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Tommy Gun

Nickname for the American Thompson .45 calibre sub-machinegun designed by Gen. John T. Thompson in 1918. From 1939, the British Army acquired Thompsons and rushed them to troops in the field, most notably the 8th Army in Egypt, until the British Sten Gun appeared in 1941. Canadian troops in Italy, being part of the British 8th Army from 1943 to 1945, were also armed with the "Tommy Gun".

See also: Sten Gun, Sub-machinegun


Defensive system of ditches used in seige warfare since ancient times, they were temporary field works lasting the length of the seige. The series of long, deep and elaborate ditches in which men sheltered and lived in especially characterised the First World War, when most armies huddled in trenches on the Western front from the fall of 1914 to November 1918. The classic trench system comprised three parallel trenches, the one closest to the enemy being the front-line or fire trench. The fire trench was separated from No Man's Land by rows of sandbags and barbed wire. Several hundred yards behind was the support trench, whose occupants could rush to the fire trench in the event of a surprise attack. Farthest to the rear was a reserve trench. Many trenches were given the names of familiar hometown streets. Between the allied and enemy front-line trenches was No Man's Land and a common objective in battle was to cross this area to capture enemy trenches.


Basic sub-unit in British and Canadian cavalry, horse artillery, armoured regiment and train/transport units, equivalent to an infantry company. Canadian armoured regiments of the Second World War, a troop had four tanks.