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Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Special Operations

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Type: Document Image
Description: At the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the Allied leaders determined that, after they had gained all of North Africa, the next operation would be in the Mediterranean. The aim was to force Italy out of the war. The Germans formed a number of defensive lines across the peninsula, which the Allies were only able to capture at considerable cost. The Canadians played a leading part in the breaking of the Gothic Line north of Florence. In all, 92,757 Canadian soldiers served in the Italian theatre and a quarter of these became casualties.
Site: Canadian War Museum
 
 
Type: Document
Description: After the German occupation of Poland, nothing much happened for month after month. War did not seem like war. A "phoney war," the British called it. But in the spring of 1940 Hitler's forces struck again, and by June he held Europe in his grasp. Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France and Belgium all fell quickly to German forces.
Site: Canadian War Museum
 
 
Type: Document Image
Description: The North West Europe Campaign came in response to Stalin's demands that the allies open a "Second Front" in western Europe to relieve pressure on his Eastern Front. Canadian soldiers were once again ready to contribute to the battle and Canadian newspapers were there to cover the push to Germany.
Site: Canadian War Museum
 
 
Type: Document Image
Description: The Second World War was fought over vast distances, with airpower and technology playing crucial parts. Both sides tried to avoid the stalemates of the First World War, and usually succeeded. This resource provides an index of World War II battles.
Site: Canadian War Museum
 
 
Type: Document
Online Reference Books
Description: Once established, the tactics of Canadian warfare would persist as long as the French regime. Refinements were made as the regular soldiers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine grew more experienced in the new methods.
Site: National Defence
 
 
Type: Document
Description: This very descriptive report tells of the Canadian force that was sent to this Norwegian island. The details of the operation, movements of units, references to a personal diary kept by Captain Perry Hall, and a short history of the relationship between Canada and Spitsbergen are included. Canada was offered the honour of providing the major part of the military force for this operation from her army in the United Kingdom.
Requires Adobe Reader, download here
Site: National Defence
 
 
Type: Document
Online Reference Books
Description: In fighting along the Cote d'Azur at the end of WW2, the Canadian officer Ralph Wilson Becket won the American Silver Star, along with Sergeant Thomas Price, the most decorated Canadian aboriginal soldier.
Site: National Defence
 
 
Type: Document
Online Reference Books
Description: Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière created the new way of fighting: small mixed forces (including professional officers, French soldiers, Canadian militiamen and Amerindian allies) would employ native tactics of ambush and surprise, combined with European discipline.
Site: National Defence
 
 
Type: Image
Online Reference Books
Description: Correctly fearing the outbreak of war with the United States, Governor General Provost ordered the creation of the Glengarry Regiment of Fencible Light Infantry early in 1812. Recruiting began in the Scottish settlements on the St. Lawrence River in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), but soon expanded to include the Maritime colonies and the rest of Upper Canada. The unit saw service throughout the War of 1812. Their uniform - dark green coat with black facings and white lace - was copied from the 95th Regiment of Foot, a specialist regiment of riflemen in the regular British army. The Glengarry Light Infantry were armed with muskets, however, not rifles. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)
Site: National Defence
 
 
Type: Image
Online Reference Books
Description: The Royal Canadian Navy had only one unit that bore the famous designation 'commando': Beach Commando 'W'. The unit was trained to go ashore on D-Day in the dark before the first assault troops. Their job was to secure the beach area and send out signals about landing conditions. Despite months of training in Scotland, the Canadians were not sent ashore on D-Day. They landed three days later to relieve Beach Commando 'P,' a British unit. The men of Commando 'W' spent many weeks as troubleshooters and traffic police, guiding landing craft to safely ashore and sending men and equipment to their destinations. This rating is shown in 1942-issue British battle dress, wearing the new Mk III helmet and carrying a Lanchester machine gun. The unit wore the Combined Operations Patch as well as 'Canada' flashes on the upper arm. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)
Site: National Defence
 
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