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 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
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anemone
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Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 7/31/2016 11:27:42 AM
Facts & Information

As with World War 1, Canadians were not only considered expert and professional soldiers, they were feared by the Germans as an omen of impending attack. The Canadian forces were relied upon to provide defence on the high seas and over Britain, and to spearhead assaults for major battles. Once again Canadians had proved themselves on the battlefield and fought ferociously to win every battle they were engaged in.

Around 1.1 million Canadians served in WWII, including 106,000 in the Royal Canadian Navy and 200,000 in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The first Canadian infantryman to die in World War II was Private John Gray. He was captured and executed by the Japanese on December 13, 1941 in Hong Kong.

Canada was the first Commonwealth country to send troops to Britain in 1939.

During 1939-45 hundreds of thousands of Canadians - more than 40 per cent of the male population between the ages of 18 and 45, and virtually all of them volunteers - enlisted.

Pre-War Canadian Forces

Branch Regular Reserve Notes
Army 4,261 51,000
Few resources (10 Bren guns for example)
Air Force 3,100 -
270 aircraft, most obsolete
Navy 1,800 -
6 modern destroyers, 4 minesweepers

[Read More]

Discuss Recruitment Centres,Training Establishments,Basic and Battle Training,Deployment Depots and Shipment to War Zones.


Regards

Jim


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brian grafton
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 7/31/2016 9:27:22 PM
Two major questions about this post:

1. Why is it located where it is?
2. What has prompted it?

Canada gained a reputation during WW1 (as did many other troops traditionally seen as British to that time). As a nation, Canada wrote a paean of self-honour around Vimy, just as other national troops created memorials to battles which showed exceptional bravery. Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans and many other "British" troops were in many ways the "stuff" of soldiers: by the nature of much of their normal lives, they could shoot, they could improvise, they could make do. Good on all of them. The nations they represented made some jingoistic success out of their feats, but most of the men went back home and got on with their lives.

I'm not aware that Canadians carried any kind of fierce reputation into WW2. In 1939, we had few professional military in our three services, had little or no ordnance or weaponry, and little structure to support rapid expansion of our military. Our Prime Minister in 1939 made a political issue out of going to war, leading to what I feel was a deliberate delay in Canada's declaration of war. We declared on September 10, seven days after Britain and most other commonwealth/colonial nations. We were a nation divided, in part because our francophone population felt little desire to fight for an English King.

Over the six years of the war, Canadians would pay their way. That is, IMHO, all that can be asked. It is also, IMHO, what honour requires.

What anemone has offered embarrasses me. It's taken from a site with no official status, written and/or compiled by who knows who. And it ignores the essential pacifism of the "typical" Canadian. We go to war when needed, and then come back to a bountiful earth that is sufficiently rich that we're so busy enjoying her bounty that we don't laud our martial skills.

It also makes me somewhat angry, because there are so many more important issues to deal with than
Quote:
Discuss Recruitment Centres,Training Establishments,Basic and Battle Training,Deployment Depots and Shipment to War Zones.
This is not the place for an essay question for high school graduates in History! I don't want to meet basic requirements by covering recommended topics. Unless anemone is going to write the first essay, giving us some of his insights to which me might respond.

Rant. Of course. But heartfelt nonetheless. I feel I've wasted too much time responding to a badly placed, oddly presented bit of info from somebody else's fantasy website.

I don't honestly think most members of MHO are that interested in Canadian military or politics. I'm not saying there aren't good military discussions which might involve the Canadian military. But lifting information from another website and to excpect MHOers to "Discuss. 40 marks" is insulting.

Cheers
Brian G
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anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 4:39:58 AM
This thread was located in "WW2 Battles" but in hindsight- ought to have been in "General Military History".

Its purpose was to show Canada's achievement in quickly getting her Forces into the Field.I needed statistics to show the rapid rise-the blog used seemed to fit the bill-where else could I have got statistics that were acceptable??.

The word Discuss is followed by a retinue of progress from Intake to Field Force.It is not intended to embarrass or insult; but you BG have taken exception to it and poured scorn on the topic and that of course- hurts.

I have posted many threads here-some quite good,some mediocre and others ignored. Should this one misfire-which after your comments -it will be no great surprise; but naturally disappointing.On reflection-I am sometimes amazed how a particular topic breeds multi offshoots eg "Sinking of the French Fleet at Mers el Kebir"

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 7:14:54 AM

Quote:
I have posted many threads here-some quite good,some mediocre and others ignored. Should this one misfire-which after your comments -it will be no great surprise; but naturally disappointing.On reflection-I am sometimes amazed how a particular topic breeds multi offshoots eg "Sinking of the French Fleet at Mers el Kebir"


That is the nature of the forum JIm. People go off on tangents as did I on the "Mers el Kebir" thread.



If it is necessary to define the scope of the discussion then you must identify what it is that you would like to discuss but not be nonplussed if members wish to go in a different direction.


So why did you post this piece and where did you want us to take it?


Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 7:56:51 AM
I certainly was not in any way "complaining" about threads going off message a la Mers el Kebir-quite the reverse-they carried on "living"-which pleased me no end.

Re,Build up of Forces in Canada-I wanted to know about Conscription- if that applied.Where and how were men/women selected for a particular Service and then trained and by whom were they trained- knowing there were three main Services to feed.How were draftees deployed from Training Centres etc,etc.I did not think the subject was peurile; because there were so many other War Works to be fed labour.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 10:42:57 AM
I think that I can address the conscription aspect of Canada's involvement.

There was no conscription for overseas service. But by the end of the war, we can say that nearly 100 % of the Canadian service people who had "gone active" as they saying goes, were volunteers whether army, navy or air force.

I shall explain the "nearly" qualification shortly.

PM Mackenzie King was fearful of a repeat of the conscription crisis of WW1 in which some of citizens, mostly French-Canadian, were adamant that they would not fight in an English war, that is, England's war.

The riots of 1917 nearly tore the country apart.




In 1939, King assured the country that there would be no conscription.

But King, our longest serving PM was a wily guy. He never made a decision that would impact on his ability to ensure that he could hold power. So he often vacillated and delayed decisions.


So the English speaking part of Canada began to pressure him to increase Canada's contribution. King had told himself that Canada would fight a "limited liability" war. He was eager to call the BCATP Canada's major contribution and call it a day. But Canada was drawn into the naval war and the people insisted that we contribute boots on the ground.

The memory of the exploits of the Canadian Corps under General Currie was strong.


Under that pressure, the government instituted the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA). The country's eligible men were required to register for home service only.

By the time of Pearl Harbor, Canada had mobilized a complete division, Division 6. It was dedicated to the defence of Canada only. From memory it seems to me that the "division" was loosely organized and spread across the country.

Elements were sent to the US led invasion of Kiska and Attu off Alaska. This was considered a legitimate defence of North America so the NRMA men could be sent.


The regular troops of the Canadian forces called these men "zombies" because they refused to go active. The English speaking Canadians wanted these guys sent overseas.


PM King asked for direction in a plebiscite in 1942. He wanted to be released from his 1939 assurance that Canada would not fight using conscripts.


The overall vote was 63% in favour of conscription but that is misleading. Nearly 75% of Quebeckers voted no. So the country was divided on the issue.


PM King made his famous pronouncement saying virtually nothing.


Quote:
Conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription



Meanwhile the Minister of Defence visited our troops and told King that there was a severe shortage of manpower. So King fired the minister and brought back Andy McNaughton as Defence Minister and he went around the country trying to convince the NRMA men to "go active".

Some did but most did not. There was even a mutiny on a troop train in BC I believe. (from memory, forgive me).

The mutineers were fully trained soldiers. For many, their resistance was a political statement. They wanted PM KIng to pee or get off the pot. So they wanted him to order them, not ask them to reconsider.


Anyway in late 1944, King reluctantly said that he would send conscripts over.

A little over 13,000 were sent overseas but by that time, the manpower problem had solved itself as new recruits were funnelled in.


Of those 13,000, only 2463 actually got into combat. By most accounts, the "zombies", easily identified by all by their enlistment number, were no better and not worse than any other soldier.

69 of them gave their lives.

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 11:38:00 AM
The NMRA was modelled on the British Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1940, it gave the Canadian government the power:-

"to do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, requiring persons to place themselves, their services and their property at the disposal of His Majesty in right of Canada, as may be deemed necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Canada, the maintenance of public order, or the efficient prosecution of the war, or for maintaining supplies or services essential to the life of the community."

The 13000 you mention-were men conscripted into the Canadian Army andultimately sent overseas in 1944. All others had volunteered into an Armed Service-indeed a Division had been utilised in the disastrous Dieppe Raid in 1942

Did volunteers have a choice of Service or were they deployed otherwise- given numbers required at the time for each Service.???

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 1:14:02 PM
Jim I believe that over 150,000 men registered for the NRMA. You were 16 or over when you registered and the government became very good at tracking people down to register them.

All were designated for the army, I believe but the government had an elaborate system to categorize each registrant.

Note that in Canada the use of the word "conscription" was frowned upon. It was a loaded word. So the preferred word was "mobilized".

There were actually two divisions mobilized and designated for Home Defence only.

By the end of 1943, 7th div was disbanded and became part of 6th Div.

If the war had gone on longer, these men plus volunteers from the active men in Europe would have become part of the Commonwealth group set to fight the Japanese.

So we can see that in the end, only 12,900 of the NRMA men were ordered to go overseas. There were quite a lot of them who had volunteered to "go active" when the Minister of Defence toured the country to encourage the NRMA men to volunteer. But that recruitment campaign is considered a failure.

Some men, when called to register did so and then promptly volunteered to go active. I don't know how many.


Since only 2,463 NRMA men actually got into combat near the end of the war, I think it fair to claim that the Canadian forces were volunteers.

That is actually quite astounding to me that a country of 11 million could field a capable army (albeit an international one), a navy and air force squadrons. Plus there were many Canadians, volunteers who sailed with the RN, fought in RAF squadrons or in the case of some officers, were loaned to the British under the CAN-LOAN programme when the British army ran short of junior officers.

1.1 million people were in uniform including women.


As they were all volunteers, Canadians had choice of service.

The BCATP in Canada of course meant that thousands opted for the air force though it was considered a service for the educated man, at the pilot level anyway. An awful lot of undereducated Canadians were given "hurry up" matriculation so that they could be high school grads when they flew in the RCAF.

The RCAF and the RN were able to fill their manpower needs though, as mentioned on another thread, the RN struggled throughout the war to effect better training programmes. But the men were needed on the ships whether they had been fully trained or not, so off they went. RN shortages were dictated by the speed of the war and the responsibilities laid at the feet of the navy.

That means that if you wanted to be in the war that the army was it for most.

There was no compulsion to volunteer for another service.





anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 1:54:10 PM
I am truly amazed that only 12,900 out of 150,000 actually went overseas UNLESS
many NMRA men ultimately volunteered to do so as well.Were there any Consciencious Objectors and if so-what happened to them please?? I can see the RCAF would be the greatest magnet but also the most hazardous.

Coming to the training of RCN officers and crewmen-what was the difficulty here-lack of capable Training Personnel??? Junior Army officers serving in the British Army-could GB not have loaned junior Naval officers to the RCN in return-when they were struggling ???

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/1/2016 2:18:27 PM
Jim the goal of the government from the beginning was to avoid sending the NRMA people over at all.

Had the war continued, it is quite likely that these men would have had to go to Europe.

National unity was a grave concern.


Re: RCN training.

The RCN wished to avoid becoming a branch of the RN. I sense that it would be most unwilling to turn the training over to British officers.

The cadre of professional seaman at the senior level was small and they were competing with one another for positions. Nelles, Murray and Jones were not always on the same page.


Training the ratings was problematic because they were drafted to ships very quickly. Once there they were on convoy duty. Work-up time for RCN escort vessels was very short. It was learn on the job.


Percy Nelles did actually establish the Royal Roads College for the training of naval officers in 1942. But consider the expansion of the RCN from a professional corps of 3500 in 1938 to nearly 100,000 officers and ratings and WRENS by the end of the war.

It was a daunting task and there were criticisms of the RCN that its crews were being put to work before being ready. I do not know whether there was a way to augment training when the men were desperately needed to man the new ships coming out of the yards.


George

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 4:37:15 AM
"It was a daunting task and there were criticisms of the RCN that its crews were being put to work before being ready. I do not know whether there was a way to augment training when the men were desperately needed to man the new ships coming out of the yards."

George was it not possible to trickle interchange experienced lower deck non commissioned ranks eg. PO, LSm and Yeomen of Signals etc. to new ships to raise the lower deck efficiency quickly; and thus obviate the need for the new ship to struggle into shape.Similarly Officers-1st Lts of established ships- taking command of the new ships coming on line-this was an RN practice.Certainly 1942 into 43 was a tenuous time for the RCN,particularly as Doenitz introduced UbootGruppen or wolfpacks in the speing of 1943.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 6:22:38 AM
Jim, what you have suggested actually was done and it was considered problematic.

New ships were coming on stream regularly and the training policy was that top men would be taken from an experienced ship and drafted to a ship with a very raw crew.

The effect was to reduce the efficiency of the already work-ed up crew.

In theory, it was a good idea but there was a severe shortage of trained ships and crews and they were needed on the convoys.

This is one of the reasons that Percy Nelles was "promoted". He failed to deal with the training problem. And the two other players, Jones and Murray, hated each other.

Jones was the Admiral in charge of training while Murray was in charge of operations. I am doing this from memory, so I hope that I have my admirals in place.


Murray wanted more time for ship work-ups and he did not want trained crews to be stripped of their best men.

Murray eventually commanded the whole western section of convoy operations, once the Americans had to pull out to attend to matters in the Pacific and along their own coast.


I feel that even a well trained RCN ship hadn't been together all that long and then some of their best men were sent to new ships.

It was a problem of rapid expansion.


In one of my books there is a section on the training difficulties experienced by the RCN. As I recall, it spends a lot of time on the conflicts at the very top as three ambitious men, including Nelles, competed for limited numbers of positions.

EDIT: What we really need to appreciate is that Canada's navy was really two navies. The RCN professionals at the beginning of the war manned the modern destroyers. That navy worked most of the time with the RN. Those men were not interested in commanding corvettes and avoided it if possible.

The new navy, the convoy navy, was largely made up of the RCNVR officers and men. Some of these reservists were good sailors on merchant vessels. Many, including the officers were green, green, green.

And they were being shoved out to sea much too early.

There was no other choice other than to send convoys unescorted. As it was there was often a too small convoy escort of a maximum of 6 poorly trained and poorly equipped ships.


I read one statistical analysis that said that if convoy escorts had been increased from 6 to 9 ships, that merchant losses during the war could have been reduced by 25%. (Operational scientist, P.M.S. Blackett)

That increase of course was only a pipe dream.


George



anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 6:54:27 AM
I agree that if the transfer of the type of men that I suggested was not "carefully trickled" into new crews-the scheme would ultimately fail -one good LSmn for watches made by lower deck ratings can usually spot others who would make the grade; and one PO for depth charge control would have made a difference in time-the ship would grow it's own leaders.

I do not know the rate that new ships were being made available; but small transfers should have been such that there was a general improvement all round.Plus 1st Lts of the most senior ships should have been given command of new ships.The Next junior officer being groomed by the captain to to take his place.BUT absolutely no large scale deployments off a worked up ship-that of course- is ruinous.

The Army did not have this difficulty as rookies,althoughh important,could be fed into a fighting area- where the Non Coms could show them how to survive.Good Non Coms can also pinpoinyt up and coming future Non Coms

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 7:37:33 AM

Quote:
"It was a daunting task and there were criticisms of the RCN that its crews were being put to work before being ready. I do not know whether there was a way to augment training when the men were desperately needed to man the new ships coming out of the yards."

George was it not possible to trickle interchange experienced lower deck non commissioned ranks eg. PO, LSm and Yeomen of Signals etc. to new ships to raise the lower deck efficiency quickly; and thus obviate the need for the new ship to struggle into shape.Similarly Officers-1st Lts of established ships- taking command of the new ships coming on line-this was an RN practice.Certainly 1942 into 43 was a tenuous time for the RCN,particularly as Doenitz introduced UbootGruppen or wolfpacks in the speing of 1943.

Regards

Jim
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--anemone



Canadian sailors being led by Canadian officers!?
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anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 7:40:08 AM
Absolutely Dave-a form of self proliferation

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 10:06:25 AM

Quote:
Absolutely Dave-a form of self proliferation

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Could you elaborate Jim. What do you mean by self proliferation?

BTW, the Canadian training system was similar to what you have suggested. But the RC expanded 50 fold in the war years. You can only take so many men from trained ships before those ships suffer from operational deficiencies. And the demands for trained men was well more than could be met.


I wish to address the problem of nationalism and politics as it pertains to RCN efficiencies.

Canada has evolved to its current status as an independent nation over a period of 150 years. Despite our feelings of nationalism, it was only in 1931 that we were granted the right to an independent foreign service and policy.

With regard to a navy, while it is 100 years old, it was under the thumb of the RN for the most part. Many of the ratings and officers before the war were actually Brits.

Canadian Parliament had debated for years as to whether it actually needed a navy. After all, in a crisis, who could challenge the mighty RN that would surely come to the aid of one of the Dominions.

That proved to be an unrealistic expectation didn't it.


However, those that wanted a Canadian navy were able to convince others to fund at least a small one. We had a Canadian Naval College that was closed in 1922 I think.

Percy Nelles resurrected it in 1942.

So Canadian officers would train with the RN and on RN ships. These were our RCN professionals, the straight striped navy. When the war started, Canada's new navy, the RCNVR was made up of raw recruits, weekend warriors and officers who may have had experience on commercial vessels.

There was conflict between the two. Many Canadians sailor despised the RCN officers who had trained in Britain with the RN. Those men, despite being Canadians, were more British than the Brits and they returned to the RCN with the same prejudices.

Many even affected the British accent despite having been born in Canada and raised here. The men hated these fellows.

For the RN's part, it considered the RCN as a part of its service and once the Canadian government decided that it would develop a navy for WW2, this was unacceptable.

Let me give you an example of the esteem in which the RN held the RCN.

Before the war, some RCN ships were taking part in a training exercise with the RN in the Caribbean. The senior Canadian officer who was actually French Canadian (Brunet, I think), ran up his commanders colours.

The senior British officer came over from his ship, boarded the Canadian ship and said, "What the hell do you think that you are doing, flying that flag in my harbour?"

The senior Canadian officer rose from his desk and said, "I am the senior Canadian officer in command of the RCN ships." The British Admiral mouthed a few choice words and then left.


Lastly, there were a large number of Canadian officers, albeit trained and serving with the RN who never served on Canadian vessels. They were RN men through and through but it is obvious that the RCN could have used these well trained officers.






George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 10:19:28 AM
Here I am responding to my own post as I get myself all wound up.

By 1927 the paymaster of the RCN has pointed out that the Canadian navy was Canadian in name only. There were too many Brits serving on British ships that were on loan to Canada.


You see, Canada was still vacillating as to whether it needed a navy.

What navy there was had been slashed in 1921 to save money. The RCN consisted of 500 personnel with 450 borrowed from the RN

By 1927, those numbers were reversed but it is suspected that the "Canadians" were recent British immigrants.


The consequences of a failure to invest in a navy and the reliance on the British for protection became clear in 1939.


Now from 1936 to 1939, 10 new vessels were introduced to the RCN fleet. That was a good thing.

But even in 1939, the officer cadre of the RCN consisted of 131 officers and of those, 53 were training with the RN on RN vessels.


But the process to get the Britishness out of the RCN had begun and there was a small corps of Canadians trained in Canada who would prove to be top level seamen.

George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 10:29:43 AM
An add on. The RCN just prior to the war had acquired modern destroyers. The little navy actually had some punch and the government's policy to create a navy for home defence seemed to be taking shape.

On exercises with the RN, the RCN vessels proved to be on a par and in some cases, superior. This gave the RCN officers and crews a great deal of confidence.

Bugged the Brits though.

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 10:47:54 AM
"Could you elaborate Jim. What do you mean by self proliferation?"

Take a new ship with say an experienced captain-like Compass Rose-1st Lt is duff and disappears--the captain who has an eye for a good officer-promotes his choice to the Jimmy and other officers are deployed to their strengths.

Lower deck ratings have one PO and a LSmn for two messes-the PO picks a suitable man to be an acting LSmn and the LSmn does the same; and now we have two messes reasonably organised-these four men pick the round pegs for the round holes and the square pegs for the square holes and slowly the ship has the right men in the right places.Proliferation by selection on board.

"So Canadian officers would train with the RN and on RN ships. These were our RCN professionals, the straight striped navy. When the war started, Canada's new navy, the RCNVR was made up of raw recruits, weekend warriors and officers who may have had experience on commercial vessels"

Anemone had a Lt Cdr RNR as skipper-an RNVR as !st Lt and the rest were RNR and RNVR=the crew were RNR and HO's and they all had to shake down and fast.After her 1st year she had a Uboat and an Admiralty Commendation for steaming.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 2:27:31 PM
BTW I have re-read my own posts on the RCN /RN and some of what I have said is misleading.

The RCN was not fully unprepared and had grand plans to create a fleet destroyer navy, employing a minimum of 9 Tribals, to be purchased from GB.

But the war got in the way and even up to the point of the sinking of Bismarck, the Canadian War Plan did not include the purchase of small escort ships like Corvettes.

As well, planning for war had taken place in the late 30's with the war establishment settled. Of all 3 services, the RCN was actually the best able to go to war.

It is little known that they were quietly authorized to go on a war footing about a week before the Canadian Parliament had declared war.


The RCN was well integrated into the RN in the interwar years. There was even a common seniority list. The officers and men moved seamlessly between ships and British training colleges.

Conduct and discipline were addressed using the King’s Regulations and Admiralty instructions though Canada did pass the Act Respecting Naval Discipline (Dominion Naval Forces) in 1920.

There were no "Canada" flashes on the shoulders of Canadian sailors. They looked like Brits.

The practical reason for that was that the Canadian government had felt that Canada's safety was protected by the alliance with GB and the RN.

The US to the south was still a former military adversary and Canada was wary of American intent.

The first defence alliance, really just a statement of intent, that Canada made with a foreign power was with the Americans in 1940 with the Ogdensburg Agreement.

When the war started, FDR expressed concern to PM King that Canada's coast lines were not well defended. This is because the modern RCN destroyers had been despatched to Britain to fight the war in the channel.

King had to explain to FDR that the Canadians felt that the safety of North America was best fought over there. FDR then assured King that the US had Canada's back.


After WW1, Canada was cautious about taking orders from the RN because Canada's coastlines were left bare of any naval presence. The u-boat crisis of the first war had shocked Canada.

So RN and RCN became even closer.



A DNIP (Director of Naval Intelligence and Planning) was established in Ottawa. This person was always a Brit. His loyalty was ostensibly to Canada but he was free to communicate with DNI at the Admiralty.
The effect was to give the RCN an open door to the Admiralty through the DNIP person.

Secondly, the RCN had direct links to the world wide RN communications and intelligence network. This proved invaluable when it came to time to learning just where the u-boats were placed.

The USN benefited from this relationship because the RCN offices in Ottawa would communicate u-boat dispositions to them. That's how the USN learned about the u-boats approaching their shores in the 2nd Happy Time.


My point is that the relationship between the RCN and the RN wasn't always bad. There were some advantages.

But nothing could overcome the need to train and man the new ships. Hundreds of officers were needed and thousands of ratings and the demand increased from the beginning of the war.

Certainly the RCN had no plans to escort convoys though they did anticipate that they would have to help perhaps. But the war plans for the RCN clearly indicated that they wanted those big Tribal destroyers, light cruisers really plus a fleet ancillary support vessels.

It wasn't to be. Britain needed food and military equipment from Canada and the US and suddenly, very early in the war, the RCN was asked to assume an ever increasing role. The RN was fully stretched and could not have added this task.

It changed Canada's plan for a well armed and fast fleet destroyer navy that would defend Canada's coast lines. Instead the RCN became an escort fleet.


George

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/2/2016 10:54:59 PM
Hard to jump into the middle of an RCN argument.

Quote:
It is little known that they were quietly authorized to go on a war footing about a week before the Canadian Parliament had declared war.
I have tripped over some suggesting that RCN, RCAF and Canadian Army were all given directives to go to war footing before Canada's declaration on Sept 10. I don't see that as suggesting the RCN was better prepared to go to war than the other services. IMHO, it says something about the incredibly strange mind of Canada's PM.

For the most part, the RCN was an escort navy. Scads of ships, but few much larger than a destroyer. Scads of officers and matelots, but none well-trained or invited into that most exclusive of clubs known as the straight-stripe RN.

During the worst of the time in the North Atlantic, Canadian ships (or ships with Canadian crews) were weak links in the vital convoy system, and at least RCN ships/crews were moved to the Gibraltar run. Canada had done its best, but had been found wanting. There's nothing shameful in that, IMHO. We had done our best, and we could still free up better trained crew for the more dangerous runs.

Cheers
Brian G
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anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 3:59:42 AM
During WWII, four of the Royal Navy's new Tribal class destroyers were aquired by the RCN. This photo shows IROQUOIS as she would have appeared during WWII. Commissioned in 1942, IROQUOIS went on to have a distinguished career serving in both WWII and the Korean War. Note the tripod mast, the three 4.7" twin mounts (two forward, one far aft) and the 4" twin mount aft. Of these first four ships, HMCS ATHABASKAN was the only one to be sunk. One of this class, HMCS HAIDA, exists today as a museum in Toronto, Ont. DND photo.

Similiar to the British built Tribal class ships in service with the RCN, the ships built post-WWII in Halifax, NS, had the same main armament when built. The newer ships tended toward a light lattice mast over the tripod mast, although HURON and ATHABASKAN of the first batch also had this feature. HMCS CAYUGA is shown here. After the Korean War, all seven remaining Tribal class destroyers were rebuilt as destroyer escorts.

HMCS CAYUGA- as a destroyer escort. Note the two 4" twin mounts forward, the 3"/50 twin mount aft, and the heavy lattice mast and new radar. All of the class were paid off in the mid-sixties.

At the end of WWII, the RCN took possession of two V class destroyers. Towards the end of the war, the RCN was also to receive eight new C class destroyers for use in the Pacific, but only two were delivered as the war ended. The two V class ships (ALGONQUIN and SIOUX), were very similiar to the two C class ships (CRESCENT and CRUSADER).

Originally fitted with four 4.5" guns, ALGONQUIN and CRESCENT underwent refits to become what the RN called "fast ASW frigates" where they received one 4" twin mount forward, a Limbo ASW mortar, and homing torpedoes. CRUSADER above can be dated to after the Korean War by the presence of a prototype VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) on the stern. This set was later fitted permanently to CRESCENT.

[Read More]

Ps Re the Canadian army-how was its Brigades and Divisions put together-were they regional ie tied to a Province or ad hoc.???




Regards

Jim

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George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 6:14:13 AM

Quote:
Hard to jump into the middle of an RCN argument.

Quote:
It is little known that they were quietly authorized to go on a war footing about a week before the Canadian Parliament had declared war.
I have tripped over some suggesting that RCN, RCAF and Canadian Army were all given directives to go to war footing before Canada's declaration on Sept 10. I don't see that as suggesting the RCN was better prepared to go to war than the other services. IMHO, it says something about the incredibly strange mind of Canada's PM.

For the most part, the RCN was an escort navy. Scads of ships, but few much larger than a destroyer. Scads of officers and matelots, but none well-trained or invited into that most exclusive of clubs known as the straight-stripe RN.

During the worst of the time in the North Atlantic, Canadian ships (or ships with Canadian crews) were weak links in the vital convoy system, and at least RCN ships/crews were moved to the Gibraltar run. Canada had done its best, but had been found wanting. There's nothing shameful in that, IMHO. We had done our best, and we could still free up better trained crew for the more dangerous runs.

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


Hello Brian,

The suggestion that the RN was better ready to go to war comes from Marc Milner, the noted author and expert on the RCN.

He bases his comment on the fact that of the three services, the RCN was the only one with modern equipment in the destroyers in its possession. As well, it had a plan that included the building or purchase of 9 more Tribal class destroyers. Its war establishment had been set. They knew what they wanted to do and that was to effectively defend the coast lines of Canada. There had been no planning for convoy escort duty. That came later, when the war began.

As well, he credits Mackenzie King for being rather far sighted in that he was anxious to build the navy. You know him well as a survivor of the political wars and he felt that a solid contribution to the upgrade of the RCN would work out to be not only a cheaper way to fight a war but would allow him to reduce or eliminate the deployment of ground troops to Europe.


I could accept your depiction of the RCN vessels on convoy duty as the weak link if not for the fact that they were trying complete a task before they were ready but also quite blind as their ships were poorly equipped.

All they had that was superior to the RN equipment was radio.

Over 95% of all convoys got through safely throughout the war, says Marc Milner. At the time that the RCN was pulled from North Atlantic Escort duty, it was covering 48% of the convoys while the Americans handled 2% and the RN the rest.

The situation had become untenable for the RCN and the RN knew that because they had been told for months that the Canadians were placing crews and ships with only rudimentary training on convoy escort.

As well, the Canadians while on break from the North Atlantic weren't resting. Yes they trained but more importantly their ships were finally properly outfitted and they were active and doing well on the GB to Gibralter runs.


We note as well that by March of 1943, not 3 months after being pulled, the RN ordered the Canadians to resume North Atlantic duties. Why? Because they could not be spared.

I think that "weak link" may be a bit harsh. To be sure, they did not kill subs but we note that the RN doctrine changed from early in the war when sub killing was a priority. The change was to a defensive posture to ensure that the convoys got through.

Given the state of the RCN ships, I think that they did much better than the hyper critical RN had any right to expect.


BTW, I have a good article by Marc Milner that explains the Training Gap (the name of the article, I think). It's not pretty. These men were asked to something that they were unprepared to do.

It also confirms that the RCN under men like Admiral Murray and Commander "Chummy" Prentice had detailed training and effective training plans. What they didn't have was the necessary time to keep the men and ships in training mode for as long as they wished. The Royal Navy and the Admiralty had been told exactly that for months.

The notion that the RCN could not train its navy effectively seems incorrect to me.


Cheers,


George

George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 6:18:45 AM
Hi Jim, the RCN's pre-war plans to build or buy more Tribals had the go ahead. It involved a trade with Britain in that Canada would build a large number of Corvettes to RN specifications and in exchange, the RCN would receive 9 more Tribals.

The British backed out of the deal, saying that their ship yards could not build Tribals for the RCN because the RN also needed them.

As I recall, the Canadians were already building the British orders and I forget the number of ships but it was fairly large. The Canadian yards continued to build them.

Canada's plan for a destroyer and cruiser navy was on hold.

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 6:25:48 AM
"BTW, I have a good article by Marc Milner that explains the Training Gap (the name of the article, I think). It's not pretty. These men were asked to (do?) something that they were unprepared to do."

I would be most grateful if you would enlarge on this statement George-"sounds" ominous-was it???.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 6:45:06 AM

Quote:
"BTW, I have a good article by Marc Milner that explains the Training Gap (the name of the article, I think). It's not pretty. These men were asked to (do?) something that they were unprepared to do."

I would be most grateful if you would enlarge on this statement George-"sounds" ominous-was it???.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


With the advent of the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) under Murray, it had become clear that Canada's role in the naval war had changed. The Admiralty wanted Canada to assume more and more of the escort duty responsibilities.

The RN had been fighting the u-boats much closer to Europe and had been more concerned with the big German surface ship raiders. In fact, that is where the RCN destroyers were fighting.

But convoys had started within days of the declaration of war and as the u-boats grew in number (200 of them by late 1942 ???), it became necessary to co-ordinate the escort system.

The NEF was a very effective force for what it was supposed to do.

Note that the NEF eventually and to the annoyance of the RCN came under the command of an American. The Brits and the Americans, without consultation with Canada had decided that operational control of east bound convoys would be handled by the Americans.

When the Americans had to pull out because of the Japanese situation, we had the unacceptable situation of the RCN under operational control of an American while there were few American ships involved in escort duty.

Admiral Murray at the behest of the British and Canadians was reinstalled as the commander of the western theatre. He commented that the Western command continued to do what the NEF had already been doing months before.


OK so the NEF, under Murray and with training under the control of "Chummy" Prentice who was a wonderful sailor and hard task master, had been assured by the RN that the NEF would have sufficient time to train its fleet before sending them out to sea.

Prentice did what he could and he drove his men and ships hard but as the demand for escorts increased and as more and more corvettes and sailors were added to the RCN, more than often, training had to be curtailed.

It is not what the RCN wanted and I do think that that it and the Canadian government should have said enough to the RN.


But the RN was in no position to handle 100% of escort duty in 1942. The Americans who were doing wonderful work with their destroyer fleet prior to Pearl Harbor had been compelled to leave the North Atlantic.

So what was the RCN to do. That is why one author has said that the RCN, "took one for the team".



George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 6:46:43 AM
I found the article by Marc Milner. It was in the Legion Magazine.

The title is "The Training Gap". Not a pretty picture.


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anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 7:10:54 AM
"At the same time, the first ‘Canadian’ corvettes to arrive in the United Kingdom and most of the RCN’s new Town-class destroyers went through the Royal Navy’s workup system at Tobermory, Ont., under Commodore G.O. Stephenson, the Terror of Tobermory.

Prentice and Stephenson were convinced the path to operational efficiency was uncompromising hard work and uniformly high, but obtainable standards. Unfortunately, their efforts faltered under operational conditions and it was soon evident in the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) that the RCN’s expansion fleet—quickly manned and still poorly equipped—had a long way to go.

The training program for the NEF’s first seven corvettes was long, comprehensive and demanding. Leonard Murray’s replacement in command of Halifax-based ships, Commander Wallace B. Creery, RCN, observed that Prentice was “persistent almost beyond endurance at times.”"

The above was exactly the same when father joined Anemone-in his favour of course -he was seafarer by trade and pre trained in the RNR 1925-39.It was hellishly hard on the young HO lads; and Lt Cdr Boyes-Smith.DSO. RNR- a hard task master-he sent several back to barracks as unsuitable-which was a humanre thing to do;but he wanted a crew who could stand up to anything the war had to throw at them-and as you say- it was not pretty.

A Personal Tale by an Anemone crewman


[Read More]


Regards

Jim
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George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 10:10:16 AM
Jim, the first story sounds very familiar.

Who was the commander because the Canadian vessels that trained in Britain lived in fear of a British Commander who loved to come and deck on then describe a scenario and then watch the crew react?


So the story goes, the crew of this RCN Corvette were waiting for this Commander.

He boarded and went through the formalities.

Without warning he removed his hat and tossed it on the deck and shouted, ":
unexploded ordinance on the deck". And then he stepped back to watch.

One of the young ratings ran forward and kicked the Commander's hat into the harbour.

There was dead silence. The Commander departed without a word and the Chief Petty Officer had a chat with the rating.


I wonder whether it was the same British officer.


Cheers,


George



George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 10:17:14 AM
Just to show the cultural divide between Brits and Canadians I will recount a story from Marc Milner's book.

At the time that the British negotiated the "destroyers for bases" deal, there were a lot of British seaman who were transported to Halifax to take possession of those WW1 era four stackers.


This created a temporary housing crisis in Halifax and so the city horse barns were "cleaned up" and the ratings were housed there. Officers were billeted I believe.

The barns were pretty smelly and if there was conflict between officers of the RCN and the RN, there was very little among the enlisted men.

They got along quite well.

The Canadians felt badly for their British brothers who were living in horse barns and so they invited them to a traditional Canadian corn boil and camp fire.

The Brits were shocked to find that not only were they housed in animal barns but they were sitting about a fire, eating sweet corn right off the cob.

The Canadian men were surprised to see that the Brits were a little unsure of this delicacy that they would have normally fed to farm animals.


Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 10:54:52 AM
Commanders of HMS Anemone in WW2

1 Lt.Cdr. Humphry Gilbert Boys-Smith,DSO RNR 20 Jun 1940 25 Feb 1942
2 Lt. Robert Atkinson, DSC, RNR 25 Feb 1942 22 Jul 1942
3 Lt.Cdr. Patrick George Alexander King, RD, RNR 22 Jul 1942 1 Jul 1943-HX 229
4 Lt. Joseph Benjamin Sparkes, RNR 1 Jul 1943 Mar 1945
5 Lt. Ronald Stewart Mackay, RNR 1 Mar 1945 mid 1945

Yes- Lunam's story has been read many times-I an Associate Member of the FC Corvette Assoc'and have written him in the past.along with others -all now dead'

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 11:00:02 AM

Quote:
Just to show the cultural divide between Brits and Canadians I will recount a story from March Milner's book.

At the time that the British negotiated the "destroyers for bases" deal, there were a lot of British seaman who were transported to Halifax to take possession of those WW1 era four stackers.


This created a temporary housing crisis in Halifax and so the city horse barns were "cleaned up" and the ratings were housed there. Officers were billeted I believe.

The barns were pretty smelly and if there was conflict between officers of the RCN and the RN, there was very little among the enlisted men.

They got along quite well.

The Canadians felt badly for their British brothers who were living in horse barns and so they invited them to a traditional Canadian corn boil and camp fire.

The Brits were shocked to find that not only were they housed in animal barns but they were sitting about a fire, eating sweet corn right off the cob.

The Canadian men were surprised to see that the Brits were a little unsure of this delicacy that they would have normally fed to farm animals.


Cheers,

George
--George




Now that's what I call rolling out the Red carpet for the Brits!

Go Canada!
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/3/2016 11:39:05 AM
I bet those Brits- on a little jolly-away from the war-were as as happy a pigs in the proverbial,a bit of corn on the cob is just fine- if you are hungry.Never mind the Red carpet.Talking about animal food-I've eaten many a raw swede turnip during the war-never went hungry.

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 4:13:31 AM
Two pictures of my father at the bottom of this collection.Apologies for going off message


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Regards

Jim
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George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 8:36:29 AM

Quote:
I am truly amazed that only 12,900 out of 150,000 actually went overseas UNLESS
many NMRA men ultimately volunteered to do so as well.Were there any Consciencious Objectors and if so-what happened to them please?? I can see the RCAF would be the greatest magnet but also the most hazardous.

Coming to the training of RCN officers and crewmen-what was the difficulty here-lack of capable Training Personnel??? Junior Army officers serving in the British Army-could GB not have loaned junior Naval officers to the RCN in return-when they were struggling ???

Regards

Jim
--anemone



Just noticed this one Jim. The number of NRMA men that did go overseas was capped at 17,000. PM King reluctantly authorized this one time draft of the NRMA men. Only 12, 900 were sent.


Prior to that the recruitment campaign by new Minister of Defence, Andy Macnaughton, had been an abject failure.

Despite harassment during training, the NRMA men largely refused to "go active".

There were still plenty of volunteers for the navy and air force but these were not from the NRMA contingent, just other Canadians who had come of age and volunteered.


When a brigade of NRMA men was ordered to board ships for Kiska, there were a number of desertions.

As well, there were a couple of mutinies at the training camps in British Columbia.

These mutineers were largely English speaking Canadians, not French Canadians.




Marching in Terrace B.C.., Nov. 24, 1944 Note US issue helmets.




So the Army that Canada fielded was indeed nearly 100% volunteer.


George


anemone
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 9:00:36 AM
Indeed it was George-From what I have read- the Army was assembled in the UK-Division by Division including Armour-I assume the Tanks would at the outset be British- until the Sherman came along; and the the Artillery the 25lber and 5.5 inch medium guns; again util the US Long Toms were available.

It was a remarkable achievement really-marred only by the wretched Dieppe Raid.I assume that most operational training was also carried out in the UK-although we in the far north of England never saw a Canadian soldier.

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 9:33:34 AM
Of those few deserters, they certainly had a lot of Canadian wilderness to disappear in!?

Any stories on this?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 10:10:25 AM

Quote:
Indeed it was George-From what I have read- the Army was assembled in the UK-Division by Division including Armour-I assume the Tanks would at the outset be British- until the Sherman came along; and the the Artillery the 25lber and 5.5 inch medium guns; again util the US Long Toms were available.

It was a remarkable achievement really-marred only by the wretched Dieppe Raid.I assume that most operational training was also carried out in the UK-although we in the far north of England never saw a Canadian soldier.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


The Canadian Active Service Force was authorized by the government on Sept. 1, 1939.

CDN 1st Division was part of that and they began to arrive in Britain in Dec. of 1939. I believe that the Canadians were the first Commonwealth troops to arrive but I would have to check.

This division was made up of regiments that were raised all across the country.


A lot of the small professional soldiers were kept back to train the new recruits.

These soldiers would receive basic training in Canada which unfortunately, in 1939 was based upon First World war principles. Trench fighting was emphasized. And they kept on training like that when they got to Britain.

One of the good outcomes of the mobilization of the NRMA men was that not only did they receive basic training but by that time, in 1942, the Canadian Army had set up advanced combat schools.

They men in Britain began to receive combat training when the Calgary Highlanders of the 2nd division took some training with a London regiment. It took a while for "battle drill" exercises to catch on but gradually it did.

The 1st Division didn't think much of it.


It was the 2nd Div that was cut apart at Dieppe but they were also selected because they were considered the fittest and best trained.


There were conscientious objectors in Canada. They were offered non-combattant service in the military.

If they did not want that, they were sent to alternative service camps where they worked in parks. Some did firefighting. I can't recall all of the jobs but they were supervised by civilians, not the military.

Most of them were Mennonites and other religious groups. There were about 10,000 of them.


There were men who refused to register for the NRMA and some of those just disappeared in the woods.

In Québec, some priests encouraged this desertion. From memory it seems to me that the mayor of Montréal, Camil Houde was sent to an interment camp because he was encouraging French-Canadians not to register.

The same thing happened on the prairies.


As for desertion from the NRMA, after reporting, it seems that the number was about 7,000. That isn't really many.

We need to remember that PM King had been elected just prior to the war and had promised that there would be no conscription in Canada.

Obviously, he did not and could not keep his promise.

There were NRMA men who objected to that on principle. They were willing to fight to protect the homeland but did not wish to fight in a foreign war. I'm sure that there were some who didn't want to fight at all too.

These men were well trained soldiers. They had the benefit of a few years of war so that their training had been modernized and modified to reflect the new style of combat.




George
Haliburton, ON, Canada
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 10:21:23 AM

Quote:
ndeed it was George-From what I have read- the Army was assembled in the UK-Division by Division including Armour-I assume the Tanks would at the outset be British- until the Sherman came along; and the the Artillery the 25lber and 5.5 inch medium guns; again util the US Long Toms were available.


Not entirely true Jim.

Armoured divisions were raised in Canada and did most of their early training here.

4th CDN Armoured was organized and reorganized a number of times but when the division finally got to Britain in the fall of 1942, it had been training for quite a while. It is true that they did not have tanks in Canada but there were light armoured vehicles and the troopers trained in tank tactics in those.

They made the transfer to tank units quite easily.

The 5th CDN Armoured Div. was mobilized in Canada and then reorganized in Britain.


You are correct that the Canadians did a lot of training in Britain. Hell, most of them were there for 3 1/2 years before seeing combat.

They had grown very tired of training "schemes" by that time. And I hate to say it but they were becoming a bit bothersome in some villages, at times.

For the most part, the English had adopted the Canadian boys as there own. But there were shenanigans and a good deal of drinking that got some of them in trouble.


George

George
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Re: Canada at War-1939-45-The Build Up of Forces
Posted on: 8/4/2016 10:29:57 AM

Quote:
Of those few deserters, they certainly had a lot of Canadian wilderness to disappear in!?

Any stories on this?
--Michigan Dave


Hi Dave, there were deserters from all armies.

I am saying that the NRMA men, despite protesting general service overseas, did not desert at an extraordinary rate.


There are cases of Canadians in general service who deserted.

I recall one story published in Barry Broadfoot's, The Six War Years, in which a Canadian soldier, a volunteer, had heard that his group was being sent to Suffield, Alberta.

The purpose was to serve as a guinea pig for the testing of chemical weapons.

The Canadian government has said that they were all volunteers but the soldiers who were sent there claimed that the testing was all done without consent.

Yes they were volunteers but they hadn't been told what they were volunteering for.

Anyway, this one Canadian volunteer had heard to rumours and just got off the train. He said that he had volunteered to fight, not to be gassed by his own country.

This fellow's story is that he was never contacted for desertion and there were no repercussions.


George

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