Vehicles

The 20th Century was a time of mechanization for the Canadian Army, and the internal combustion engine changed the way armies went to war. Canada utilized a large variety of different vehicles, ranging from commercial "off-the-shelf" types to specially implemented variants like the Kangaroo, created in the field to serve a specific purpose. Canada's brief effort to establish a reputation as a major developer of armoured fighting vehicles failed in the Second World War, and reliance on foreign types of all kinds of vehicles - from soft-skin utility trucks to tanks - had been a common theme throughout the century. In the Second World War, Canadian vehicles, like uniforms, came to be respected for their quality. In the autumn of 1944, 21st Army Group attempted to pool all "B" class vehicles, a move that the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief resisted, due to the fact that while the majority of Canadian vehicles had four-wheel drive as standard, most British vehicles were only two-wheel drive.

A jeep photographed somewhere in England in 1942. This vehicle sports a "Mickey Mouse" camouflage pattern and large bridging disc. LAC photo.

Gunners S.S. Lott and J.G. Spear, 17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, overhauling a jeep motor, 11th Infantry Brigade, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Groningen, Netherlands, 28 April 1945. LAC photo.

Personnel of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment filling a jeep with gasoline, San Lorenzo in Monte, Italy, ca. 22 September 1944. The vehicle is marked with the formation sign of I Canadian Corps and bears a Class 2 bridging disc. "Essantee" was a name applied to the Army's service stations - red and green were the Arm of Service colours of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. LAC photo.

Vehicles performed a great variety of tasks; the Sherman tanks in the background here, belonging to "A" Squadron of The Fort Garry Horse, were by doctrine considered an infantry support vehicle, but in combat in Italy and North-West Europe were used for such things as fighting other tanks or as indirect fire vehicles, using their 75mm cannon as artillery on unseen targets. The vehicle at right which is mostly out of frame appears to be an armoured halftrack, which were used as ambulances, command posts, and inter-communication vehicles in armoured regiments. The jeep here is performing one of the happier tasks of life on campaign - delivering the mail near  Putte, Belgium, on 11 October 1944. LAC photo.

 


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