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Glossary

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U-Boat

Abbreviation for unterseeboot (undersea-boat), a German submarine.

Unification

The Canadian Forces Unification Act amalgamated the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. Unification of the three services had been under consideration by House of Commons since 1964, and the Act came into effect on February 1, 1968. Work had begun in 1964, with the appointment of a single Chief of Defence Staff and the reorganization of National Defence Headquarters into a single control and administration entity for the three services. In 1966, all separate commands in the three services were restructured into six: Mobile Command, Maritime Command, Air Transport Command, Air Defence Command, Training Command and Materiel Command. In November of that year, the Canadian Forces Unification Act was tabled in the House of Commons and given Royal Ascent on May 8, 1967 for implemention effective in February 1968. Amongst the many features were new titles, a unified rank structure and badges. A single "CF Green" uniform for all components was also worn until 1985 when tri-service dress was again allowed. To date, the unified concept of the Canadian Forces remains unique amongst national armed forces.

Uniform

Distinctive dress worn by members of the same organization, uniforms appeared during the 17th century in European armies and also in Canada. Worn for recognition, economic reasons and esprit de corps, it also gave an overbearing impression. Uniforms gave a military unit an efficient, orderly and powerful look, differentiating them from an armed mob in civilian clothes. To take advantage of these measures, King Louis XIV of France had his entire army, then the largest in Europe, adopt uniforms in the 1660s.

Uniforms appear to have first been worn in Canada by the officers and men of the Carignan-Salières Regiment in 1665. The Compagnies franches de la Marine had, as did most French infantry units, a grey-white uniform with blue cuffs and lining. After 1760 and for over two centuries, Canadian military uniforms closely resembled British military uniforms in style, colours and cut. RCN and RCAF uniforms were generally similar to those of their British counterparts until unification in 1968. The new unified Canadian Forces green uniform had a more American-influenced style, which was retained when different uniforms for land, air, and sea services were introduced in 1985.

See also: Livery

Unit

Army term for a body of troops up to battalion in size.

United Nations Peacekeeping Forces

Concept developed by Canadian diplomat (later Prime Minister) Lester B. Pearson in 1956 at the time of the Suez crisis to prevent conflict from degrading into full-scale war by interposing between foes an international force of neutral troops under the auspices of the United Nations. The concept worked and UN peacekeeping forces have since been dispatched to countless "hot spots" around the globe. Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the participation of Canadian Forces in UN Peacekeeping missions has become a cornerstone of Canadian foreign policy. While peacekeeping has been successful in many instances, the long stalemate in Bosnia and the genocide in Rwanda have pointed to the shortcomings of the UN in peacekeeping ability. The 2003 Iraq War, however, points to the limits of unilateral action by great powers in achieving peace and stability in a troubled country. UN Peacekeeping has had a great impact on the relatively small Canadian Forces as up to half of the Canadian land forces continue to be deployed all over the world in international peacekeeping missions by and for the United Nations. Canadian soldiers on UN Peacekeeping missions wear the sky blue berets of the UN and their vehicles are painted white.