Phonetic Alphabet



Glossary - C


Canadian Army Registration - After the Second World War and up to Unification, serial numbers assigned to vehicles of the Canadian Army were given a Canadian Army Registration (CAR) Number. This consisted of two numbers, the last two digits of the year in which the vehicle entered Canadian service, followed by a dash and then a unique number. For example: 54-82501. Unlike the wartime Census Numbers, the 5 digits were not related to the number of vehicles acquired in any given year. These numbers were painted on vehicles in a manner similar to the previous Census Numbers. After 1967 this was called a CFR - Canadian Forces Registration Number.

Cap: a form of head covering with a partial brim (as distinct from a "hat" which is distinguished by a full brim).

CF Green - refers to a very dark shade of green (also sometimes referred to as "rifle green"). This shade was chosen for the new CF Uniform adopted for the new Canadian Armed Forces after Unification of the Navy, Army and Air Force in 1968. Many uniform items were issued in the new shade, including components for the CF Uniform, Work Dress, and later Garrison Dress and the DEU. The term "CF Greens" is also sometimes used to refer to the CF Uniform itself.

Commanding Officer (CO) - was a very specific appointment title referring to the senior officer of a unit or a small formation such as a brigade. A Commanding Officer was vested with special powers of command (including the right to award punishments) as well as responsibilities.

The term should not be confused with other similar titles, including:

  • Officer Commanding (OC) - the senior officer of a sub-unit.

  • General Officer Commanding (GOC) - the senior officer of a formation such as a division or corps.

  • General Officer Commanding-in-Chief - the senior officer of a senior formation such as an Army or Army Group.

  • District Officer Commanding (DOC) - the senior officer of a Military District.

Colloquially, 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.

Corps - in the operational sense, a corps is a formation generally consisting of one or more divisions, usually commanded by a lieutenant general. Multiple corps are grouped into Armies. A Corps is also an administrative grouping of units formed for a specific purpose, such as the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, which provided units/sub-units throughout the reserve and active forces of the military. Canada first fielded a corps-sized formation in the First World War; the Canadian Corps was unique in that its composition did not change from inception to the war's end, in contrast to British corps in France and Flanders. The Canadian Corps consisted of four Canadian divisions.

During the 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 corps headquarters.

Corps 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.


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