Military | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Battle of the Windmill

    The Battle of the Windmill was one of a series of raids launched along the Canada/US border in the summer and fall of 1838 by the Hunters’ Lodges, secret societies established by Canadian rebels who had taken refuge in the northern United States after the failed rebellions of 1837. Several thousand Americans also joined these societies, whose goal was to push the United Kingdom and the United States into war so as to liberate the Canadian provinces from British tyranny. The Battle of the Windmill was fought from 12 to 16 November 1838 near Prescott, in Upper Canada, and ended in a defeat for the invaders from the US. One month later, the Battle of Windsor put an end to the American incursions and Canadian rebellions.

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  • Article

    Canada and the Second Battle of Ypres

    The Second Battle of Ypres was fought during the First World War from 22 April to 25 May 1915. It was the first major battle fought by Canadian troops in the Great War. The battle took place on the Ypres salient on the Western Front, in Belgium, outside the city of Ypres (now known by its Flemish name, Ieper). The untested Canadians distinguished themselves as a determined fighting force, resisting the horror of the first large-scale poison gas attack in modern history. Canadian troops held a strategically critical section of the frontline until reinforcements could be brought in. More than 6,500 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured in the Second Battle of Ypres.

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  • Article

    Notable Canadian Battles

    Seven Years War Battle of the Plains of Abraham The Battle of the Plains of Abraham (13 September 1759) was a pivotal moment in the Seven Years War and in the history of Canada. A British invasion force led by General James Wolfe defeated French troops under the Marquis de Montcalm, leading to the French surrender of Quebec to the British. The French never recaptured Quebec and effectively lost control of New France in 1760. Battle of Sainte-Foy The Battle of Sainte-Foy (28 April...

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/56567521-2ca2-4ae0-bceb-b259db0aca8e.jpg Notable Canadian Battles
  • Article

    Beartrap (Helicopter Hauldown and Rapid Securing Device)

    The “beartrap” was a Canadian innovation designed in the 1960s to enable the safe operation of helicopters from destroyer-size ships. Known formally as the Helicopter Hauldown and Rapid Securing Device (HHRSD), it is now an integral part of all Canadian frigates. The beartrap revolutionized maritime helicopter operations and was adopted by other navies.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/SeaKing/SeaKing-Beartrap.jpg Beartrap (Helicopter Hauldown and Rapid Securing Device)
  • Article

    Billion Dollar Gift

    Billion Dollar Gift, the Canadian government's first comprehensive attempt to help finance Britain's war effort during the Second World War. Canada's war production, and its wartime prosperity, was dependent upon British orders, but Britain lacked gold and dollar reserves.

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  • Article

    Billy Bishop Goes to War

    Billy Bishop Goes to War is a musical written by John MacLachlan Gray with Eric Peterson about the exploits of First World War flying ace William Avery "Billy" Bishop. Since its premiere in 1978, the musical has been staged across Canada and in the United States and Europe. It remains one of the most popular Canadian musicals.

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  • Macleans

    Boer War Remembered

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 15, 1999. Partner content is not updated. The first contingent of 1,000 troops sailed from Quebec City 100 years ago, on Oct. 30, 1899. Another 7,638 young soldiers and 12 nurses followed over the next 2½ years. Their destination: South Africa, to join British troops battling the Afrikaner republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State.

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  • Article

    Bomarc Missile Crisis

    The CIM-10B Bomarc was the world’s first long-range, nuclear capable, ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile. Two squadrons of the missile were purchased and deployed by the Canadian government in 1958. This was part of Canada’s role during the Cold War to defend North America against an attack from the Soviet Union. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s refusal to equip the missiles with nuclear warheads led to a souring of Canada’s relationship with the United States, especially once the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the issue to the fore. The issue split Diefenbaker’s Cabinet and contributed to his party losing the 1963 election.

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  • Article

    Bren Gun Scandal

    When Canada prepared to produce Bren guns in the lead up to the Second World War, corruption allegations against the process were published. A royal commission was set up by the government but found no evidence of corruption.

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  • Article

    British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

    In 1939, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia signed an agreement creating the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Located in Canada, the plan's mandate was to train Allied aircrews for the Second World War, including pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators, air gunners, and flight engineers. More than 130,000 crewmen and women were trained between 1939 and 1945, making this one of Canada's great contributions to Allied victory in the war. It led United States President Franklin Roosevelt to call Canada the "aerodrome of democracy."

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  • Article

    Brock's Monument, Queenston Heights

    The monument to Sir Isaac Brock stands atop Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment at Queenston Heights, overlooking the lower Niagara River. The current monument is the second erected in Canada to honour Brock, a military commander who died during the Battle of Queenston Heights in the War of 1812.

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  • Article

    Camp X

    Camp X — a popular name that reflects the secrecy surrounding its activities — was a training school for covert agents and a radio communications centre that operated close to Whitby, Ontario, during the Second World War. It was the first such purpose-built facility constructed in North America. Known officially as STS (Special Training School) 103, Camp X was one of several dozen around the world that served the needs of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the British agency created in 1940 to “set Europe ablaze” by promoting sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines. The radio communications centre, with its high-speed transmitter known as Hydra, was closely linked with British Security Co-Ordination (BSC), the New York-based agency directed by the Winnipeg-born businessman William Stephenson. Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko was hidden there after his defection in September 1945.

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  • Article

    Canada and Antisubmarine Warfare during the Cold War

    During the Cold War, the Canadian Navy played a crucial role in antisubmarine warfare (ASW), working closely with its allies to patrol and monitor the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for Soviet submarine activity. Canada invested in new technology and continually modernized its fleet of ships and aircraft to better detect and counter Soviet submarines. It also operated strategic warning systems with its allies, particularly the United States. By the end of the Cold War, Canada had developed a very high reputation in the field.

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  • Article

    Canada and Antisubmarine Warfare in the First World War

    When the First World War began in August 1914, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was unprepared to fight a war at sea. Founded only in 1910, it consisted of two obsolete cruisers, HMCS Niobe and HMCS Rainbow, and about 350 regular sailors, augmented by 250 reservists. During the war, it was assigned a growing number of tasks, which it was ill-equipped to perform. This included protecting Canadian coastal waters against German U-boats. The RCN scrambled to find ships and sailors but was ill-equipped to fight enemy submarines, which sank several vessels in Canadian waters in 1918.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/ASW/VictoryBondsPosterLlandoveryCastle1918.jpg Canada and Antisubmarine Warfare in the First World War
  • Article

    Canada and Gas Warfare

    Poison gas was used throughout the First World War by almost all armies. Its widespread use was unique in the history of warfare. The various types of gas, delivered by canisters, projectors, or shell, killed, maimed, and wore down morale. By 1918, soldiers of all armies encountered gas frequently while serving at the Western Front. Canadian soldiers were among the first to face the death clouds, at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. At least 11,572 Canadian soldiers were casualties of poison gas, yet many were denied pensions after the war. During the Second World War, chemical weapons were not used on the battlefield; however, the Suffield Experimental Station in Alberta developed and tested chemical and biological weapons beginning in 1941. From about the middle of the 20th century, Canadian officials worked on the global stage to ban chemical weapons, and in the 1990s, Canada signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (see Arms Control and Disarmament.)

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