Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
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Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.

Amphibious operations

Military operation launched from the sea with troops embarked in ships or crafts for the purpose of introducing a landing force on a hostile shore. This involves the co-operation of land and sea forces, and, since the 20th century, coverage from air forces. Amphibious operations helped Britain become a world power in the 17th century, using its powerful navy to deploy its relatively small army. The Royal Navy and British Army co-operated in successful amphibious operations in Canada at the sieges of Louisbourg, in 1758, and Québec, in 1759. Aside from some minor engagement during the War of 1812, Canadians were not deployed in such operations until the Second World War, the first being the failed raid on Dieppe. More followed, with success, in 1943 when the 1st Canadian Division landed at Sicily and the 13th Brigade Group landed with the Americans at Kiska, Alaska.

The largest amphibious operation in history is the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944. Canada participated by contributing RCN ships and RCAF squadrons, and securing one of the five landing beaches with approximately 12,000 soldiers. The D-Day assualt remains Canada's largest contribution to this type of operation.


Up to the 16th century, a soldier armed with a bow and arrows. In New France, as in Old Regime France, this name was used to denote a police constable.

Armed merchant cruiser

Merchant ship armed with guns and used as a cruiser during the First and Second World Wars. Being unarmoured and large, they were very vulnerable.


Defensive covering for the body worn in fighting. Early soldiers in Canada wore steel helmets, breast and back plates, and chain mail until the 1630s, when Indian foes began using firearms and armour became ineffective. Metal plates were to used to protect ships starting in the mid-19th century, and motorized land vehicles, such as tanks, have had steel protection in place since the First World War.

Armoured personnel carrier (APC)

Motor vehicle with protective metal plating used to carry troops. Came into common use during the Second World War.