Introduction to the Study of Military History by qvf10731

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									           Introduction to the Study of

             for Canadian Students

                     Edited by

           Sixth Edition, 4th Revision


           Introduction to the Study of

             for Canadian Students

                     Edited by

           Sixth Edition, 4th Revision



   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

                           F O R E W O R D

   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.

   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.

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE                                                                                 ii
FOREWORD: The Study of Military History                                                iii
  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


A: The Principles of War ..............................................................147
B: Glossary of Some Basic Terms Commonly
   Used in Military History ..........................................................150
C: Books for Further Reading.......................................................151


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
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

               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.

    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.”

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-
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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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-

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

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
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-
               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).

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.

   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

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,

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

                                 (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

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-

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

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

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.

   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

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
   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
   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


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

   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.

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

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!

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

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
                                          the same, he had a larger force than
  The French had reason to be             Phips’, and it was of better quality;

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-

   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

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.

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.

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
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

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

    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-

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

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

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-

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
                                         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

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 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

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

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.
                         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-

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.

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-
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
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,)
           THE CAPTURE OF
             VIMY RIDGE

   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
                               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

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

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-

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

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

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,
              THE BATTLE OF

   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.
                           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

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

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
                                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

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
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

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

    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

(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
                           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

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

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

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

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 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
                           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.

   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.

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-
                           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

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

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

*Canadian official histories are available in French and English.

   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
                               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

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

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.

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
                                         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

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
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

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.
                                  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:

   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”

                       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
                                            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).

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).

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,

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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