barrage passed the Germans every Canadian soldier certainly emerged from their deep dugouts ought to be well acquainted. and mowed down the advancing The Canadian Army made its infantrymen with machineguns, fir- contribution almost entirely on the ing in enfilade along barbed wire Western Front. The operations of obstacles. In 1916 the British pro- 1915-18 there have been regarded, duced an answer to the lethal com- with reason, as generally uninspired bination of automatic weapons, field and conveying only negative lessons defences and wire - the tank; but it to the strategist and the tactician. was long before it was properly em- The battle here described, however, ployed. was conducted with greater skill and By 1918 both sides were begin- imagination than earlier ones and ning to feel a shortage of men.* The proved to be the beginning of a se- ries of victories which led directly * Infantry shortages led the British Army to reorganize its brigades into three, instead to the Armistice. of four, battalions, at the beginning of 1918. Furthermore, it was now necessary to employ Background of the Battle low-category men in forward units, with a further decrease in operational efficiency, Following the Germans’ failure Although only three brigades of the five Aus- to obtain a quick decision in 1914 tralian divisions were so reorganized, this trench warfare and stalemate devel- corps was experiencing periodic shortages of oped. Both the British and French reinforcements. The Canadian Corps, as noted on page 27, above, retained its original High Commands came to believe organization. 98 THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 99 United States had not yet been able attack. Four of the five Australian to deploy its great resources; and divisions were already on the Fourth Ludendorff utilized the temporary Army front and it was planned to advantage afforded by the Russian bring the 1st Australian Division collapse of 1917, which gave him back from Flanders to reinforce the 192 divisions against the Allies’ coming stroke. On 20 July Lieuten- 173. In March 1918 he attacked the ant-General Sir Arthur Currie, weakest point of the Allied line. commanding the Canadian Corps, Initial German penetration was deep then under the First Army on the but was halted. It was not until July, Arras front, was informed of the however, that the Allies were able intended operation and told that his to regain the initiative. Ferdinand Corps was to take part. Although Foch had been appointed Allied Currie visited Fourth Army Head- Generalissimo during the critical quarters for planning conferences, March days, and now his governing his divisional commanders were idea was to strike successively at kept in the dark until 31 July. To widely dispersed points, to free his deceive the enemy two Canadian own lateral communications and infantry battalions, two casualty give the Germans no respite while clearing stations and the Corps his own resources were growing. wireless section were sent north to Foch had wanted Haig to attack Flanders, where these Canadians in Flanders, but Haig convinced him made their presence known to the that it was more desirable to elimi- Germans opposite. Only on 30 July nate the German salient east and did the Canadian Corps begin its southeast of Amiens, which inter- secret move to the Fourth Army fered with the use of the town and sector, with officers and men com- its railway running back to Paris. pletely unaware of where they were Haig proposed a combined Franco- going or what they were to do. British operation under his own con- Pending their arrival a French corps trol, the main effort being made by was withdrawn southward and the General Rawlinson’s Fourth Army Australian front extended. Since which would attack north of the British units had not previously Luce River while the First French served in this area, there was the Army (Debeney) advanced on its added problem of creating rear area right. installations, which placed one more By 1918 the Germans had be- burden upon the overworked rail- come accustomed to regard the arri- ways and limited motor transport. val of either the Canadians or the By the night 3/4 August the Canadi- Australians as a notice of impending ans had arrived in the Amiens area 100 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY but vast quantities of ammunition with so much apprehension that still had to be brought to forward Ludendorff felt it necessary, just dumps for the artillery. By the night four days, before the attack, to issue of 6/7 August all was in readiness, a morale-raising order. Evidently however, and the troops could be the German command was suffi- informed of the pending operation. ciently uneasy about the defeatism To attract still more enemy atten- which was spreading among the tion to Flanders, the newly-organized common soldiers to misread any Royal Air Force had been ordered to omen. Reports of tank noises were occupy additional airfields and to described by higher staffs as “phan- increase air activity there until 6 Au- toms of the imagination or nervous- gust. Above the British Fourth Army ness.” front abnormal air activity was The Plan of the Offensive avoided, although on the night pre- ceding the attack Handley-Page The British plan was as follows. bombers patrolled the front line to In order to pinch out the German drown the noise of assembling Brit- salient and reach the old Amiens ish tanks. As an innovation, the offi- Defence Line, five to seven miles cer commanding the R.A.F. forma- ahead of the existing front, attacks tion had drawn up a memorandum, to were to be made against three suc- be communicated to all pilots and cessive objectives - the forward observers on the afternoon prior to German defences, the reserve locali- attack, setting forth the general out- ties and gun lines, and finally what line of the plan of battle so that they were believed to be only scattered would be better able to appreciate the enemy strongpoints. As at Cam- operations and turn in more valuable brai,* preliminary bombardment reports. At that time total available was dispensed with, in order to British air strength consisted of 147 day bombers, 92 night bombers, 75 * On 2o November 1917 a force of 381 tanks, fighter reconnaissance aircraft, 376 followed by a relatively small proportion of infantry, had rolled forward in the early morning fighters and 110 corps planes. Simi- light, without preliminary bombardment, and larly the French had concentrated caught the Germans napping. Tactical surprise 1104 aircraft to support their First was restored to the Western Front, but by the Army. The main German air strength time a five-mile penetration had been made the surviving tank-crews were exhausted and the was still in Champagne and there infantry unable to progress further on their own: were only 365 aircraft of all types to thus, with open countryside just beyond, decisive oppose the Allies’ 1904. success was in sight when the momentum failed. German counter-attacks retrieved the situation, On the German side the prospect but the British had learned the lesson of proper of an Allied offensive was viewed tank employment. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 101 heighten surprise, but a lifting bar- the Luce, which, though a mere rage was scheduled to move just stream in August, presented obsta- ahead of the first wave of tanks. cles in the form of swamp, pools Two-thirds of the British guns were and small belts of trees. On the ex- assigned to counter-battery tasks. At treme left the plateau was little the same time the R.A.F. would at- more than a flat-topped ridge; how- tack German aerodromes to reduce ever, spurs and re-entrants made it enemy air activity and other aircraft unsuitable for tank operations where were to give close support to the it sloped towards the rivers. advancing troops; however, railway The Canadian Corps was to attack junctions were not to be attacked on a three-division front of approxi- until evening as it was considered mately 7000 yards, with the 4th Ca- that 12 hours would elapse before nadian Division in reserve. The most enemy reserves, set in motion by the difficult task fell to the 3rd Division attack, would be within striking dis- on the right; in addition to having to tance. On the eve of battle the Brit- effect a crossing over the Luce in the ish Fourth Army had a striking force beginning it had to maintain contact of 13 divisions (plus three available with the French who, unsupported by in G.H.Q. reserve) and a cavalry tanks, were not to move without a corps of three divisions (also ear- preliminary bombardment. The 3rd marked as G.H.Q. reserve), sup- Division was to attack its first objec- ported by 1386 field guns and how- tive with two brigades; the reserve itzers and 684 heavy pieces, 342 brigade would then take over for the heavy tanks, 72 whippets (light second objective. The final phase on tanks) and 120 supply tanks. this front would be undertaken by the The ground to be crossed, be- 4th Division brought forward from tween the Avre and Somme rivers, reserve. The 1st and 2nd Canadian was a rolling plateau well suited for Divisions, centre and left, were each the employment of tanks. In front of to attack with one brigade forward the French, on the extreme right, it and merely leapfrog a fresh brigade was a “real billiard table” but, on forward for each succeeding phase. the British front, it was scooped by The Canadian Independent Force of hollow depressions leading towards two motor machine-gun brigades, a the rivers. There were a few large cyclist battalion and a section of me- villages, usually surrounded by or- dium trench mortars was to protect chards so that they resembled the right flank and maintain liaison woods, which would also obstruct with the French. British tank battal- the advance. On the Canadian right ions were to lead the assault on each the plateau was cut by the valley of divisional sector and R.A.F. aircraft 102 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY were detailed to work with the tanks. tanks started from their assembly The Australian Corps on the left areas and at zero hour, behind a lift- was to assault in a similar manner, ing barrage, they rumbled ahead, but with two of its four assaulting guided through a mist which hid divisions advancing abreast on a them from the enemy by a leading front of roughly 7500 yards. The wave of infantrymen. Behind them, battle-worn 1st Australian Division in extended order, came the assault was in reserve On the extreme left battalions, followed by the units of the British 3rd Corps was given the reserve brigades in close forma- only the limited task of keeping tion. Very few casualties were suf- abreast of the Australians, to be un- fered in the early stages as the en- dertaken in two phases. emy artillery was not effective and Although the proposal had been soon was silenced by counter- Haig’s and the plan evolved mainly battery fire. by Rawlinson, it was Foch who first The advance was a departure proposed an enlargement of the from the methodical plodding of original scheme. At an important earlier battles and taking a leaf from conference held on 5 August he di- the German infiltration tactics, in- rected that, if the initial attack was troduced in the preceding March, successful, reserves should be troops and tanks pushed ahead re- pushed south-eastwards as far as gardless of what lay on their imme- possible. During this stage the Cav- diate flanks, bypassing strong oppo- alry Corps would be held ready to sition where it could not be pinched pass through any, where there was out by a flanking movement. In less an opening. It may be noted that the than an hour and a half the Canadi- Canadian Cavalry Brigade was serv- ans had secured their first objective ing with the 3rd Cavalry Division, and, after a pause while field guns which had been placed under the were brought forward and reserve command of Canadian Corps until brigades of infantry took over the the breakthrough had been accom- assault role, the advance was re- plished when it, and the cavalry bri- sumed at a some what slower pace. gade and whippet tanks placed at By ten o’clock in the morning the the disposal of the Australian Corps, mist had cleared sufficiently for were to revert to Cavalry Corps German machine-gun nests to bring command. down withering fire on the advanc- ing troops. Mopping up such strong , The First Day’s Fighting points took time, even when tanks A few minutes before zero hour, were available. There had been little 4.20 a.m. on 8 August, 430 British real co-operation between infantry THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 103 and tanks previously, but the errors final objective. Except on their right apparent at Cambrai had been cor- the Canadians had taken all their rected and, generally speaking, the objectives and the Australian Corps infantry now followed closely had managed to do the same after enough behind the tanks to prevent considerable hard fighting. The the enemy reorganizing. French were about a mile behind on Towards 11 a.m. the Canadian the extreme right while the British Corps was on its second objective 3rd Corps had only been able to take and, while the 4th Division and the the first of its two objectives. still fresh reserve brigades of the 1st The same mist which had aided and 2nd Division were forming on the infantry and tanks to advance had the last start line, the 3rd Cavalry kept the Air Force grounded until Division and a battalion of whippet late forenoon. Once visibility was tanks passed through to attack restored, however, aircraft began across what was now open country. close support sorties, flying at tree The Canadian Cavalry Brigade got top level; German reserves were through the village of Beaucourt but strafed and their forward movement the wood beyond was strongly held harassed by bullets and bombs. by infantry and guns and the troop- Smoke screens were laid on both ers were unable to approach. On the corps fronts and flares also were whole the Cavalry’s work did not dropped by reconnaissance planes to come up to expectations; it had guide infantry and tanks on to enemy never before co-operated with light strongpoints. Unfortunately, how- tanks, which were too slow to keep ever, although 205 bombing flights up with horsemen across open coun- were made and 12 tons of small (25- try but got ahead too quickly when lb.) bombs were dropped, concerted machine-gun fire was encountered. efforts to destroy the Somme bridges There was no lack of gallantry but and prevent fresh enemy divisions horses and men proved to be too being rushed up proved unsuccessful. easy targets for machine-gun bul- Owing to the inability to bomb en- lets. Thus the hoped-for break- emy airfields earlier these could now through of the Cavalry Corps never be used for refuelling by the inferior materialized. force of German planes hurriedly Undismayed by the sight of many transferred from neighbouring army empty saddles coming back through fronts. For example, the notorious their advancing waves, the infantry Richthofen Circus, now commanded mopped up the remaining enemy by Hauptmann Hermann Göring, was posts and relieved the few hard- able to remain in action almost con- pressed squadrons who were on the tinuously until reduced from 50 to 11 104 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 105 aircraft. The RA.F. lost 97 aircraft “The going seems good: let’s go on!” out of about 700 serviceable (day It was not until just before mid- flying) planes in action and still was night, however, that General Rawl- faced with the problem of destroying inson told his three corps command- the bridges over the Somme. ers to continue the advance next day. Success had been sweeping and There seemed no reason then why the the penetration of six to eight miles general line Roye-Chaulnes-Bray sur had eliminated the enemy salient and Somme-Demancourt could not be with it more than 27,000 Germans, or reached, as the next organized enemy almost the whole of the garrison of defence was the old Hindenburg posi- the sector-nearly 16,000 being pris- tion. oners. More than 440 guns and Before the first day’s fighting had masses of material were captured, ended, however, the Germans had and all this was accomplished with been able to bring up six fresh divi- the lightest casualties yet sustained sions, and every succeeding hour in a major attack on the British front. brought more support. The single More important, however, the morale Canadian objective (on the right) of the German Supreme Command remaining from the previous day was suffered a shock from which it did captured on the 9th by a brigade of not recover. Ludendorff afterwards the 4th Canadian Division but, due to referred to 8 August as “the black a series of frustrating delays, the day” of the German Army. main corps attack did not get under Later Phases of the Offensive way until noon. In turn this held up the Australian advance on the left. It should be remembered that Worst of all, only 145 British tanks London and Paris were busy plan- were still serviceable. According to ning a 1919 campaign when Foch the official British account: and Haig launched this first of a The ground fighting during the day was series of attacks with limited objec- of a very disjointed nature; the attacks of tives. In later life General Sir Arthur various divisions and brigades started at Currie wrote of Amiens as follows: different times and under different condi- tions. Some of them were covered by artil- The success of the Australians and Canadi- lery, some supported by tanks, whilst others ans on August 8th was so startling… that in my were carried out by infantry unaided. The opinion GHQ had no definite ideas what to do. German defence was similarly very uneven …senior staff officers hurried up from and without any serious attempt at counter- GHQ to see me and to ask what I thought attack. In the result only a bare three-miles should be done. They indicated quite plainly advance, half the way to Roye-Chaulnes was that the success had gone far beyond expecta- accomplished. tion and that no one seemed to know just what to do. I replied in the Canadian vernacular: The R.A.F. continued its attempt 106 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY to destroy the Somme bridges but from the Canadian Corps, while it is without success. believed that the Germans lost more Similar fighting took place on the than 75,000. Later in the month Foch two following days. By then the struck heavily at other points and weary troops had reached the exten- thereafter the Germans were steadily sive German defences of the old rolled back. In the autumn their High Somme battlefield of two years previ- Command sought an end to hostilities. ously. German reinforcements totalled Comments 13 divisions, or a strength equal to the attackers’, and they now had the ad- In later days the Germans tried to vantage of fighting from behind well- attribute their defeat at Amiens to a organized defences while, as at Cam- massed attack by tanks, but, as brai, the British Army had exhausted readers will have surmised, credit its local reserves. Very few tanks re- for the victory actually belongs pri- mained in action. With the approval marily to the infantryman, though of Sir Douglas Haig, the attack he got the best of support from artil- scheduled for 12 August was called lery and armour and from the air. off. It was intended to continue the The plan for the Battle of general attack on 14 or 15 August and Amiens, incorporating the experi- indeed General Foch still believed ence gained at Cambrai in 1917, important success to be possible. It represents the return to the Western was obvious to the commanders on Front of an imaginative conception the spot, however, that further ad- of strategy and tactics very different vance was impossible without incur- from that which had ruled there so ring heavy casualties. General Currie long. The battle plans based on mere now considered that there was no ob- weight of bombardment, which bad ject in persevering. Haig insisted that gained so little ground at such heavy the operation be wound up and Foch cost, were replaced by an intelligent reluctantly agreed. Although less attempt to profit by the potentiali- spectacular than those of the 8th, the ties of powerful new weapons em- advances of the three concluding days ployed in combination. Above all, had increased the total penetration to the Amiens plan is remarkable for as much as 12 miles. Fourth Army its exploitation of the principle of casualties for the four days of battle Surprise, that great old winner of were only 22,202 (killed, wounded battles, which had been so com- and missing),* of whom 9074 came pletely neglected by the planners of the Somme and Passchendaele. An * The French, however, suffered 24,232 casualties in their mere limited advance, de- effective deception scheme, in con- signed mainly to keep abreast of the Canadians. junction with the elimination of pre- THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 107 liminary bombardment (the tanks, to In spite of the inadequate train- some extent, replacing the artillery ing of the cavalry for action with as support for the assaulting infan- tanks, Amiens is an outstanding try), supplies the chief explanation example of Co-operation - between for the victory. infantry, tanks and artillery, and The other Principles of War were between the ground forces and the not all so completely applied by the air. Finally, the victory rested - as Allies in this battle. It is apparent usual - upon a foundation of effec- that there was some lack of clarity tive Administration. The rapid, se- in the matter of Selection and Main- cret and orderly move of the Cana- tenance of the Aim; the higher dian Corps across the lines of command had evidently not thought communication of two Armies, and beyond the possibility of a local the speedy accumulation in the success, nor - as was natural in view forward area of the huge stocks of of the whole Western Front back- ammunition and other material re- ground - had it provided for that quired, were vital preliminaries of degree of Flexibility which might a battle that marked the turning- possibly have permitted an exploita- point of the war. tion that would have increased the The use of one new weapon of victory. It was the Germans, indeed, war - the aeroplane - deserves sepa- whose operations showed most rate mention. The close support flexibility; in spite of the way they provided by the R.A.F. for troops had been surprised, they reacted on the ground, which has been de- rapidly and reinforced their front in scribed, was an important feature time to prevent a complete break- of the battle. Furthermore, as a re- through. sult of the almost continuous air Thanks once more to surprise, the battles, the German Air Force suf- Fourth Army was able to achieve fered losses which it could not effective Concentration of Force, make good. The Allied air forces, massing strength superior to that of however, were unable to prevent the Germans at the decisive time the Germans from bringing up suf- and place. The surprise attained ficient reinforcements to halt the likewise enhanced the effect of the Allied advance. Could the battle- blow dealt by the, battle to German field have been isolated, the R.A.F. Morale, and its favourable effect official historian observes, the vic- upon the morale of our own forces - tory might have been still greater results which were powerfully felt than it was; but not until the later throughout the later stages of the stages of the Second World War campaign. were strategic and tactical air 108 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY forces able to make a success of diction.” what came to be known as “inter- BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN Bean, C.E.W., The Australian Imperial Force in Livesay, J.F.B., Canada’s Hundred Days: With the France during the Allied Offensive, 1918 (offi- Canadian Corps from Amiens to Mons, Aug. 8 - cial History of Australia in the War of 1914- Nov. 11, 1918 (Toronto, 1919). 1918, Vol. VI, Sydney, 1942). Lucas, Sir Charles, (ed.), The Empire at War Vol. II Chaballe, Joseph, Histoire du 22 e Bataillon cana- (London, 1923) (contains a long section by Pro- dien-français (Québec, 1952). fessor F.H. Underhill, “The Canadian Forces in Doille, M., La Bataille de Montdidier (Paris, 1923). the War”). Edmonds, Sir James E., (ed.), Military Operations, Nicholson, G.W.L., Canadian Expeditionary Force, France and Belgium, 1918, Vol IV, 8th August - 1914-1919 (Ottawa, 1964).* 26th September, The Franco-British Offensive Urquhart, Hugh M., Arthur Currie, The Biography (London, 1947) (History of the Great War, of a Great Canadian. (Toronto, 1950). Based on Official Documents). Worthington, Larry, Amid the Guns Below: The Jones, H.A., The War in the Air: Being the Story of Story of the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918 (To- the Part Played in the Great War by the Royal ronto, 1965). Air Force Vol. V1 (London, 1937). Report of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, 1918 (London, n.d.) (contains Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur Currie’s “Interim Report on the Op- erations of the Canadian Corps during the year 1918”). THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 1943 Early on the morning of 10 July the other side, a delaying action 1943 troops of two Allied armies maintained in the face of superior began landing at various beaches in forces. the south-east corner of Sicily. The The Plan of Invasion conquest of the island was success fully concluded 38 days later, when The decision to attack Sicily was the last of the German garrison re, taken at the Casablanca Conference tired across the Messina Strait to the in January 1943. The Conference set Italian mainland. This campaign, in the favourable July moon period as which Canadian forces played a not the target date for the invasion, to inconsiderable part, marked the first which was given the code-name major blow against the so-called “Husky”. General Sir H. R. L. G. “soft underbelly of the Axis”, and Alexander was named Deputy Com- provided the Allies with a spring- mander-in-Chief under General board for operations against the Dwight D. Eisenhower’s supreme mainland of Hitler’s Europe. command, and was charged with the The Sicilian operation is interest- detailed planning, preparation and ing to the soldier on several counts. execution of the operation. The assault involved amphibious Planning began immediately un- organization on a very large scale. der a special staff, but the fighting in The subsequent fighting meant, on Tunisia continued to occupy the at- one side, a difficult advance across tention of the Supreme Commander mountainous terrain which gave and his Deputy, as well as that of the great advantages to the defenders; on two designated army commanders 109 110 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY (General Sir Bernard Montgomery offensive operations. and Lieutenant General George S. The assault area extended for Patton Jr.) until mid-May. The result more than 100 miles around Cape was that the first outline plan, which Passero, the extreme south-easterly called for separate assaults by the tip of the island, to include the port United States Seventh Army near of Syracuse on the right and the- Palermo in the north-west corner of smaller harbour of Licata on the left. the island, and the British Eighth After preparatory operations by Al- Army near Catania on the east coast, lied naval forces and air forces to did not meet with the full approval of neutralize enemy naval efforts and those who would be responsible for gain air supremacy, the two task carrying it out. The chief objection forces would launch pre-dawn was to the wide dispersion of the seaborne assaults, assisted by air- proposed landings. Eventually the borne landings, designed to secure plan was completely recast “on the Syracuse and Licata and adjacent air sound strategic principle of concen- bases and establish a firm lodgement tration of strength in the crucial area from which to conduct opera- area.” The landings in the north-west tions against the ports of Augusta were cancelled and the entire West- and Catania and the important Ger- ern Task Force was diverted to the bini group of airfields in the Catania south-eastern assault, being placed Plain. The capture of these objectives on the Eighth Army’s immediate left. would pave the way to the reduction The plan as finally adopted ful- of the island. filled three main requirements: the Allied estimates of the strength of landings were to take place an suit- the Axis garrison in Sicily proved able beaches which could be given substantially correct. Actually at the fighter cover from Allied airfields in time of the invasion there were two Tunisia and on Malta; the major port German and four Italian field divi- of Catania would be an early objec- sions and between five and six Ital- tive (although administrative de- ian coastal divisions on the island- mands would be met initially by the the whole being under command of use of lesser ports, and to an un- the Headquarters of the Italian Sixth precedented extent, particularly in Army, which was at Enna, the hub the American sector, by maintenance city of Sicily. The Italian forces, par- over the beaches); and the airfields in ticularly those of the coastal forma- south-eastern Sicily would be seized tions, were of low fighting quality, in order to ensure protection for, our considerably inferior to the battle- ships lying of the beaches and to seasoned troops of the two German afford greater security for further divisions - the Hermann Goring Pan- THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 111 zer Division and the 15th Panzer advance north across the River Grenadier Division. On the morning Simeto and capture Catania. On the of 10 July the bulk of the Hermann Allied left General Patton would as- Göring Division was at Caltagirone, sault with the U.S. 2nd Corps (the midway between Augusta and Licata, 1st and 45th Divisions) in the Gulf of where it formed, with two Italian Gela to take the town of Gela and the field formations - the 4th (Livorno) Comiso group of airfields, and land and the 54th (Napoli) Divisions-a the 3rd Division (reinforced by part mobile reserve for counter-attack of the 2nd Armoured Division) far- after the coastal divisions had met ther west to capture the port of Li- the first shock of invasion. The 15th cata and its airfields. Once the Panzer Grenadier Division had been lodgement area was secured, the moved a few days earlier to the Seventh Army’s role was to protect western end of Sicily in order to the Eighth Army’s left flank. counter any assault on Palermo. As D Day approached, a carefully Against this garrison the Allies coordinated convoy programme were to employ in the assault nine brought the invasion forces from divisions (two of them airborne), an many points of the compass to the independent brigade and certain assembly area south of Malta. British Commando units. To carry out the formations of the Eighth Army came tasks assigned to the Eighth Army, from the Middle East and Tripolita- General Montgomery planned five nia; the 1st Canadian Division sailed simultaneous landings, using the directly from the United Kingdom. 13th Corps (the 5th and 50th Divi- The American assault divisions em- sions) on his right; and the 30th barked at ports in Algeria and Tuni- Corps (the 1st Canadian and 51st sia. By the evening of 9 July more (Highland) Divisions and the 231st than 3000 merchant ships and naval (Malta) Brigade) on the left, on both craft were assembled in readiness for sides of the Pachino peninsula. The the descent upon Sicily. The Allied main assault in the north was to be air forces had done their work well; preceded by the drop of an airlanding seven weeks of heavy blows against brigade group of the 1st Airborne Sicilian airfields had left many of Division west of Syracuse and a them unserviceable and driven half landing by Commando troops south the enemy’s aircraft to bases on the of the port with the joint object of Italian mainland. securing road communications and The Assault, 10 July 1943 capturing coastal batteries guarding As dusk fell the glider-borne 1st the harbour. On completion of the Airlanding Brigade (of the British 1st assault phase the 13th Corps was to Airborne Division) and American 112 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 113 paratroops of the 82nd Airborne Divi- by Lieutenant-General Miles C. sion-in all 5000 strong-took off from Dempsey, had made rapid progress Tunisian airfields for Sicily. Their during the morning, and by 9:00 p.m. mission was only partly successful, the 5th Division had reached Syra- both formations being widely dis- cuse-to take the port undamaged. On persed. By late evening a gale which the right of the Canadians the other had threatened to postpone the formations of Lieutenant-General Sir seaborne assault moderated, and the Oliver Leese’s 30th Corps-the 51st first landings were made covered by Division and the Malta Brigade-had naval bombardment shortly after mid- secured Pachino and the eastern half night. They achieved success in all of the peninsula. The assault divi- sectors. Caught completely by sur- sions of the U.S. Seventh Army, hav- prise, the Italian coastal defences of- ing landed in generally rougher surf fered little organized resistance, and conditions on the more exposed by the end of D Day the Allies had western beaches, had warded off captured all their initial objectives. scattered Axis bombing and strafing Major-General G. G. Simonds 1st attacks, and by nightfall were hold- Canadian Division made its assault ing firm bridgeheads about Licata with the 1st and 2nd Infantry Bri- and Gela. gades on a five-mile stretch of coast Securing the Bridgehead just west of the tip of the Pachino Peninsula, while farther west a Spe- The next three days saw the estab- cial Service Brigade of two Royal lishment of the lodgement area en- Marine Commandos, also under visaged in General Alexander s final General Simonds, carried out simul- invasion plan. On 11 July the 13th taneous landings on the extreme left Corps gave its bridgehead over to the of the Eighth Army’s front. Meeting 30th Corps, and advanced northward only very slight resistance the let on Augusta, which the 5th Division Brigade seized in rapid succession an captured early on the 13th. The 30th Italian coastal battery and the de- Corps moved on two axes into the serted Pachino airfield, while on the rough table-land which reaches down left the 2nd Brigade linked up with from Caltagirone to cover most of the Commando forces and exploited the south-east corner of the island. three or four miles inland. Canadian The 51st Division reached Vizzani casualties in the first 24 hours of the on the 13th. Advancing on the invasion were almost negligible. Corps’ left the Canadians found re- Neither Army had yet encountered sistance in the towns near the coast any Germans. On the east coast the completely broken by Allied aerial 13th Corps, which was commanded bombing and naval shelling. By the 114 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY morning of the 12th they had made first few days of the campaign en- contact with the 45th U.S. Division abled General Montgomery to make in Ragusa. a start on this plan before Catania Meanwhile, on the Allied left had been captured. On 12 July he General Patton’s forces had gained directed Leese to advance on possession of a continuous bridge- Caltagirone and Enna, and thence on head which extended to a point 20 Leonforte, an important road centre miles west of Licata. They were put- on the main Catania-Palermo high- ting into use the captured airfields way; the 13th Corps was to continue near the coast and preparing to its drive northward along the coast. deepen their holdings sufficiently to The attack on the Army’s right provide the necessary protection for flank met strong opposition. On the the Eighth Army’s left flank. The night of 13-14 July Commando Americans had been the first to clash troops, landing in the Gulf of Cata- with the Germans. On 11 July their nia, secured a road bridge on the 1st Division had beaten back with main Syracuse-Catania highway; the support of naval gunfire three while farther north the 1st Parachute fierce counter-attacks delivered in Brigade (of the 1st Airborne Divi- the Gela area by a battle group of the sion), dropping at the mouth of the Hermann Göring Division using 60 Simeto River, captured the important tanks. Primosole Bridge six miles south of It was General Alexander’s inten- Catania. Both bridges were held until tion that after the assaulting armies the arrival of relieving troops, and on had secured a firm base “on a line the 16th, after very bitter fighting, a from Catania to Licata” his forces small foothold was established north should proceed to “split the island in of the Simeto. Efforts by the 50th half.” The first step in this direction Division to break out of this bridge- would bee to seize the central group head failed; it was apparent that the of road junctions about Enna, and Germans were determined to oppose thence press on to the north coast in as long as possible the capture of order to sever the east-west commu- Catania and the important Gerbini nications completely. Control of the airfields. road centres was of great tactical The Canadian Advance into the Hills importance, for in the rugged terrain Late on the 15th, when already that covered the greater part of the there were indications of a deadlock island manoeuvre off the roads and at the Simeto, the Army Commander tracks was extremely difficult, if not wrote to General Leese urging him in impossible. The unexpectedly light view of the slowdown in operations resistance encountered during the on the right to “swing hard with our THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 115 left” and push the Canadians on with sel ring, who as Commander-in- all speed to Caltagirone, Enna and Chief of all German air and ground Leonforte. The Canadian advance forces in Italy was directing the Axis had been resumed after a 36-hour operations in Sicily, was faced with rest ordered by General Montgom- the immediate problems of prevent- ery. On 15 July the 1st Canadian ing the Allies from reaching Catania Brigade passed through the 51st Di- and pushing beyond to the Messina vision at Vizzini to lead the attack on Strait in order to cut off the escape the Corps’ left flank. The Canadian route to the mainland, while at the axis of advance was the Syracuse- same time holding open his commu- Vizzini-Enna highway, a section of nications in central Sicily so as to which through Caltagirone lay within allow the evacuation of his troops the area of the Seventh Army’s from the west. He decided to use the bridgehead. The inter-army boundary Catania-Etna area as a pivot for a was adjusted to give General Mont- withdrawal into the north-east corner gomery the exclusive use of the road, of the island. By his orders the bulk and the American axis of advance of the Hermann Goring Division fell was turned sharply westward. back to the north bank of the Dit- From Vizzini the paved highway taino River, a major tributary of the ran north-westward over the plateau, Simeto crossing the Catania Plain climbing beyond Caltagirone into the south of the Gerbini airfields. To irregular chain of hills which strikes protect the Hermann Garings’ open down through the centre of Sicily right flank and preserve a route for from the main mountain barrier in the passage of the 15th Panzer the north. From the earliest days of Grenadier Division from the west Sicily’s turbulent history the popula- became the important tasks of the tion have been forced to establish German rearguards along the axis of their inland communities on easily the Canadian advance. defended sites, usually on command- The first encounter of Canadian ing heights. The main roads gener- forces with the Germans took place ally ascended to each of these lofty on 15 July ten miles beyond Vizzini, hill towns, and the Canadians were when a mobile infantry and armoured thus faced with the task of ousting column of the 1st Brigade was sur- the German defenders from a series prised by Hermann Goring detach- of positions of great natural strength. ments of artillery and tanks lying in The enemy fully realized the im- wait in a hilltop town. After a three- portance of delaying as long as pos- hour skirmish the enemy retired, sible the Canadian advance through having inflicted 25 casualties and the hills. Field-Marshal Albert Kes- achieved his purpose of halting a 116 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY much superior force. From this time hills eight miles north of Piazza Ar- the Canadians met increasingly stub- merina. Here a side road branched born opposition, both in the skilful off from the main Enna highway to- delaying actions fought by the enemy wards Valguarnera, a hilltop town rearguards from strong positions of overlooking the Dittaino valley and their own choosing and the ingenious the western Catania Plain. As soon as demolitions carried out by the Ger- the presence of the Germans in the man engineers along the narrow and pass was established, General Si- tortuous mountain roads. It was to monds ordered an attack in force on take the 1st Division a full week to a two-brigade front, the 3rd Brigade, reach and capture Leonforte, 70 which was now in the lead, to seize miles by winding road from Vizzini. the road junction and press on to- Early on the 16th General Si- wards Enna, and the 1st Brigade to monds sent forward from Caltagirone strike through the bills on the right (which had been taken unopposed and capture Valguarnera. The Ger- after destructive Allied air raids) the mans repulsed with heavy mortar fire three battalions of the 2nd Brigade in an attack up the main road by troop-carrying vehicles, supported by moonlight, but were driven from a regiment of the 1st Army Tank their posts on the afternoon of the Brigade and two regiments of field 18th by a flanking thrust on the right artillery (one self-propelled). In a supported by fire from four artillery defile three miles south of Piazza regiments. In the meantime two bat- Armerina the leading battalion and talions of the 1st Brigade had by its accompanying squadron of tanks dawn on the 18th made their way came under heavy machine-gun and independently across a tangle of ra- anti-tank fire from the surrounding vines and hills to the edge of a ridge hills. The infantry, hampered by the overlooking the steep approaches to failure of wireless communications, Valguarnera. Companies had become fought their way up the steep hill- separated in the uncompromising sides, driving the defenders (a battal- terrain, and the breakdown of com- ion of the 13th Panzer Grenadier munications prevented any artillery Division) from the summits, but it support. In such circumstances there was early morning of the 17th before was no coordinated effort by the two Piazza Armerina was finally secured, battalions against the town, and he- and noon before the advance was roic attempts on a one- or two- resumed. company scale were repulsed by For his next stand the enemy counter-attack and by effective fire chose a highly defensible road junc- from the commanding German posi- tion narrowly enclosed between high tions. It was late in the day when the THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 117 enemy began to withdraw from Val- east, and cut the highway east of guarnera as the remaining battalion Leonforte. At the same time he di- came forward with artillery support rected the 231st Brigade, which had to complete the brigade task. The 24 come under his command on the hours’ fighting, the heaviest yet ex- right flank, to advance northward perienced by the Division, had been across the Dittaino valley in a threat costly to both sides. against Agira, which was to become The occupation of Enna was left the target of a full divisional attack. to the U.S. 2nd Corps, and early on Assoro, perched near the top of a the 19th the 2nd Canadian Brigade 2900-foot bill, was taken in a sur- moved northward from Valguarnera prise assault by a battalion of the 1st towards Leonforte. During the day Brigade after a hazardous cross- General Simonds announced new country march by night, which cul- objectives for the Division, arising minated in a daring ascent of the from a decision of the Army Com- precipitous face of the mountain. The mander to abandon temporarily the 2nd Brigade’s attack on Leonforte thrust by the 50th Division against was made frontally, but here again Catania because of strong enemy our tactics caught the Germans by resistance near the coast, and instead surprise. The enemy’s destruction of to increase the pressure farther west. the bridge carrying the main road General Montgomery ordered the 5th across a deep ravine south of the and 51st Divisions on the inner town seemed to have given him im- flanks of the two Corps to attack in munity from attack by our armour. the centre towards the northern edge Late on the 21st infantry companies, of the plain, and the Canadians to under cover of a heavy bombard- turn eastward from Leonforte and ment, fought their way into Leon- drive towards Adrano, on the south- forte on foot while engineers began western skirts of Mount Etna. Gen- bridging the 50-foot gap. A fierce eral Patton, whose forces were meet- struggle developed in the streets, and ing only very light resistance as they the Canadians were cut off from out- overran western Sicily, was directed side support; but thanks to the by General Alexander to develop a strenuous and heroic efforts of the two-pronged threat eastward along engineers under fire the bridge was the northern coast and the interior completed during the night, and at road through Nicosia. daylight a “flying column” of infan- General Simonds now widened his try with tanks and anti-tank guns front to two brigades in order to burst into the town. There was more make simultaneous attacks on Leon- bitter street-fighting, but by mid- forte and Assoro, two miles to the afternoon Leonforte was clear. The 118 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY enemy’s determined efforts to hold to San Stefano. the Leonforte-Assoro ridge marked a On 21 July General Montgomery, change from his earlier rearguard deciding that Catania could not be tactics of “delay and withdraw”. taken by frontal attack without incur- From now on the Canadian advance ring heavy casualties, directed all was to be stubbornly opposed by formations of the Eighth Army ex- strong forces charged with prolonged cept the 1st Canadian Division to resistance at all costs. pass to the defensive along the line of the Dittaino River. The Canadians The Eighth Army’s Change of Plan would carry the Army attack pending The German garrison in Sicily had the arrival of the 78th Division, been reinforced in the first few days which he had ordered over from Tu- of the invasion by two regiments of nisia to reinforce the 30th Corps for the 1st Parachute. Division. On 16 a drive through Adrano around the July the Headquarters of the 14th west side of Mount Etna. Panzer Corps arrived to assume The Drive Eastward command, and the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division began moving On the afternoon of 24 July the over from the mainland. The Corps 1st Canadian Division attacked to- Commander, General Hans Hube, wards Agira (eight miles east of As- with direct instructions from Hitler’s soro), supported by fighter bombers headquarters “to fight a delaying and artillery concentrations from five action and gain further time for stabi- field and two medium regiments. lizing the situation on the mainland,” From a rocky ridge a mile east of the acted promptly and with skill. To intervening village of Nissoria, secure his lifeline to Italy he organ- troops of the 15th Panzer Grenadier ized the defences of the Messina Division threw back with heavy Strait, placing a highly capable offi- losses successive assaults by each of cer in full charge. To meet the the 1st Brigade’s three battalions. American threat to his right flank Late on the 26th a barrage from 80 (for by 22 July the Seventh Army guns crushed the enemy’s resistance had captured Palermo and was be- as the 2nd Brigade took over the at- ginning to push eastward along the tack. The position was quickly over- northern coast) Hube placed the 29th run and a battalion broke through to Panzer Grenadier Division between fight its way on to a second ridge a the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division mile to the east. Up to this point the and the north coast, thereby estab- nature of the country, which pre- lishing a continuous defence line vented the attackers from deploying across north-east Sicily from Catania on a large scale, had meant that a THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 119 German force of not much more than way to Adrano, and the 1st Canadian one battalion had been successively Division swung north across the engaged by five Canadian battalions, Salso River. The task of clearing one at a time; circumstances had en- enemy held heights towering more abled the enemy to give a practical than 1000 feet above the river flats demonstration of the principle of involved fighting on foot over rough economy of effort. On the night of trackless terrain, with mules carrying the 27th, however, the 2nd Brigade wireless sets and supporting weapons put in a two-battalion attack, which and ammunition. On the morning of drove the enemy from three heights 5 August General Simonds sent for- overlooking Agira. The German gar- ward a tank-infantry force with mo- rison, whose line of retreat was bile artillery which, paralleling a threatened by the 231st Brigade, successful attack on the right by the withdrew towards Regalbuto. The 78th Division, in a brilliantly- five-day battle for Agira was the executed operation cleared the north largest and costliest in which the 1st bank of the Salso to its junction with Division was involved in Sicily. the Simeto. Regalbuto, nine miles to the east, The German Retreat from Sicily and the lofty hill town of Centuripe were the main outposts in front of The Canadian Division’s active the key position of Adrano. Regal- participation in the Sicilian cam- buto was captured on 3 August after paign ended with a bloodless cross- the 231st Brigade and the 1st Cana- ing of the Simeto River by the 3rd dian Brigade had gained control of Brigade on the night 5-6 August. the surrounding hills in four days of Only pursuit operations remained, bitter fighting. On the same day the for after the loss of Regalbuto and Centuripe stronghold- fell to a full- Centuripe the enemy had begun fal- scale assault by a brigade of the 78th ling back from the Catania Plain; on Division. The newly arrived division the 5th and 6th he gave up all the had been committed at the Dittaino towns south of Mount Etna from on 30 July, advancing from a bridge’ Catania to Adrano. In the American head established by the 3rd Canadian sector Troina fell to the 1st U.S. Brigade. The 3rd Brigade had then Division on 6 August after a bitterly pushed forward on the 78th Divi- contested five-day battle, but on the sion’s left flank to clear the enemy northern coast the 3rd Division was from the hills between Centuripe and held up by determined resistance Regalbuto. west of Sant’Agata. From Centuripe the 78th Division The final ten days of the campaign took over the axis of the main high- revealed General Hube’s mastery in 120 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY the retreat. On 26 July Hitler had achieved by a well planned and exe- authorized a withdrawal from Sicily; cuted assault on an unprecedented the evacuation began on 10 August. scale against a defended coast, fol- By sharp rearguard actions and ex- lowed by an arduous advance over tensive demolitions in the rugged extremely difficult country. The ex- terrain of the Messina peninsula perience gained in the technique of Hube was able to hold Allied pro- amphibious warfare, although not as gress to his own timetable of with- extensive as would have been pro- drawal. Although he had very little duced by more strongly opposed air support and no naval support, he landings, was to be of great value to maintained effective control of the the Allied forces in mounting subse- Messina Strait with his artillery, quent operations of a like nature. The which included a heavy concentra- fighting inland was a foretaste of the tion of anti-aircraft guns. Thinning hard campaign in Italy, in which a out his forces on a succession of determined enemy skilled in defen- shortening lines of resistance, he sive tactics made the best use of rug- succeeded in evacuating to the ged and mountainous country to re- mainland the entire surviving Ger- tard the Allied advance. The German man garrison and a large quantity of operations in Sicily afford an excel- equipment. lent example of skilful delaying ac- During the last week of operations tion. The Allied troops had the ad- the 30th Corps took over control of vantage of numbers and of excellent the narrowing Eighth Army front. On and powerful air and artillery sup- 15 August the 78th and 51st Divi- port; yet the victory was won mainly sions completed the encirclement of by the resolution and endurance of Mount Etna, and on the same day the the infantry. So far as the Canadian 50th Division on the coast reached Division was concerned, the course within 30 miles of Messina. Mean- of the operations gave it a harder while the American advance along task than had been assigned to it in the north coast had been accelerated the original plan. That it did so well by two amphibious landings, and on in its first campaign is evidence of the morning of 17 August infantry of the soundness of its training. the 3rd United States Division en- As in all amphibious operations, tered Messina, followed shortly by Co-operation was of vital importance British Commando troops, who had here. The naval forces covered the landed ten miles down the strait two landings, put the army ashore and nights before. maintained it afterwards; the air Comments forces prepared the way for the inva- The conquest of Sicily was sion and gave constant assistance in THE CONQUEST OF SICILY 121 the struggle across the island; the situation, and in the use of impro- infantry relied with confidence on vised seaborne landings to shake the support of the tanks, the artillery, loose the Germans and hasten the the engineers and the services. The advance. Efficient detailed Admini- powerful influence of Surprise con- stration, as usual, lay at the root of tributed to the easy success of the the Allied victory. In this connection, Allied assault; on the other hand, the the extensive maintenance over rapid German reaction to the unex- beaches, carried out in this operation pected blow is an effective example with notable success, had consider- of Flexibility, which appears also in able influence on the planning of the the subsequent alteration of the Al- later assault in Normandy. lied campaign plan to meet the new BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN Viscount Alexander of Tunis, The Conquest of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, El Alamein to Sicily from 10th July, 1943 to 17th August, 1943 the River Sangro (London, 1946) translated and (Supplement to London Gazette, 12 Feb 1948). published as d’El Alamein à la rivière Sangro Boissonnault, Charles-Marie, Histoire du Royal 22e (Paris, 1948). Regiment (Québec, 1964). Morison, Samuel Eliot, Sicily-Salerno-Anzio (“His- Eisenhower, Dwight D., Crusade in Europe (New tory of United States Naval Operations in World York, 1948) translated and published as War II”) (Boston, 1954). Croisade en Europe (Paris, 1948). Nicholson, G.W.L, The Canadians in Italy (Ottawa, Guingand, Sir Francis de, Operation Victory (Lon- 1960).* don, 1947). *Canadian official histories are available in French and English. THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 1944 The Normandy landings of June gently demanding a “Second Front” 1944 were one of the most decisive in the west. Instead, available forces operations of the Second World War were diverted to North Africa where and, indeed, one of the most signifi- victory was achieved in 1943. cant in modem military history. The At the Casablanca Conference in invasion of North-West Europe January 1943 the decision was taken marked the beginning of the final that the build-up of men and material phase of the war with Germany and for an assault upon North-West led, less than a year later, to the final Europe should be resumed. Lt.-Gen. German collapse. Canadian forces F. E. Morgan, a British officer, was played an important part in the op- appointed “Chief of Staff to the Su- eration, which was tremendously preme Allied Commander (Desig- complicated and on a vast scale. nate)” in March, and under him an Anglo-American planning staff be- Development of the Plan gan work on a broad operational plan In the summer of 1940 British for the great invasion. The target forces were expelled from the conti- date for the operation was 1 May nent of Europe, and Britain and the 1944. Commonwealth were thrown back on The first task facing the COSSAC the defensive. The entry of the planners was the selection of the area United States into the war late in to be assaulted. Command of the sea 1941 made it possible to accelerate enabled the Allies to strike almost planning for a return to the continent, anywhere, but short-range fighter and American strategists were anx- aircraft based on England could ious to invade North-West Europe at maintain command of the air only the earliest possible date. During over the enemy-held coastal sector 1942, however, neither trained divi- between Flushing and Cherbourg. sions nor landing craft were avail- Study of the beaches on this coast able in sufficient numbers to launch soon narrowed the choice to two such an operation successfully, even main areas; the Pas de Calais (Strait though hard-pressed Russia was ur- of Dover) and that from Caen to 122 THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 123 Cherbourg. Although direct assault possibility of bad weather; and with on the Cotentin peninsula would this in view General Morgan re- bring the Allies the valuable port of ported that in the absence of a major Cherbourg, this area lacked suitable port it would be necessary to impro- airfields and might become a dead vise sheltered water somehow. He end since the enemy could hold the recommended that two artificial neck of the peninsula with relatively ports be made by sinking blockships. light forces. The Pas de Calais of- This was the origin of the famous fered a sea crossing of only twenty “Mulberry” harbour. miles, good beaches, a quick turn- The availability of landing craft around for shipping and optimum air would limit the size of the assaulting support; here, however, the German force, and General Morgan had been defences were at their most formida- told that he must plan on the basis of ble. This left only the Bay of the an assault by three divisions. He Seine, where defences were light and aimed to land these on a front of the beaches of high capacity and roughly 35 miles from Caen to sheltered from the prevailing winds. Grandcamp, with three tank brigades Its distance from the south of Eng- and an extra infantry brigade follow- land would make air support less ing on the same day. A similar short- easy but the terrain, especially south- age of transport aircraft determined east of Caen, was suitable for airfield that only two-thirds of an airborne development. Therefore the Caen division* could be dropped; its main area was selected for the initial as- object was to be the capture of Caen. sault, the intention being to expand Assuming the best possible weather the foothold into a “lodgement area” conditions the fifth day after the as- to include Cherbourg and the Brit- sault would find nine Allied divi- tany ports. sions, with a proportion of armour, in It had long been believed that the the bridge-head. It was hoped that by immediate capture of a major port D plus 14 about 18 divisions would was essential to the success of an have been landed, Cherbourg cap- invasion operation; but the Dieppe tured and the bridgehead expanded raid had shown how difficult such some sixty miles inland from Caen. capture was likely to be, and experi- On this basis General Morgan com- ence in the assault on Sicily bad en- pleted an outline plan during July couraged Allied planners to rely on 1943, and the Combined Chiefs of the possibility of maintaining an in- Staff approved it at the Quebec Con- vasion force over open beaches. In ference in August. the English Channel, however, it is always necessary to count on the * Although two had been made available. 124 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY No Supreme Commander had yet borne division was to be dropped been appointed; but in December here to seize the crossing over the 1943 General Dwight D. Eisenhower, river Orne. The D Day objectives on the American officer who had been the British flank included Caen and commanding the Allied forces in the Bayeux; on the American side the Mediterranean, was named to this plan was to penetrate to the vicinity post. His ground commander for the of Carentan. Thereafter, as reported assault phase was to be the C.-in-C., later by the Supreme Commander, 21st Army Group, General Sir Ber- ...our forces were to advance on Brittany nard L. Montgomery. Both these offi- with the object of capturing the ports cers were convinced that under the south-ward to Nantes. Our next main aim was to drive east on the line of the Loire COSSAC plan the initial assaulting in the general direction of Paris and north forces were too weak and committed across the Seine, with the purpose of de- on too narrow a front. On his arrival stroying as many as possible of the Ger- man forces in this area of the west. in London the Supreme Commander approved changes suggested by Gen- The immediate purpose, however, eral Montgomery; subsequently these and the one we are concerned with were ‘ratified by the Combined here, was the establishment of Chiefs of Staff. To enable more land- bridge, heads, connected into a con- ing craft to be available from produc- tinuous lodgement area, to accom- tion, the target date was put back to modate follow-up troops. This initial 31 May; subsequently a simultaneous assault phase was known by the code landing which had been planned for name “Neptune.” The great libera- the south coast of France was post- tion operation as a whole was called poned until August. This made it pos- “Overlord.” General Eisenhower’s sible to increase the initial assault international headquarters, which force to five divisions supported by absorbed the COSSAC organization, two follow-up divisions pre-loaded on became known as SHAEP (Supreme landing craft. Headquarters Allied Expeditionary The front to be assaulted was wid- Force). ened. On the west, it now included The Enemy Situation the beaches beyond the Vire estuary Allied Intelligence had been able on the Cotentin Peninsula, behind to provide a picture of German dis- which it was planned to drop two positions in the west which proved, American airborne divisions to speed in the main, to be accurate. By 3 the capture of Cherbourg; eastward it June enemy strength in the Low was extended somewhat to facilitate Countries and France had been in- the seizure of Caen and the vital air- creased to some 60 divisions. This fields in its vicinity. A British air- included troops on the Biscay coast THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 125 and the Riviera. All these formations reinforced; in mid-March a good were under the Commander-in-Chief German field division appeared in West, Field-Marshal von Rundstedt. the American sector. One coastal Army Group “B”, commanded by division manned almost the whole of Field-Marshal Rommel, included the the beaches allotted for British and Fifteenth Army, covering the Pas de Canadian assault; however, one pan- Calais, where most German strate- zer division was actually in the Caen gists believed invasion would come, area and two others were within a and the somewhat smaller Seventh few hours’ march. Army in Normandy and Brittany. The Final Preparations The divisions holding the beach de- fences were not of high category and Since the middle of 1943 the air had limited transport. Thus German assault by R.A.F. Bomber Command plans to defeat invasion in the north and the U.S. Eighth Air Force were chiefly built around seven pan- against German war industry (par- zer or panzer grenadier divisions ticularly aircraft production) had which were held in reserve. The been gaining momentum and, at the plans have usually been considered a same time, decimating the enemy compromise between the views of fighter force which tried to oppose Rundstedt, who favoured defence in this strategic bombing. About three depth supported by strong mobile months before D Day the air forces reserves and those of Rommel, who also began to strike at the French and believed that the place to defeat in- Belgian railway systems to reduce vasion was on the beaches and there- enemy mobility all over North-West fore favoured placing the reserves Europe. Somewhat later still attacks close up to the coast. began on tunnels and bridges* with Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall,” though the purpose of isolating the battle- he had ordered its construction in field from the rest of France. Attacks 1942, was still far from completion upon enemy airfields within a radius as 1944 opened. Attention had been of 130 miles from the assault area directed mainly to the ports and the began by D minus 21, to force the Pas de Calais. After Rommel’s Army removal of German fighters to more Group “B” took over the coast early distant bases. In order to delude the in the year the defences of other ar- eas began to be reinforced with un- *The Seine bridges were particularly derwater obstacles, mines and more heavily hit. Those over the Loire were, with a concrete; but in June much still re- few exceptions, left alone until after D Day. As the Seine bridges would have been equally mained to be done. The garrison of important had we landed in the Pas de Calais, the assault area was also somewhat these attacks did not give the plan away. 126 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY enemy, however, only a part of the formations were moved into the Do- bombing effort was expended against ver area. Arrangements were made the intended assault area; the Pas de for naval and air diversions in the Calais and other possible landing Channel to give the same impression. areas continued to receive attention. The administrative preparations These preliminary air operations required were enormous. It was had a vital effect upon the great Al- planned to land more than 175,000 lied enterprise. To them must be at- men and more than 20,000 vehicles tributed the almost total failure of the and guns in the first two days; and German air force either to attack the the requirements of the invading great pre-invasion concentrations of force in ammunition, food and sup- men and material in Southern Eng- plies of every sort would be great land or to offer opposition to the ac- from the beginning and would in- tual assault. “Our D Day experi- crease steadily as more troops ence,” General Eisenhower wrote landed. Since every unit and every later in his report, “was to convince item had to have a place in some ship us that the carefully laid plans of the or craft, and such a place as would German Command to oppose ‘Over- enable it to perform its assigned lord’ with an efficient air force in function on the other side, very de- great strength were completely frus- tailed administrative orders were trated by the strategic bombing op- required. To protect the camps and erations. Without the overwhelming the depots near the embarkation mastery of the air which we attained ports, special air precautions and a by that time our assault against the special deployment of anti-aircraft Continent would have been a most guns were necessary; however, as we hazardous, if not impossible under- have mentioned, the anticipated en- taking.” emy air attacks did not come. It was essential to mislead the The Plan of Assault Germans as to the time and place of the Allied attack. Elaborate security The greatest lesson drawn from precautions, including the prohibi- the Dieppe raid of 1942 had been tion of travel out of Britain and even the necessity of overwhelming fire the denial to ambassadors of the use support for any opposed landing on of uncensored diplomatic bags, were a fortified coast; and the 3rd Cana- taken to prevent information reach- dian Division, in a series of exer- ing the enemy; and a cover plan was cises with the Royal Navy, had adopted to encourage him to think helped to work out a “combined fire that we were going to attack the Pas plan” suitable for the task. As used de Calais. As part of this, Canadian on D Day, the plan was as follows. THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 127 During the night before the assault, bardment. The landing was therefore the R.A.F. Bomber Command at- planned for soon after dawn. It was tacked the ten main coastal batteries necessary that it should take place at that could fire on our ships. Imme- a period of relatively low but rising diately before the landings, the U.S. tide, so that the beach obstacles Eighth Air Force attacked the beach would be exposed and the landing defences. In each case, over 1000 craft would not become stranded; aircraft were used. While the Eighth and for the airborne operations dur- was attacking, medium, light and ing the night before the assault fighter-bombers were also in action. moonlight was desirable. The neces- Naval gunfire began at dawn, the sary combination of conditions bombarding force including five would exist on 5 June and the two battleships, two monitors, 19 cruis- following days, and the 5th was ac- ers and numerous destroyers; naval cordingly designated D Day. rockets increased the storm just be- D Day: The Assault fore the first troops touched down, and small craft gave close gunfire As 5 June approached everything support. In addition, the Army made seemed ready. The Allied Expedition- its own contribution; its self- ary Force had 37 divisions available - propelled guns fired on enemy and others would move direct from strongpoints from their tank landing the United States to France once ports craft. had been captured. Under General Many special devices, and par- Montgomery’s Headquarters, the First ticularly special armoured vehicles, U.S. Army was to assault on the right had been developed to assist the as- and the Second British Army on the sault. Notable among them were the left. The 5th U.S. Corps planned to AVREs (Assault Vehicles, Royal use a regimental combat team of each Engineers) - tanks mounting “pe- of its two divisions on “OMAHA” tards” for hurling heavy demolition Beach, while the 7th U.S. Corps at- charges - and the “D.D.” or amphibi- tacked “UTAH” Beach with one divi- ous tanks, capable of swimming in sion. In the British sector, the 30th from landing craft offshore. These Corps was on the right, with one divi- two types of vehicles were to lead sion assaulting; on the left was the let the assault, landing before the first Corps with two divisions. One of infantry. A night landing had been these was the 3rd Canadian Infantry discussed, but the Navy considered Division, on “JUNO” Beach; though daylight essential to enable it to land the First Canadian Army had been the troops at the correct points and to designated increase the accuracy of the bom- 128 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 129 a “follow-up” formation, Canada emy. On the British side the 6th would be represented in the first land- Airborne Division (which included a ing by this division, supported by the Canadian battalion) seized bridges 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. On over the Orne and the nearby canal its right was the 50th (Northumbrian) intact, captured a coastal battery and Division, on “GOLD” Beach, and an carried out demolitions to cover this its left the 3rd British Division on flank. With the coming of daylight “SWORD.” British Commandos and the great bombardment of the beach American Rangers were given sub- defences began. Clouds forced the sidiary objectives along the coast. The U.S. heavy bombers to do without 6th British Airborne Division had the direct observation, and their anxiety airborne task on the eastern flank and to avoid hitting the Allied landing the 82nd and 101st U.S. Airborne craft resulted in many bombs com- Divisions those in the west. ing down too far inland. The naval Everything was ready - except bombardment likewise scored direct the weather. On 4 June the meteoro- hits on only a small proportion of logical report was so discouraging the enemy positions. Yet this terrific that General Eisenhower decided to pounding of the whole defence area postpone the operation for 24 hours. had a powerful moral effect on the Next day, although conditions were Germans, and there is no doubt that still very far from ideal, the meteor- it went far to enable the Allied ologists predicted a temporary im- troops to breach the Atlantic Wall at provement; and on this basis the a much lower cost in casualties than Supreme Commander took the had been expected. At many points heavy responsibility of deciding that Allied units got ashore without com- the operation would proceed on the ing under really heavy fire, although morning of the 6th. fierce fighting was required after- Operation “Neptune,” began wards to reduce strongpoints which shortly before midnight, when the the bombardment had not destroyed. R.A.F. commenced to pound the The roughness of the sea some- coastal batteries. Soon after mid- what upset the timetable. Some of night the men of the three airborne the craft carrying the special armour divisions began to land in Nor- were late, some of the D.D. tanks mandy. All were much more widely could not be launched, and the in- scattered than had been planned, but fantry themselves were delayed in were nevertheless able to carry out landing. Yet in general the attack their essential tasks, protecting the went well, and before the morning flanks of the seaborne landings and was far advanced the Allied troops spreading confusion among the en- were pushing inland, bypassing the 130 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY strongpoints that still held out. Nev- do so; but the left brigade was ertheless, stubborn German resis- struck by one of the reserve panzer tance kept them from attaining their divisions and driven back. The final D Day objectives before eve- Germans regarded the Caen area ning at any point, except for a few from the beginning as the point of Canadian tanks that reached them greatest danger and the pivot of and then withdrew. The situation their defence in Normandy. By was worst in the “OMAHA” area, throwing their reserves in piecemeal where there were German field in that area as they came up, they troops and a steep coast. For two temporarily stabilized the situation days the Americans had to fight there; but they were never able to desperately to keep a foothold, and build up a striking force equal to casualties here were three times delivering a large-scale counterof- what they were elsewhere. The Ca- fensive and really threatening the nadian Division had 335 fatal casu- Allied bridgehead. The movement alties on D Day, somewhat fewer of their reserves was most seriously than had been expected. hampered by the havoc which the The Allies had achieved strategic air forces had wrought upon their and even tactical surprise; that is, communications, and by continuing not only had the German high com- air attacks; while the Allies, their mand had no time to reinforce the sea communications protected by threatened area, but even the units their navies and air forces, poured holding it had no warning until our men and material into the bridge- bombardment opened. However, the head, hampered only by unseason- German reaction was rapid, even able bad weather. Above all, the though there was delay in getting Germans had been deceived into the Hitler’s permission to move some of belief that the main Allied attack the reserve panzer divisions. A tank was still to come-in the Pas de Cal- counter-attack on D Day, although ais; and there the Fifteenth Army, beaten back, helped to prevent the whose infantry divisions might have 3rd British Division from getting turned the scale in Normandy, sat Caen. The next morning the 50th idle while the British and American Division took Bayeux, and the 3rd bridgehead was steadily built up. Canadian Division got its right bri- Consolidation of the Bridgehead gade on to the final objective* - the first brigade in the Second Army to The days following D Day were spent in linking the various Allied *In this case. the Caen-Bayeux road and footholds into a continuous and se- railway. cure lodgement area. With good THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 131 naval and air support, the hard Comments pressed Americans on “OMAHA” gradually deepened their penetration By 1944 the western democracies, and on 9 June they were able to take unprepared when war broke out, had the offensive effectively. By that built up their strength to the point time the bridgeheads were linked up where they could challenge the en- all along the front of assault except emy with confidence. It seemed for a gap between the two American clear, however, that the only way of sectors near Carentan. Contact was obtaining a rapid decision was by made across this the next day, and defeating the main German armies on after stiff fighting Carentan itself a European battlefield. The necessary was captured on 12-13 June. On the preliminary to this was the crossing British front the Germans went on of the Channel and the establishment throwing in fierce local armoured of a bridgehead, carried out in the attacks; on 8 June, for instance, the teeth of strong defences and an ex- 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade beat perienced and determined enemy. off a serious threat and continued to This was such a hazardous operation hold its position on the final D Day that many good judges on the Allied objective. Caen remained in German side felt very uncertain about the hands, but the eastern flank of the outcome. That the invasion suc- bridgehead, though much more con- ceeded was due to the fact that the tracted than had been planned, was Allies were able to mobilize Sea, secure. land and air power on a vast scale, By 12 June the first phase of Op- but even more to the fact that as a eration “Overlord” had been suc- result of remarkably skillful and cessfully completed. The Allies had thorough planning they were able to established a firm foothold on the use that power to the best advantage. Continent. Some 325,000 men, Every one of the accepted Prin- 55,000 vehicles and 105,000 tons of ciples of War is illustrated in Op- stores had already been brought eration “Neptune.” Eisenhower was ashore. The construction of the arti- told to enter Europe and “undertake ficial harbours, on a more elaborate operations aimed at the heart of plan than that projected by Germany and the destruction of her COSSAC, was well advanced. The armed forces.” The special aim in Germans’ plan of defence had the assault phase was “to secure a failed; they had not driven the in- lodgement on the Continent from vaders into the sea, and had now to which further offensive operations prepare for their inevitable attempt can be developed.” These great to break out from the bridgehead. simple objects were never lost sight 132 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY of and formed the foundation of the Administration. To get the invading whole plan, a good example of force to France, and to maintain it sound Selection and Maintenance when there, required, as we have of the Aim. The ultimate object was seen, extraordinarily thorough ad- achieved eleven months after D ministrative planning and a tremen- Day. dous mobilization of human and ma- It is clear that the achievement terial resources. The prefabricated of Surprise played a very great part harbours, brought across the Channel in the initial success. The enemy and assembled on the invasion coast, was completely deceived as to the may stand as symbols of the adminis- Allied intentions, and continued to trative ingenuity which made such a grope in the dark long after D Day. great contribution to this epoch- This helped the Allies to effect a making victory. destructive Concentration of Force Other principles can be briefly at the decisive point, while great dealt with. Offensive Action speaks German forces elsewhere waited for itself. “Neptune” is the very for attacks that never came. The embodiment of it. As for Mainte- related principle of Economy of nance of Morale, only troops of Effort, the result of “balanced em- high morale could have carried out ployment of forces” and “judicious the task, for it was actually more expenditure of all resources,” is formidable in prospect than it equally clearly illustrated. turned out to be in reality; on the Where could a better example of other hand, the famous Atlantic Co-operation be found than in Wall once broken, success, as al- “Neptune?” The victory won on the ways, encouraged the Allied troops coast of Lower Normandy was the to push on to further victories. Se- result of the efforts of the three curity of the base and the lines of fighting services of three different communication was well provided nations, working smoothly in com- for by the navy, the air forces and bination under a Supreme Com- the anti-aircraft gunners; however, mander acknowledged to have a as it turned out, the enemy was in special genius for co-ordination. no state to threaten them. Simi- The point does not require to be larly, Flexibility was less important laboured. “Goodwill and the desire in this operation in that the plan as to co-operate” paid their usual written succeeded so well; it ap- dividends, on this as on lesser oc- pears chiefly in the use of those casions. very flexible weapons, naval and Similarly, it is clear that the Al- air power, to support the troops lied victory was largely a triumph of ashore at any point during the THE NORMANDY ASSAULT 133 bridgehead campaign where they found themselves hard pressed. BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN Barjaud, A., La bataille de Normandie juin-août Harrison, Gordon A., Cross-Channel Attack 1944. (“United States Army in World War II: The Blond, G., Le débarquement du 6 juin 1944 (Paris, European Theater of Operations”) (Washington, 1951). 1951). Craven, W.F., and Cate, J.L., The Army Air Forces Viscount Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic in World War II, Vol. III (Chicago, 1951). (London, 1947), translated and published as De Eisenhower, Dwight D., Crusade in Europe (New la Normandie à la Baltique (Paris, 1948). York, 1948), translated and published as Morgan, Sir Frederick, Overture to Overlord (Lon- Croisade en Europe (Paris, 1948); and Report don, 1950). by the Supreme Commander to the Combined Ruge, Antoine Friedrich, Rommel, face au dé- Chiefs of Staff on the Operations in Europe of barquement ‘44 (Paris, 1960), (Translated from the Allied Expeditionary Force 6 June 1944 to 8 German). May 1945 (London and Washington, 1946), Speidel, Hans, Invasion 1944 (Paris, 1950), (Trans- translated and published as Les opérations en lated from German). Europe des forces expéditionnaires alliées (6 Stacey, C.P., The Victory Campaign (“Official juin 1944 - 8 mai 1945) (Paris, n.d.) History of the Canadian Army in the Second Florentin, Eddy, Stalingrad en Normandie (Paris, World War”, Vol. III) (Ottawa, 1960).* 1965). Wilmot, Chester, The Struggle for Europe (London, Gouin, Jacques, Par la bouche de nos canons (Hull, 1952), translated and published as La lutte pour 1970). I’Europe (Paris, 1953). Guingand, Sir Francis de, Operation Victory (Lon- “La campagne de France” in Revue d’Histoire de la don, 1947). 2e Guerre mondiale, Nos 11 et 12 (Paris, juin 1940). *Canadian official histories are available in French and English. THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 1944 The Scheldt Estuary operations Antwerp and the sea, and the port made a vital contribution to Allied could not be used until they were victory in the Second World War. dislodged. They fully realized how They provided logistical facilities important their positions were to the essential to the final assault on Ger- security of the Fatherland, and the many. By the early autumn of 1944 First Canadian Army’s task in evict- the Allied Expeditionary Force in ing them turned out to be a very hard North-West Europe was in serious one. administrative difficulties. Following The clearing of the Estuary was its victory in Normandy and rapid carried out by the 2nd Canadian pursuit of the enemy across France Corps, employing four divisions, one and Belgium, its lines of communica- of which was armoured, and a com- tion were stretched to the breaking mando brigade. The Royal Navy and point. It was still dependent on sup- Royal Air Force both played vital plies landed in the original bridge- parts. Five water-borne assault land- head in Normandy, and the long haul ings were made. For the first time in from the beaches there almost to the history large-scale inundations pro- German frontier placed such a strain duced by aerial bombing were used on transport resources that not to harass an enemy’s troops in battle. enough fuel was reaching the front to Background of the Battle keep all the Allied armies moving. The problem could only be solved Although the administrative sig- by acquiring large port facilities nificance of Antwerp was fully rec- closer to the front. Antwerp, the ognized, operations to open the port greatest port in North-West Europe, were postponed while Field-Marshal capable of bringing in 30,000 tons a Montgomery’s 21st Army Group day, was captured undamaged by the made a bold attempt to thrust across Second British Army on 4 Septem- the lower Rhine before the Germans ber; but the Germans still held both could recover themselves after the banks of the River Scheldt between Normandy defeat. But the great 134 THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 135 combined airborne-ground operation ports were so badly damaged that it called “Market-Garden” failed of its took weeks to get them to work, and main object, and on the night of 25- then their capacity was limited. The 26 September the remnants of the 1st importance of Antwerp was more British Airborne Division were with- and more evident. drawn across the Neder Rijn from The task of opening the Scheldt their precarious foothold near Arn- was formally assigned to First Cana- hem. Thereafter the opening of Ant- dian Army on 14 September. On the werp was given first priority. While 15th General Crerar allotted the op- the Arnhem fighting was in progress, eration to the 2nd Canadian Corps, General Eisenhower and Field- commanded by Lieut.-General G. G. Marshal Montgomery had been argu- Simonds. The task before the Corps ing over strategy, the latter empha- Commander was formidable The sizing strongly what he considered West Scheldt, a winding channel, the importance of concentrating the extends some 50 miles from Antwerp available administrative resources on to the sea. It was heavily mined his own front in the north for a blow throughout its length. Along the at the great German industrial area of south side the enemy still held a the Ruhr. On 22 September the Su- large bridgehead, protected on most preme Commander sent Montgomery of its land front by the Leopold Ca- a letter which concluded: nal. On the north stood the fortified No one is more anxious than I to get to the island of Walcheren, joined by a Ruhr quickly. It is for the campaign from causeway to the long peninsula of there onward deep into the heart of Germany South Beveland, above which the for which I insist all other troops must be in position to support the main drive. The main right bank of the Scheldt was also in drive must logically go by the North. It is enemy hands almost to Antwerp. because I am anxious to organize that final Most of the land about the estuary drive quickly upon the capture of the Ruhr was reclaimed (“polder”) ground, that I insist upon the importance of Antwerp. As I have told you I am prepared to give you low-lying tilled fields, cut by ditches everything for the capture of the approaches and dykes and easily flooded. Nearly to Antwerp, including all the air forces and all of Walcheren and much of South anything else you can support. Warm regard, IKE. Beveland lay so low that, if the sea- ward dykes were broken, inundation During September Lieut.-General would result. H. D. G. Crerar’s First Canadian General Simonds’ appreciation of Army was occupied with clearing the 21 September envisaged airborne and Channel Ports. By 1 October it had waterborne attacks upon Walcheren captured Le Havre, Dieppe, Bou- following heavy air bombardment. logne, Calais and Ostend. All these He recommended that Walcheren be 136 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY flooded by bomber attacks upon the Commander now authorized the sea dykes. He proposed that the 2nd flooding operation. On 3 October Canadian Infantry Division should Bomber Command made the experi- push northward from Antwerp to cut ment at Westkapelle, and the dyke off South Beveland and exploit the was successfully breached. The pre- land approach to Walcheren via vious day General Simonds had is- South Beveland as far as possible. sued his directive. It required the 1st The clearing of the bridgehead south British Corps (now in the Antwerp of the Scheldt he assigned to the 3rd area) to use the 2nd Canadian Divi- Canadian Infantry Division. sion to close the eastern end of the The Army Commander agreed South Beveland isthmus. The 2nd that the Walcheren dykes should be Canadian Corps would clear the area breached, provided that this was south of the Scheldt and subse- technically feasible and the higher quently capture South Beveland and authorities concurred. Army engi- Walcheren. neers expressed the view that breach- The 2nd Division-Pushes North ing the dykes was impracticable, and an officer from the R.A.F. Bomber The 2nd Canadian Infantry Divi- Command who attended a conference sion moved northward from the at Army Headquarters on 23 Sep- Antwerp area on 2 October, crossing tember was not prepared to commit the Dutch border on the 5th. On the himself an the question. General Si- 7th the division reverted to the con- monds, after considering the matter trol of the 2nd Canadian Corps. As again, was still of the opinion that the 1st British Corps had directed its the attempt should be made; and main thrust north-eastward from Army Headquarters recommended Antwerp, the division’s right flank the plan to the 21st Army Group, was exposed. It now encountered which supported it. The R.A.F., fierce enemy opposition in the area while not guaranteeing success, was of Woensdrecht, a village blocking willing to try. At this point illness the entrance to the isthmus of South forced General Crerar to hand over Beveland, and the advance was the Army temporarily to General checked. Very bitter fighting fol- Simonds. Major General Charles lowed. On the 10th the 4th Canadian Foulkes took over the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade temporarily cut the Corps. isthmus; on the 16th an attack by the Supreme Headquarters had re- same Brigade secured a tenuous hold fused an airborne operation against on Woensdrecht; but the situation Walcheren, the terrain being consid- was still very insecure. The Germans ered unsuitable. But the Supreme had committed here on 12 October THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 137 138 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY one of their “fire brigades”, “Battle of the South Beveland isthmus. Group Chill” (also known as the 85th These new orders soon trans , Infantry Division), whose backbone formed the situation. The 1st Brit- was a regiment of hard-fighting para- ish Corps was now given the whole troopers. of the 4th Canadian Armoured Di- At the same time, the operation vision (of which some elements had against the bridgehead south of the already been operating on the right Scheldt was also meeting heavy of the 2nd Division) and also the opposition and moving slowly (see 104th U.S. Infantry Division; and it below). There was now a change of proceeded to push northward. On policy on the part of the high com- the 22nd the Armoured Division mand. So far, it would seem, both captured Esschen and attacked to- General Eisenhower and Field- ward Bergen-op-Zoom, which fell Marshal Montgomery had hoped on the 27th. With the capture of that the 21st Army Group could Esschen the right flank was secure. open the Scheldt without abandon- On the 23rd the 2nd Division at- ing operations which the Second tacked north of Woensdrecht, mak- British Army was conducting ing only limited advances, but next against the enemy bridgehead re- day operations went better; the maining west of the Maas - i.e., vigorous action of the 4th Ar- east of the salient created by “Mar- moured Division to the east had ket Garden”. It was now evident caused the enemy to retire. The that this could not be done. On 10 way into South Beveland was open. and 13 October Eisenhower sent On 20 October Field-Marshal strong directives to Montgomery Montgomery sent a personal note to emphasizing the extreme impor- General Simonds acknowledging a tance of being able to use Antwerp copy of his latest directive. He soon, and offering assistance in wrote: troops and supplies for the purpose. I think everything you are do- On 16 October Montgomery him- ing is excellent. And your troops self issued a new directive to his are doing wonders under the Army Commanders, closing down most appalling conditions of all operations except those directed ground and weather. I doubt if towards the Scheldt. The Second any other troops would do it so Army was to take over the right well, and I am very glad the Ca- portion of the Canadian Army’s nadians are on the business. line and push westward; the Cana- Please tell all your chaps how dian Army, with more troops avail- pleased I am with their good able, was to clear the country north work. THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 139 Operation “Switchback”: ber they set off across the Braakman The Breskens Pocket inlet,* supported by fire from the On 6 October the 3rd Canadian artillery of the 4th Canadian Ar- Division commenced Operation moured Division. Both attacking “Switchback”, attacking the German battalions got ashore near Biervliet pocket south of the West Scheldt at quickly and reorganized against the point where the Leopold Canal slight opposition. By 9:00 a.m. a diverges from the Canal de Dérivation bridgehead 1500 yards deep had de la Lys. The Leopold Canal was a been established and soon the re- formidable obstacle, about 60 feet serve battalion was landed, advanc- wide and with steep banks. Inunda- ing to Hoofdplaat. tions to the north of the canal left only The attack over the Braakman a narrow strip of land where we could had met with so much success that it develop our bridgehead. The 7th Ca- was now decided to reinforce there nadian Infantry Brigade made a sud- instead of on the Leopold Canal as den assault supported by Wasps, previously planned. The 3rd Divi- flame-throwing carriers. The attack sion’s reconnaissance regiment was was made through the 4th Canadian sent over on the 11th, followed by Armoured Division, which put in two the 8th Brigade. The enemy had diversionary attacks, one on either now moved up forces to face this side of the bridgehead. After acquir- threat at his left rear; the going be- ing a shallow foothold the attack came tougher. On the 14th troops of bogged down in the face of strong the 4th Canadian Armoured Divi- opposition. General von Zangen, sion succeeded in crossing the Leo- commanding the German Fifteenth pold near Watervliet and near the Army in the Netherlands, had allotted head of the Braakman, making it an efficient formation, the 64th Infan- possible to send supplies and artil- try Division, to the defence of what lery by road into Scheldt Fortress the Germans called “Scheldt Fortress South. The 8th and 9th Brigades South”. This formation now held the advanced slowly westward against 7th Brigade’s bridgehead to narrow opposition. limits. On the 16th resistance before the An amphibious attack was now 7th Brigade suddenly slackened. At made against the rear of the pocket. last light on the 18th the brigade The 9th Brigade’s assault force em- barked at Ghent in Buffaloes (Land- * The Braakman was mistakenly called the ing Vehicles, Tracked) and sailed Savojaards Plaat at the time of the operation. Savojaards Plaat was actually the name of the down the canal leading to extensive mud-flat at the entrance to the Bra- Terneuzen. At 2:00 a.m. on 9 Octo- akman. 140 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY was relieved by the 157th Brigade Infantry Division,* less one grena- of the 52nd (Lowland) Division. dier regiment, with some other The 157th pushed forward and on troops and naval coast artillery units. the 19th made contact with the force To dislodge enemy rearguards that had crossed the Braakman. from the line of the Beveland Canal, The 3rd Division now moved to General Simonds mounted another cut the German forces off from the amphibious operation. Carried in Scheldt. The 9th Brigade captured some 120 tracked landing craft, the Breskens on the 22nd in the face of 156th Infantry Brigade of the 52nd heavy enemy artillery fire, particu- Division crossed from Terneuzen on larly from Flushing. The Germans’ the night of 25-26 October, landing communications with Walcheren in South Beveland. A good bridge- were virtually severed. Next day head was immediately established. the 9th Brigade swung southwest- On the 26th the 6th Brigade attacked ward and captured Schoondijke. towards the Beveland Canal. One After taking Fort Frederik Hendrik battalion reached the canal late on this formation was withdrawn into the 27th after wading in waist-deep reserve and the 7th Brigade struck water, and seized a bridgehead on the out westward, capturing Cadzand far side. Another gained a crossing in on the 29th. The 8th Brigade the middle of the isthmus. By the meanwhile had shifted southward, 29th the 2nd Division had two bri- relieving the 157th. Sluis fell on 1 gades over the canal. The 157th Bri- November. On the same day the gade, which had landed in the 156th German divisional commander was Brigade’s bridgehead on the West captured near Knocke-sur-Mer. The Scheldt, moved on the southern 8th Brigade cleared westward along flank. Goes fell on the 29th, and by the Leopold Canal and on 3 No- the 30th the 5th Brigade bad a battal- vember opposition was at an end ion within two miles of the causeway in, Scheldt Fortress South. Opera- leading to Walcheren. tion “Switchback” was over. The 4th Brigade now put in a night attack, clearing the eastern end of the Operation “Vitality”: causeway. The Lowland Division South Beveland came up on the left and by morning of Meanwhile, on 24 October the 4th Brigade had led the advance west * Many of the troops in this division, par- down the isthmus of South Beveland, ticularly in the infantry components, were ill thus beginning Operation “Vitality”. men; the 70th was the famous “stomach” division, formed of units made up of men The entire German force west of the suffering front gastric ailments. It neverthe- isthmus consisted of the weak 70th less fought hard. THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 141 31 October the enemy hold on South many of these weapons, particularly Beveland was ended. The causeway, in the Flushing area. In the period 3- however, was strongly defended. On 17 October the heavy bombers of the the afternoon of the 31st the 5th Bri- Royal Air Force made four heavy gade took over from the 4th and at- attacks on the sea-dykes of Wal- tempted to cross the 1100-yard cra- cheren, breaching them and allowing tered, fire-swept roadway to Wal- the sea to pour in. The island was cheren. The leading troops finally now like an immersed saucer with forced their way across and gained a only the rim showing. precarious bridgehead, which was lost The first waterborne attack in Op- and then restored. The decision was eration “Infatuate”, the assault on now made to relieve the brigade with Walcheren, went in against Flushing the 157th Brigade, and the 2nd Cana- before daylight on 1 November, dian Division was withdrawn for rest. when a commando of the 4th Special Meanwhile, troops of the 2nd Divi- Service Brigade crossed the West sion’s reconnaissance regiment cap- Scheldt from Breskens following a tured the island of North Beveland on bombing attack by the R.A.F. Three 2 November. The attack on Wal- hundred guns, including those of two cheren had already begun. Canadian Army Groups Royal Artil- lery, hammered German defences in Operation “Infatuate”: the town from across the West Walcheren Scheldt. The commando was soon The island of Walcheren is ashore and in possession of a bridge- roughly rectangular in shape, about head. The 155th Infantry Brigade ten miles long by eight miles broad. now sent a battalion across to assist The village of Westkapelle lies at the in clearing Flushing. Next morning westerly corner, the port of Flushing the rest of the Brigade crossed over at the southerly one. The island is and one battalion advanced toward low-lying, most of it being below Middelburg. On the 3rd the head- mean sea-level. Only the coastal strip quarters of the Flushing garrison was of dunes on the northwest and captured, after an advance through southwest sides, and the eastern-most deep flood-waters; and by nightfall section of the island, are higher than the city was clear. the sea. The climax of the Walcheren op- The island was heavily fortified. eration came at Westkapelle. Soon There were coast-defence guns up to after first light on 1 November a 8.7-inch, including a dozen 5.9s. seaborne attack was delivered at that Counter-battery fire, aerial bom- point. The assault force, consisting bardment and flooding took care of of the 4th Special Service Brigade 142 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY under command of the 2nd Canadian One Commando landed, seized the Corps, a naval bombarding force and town and nearby battery and ad- a support squadron, approached the vanced northeastwards. Another island from the west. When the sup- Commando, landing south of the port squadron, made up of twenty- gap, went on to the southeast along seven landing craft armed with guns, the dunes. During the next two days rockets and smoke-projectors, de- good progress was made in both di- ployed five miles from shore it was rections. immediately engaged by every Ger- The last landing on Walcheren man battery within range and began was made on the eastern side south to suffer heavy losses. Four hours of the causeway, where the 156th later nine craft had been lost and Brigade sent a battalion across on the eleven were more or less badly dam- night of 2-3 November. Using assault aged by gunfire. There were 372 boats and wading in the salt marshes, casualties among the crews. Their this unit established a secure bridge- gallantry and their sacrifice had pur- head by nightfall. Next day another chased victory. British tactical inves- battalion followed and the troops at tigators later came to the conclusion the west end of the causeway began that the landing would have failed to advance. On 6 November Middel- but for two facts: the German batter- burg fell to troops advancing from ies fired at the craft that were firing Flushing and the German general at them, not at the personnel carriers; surrendered. By the 7th only the and one of the 5.9-inch batteries ran northern coast remained to be out of ammunition at a critical mo- cleared. On the morning of the 8th ment. German resistance on Walcheren It had been planned that close air came to an end.* support would be given by fighter- Both naval and army authorities bombers and rocket-firing Typhoons blamed the heavy losses in the West- immediately before and after H kapelle assault on the limited scale of Hour. Bad flying weather however bomber effort employed against the prevented the fighter-bombers from German batteries. It is true that many taking off. It also interfered with air Allied air officers were reluctant to spotting for the naval bombardment divert forces to these targets from the ships, the aircraft being fogbound in offensive against German communi- England. Fortunately, the Typhoons cations and oil; but a considerable were able to come into action against the enemy defences just as the first * The fighting on Walcheren was done by British units, but medical service was pro- assault landing craft touched down vided by the R.C.A.M.C. See J. B. Hillsman, on each side of the gap in the dyke. Eleven Men and a Scalpel (Winnipeg, 1948}. THE BATTLE OF THE SCHELDT 143 number of attacks were actually ever, the West Scheldt was thickly made on Walcheren. It was particu- sown with mines which the navy had larly unfortunate that bad weather to clear. Not until 28 November did compelled the air force to cancel the the first Allied convoy arrive in the attacks which had been planned for port. But with cargo ships unloading 31 October (D minus one). at Antwerp a firm logistical founda- The effect of the flooding - which tion at last existed for the final ad- of course meant much misery for the vance into Germany. population of Walcheren - merits a Comments word. Most of the German coastal batteries were on the higher ground The Scheldt operations serve to and were not directly affected remind us once more of the vital im- (though many of the anti-aircraft portance of Administration in mod- positions were put out of action); but ern war. It was the urgency of ensur- they were isolated by the waters, ing good administrative arrange- their communications were seriously ments for the Allied armies directed interfered with and the German de- on North-West Germany that pro- fence generally was greatly harassed. duced the hard campaign in the wa- The attackers on the other hand were ter-girt lands of the estuary; and the offered the advantage of being able casualties which the campaign occa- to use amphibious vehicles, and sioned were the price of facilities thanks in part to these the operations essential to the defeat of Hitlerism. on Walcheren went faster than those Flexibility is a principle that south of the Scheldt. stands out strongly in this series of During the operations of the First operations. The possession of naval Canadian Army from 1 October to 8 superiority and excellent amphibious November 41,043 German prisoners equipment enabled the Allies to ex- were taken, and the enemy suffered ploit this principle, striking the en- correspondingly heavy losses in emy both on his land and sea fronts. killed and wounded. Our own casual- A particular example of flexibility is ties, including British and Allied, the change of plan by which the 8th were reported by General Simonds as Brigade, originally intended to sup- 703 officers and 12,170 other ranks port the 7th on the Leopold Canal, killed, wounded and missing. Of was instead moved in by water to these, 355 officers and 6012 other reinforce the attack of the 9th against ranks were Canadians. the rear of the Breskens pocket. With the clearing of Walcheren Flexibility contributes to Surprise. the Germans no longer commanded The latter was achieved when Buffa- the sea approach to Antwerp. How- loes were moved up from Ghent to 144 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Terneuzen to launch the 9th Brigade of the port facilities of Antwerp for over the Braakman. The flooding of six weeks, thereby forcing us to limit Walcheren by means never employed our operations on other parts of the before also illustrates the principle. front and delaying our full-scale as- Economy of Effort is perhaps best sault on Germany. Finally, like all illustrated by the enemy’s defence of amphibious operations, these demon- the Scheldt Estuary. Using in the strate the fundamental importance to later stages just two weak divisions success of the fullest Co-operation at a vital point, he denied us the use between the three fighting services. BOOKS ON THE CAMPAIGN Eisenhower, Dwight D., Report by the Supreme Pogue, Forrest C., The Supreme Command (“United Commander to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on States Army in World War II: The European the Operations in Europe of the Allied Expedi- Theater of Operations”) (Washington, 1954). tionary Force 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945 (Lon- Ross, Armand, et Gauvin, Michel, Le geste du don and Washington, 1946), translated and pub- régiment de la Chaudière (Rotterdam, 1945). lished as Les opérations en Europe des forces Stacey, C.P., The Canadian Army 1939-1945 (Ot- expéditionnaires alliées (6 juin 1944 - 8 mai tawa, 1948) and The Victory Campaign (“Offi- 1945) (Paris, n.d.) cial History of the Canadian Army in the Sec- Viscount Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic ond World War”, Vol. III) (Ottawa, 1960).* (London, 1947), translated and published as De la Normandie à la Baltique (Paris, 1948). *Canadian official histories are available in French and English. APPENDICES APPENDIX “A” 147 THE PRINCIPLES OF WAR Attempts have often been made to authors of Field Service Regulations, reduce the military experience of the 1935, in presenting an official ver- past to the form of rules of action the sion of these principles: “Certain observance of which may help to ideas as to strategical planning and produce success in war. These rules conduct can be deduced from the have become known as the “Princi- experience of the past: they are often ples of War.” Representing the dis- defined and expressed in the form of tilled result of many men’s study of ‘principles.’ But it must be clearly many campaigns, they have been understood that the principles that expressed in various forms in modem guide action in war, whether strate- times. But while different writers gical or tactical, are not laws, such as may phrase and arrange them in dif- the laws of natural science, where ferent ways, there has been general the observance of certain conditions agreement on the essentials. produces an inevitable result, nor The Principles of War, properly rules, such as the rules of a game, the considered, are permanent and uni- breach of which entails a definite versal elements in warfare. Though fixed penalty: they simply indicate a their application alters with changes course of action that has been suc- in weapons and tactics, the Principles cessful in the past and serve as a themselves are as applicable to an- warning that disregard of them in- cient as to modem campaigns. More- volves risk and has often brought over, although these Principles are failure. Many plans have, however, often thought of as primarily strate- succeeded in war, although not made gical, they apply equally well in the in accordance with text-book princi- field of tactics. Broadly speaking, ples.” these general rules are as applicable, The Principles of War are printed or nearly as applicable, to the opera- below in the form adopted by the tions of an infantry section as they Canadian Chiefs of Staff Committee are to those of an Army Group. for the use and guidance of the Ca- All intelligent men will realize, of nadian Armed Services. course, that it is out of the question * * * to provide set rules whose obser- vance will inevitably result in vic- Defining a principle as a guide to tory. Every student and every soldier conduct, the following are the prin- will do well to keep before him the ciples which must always influence a wise word of caution offered by the Commander in war: 148 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY 1. Selection and Maintenance of 3. Offensive Action the Aim Offensive action is the necessary In the conduct of war as a whole forerunner of victory; it may be de- and in every operation of war it is layed, but until the initiative is essential to select and clearly define seized and the offensive taken vic- the aim. The ultimate aim is to break tory is impossible. the enemy’s will to fight. Each phase 4. Security of the war and each separate opera- A sufficient degree of security is tion must be directed towards this essential in order to obtain freedom supreme aim, but will have a more of action to launch a bold offensive limited aim, which must be clearly in pursuit of the selected aim. This defined, simple and direct. Once the entails adequate defence of vulner- aim is decided, all efforts must be able bases and other interests which directed to its attainment until a are vital to the nation or the armed changed situation calls for a re- forces. Security does not imply un- appreciation and consequently a new due caution and avoidance of all aim. Every plan or action must be risks, for bold action is essential to tested by its bearing on the chosen success in war; on the contrary, with aim. security provided for, unexpected The Selection and Maintenance of developments are unlikely to inter- the Aim must be regarded as the fere seriously with the pursuit of a “Master” Principle. It has therefore vigorous offensive. been placed first. The remaining 5. Surprise principles are not given in any par- Surprise is a most effective and ticular order, since their relative im- powerful influence in war, and its portance will vary according to the moral effect is very great. Every en- nature of the operation in question. deavour must be made to surprise the 2. Maintenance of Morale enemy, and to guard against being Success in war depends more on surprised. By the use of surprise, moral than on physical qualities. results out of all proportion to the Numbers, armament and resources effort expended can be obtained, and cannot compensate for lack of cour- in some operations, when other fac- age, energy, determination, skill and tors are unfavourable, surprise may the bold offensive spirit which be essential to success. Surprise can springs from a national determina- be achieved strategically, tactically tion to conquer. The development or by exploiting new material. The and subsequent maintenance of the elements of surprise are secrecy, qualities of morale are, therefore, concealment, deception, originality, essential to success in war. audacity and rapidity. APPENDICES 149 6. Concentration of Force 9. Co-operation To achieve success in war, it is es- Co-operation is based on team sential to concentrate superior force, spirit and entails the co-ordination of moral or material, to that of the en- all units so as to achieve the maxi- emy at the decisive time and place. mum combined effort from the Concentration does not necessarily whole. Above all, goodwill and the imply a massing of forces, but rather desire-to co-operate are essential at having them so disposed as to be able all levels. The increased interde- to unite to deliver the decisive blow pendence of the services on one an- when and where required, or to other and on the civilian war effort counter the enemy’s threats. Concen- has made co-operation between them tration is a matter more of time than of vital importance in modern war. of space. 10. Administration 7. Economy of Effort The administrative arrangements Economy of effort implies a bal- must be designed to give the Com- anced employment of forces, and a mander the maximum freedom of judicious expenditure of all resources action in carrying out any plan. with the object of achieving an effec- Every administrative organization tive concentration at the decisive time must be simple. Every operational and place. Commander must have a degree of control over the administrative plan 8. Flexibility within his sphere of command corre- Modem war demands a high de- sponding to the scope of his respon- gree of flexibility to enable pre- sibilities for the operational plan. arranged plans to be altered to meet changing situations and unexpected developments. This entails good train- ing, organization, discipline and staff work, and, above all, that flexibility of mind and rapidity of decision on the part of both the Commander and his sub-ordinates which ensures that time is never lost. It calls also for physical mobility of a high order, both strategically and tactically, so that our forces can be concentrated rapidly and economically at decisive places and times. 150 APPENDIX “B” GLOSSARY OF SOME BASIC TERMS COMMONLY USED IN MILITARY HISTORY ADMINISTRATION: “The organization, LOGISTICS: Traditionally, the “art of discipline and well-being of men and moving and quartering troops” (Oxford the movement and maintenance of men Dictionary). The official British defini- and materials”. tion is now, “The science of planning and carrying out the movement and BASE: A group of depots from which maintenance of forces”. an army in the field is supplied with personnel and material. An army oper- MAINTENANCE: The process of supply- ating overseas maintains an advanced ing the requirements of armed forces. base (in or near the theatre of opera- STRATEGY: The art of moving or dis- tions) as well as a home base in its posing forces so as to impose upon the own country. enemy the place, time and conditions COMBINED OPERATIONS: In British us- for fighting preferred by oneself. The age, 1939-45, operations involving object of strategy is to ensure that more than one of the three fighting when one’s forces meet the enemy on services. Often used with special ap- the battlefield they will do so at an plication to AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS (op- advantage. erations involving the landing or em- GRAND STRATEGY: The art of applying barkation of troops). the whole power of a nation (or a coa- COMMUNICATIONS: Roads, railways, lition of nations) in the most effective inland waterways, air routes, or any manner towards attaining the aim. It other facility in a theatre of operations thus includes the use of diplomacy, suitable as a route for the movement of economic pressure, arrangements with men, animals or material. The word is allies, the mobilization of industry and sometimes loosely used in place of the distribution of manpower, as well as the employment of the three fighting INTERCOMMUNICATION: The military services in combination. The term is term for the various means of transmit- conveniently used in connection with ting orders and information. planning affecting operations in more INTELLIGENCE: In military usage, pri- than one theatre. marily information about the enemy. TACTICS: The art of directing forces LINES OF COMMUNICATION: All routes, in contact with the enemy; the con- land, water and air, which connect an duct of operations on the actual bat- operating military force with its sup- tlefield. port areas, and along which materials and reinforcements move. APPENDIX “C” 151 BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING Books dealing with the particular most large libraries will have them. episodes described in this pamphlet Some are out of print, but can be ob- have been listed following the ac- tained with a little trouble in the sec- counts of the campaigns and in general ond-hand market. Specialized books are not repeated here. The list below is on naval and air subjects have been designed to call attention to a few omitted, in the interest of keeping the other books dealing with various sub- list short. With a few distinguished jects and campaigns which any Cana- exceptions, both regimental and corps dian student can read with profit. histories, and the reminiscences of This list is, of course, very far from individuals, have been left out. exhaustive; there are many good books not included in it. But all the volumes in it might usefully find a place in every Canadian military library, and General and Miscellaneous Aron, Raymond, Paix et guerre entre les na- Freeman, D.S., R.E. Lee, A Biography (New tions (Paris, 1962) (3 e ed. rev.) York, 4 vols., 1935) and Lee’s Lieutenants, Atkinson, C.T., Marlborough and the Rise of A Study in Command (New York, 3 vols., the British Army (London, 1921). 1944). Bernard, H., La guerre et son évolution à tra- Frégault, Guy, La Guerre de la conquete 1754- vers les siècles (Bruxelles, 1957). 1760. (Montreal, 1955), translated and pub- Borne, A.FL, The Art of War on Land (London, lished as The War of the Conquest 1754- 1944). 1760. (Toronto, 1969). Castelot, Andre, Bonaparte, 2 vols. (Paris, Fuller, J.F.C., Armament and History (London, 1967-68); L Aiglon: Napoléon deux (Paris, 1946) and The Decisive Battles of the West- 1959). ern World and their Influence upon History %Churchill, Winston S., Marlborough, His Life (London, 3 vols., 1954-56). and Times (London, 2 vols., 1947). Gaulle, Charles de, Mémoires de Guerre (3 Clausewitz, Carl von, On War (various edi- vols., Paris, 1959). tions). Goltz, Baron von der, The Nation in Arms Earle, E.M., Makers of Modern Strategy, Mili- (popular ed., London, 1914). tary Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler (New Goodspeed, D.3., The British Campaigns in the York, 1966). Peninsula 1808-1814 (Ottawa, 1958). Eggenberger, David, A Dictionary of Battles Görlitz, Walter, The German General Staff (New York, 1967). (London,1953). Foch, F., Principes de la guerre: conferences Hart, B.H. Liddell, Decisive Wars of History faites de guerre à l’école supérieure, (Pa- (Boston, 1929) and The Revolution in War- ris, 1903); translated and published as The fare (London, 1946). Principles of War (London, 1918). Hart, B.H. Liddell, Memoirs, 2 vols., (London, Fortescue, Sir J., History of the British Army 1965). (London, 13 vols., in 14 plus maps, 1899- Higham, Robin, Air Power: A Concise History 1930). (New York, 1972). 152 INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY HISTORY Henderson, G.F.R., Stonewall Jackson and the %Preston, R.A., and Wise, S.F., Men in Arms: American Civil War (one-volume edition, New A History of Warfare and its Interrelation- York, 1936) and The Science of War (London, ships with Western Society (New York, 1405). 1970). %Hunter, T.M., Napoleon in Victory and De- %Ropp, Theodore, War In The Modern World feat (Ottawa, 1964); and (Rev. ed., New York, 1965). % Marshal Foch, A Study in Leadership (Ot- Sheppard, E.W., A Short History of the British tawa, 1961). Army (new ed., London, 1950), and The Jomini, Baron de, The Art of War (various Study of Military History (Aldershot, 1952). editions). Sixsmith, E.K.G., British Generalship in the Mairaise, Eric, Introduction d l’histoire mili- Twentieth Century (London, 1970). taire (Paris, 1964). Stacey, C.P., The Military Problems of Canada Maurice, Sir F., British Strategy: A Study of the (Toronto, 1940). Application of the Principles of War 1929). Stanley, G.F.G., Canada’s Soldiers, 1604-1954 Nef, John U., War and human Progress: An (Toronto, 1954). Essay on the Rise of Industrial Civilization Steele, M.F., American Campaigns (Washing- (Cambridge, Mass., 1950). ton, 2 vols., 1943). Nicholson, G.W.L., Marlborough and the War Wavell, Earl, Generals and Generalship (Lon- of the Spanish Succession (Ottawa, 1955). don, 1941; reprinted in the same author’s The Good Soldier, London, 1948). Weighley, R.F., History of the United States Army (New York, 1967). % Published in paperback form. Williams, K.P., Lincoln Finds A General (New York, 3 vols., published, 1949-52). FIRST WORLD WAR Aspinall-Oglander, C.F., Military Operations, Foch, F., Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de Gallipoli (History of the Great War based la guerre 1914-18, 2 vols., (Paris, 1930). on Official Document, (London, 2 vols., French, Sir John, 1914 (Paris, 1919). plus maps, 1929). Goodspeed, D.J., The Road Past Vimy: The Blake, Robert, ed., The Private Papers of Canadian Corps 1914-1918 (Toronto, Douglas Haig, 1914-1919 (London, 1952). 1969); Ludendorff: Genius of World War I Churchill, Winston S., The World Crisis (one- (Toronto, 1966). volume edition, New York, 1931), and The Hart, B.H. Liddell, The War in Outline, 1914- Unknown War: The Eastern Front (London, 1918 (New York, 1936). 1931). Joffre, J., Mémoires, 2 vols., (Paris, 1932). %Correlli, Barnett, The Swordbearers: Su- Michel, Jacques, La participation des Cana- preme Command in the First World War, diens Français à la Grande Guerre (Mon- (New York, 1964), translated and published treal, n.d.). as Le sort des armes; Étude sur le haut Nicholson, G.W.L., Canadian Expeditionary commandement pendant la première Guerre Force 1914-1919 (Ottawa, 1964).* mondiale (Paris, 1964). Pershing, John J., My Experiences in the World Crutwell, C.R.M.F., A History of the Great War (New York, 2 vols., 1931), translated War, 1914-1918 (Oxford, 1934). and published as Mes souvenirs de la Debyses, F., Chronologie de la guerre mon- guerre, 2 vols., (Paris, 1931). diale (Paris, 1938). Renouvin, P., La crise européenne et la grande Edmonds, Sir J,E., A Short History of World guerre (Paris, 1939), (Contains an impor- War I (London, 1951). tant bibliography). 153 Terraine, John Alfred, Douglas Haig: The Wavell, Earl, The Palestine Campaigns (Lon- educated soldier (London, 1964), don, 1928), and Allenby, Soldier and translated and published as Douglas Haig: Statesman (London, 1946). soldat de métier (Paris, 1964). Weygand, M., Mémoire, 3 vols. (Paris, 1949- %Tuchman, Barbara, The Guns of August (New 1957). (Le l e r tome: Idéal vécu, traite de la York, 1962), translated and published as 11 e r e guerre). Août 14 (Paris, 1962). Wood, H.F., Vimy (Toronto, 1967). * Canadian official histories are available in French and English. % Published in paperback form. SECOND WORLD WAR Bryant, Arthur The Turn of the Tide (London, Isely, Jeter A., and Crowl, Philip A., The U.S. Ma- 1957). rines and Amphibious War: Its Theory, and its Bryant, Arthur, Triumph in the West (London, Practice in the Pacific (Princeton, N.J.). 1959). Linklater, Eric, The Campaign in Italy (“The Sec- Céré, R., La seconde guerre mondiale (Paris, 1961). ond World War, 1939-1945: A Popular Military Churchill, Winston S., The Second World War History by Various Authors”) (London, 1951). (Toronto, 6 vols., 1948-53), translated and pub- Matloff, Maurice and Snell, Edwin M., Strategic lished as Mémoires sur la 2 e Guerre Mondiale, Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1914-1942 6 tomes en 12 volumes (Paris, 1948-53). (“United States Army in World War II”) (Wash- %Clark, Alan, Barbarossa, The Russo-German ington, Office of the Chief of Military History, Conflict, 1941-45 (London, 1965). U.S.A., 1954). Dalmis, H.G., La deuxième guerre mondiale (Paris, %Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, El Alamein to 1961). the River Sangro (London, 1946), translated and Davin, D.M., Crete (“Official History of New Zea- published as D’El Alamein à la rivière Sangro land in the Second World War 1939-45”) (Wel- (Paris, 1948); The Memoirs of Field-Marshal lington, War History Branch, 1953). the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (London, Derry, T.K., The Campaign, in Norway (“History of 1958); translated and published as Mémoires the Second World War, United Kingdom Mili- (Paris, 1958). tary Series”) (London, 1952). Mordal, Jacques, Les Canadiens à Dieppe (Paris, Ellis, L.F., The War in France and Flanders, 1939- 1962). 1940 (“United Kingdom Military Series”) (Lon- Nicholson, G.W.L., The Canadians in Italy (Official don, 1953). History of the Canadian Army in the Second Falls, Cyril, The Second World War, A Short His- World War”, Vol. 11) (Ottawa, 1956).* tory (London, 1948). Playfair, I.S.O., and others, The Mediterranean and Gaulle, Charles de, Mémoires de guerre, 3 vols. Middle East (“History of the Second World (Paris, 1959). War, United Kingdom Military Series”) (Lon- %Guderian, Heinz, Panzer Leader (London, 1952). don, 2 vols., published, 1954-56). Hart, B.H. Liddell, History of the Second World Pogue, Forrest C., The Supreme Command (“United War (London, 1970). States Army in World War II: The European Hart, B.H. Liddell, ed., The Rommel Papers (Lon- Theater of Operations”) (Washington, Office of don, 1953); The other side of the hill: Ger- the Chief of Military History, U.S.A., 1954). many’s generals; their rise and fall, translated Seaton, Albert, The Russo-German War, 1941-1945 and published as Les généraux allemande pa- (London, 1971). tient (Paris, 1948). Sherwood, R.E., Roosevelt and Hopkins (New York, 1948). 154 Slim, William, Defeat into Victory (New York, Trevor-Roper, H.R., The Last Days of Hitler (2nd 1956). ed., London, 1950). Stacey, C.P., The Canadian Army 1939-1945 (Ot- Wilmot, Chester, The Struggle for Europe (London, tawa, 1948); Six Years of War: The Army in 1952)., translated and published as La lutte pour Canada, Britain and the Pacific and The Vic- l’Europe (Paris, 1953). tory Campaign (“Official History of the Cana- Young, Desmond, Rommel, (London, 1951). dian Army in the Second World War,” Vols. I and III) (Ottawa, 1955, 1960), and Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada 1939-1945 (Ottawa, 1970).* * Canadian official histories are available in French and English. % Published in paperback form.
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