should not be confused with other similar titles, including:
Commanding (OC) - the senior officer of a sub-unit.
Officer Commanding (GOC) - the senior officer of a formation such as a
division or corps.
Officer Commanding-in-Chief - the senior officer of a senior formation
such as an Army or Army Group.
Officer Commanding (DOC) - the senior officer of a Military District.
the Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion might be termed simply
"battalion commander", likewise for the OC of an Infantry Company
(Armoured Squadron, Artillery Battery, etc.) who would be known simply
as a Company (Squadron, Battery) Commander. Often the initials of the
appointment were used in informal writing, memos, and speech.
Second World War, Canada's contribution to the British-French forces
fighting the Germans was limited to a single division. After the fall of
France in June 1940, a second division moved to England, coming under
command of a Canadian corps headquarters. This corps was renamed I
Canadian Corps as a second corps headquarters was established in the UK,
with the eventual formation of five Canadian divisions in England. I
Canadian Corps eventually fought in Italy, II Canadian Corps in NW
Europe, and the two were reunited in early 1945. After the formations
were disbanded after VE Day, Canada has never subsequently organized a
Troops - refers to units assigned directly to a corps headquarters
and not to a sub-ordinate formation of that corps. Many different kinds
of units have historically been assigned as corps troops; in the First
World War, the Canadian Corps troops included cavalry and tunneling
units. In the Second World War, both I Canadian Corps and II Canadian
Corps had corps-level reconnaissance units, signals units, service corps
units, etc. Very often medium and heavy artillery (4.5-inch, 5.5-inch,
7.2-inch etc.) is grouped at the corps level rather than being assigned
directly to divisions, who utilized Field Regiments of 25-pounder or
105mm guns as their main firepower.
Creeping Barrage (also
known as a "rolling barrage") - a type of artillery mission pioneered in
the First World War. The technique involved batteries of guns firing
(indirectly) on fixed lines, providing a "curtain" of shellfire across a
predetermined section of ground. The shellfire would "lift" at preset
intervals (generally in increments of hundreds of yards every few
minutes). This type of barrage permitted infantry to "lean" on it, in
other words, to advance directly behind the falling shells. Enemy
soldiers would be forced into cover by the shellfire, and also find
their vision obscured by the explosions.
The technique was first used
by Bulgarians during the Siege of Adrianople in Mar 1913 and
rediscovered during the First World War. Sir Henry Horne, 1st Baron
Horne, the senior artillery officer of the British 4th Army, employed
the technique during the Battle of the Somme in Aug 1916. Poor
co-ordination led to lacklustre results, though the technique was
refined and used with greater success later in the war. The technique
was used at Vimy in 1917 and became a staple for Canadian operations in
the last years of the First World War.
A similar mission known as a
box barrage was also developed. It consisted of throwing down a curtain
of shells to seal off a predefined area, such as a section of enemy
trench. Trench raids could then be conducted with reduced possibility of
enemy interdiction/reinforcement, and this technique was used in the
months leading up to Vimy on the Canadian front.
The creeping barrage required
careful planning and co-ordination; in the days before radio
communication it was difficult to stop a barrage once started, and
leading infantry were generally incommunicado once a major assault was
under way. Poorly-timed barrages might advance too slow or too fast,
either hitting friendly troops or allowing enemy defenders to recover
from the effects of the barrage. Stubborn defence might cause the
infantry to lag behind as well.
By the time Canadian troops
went into action in Sicily in 1943 during the Second World War,
communication between infantry and their artillery support and been
refined. The advent of radio technology and new systems of calling
artillery fire as well as developments such as the armoured personnel
carrier allowed infantry more flexibility in utilizing artillery
gunfire, and the creeping barrage was used less often.