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Timeline: Canadian Battles of WWII

By Anna Qian (Block G) and Angelina Liu (Block F)

Anna Qian

on 15 December 2010

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Transcript of Timeline: Canadian Battles of WWII

Canadian Battles of World War 2 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1939 September 1939:
Poland falls to Blitzkrieg
Britain declares war on Sept 3
Canada declares war on Sept 10 July - September 1940
BATTLE OF BRITAIN May 26 - June 3:
BATTLE OF HONG KONG August 19, 1942
DIEPPE RAID July - September, 1943
LIBERATION OF THE NETHERLANDS Carpet bombling Poland Allied forces land at Sicily
July 1943 Battle of Ortona
December 1943 Allied movements in Italy Dieppe was a beach in northen france, across the English Channel from England Disaster:
of the 8367 Canadian soldiers who fought, 2752 were killed or taken prisoner - about one dead or captured for every three who participated. Why did the Alled forces attempt to take Dieppe? Germany was attacking Russia.
Russia called to other Allied forces for help.
The Allied forces decided to distract Germany by attacking France (which was under Germany's control).
The idea was to divert the German forces and lighten the assault on Russia. As soon as Russia recovered, the troops would pull out of France. The guy in charge of the whole thing:
Lord Louis Mountbatten, aka "Dickie". The king's cousin. "Dickie" wanted to get involved. He was appointed Churchill's new Chief of Combined Forces.

He was put in charge of the Dieppe raid. Lord Moutbatten was a terrible strategist.
But, eager to make a name for himself, he leapt at the chance to plan his own operation. Canadian involvement:
Canadian soldiers had been training in Britain for months. Meanwhile, British boys of the BEF had seen action in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Tired of the relative inactivity, Canadian troops itched to go to battle. To Canadian commanders, Dieppe seemed like a good place to get some combat experience. The Battle:
the DISASTER aka Operation Jubilee Beginning:
loss of element of surprise. On the way to the beach at Dieppe, boats carrying the No.3 Commando met a German convoy, who alerted the costal defences.
The whole operation was behind schedule - soldiers landed at 7am, when they'd lost the cover of darkness. German soldiers had established excellent defences. On the eastern flank, the Royal Regiment of Canada were being fired on before troops even got off the boats. Once on the beach, they were pinned by a rain of artillery. Machine gun fire, shrapnel, and shells mowed down waves of soldiers. The artillery made evacuation extremelly difficult. Reinforcements from the Royal Highmand Regiment of Canada suffered 220 deaths. All but 33 men were killed, dead from wounds, or taken prisoner. This record of losses for any battalion in a single day would not be beaten for the rest of the war. Canadian troops just before landing in broad daylight 1. Pathetic planning The whole operation was planned using outdated tourist photos; there no air scouting and little idea of what the terrain actually looked like.
Mountbatten used a previously rejected battle plan Main reasons for failure: 2. No air support Soldiers simply leapt off their boats and attempted to run unprotected up the beach to the German defences, dodging heavy artillery
There had been no air attack prior to the landing of troops, unlike the successful German tactic of carpet bombing. German defences were fresh and ready for the assault. 3. Minimal Communication Communication between commanders, attacking units, backup units, etc was poor and sometimes even undermined the troops' efforts
A mistaken signal commited one group of Montrealers to taking heavy fire. Of 600 men, only 125 survived - more than 4 out of evey 6 men dead ot taken prisoner. Half and hour after the western and eastern flanks attacked, the main assault took place. German defences made it extremely difficult to advance. Heavy guns well-concealed by cliff caves fired with great intensity right from the start, killing and wounding by the dozen. Tanks, the main force of the attack, traversed the rocky beach with great difficulty, only to meet tank traps and pillboxes farther up the steeply sloping terrain. The tanks could not advance or retreat and were only useful for cover and some firing. Ones that managed to get close the German defence lines were blocked by tank traps and destroyed. Damaged tanks of the Calgary Regiment Retreat & Evacuation At 9am, 2 hours after the landing, Commanders ordered evacuation. The retreat, like the entire battle, was poorly organized and went on as fighting continued. By 12:20, anyone left on the beaches were as as good as lost. Two boats make a last attempt at 12:28, then all the naval vessels left for England. 3367 men were left on the beach, of whom 2752 were Canadians. The ones still alive surrendered and were taken to German POW Camps. They had a clear vantage point and unobstructed aim from their position on the hills Canadian POWs in Dieppe Aftermath of Operation Jubilee "Dickie" blamed the failure of this attack on Canadian commanders and never took responsibility. Some say that the disaster at Dieppe taught valuable lessons later used in the battles of D-Day. Among these lessons are the importance of detailed planning, air support, and communication. Others argue that these lessons are common-sense things and nothing was gained from The DISASTER AT DIEPPE 2 Victoria Crosses were won by Canadians at Dieppe Lt. Col. Charles Merritt from Saskatchewan's Regiment as awarded a Victoria Cross for various jaw-dropping contributions during the battle such as leading survivors across a bridge covered in bodies of the fallen, single-handedly destroying a German post using hand grenades, continuing to direct his men after two wounds, and keeping up by himself communication by himself after two runners died. Rev. John Weir Foote spent the entire duration of the battle collecting the wounded, he himself exposed to German fire. At the evacuation, he deliberately left the safety of the landing craft and allowed himself to be taken prisoner so that he could help the other POWs. April 1940
Germany invades Denmark Phoney War ends; Total War begins. May 10, 1940
Germany invades France December 7 1941
Japan bombs Pearl Harbour
U.S. and Japan enter the war June 22, 1941
Germany invades Russia German troops had superior equipment, high morale, and the effective tactic of Blitzkreig. In France, they advanced with lightning speed.
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF), sent to aid the French troops, were pushed farther and farther back. Eventually evacuation had to be considered. Thousands of troops and their equipment were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The German forces were poised to wipe out the entire BEF. Sources:
Texkbook: Spotlight on Canada
Mr. Yetman's lectures & notes
Websites: Canada at War <http://www.wwii.ca/battles/world-war-ii>
CBC: D-Day, the Allied Invasion of Normandy <http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/06/02/f-dday-history.html>
Veteran Affairs Canada: Battle of the Atlantic <http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/youth/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/Canada2/batatl> The plan to evacuate the soldiers was called Operation Dynamo Operation Dynamo took place in top secret. British docks were scoured for anything that could carry men and float. Vessels from passenger ferries to fishing boats to rickety rafts were enlisted to cross the English Channel. Within eight days, 338,000 soldiers were evacuated, with the last boatful leaving as German troops neared the outskirts of the town of Dunkirk. The BEF had to leave behind most of theri heavy equipment. Though many lives were saved, this event looked to be a setback for the Allied war effort due to the enormous loss of equipment. However At that time, Canadian soldiers were arriving in Britain, along with enough fresh equipment to compensate for the loss at Dunkirk.

Because of the supply from Canada, the Allied war effort was not hindered and the BEF had equipment for the upcoming battles. June 6, 1944, D-Day
Landing at Normandy The overall goal of the Italian Campaign was to invade Italy while fighting against the German defense lines. The first division was on the first line of Operation Husky - the takover of Sicily and the start of the Italian Campaign - along with the British as well as American troops.

They were now planning on advancing into Ortona. In the battle of Ortona, the New Zealand troops were not well equipped enough to break the stalemate with the Germans. When the Canadians arrived, they were now the key leaders of the attacks. The first division was led under Commander Chris Vokes, who was in place for Guy Simond. The mission of the 1st division was to lure the Germans to the coastal highway of Ortona while the 2nd division served as a main attacking force under Bert Hoffmeister. Chris Vokes was an enthusiastic as well as energetic man that was fully committed into his troops. On December 5-6, at night, the Canadian forces attacked without any artillery reinforcements, so that it was a surprise to the Germans. Although the strategy was successful to a certain extent, the Germans retaliations were powerful enough to push the Allied forces back. As a response to the counterattacks, the 21st Indian Brigade made up by the natives prepared for a new attack. On December 8th in the afternoon, another attack to the Germans began. Meanwhile the Germans were trying to attack the Canadian division on Hastings. The two forces collide, and the battle started. The 48th Highlanders in the Canadian forces were able to take advantage of the German distraction to sneak up and establish ground in Ortona for later battles. The next attack was difficult with much loss of artillery. Canadian troops were at disadvantage for a while, but were able to defeat the Germans using the "mouseholing" technique. Mouseholing was blowing holes through the attics and therefore making a path to the neighbouring house. Germans were expecting soldiers to come through the rubble-filled street. Canadian soldiers gained an element of surprise by attacking through the attic. key points:
-Britain-->lost its allies
-->determined&prepared for German attack
-->surrounded by German forces
-many British soldiers-->not properly trained
-->and were not equipped because of Dunkirk
-->Canadians with equipment were crucial
-Canadian forces temporarily joined with 7th British Army Corp under General McNaughton
-Canada was a supporting role in the air force against Luftwaffe
-helped London survive the Blitzkrieg Northern Netherlands:

The Dutch people that were liberated greeted the Canadians warmly.

In Northern Netherland, the Canadian 4th division made a curve on the right to go to Emden in Germany. They later met up with the first division.

The second division was in charge of advancing straight forward to northern Holland. The division later went to Emden as well.

The third division's mission was to sweep the area clean without enemies. Liberated Dutch People welcoming Canadians Canada's main roles:
1. Soldiers manned anti-aircraft guns to bring down Luftwaffe aircrafts.
2. RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) engaged in plane-to-plane air combat against German bombers Bert Hoffmeister Canadian troops took a streach of beach codenamed Juno, a segment of the beaches on which Allied forces landed and pushed back the German troops. The landing at Normandy was the beginning of a series of battles that would push the Germans out of France and force them to retreat back to Germany. Unlike the failure at Dieppe, the battle at Juno resulted in a Canadian victory. The German defences were no weaker; detailed planning, abundance of air and naval support, and maintencance of secrecy all contributed to the success at Juno Beach. Canadian troops prepare to land at Juno on D-Day The contributions at Juno were so important that there is now a museum at the site as a memorial to the battle. Another sign of the significance of this event is the JUNO AWARDS. Sucess!! 2 hours after the battle began, Canadians troops defeated German defences and established control over the beach. Museum: Juno Beach Centre The Juno Awards Western Holland

In Western Holland, Canada made enormous contributions in the liberation.
People were experiencing "Hunger Winter" around that period-a time of desperation and starvation due to the blockage of supply lines by German invasions. The battle of Arnhem began at April 12th. The 5th division of the Canadian force went around the battle field in order to impede the German defense as well as reinforcements. The plan was successful and by April 28th almost all of the Germans were driven out from western Holland.
The Germans later retreated to a line between Wageningen to the sea which was named "Grebbe Line. Eventually the Canadians were able to negotiate a truce with the Germans. The supply lines were clear of obstacles and civilians were able to get food.
The Dutch were extremely grateful to the Canadians. They wrote on their roofs:"Thank you, Canadians". Hong Kong was one of Britain's most precious colonies before WWII. So Japan, on December 8th,1941 - a day after the Pearl Harbour - mounted an attack against Hong Kong in an effort to weaken the British Empire. -Canada, in assistance of Britain, was on a mission to defend the British colonies.
-First active canadian troops: Royal Rifles and Winnipeg Grenadiers; they'd barely had any training and would soon be pitted against experienced, battle-hardened Japanese soldiers - The Japanese requested the forces to surrender several times but Canadians refused-->the attack continued
- The British brigades were forced to split into two halves because of the Japanese army's advanced reinforcements and effective strategies
-The Canadian contigents were consequentially isolated as well because of the British separation
-both the British and the Canadian side had lost the ability to fight together as a team
- After several days of battle so bloody it could be compared to Passchaendale, the troops were forced to surrender to the experienced, well-prepared Japanese KEY POINTS
- Canada suffered a heavy losses of life under the Japanese bombardment: of 1975 Canadian soldiers sent to Hong Kong, nearly 1050 were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.
- The Japanese code of behaviour for warriors deemed surrender as an unforgivable act - one should die fighting. For this reason, POWs taken by the Japanese were seen as shameful creatures, barely human. Conditions in POW camps fitted this opinion; hundreds of soldiers died under this terrible treatment. Major John Osborn from Winnipeg won a Victoria Cross posthumously. In the battle of Hong Kong, he picked up grenades that the enemy threw at him, throwing them right back. He wasn't able to throw the last one back in time and the grenade killed him instantly when he threw himself on it. His warnings before he ran for the grenade saved many people's lives. Hong Kong locals built a statue of Osborn in gratitude of his sacrifice 1939-1935
BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC Britain is an island nation, so all its reasources (food, munitions, etc.) depend on transport by sea. This is partly why Britian's navy was so strong and so important. The German U-boat (Untersee boot), already proven to be a threat in WW1, again endangered the British war effort. If no ships could reach Britain, then no supplies could arrive and the British would undoubtedly face loss of the war. The battle of the Atlantic was a struggle to control the sea routes which were Britain's lifeline.

For the entire duration of the war, Canadian and British ships battled U-boat packs dead-bent on sinking merchant ships. In the beginning, the U-boats had the advantage. The convoy system, where many ships traveled together instead of one lone vessel, was not enough to prevent the sinking of merchant ships. Vessels were being lost faster than more could be constructed. Even though RCAF aircrafts helped with protecting the ships along with the RCN (Royal Canadian Navy), losses were still veru numerous and damaging. The aircraft could not fly long distances and so could only offer protection for a limited time.
However despite the difficulties supplies were still getting through, enough to allow Britain to continue the land war. In 1943, Canadians began to gain an advantage. The main reason was technological advances.

On the water, a new type of vessel called the corvette was developed. Small and nimble, this boat could out-manouver a U-boat. Scientists also found new, better ways to detect and destroy U-boats.

In the air, long-distance bombers were developed, giving the merchant ships protection all across the ocean. German scientists were also hard at work developing new technology. Inventions that improved U-boats and torpedoes posed threats every now and then. The number of patrolling U-boats also increased - from 27 crafts in 1939 to 463 in 1945.
But at the same time, the RCN also swelled in size. At the start of the war Canada's navy had 13 ships and 3000 men; by the end of the war there were 373 fighting ships and 9000 men. That's an increase by almost 30 times ! ConcLusion Canada participated in some very important battles. Though the country was young compared to other Allied forces such as France and Britain. its contributions during WW2 was firm proof of its growing influence and, in a sense, its newfound "maturity". Corvette Convoy German U-boat
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