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Canada's Contribution to WWII
Transcript of Canada's Contribution to WWII
Canada's Contribution to WWII
Battle of the Atlantic, Sept 1939-Apr 1942
The Battle of the Atlantic was fought for the control of the shipping lanes between Britain and North America. Germany wanted to cut Britain off from its supplies. Wolfpacks were groups of German submarines or U-boats traveling together. This led to the Allied ships traveling using the convoy system where battleships surround the merchant ships for protection. Small warships called corvettes were provided by the Royal Canadian Navy to help. Sonar was also developed during this time and it aided the Allies in detecting the German submarines and destroying them. Depth charges and bombs dropped from planes contributed the the Allies winning this battle. Even Canadian citizens who were not enlisted in the army contributed to the effort by manning the freighters that transported war materials.
Dunkirk Evacuation, May 1940
On May 27,1940, Germany's rapid advance forced the Allied forces back to Britain. Belgium, British and French troops became trapped on the French beaches of Dunkirk on the English Channel. Reinforcements were rallied from Britain and other neighboring areas to help the retreat of the Allied troops. Over the course of nine days, around 340,000 out of 400,000 managed to escape. Much equipment and ammunition was lost in the rush to evacuate. However, reinforcements from Canada brought new equipment the soldiers could soon return to fighting.
Battle of Britain, July 1940
Hitler wanted to destroy the Royal Navy so he engaged fighter planes, the German
, against the British Royal Air Force. Even though the British were outnumbered in the number of pilots, they still have an advantage as they could use radar to detect the German squadrons as well as the use of the German cipher machine, Enigma. However, a German pilot was lost and bombed the citizens of London which in turn led to Church ordering the bombing of Berlin. This caused Hitler to stop attacking the RAF fields and instead turning his attention towards daylight bombing raids on London called the Blitz. This shift of tactic allowed time for the RAF to rebuild and train new pilots which led to the Allied victory.
Battle of Hong Kong, Dec 1941
Canada had declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor so Canadians were sent to Hong Kong. This was the first active battle that Canadians had fought in World War II. The soldiers were unprepared and were forced to surrender after seventeen days due to a lack ammunition and supplies. 290 soldiers were killed and 500 were wounded. Captured soldiers were put in Japanese Prisoner of War camps where 267 Canadians lost their lives.
Battle of Dieppe, August 1942
Dieppe was a chance for the Allies to land a foothold on the European mainland as well as an opportunity for some pressure to be relieved from the Eastern front. This was named "Operation Jubilee" and was planned by Lord Mountbatten. Operation Jubilee was a mainly Canadian operation and poorly planned as the information used to scout the area was based upon tourist pictures. Last minute changes prevented the battlements from being bombed and therefore made it easy for the Germans to attack many soldiers. They also lost the element of surprise by encountering an enemy ship, delaying their attack till after dawn when it was easier for the Canadians to be spotted by the Germans.
Thousands of Canadians were sacrificed that day, with the Germans wiping out nearly the whole regiment that was sent to the operation. Even to this day, the Canadian effort is still remembered at the beaches of Dieppe. Because so many men were lost, the Allied forces began to re-assess their strategies and upgrade their resources and forces. Because of the tragedy of Operation Jubilee, the Allies were able to regroup and later use the information gained to carry out Operation D-Day and end the war.
Invasion of Italy, July-Sept. 1943
The battle at Sicily was intended to divert the Germans from Normandy as well as take some pressure off the Soviet front. By an amphibious attack, Canadians landed on Sicily and made their way through the mainland until Ortona, which was the last line of German defense before Rome. Here, Canadians employed the tactic of mouseholing and it was deemed most effective. The Canadian forces' strategy was to use dynamite to tunnel holes through the walls of connected buildings to advance as to evade German snipers. With this strategy, Allied forces were able to reach the town square and cease the attacks from the Germans before Christmas day.
D-Day, June 1944
Operation Overlord or D-Day was the Allied invasion of German-occupied Europe. This would be the largest operation to be conducted in history. A year's worth of preparation was needed to plan a series of aerial and naval attacks to invade Normandy along the coast of France. 14,000 Canadian soldiers, 100 ships and 36 bomber squadrons from the Royal Canadian Air Force were included in this operation. The Canadians were in charge of Juno Beach, one of the five beaches designated by the Allies to be taken for the liberation of Europe. The goals were to establish a beachhead along the five miles between Courseulles and St-Aubin-sur-Mer, to push through the gap between Bayeux and Caen and to infiltrate the Carpiquet airfield.
Jessica H, Katie L, Beverly L, Linda L.
September 2nd, 1945
End of World War II
"Men of Honor" by Two Steps From Hell
Hazelmere Publishing-Social Studies 11 Student Workbook
After much sacrifice and contribution to the war effort in WWI, Canada's troops were able to take the global stage by storm, gaining the world's recognition towards the CEF. With victories such as the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada was able to gain more independence and further aid the quest for autonomy from the British Empire during the Great War of 1914-1918.
Nearly 20 years later, the disastrous world-wide clash of nations that would become World War II once again would challenge the strength of Canada as a growing nation. Now as a part of the British Commonwealth, Canada was no longer obligated to participate in British disputes or automatically offer troops to fight in their name. Nonetheless, when Britain and France declared war against Hitler and the German NAZIs on September the 1st, Canada soon followed suit to declare war against Germany not as part of Britain, but as its own independent unit. This would be Canada's first independent declaration or war. Aside from providing military might, Canada also provided large amounts of supplies for the war front to aid the war effort. Supporting the Allied Forces from the beginning, Canadian troops were a small force in comparison but contributed immensely regardless to that fact, standing victorious from battles such as the Battle of Ortona and the Conquest of Sicily. Up to the last battle of WWII, Canada was the independent final driving force that pushed the Germans to retreat from Normandy, France during the D-Day operation.
Coming so far from a colony fighting for the British forces to a powerful independent unit, Canada's contribution to the global war effort not only shaped the Canada we live in today, it also helped create the world as it is now.
Propoganda posters during WWII
Connections to Modern Day Canada
Even though this battle was not an Allied victory, many still consider this operation a glorious one as the Allied nations worked together to evacuate the retreating troops stranded on the beaches. Canadian forces, along with the Allies and even civilians worked to find all resources needed to take the men to safety, guaranteeing that they would fight another day. A total of at least 900 boats were deployed to aid the safe return of the 340,000 soldiers.
This battle proved to be successful and showed the power and potential of the Canadian fighting army. Using carefully planned strategy to reach the objective so the least amount of casualties would occur, the battle of Ortona, or "Operation Husky's" success was able to reflect upon the power of the Canadian forces as well as the Allied forces.
The Canadian contribution during the longest battle of the Second World War was an immense one. Even in comparison to the other Allied nations Canada's navy resources were limited, Canada become one of the foremost powers in the Alliance. By the end of the Battle of Atlantic, Canadian Navy forces had the responsibility of defending a large share of North American waters; the territory was defended soundly. In the Battle of the Atlantic, large portions of Canadian industries were being mobilized to support the war front. One of the biggest accomplishments of the Canadian war effort production industry was the development of the RCN forces, starting from only 13 vessels to 373 battle ships with 100,000 personnel affiliated. Another major contribution from the Canadians during this battle was the use of Corvettes, small convoy ships utilized to protect the transfer of Allied resources across to the war front.
By the end of previous battles, Canadian forces had once again gained the international recognition as it had from World War I, when Operation Overlord was to be carried out, Canadian forces lead the charge for the last attack. In charge of the attack on Juno, Canadians were the driving force that forced the Germans to finally retreat from Normany. Although this victory was not won without much sacrifice, the end of this battle signified another leap towards the peace at the end of the storm the world was waiting for.
From the involvement of Canada in World War II, Canada became internationally recognized as a middle power, a reputation that still prevails today. This also showed Canada becoming more active on a global scale to become and important part in the creation of the United Nations. Through WWII, the government also saw the importance of their intervention in areas so as to provide a stronger social safety net for Canadians. Canada also became a more tolerant and welcoming nation after the war, a reputation it is widely known for today, for accepting people of all backgrounds such as refugees. Because of the tragedy of the war, society came to realize the importance of acceptance and equality more and more. Not only did women achieve greater recognition for their contributions to the war, they also became more accepted within the everyday workforce. Civil rights were improved even more due to the contribution of the different cultures that shaped Canada as it is.
Even though Canadian forces did not participate directly in this aerial battle, Canada played a big part in training the air forces of the British Commonwealth. The BCATP provided air force trainees from Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada train on Canadian grounds to prepare for battles in the air when needed. Because of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan launched by the Canadian government to aid the war effort, individual Canadians and pilots and crew members from other Commonwealth countries fought in the attack of London.
To this day, Canada's flag is still being flown at the memorial site located in Hong Kong in memory and honor of the soldiers that lost their lives in the battle of 1941.
Liberation of Holland, May 5
To this day, the Canadians that fought during WWII are still remembered and honored today world-wide for their numerous contributions to the war in battles such as Dieppe, Hong Kong, Italy and D-Day. The lives of the fallen remind us that our country was built up to the place we live in today because of immense sacrifice and hard-work. Without the contribution and effort of the Canadian force, history would have been drastically different, and the world we live in might not have become a reality today.
Top: Canadian fighter planes on patrol
Bottom: BCATP training grounds in Ontario
Left: RCAF recruitment poster
Right: Canadian Forces volunteering corps recruitment poster
Top: Canadian Corvette
Bottom: German U-Boats
Troops retreating off the shores of Dunkirk
After Operation Overlord, Canada once again proved to be a formidable force in the Allied forces. When the time came to drive the retreating NAZIs out of Holland, Canada distinguished themselves from the Allied forces and forced the Germans out of France and other parts of the previously occupied Western Europe.
As one of the most important Canadian victories of the war, Canadian forces drove the NAZIs from Holland and forced them to surrender. This allowed the Allied forces to further advance towards Germany and the end of the war.
Liberation of the Netherlands
Canadians storming the beaches of Dieppe
Canadian troops in Ortona
Canadian forces preparing for Operation Overlord
Canadian advancement at the end of the war
Royal Canadian Armed Forces
6 years and 1 day