Portal:Canadian Armed Forces

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The Canadian Armed Forces Portal

Introduction

The emblem of the Canadian Forces topped by a St. Edward's Crown to indicate from where the military's authority stems.
The Canadian Forces (CF) (French: Forces Canadiennes; FC), officially the Canadian Armed Forces (French: Forces armées canadiennes), are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces." This single institution consists of the sea, land, and air environmental commands called the: Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), which together are overseen by the Armed Forces Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff. At the pinnacle of the command structure is the Commander-in-Chief, who is the reigning Canadian monarch, Elizabeth II, represented by the governor general.

Prior to Confederation in 1867, residents of the colonies in what is now Canada served as regular members of French and British forces and in local militia groups. The latter aided in the defence of their respective territories against attacks by other European powers, Aboriginal peoples, and later American forces during the American Revolution and War of 1812, as well as in the Fenian raids and North-West Rebellion. Consequently, the lineages of some Canadian army units stretch back to the early 19th century, when militia units were formed to assist in the defence of British North America against invasion by the United States.

The current iteration of the Canadian Forces dates from 1 February 1968, when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged into a unified structure. Its roots, however, lie in colonial militia groups that served alongside garrisons of the French and British armies and navies; a structure that remained in place until the early 20th century. Thereafter, a distinctly Canadian army and navy was established, followed by an air force, that, because of the constitutional arrangements at the time, remained effectively under the control of the British government until Canada gained legislative independence from the United Kingdom in 1931, partly due to the performance and sacrifice of the Canadian Corps in the First World War.

The Canadian forces were then heavily involved in the Second World War (which, as with the previous world war, involved conscription) and Korean War, and, from the 1950s on, actively worked with her NATO Allies to counter the threats of the Cold War. Land Forces during this period also deployed in support of peacekeeping operations within United Nations sanctioned conflicts. The nature of the Canadian Forces has continued to evolve. They are currently engaged in Afghanistan, under the NATO-led United Nations International Security Assistance Force, at the request of the Government of Afghanistan.

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The Second Battle of Passchendaele was the culminating and final attack during the Third Battle of Ypres of the First World War. The battle took place in the Ypres Salient area of the Western Front, in and around the Belgian town of Passchendaele, between 26 October 1917 and 10 November 1917. The Canadian Corps was tasked with relieving the exhausted II Anzac Corps, continuing the advance started with the First Battle of Passchendaele and ultimately capturing the town of Passchendaele itself. Beyond gaining favorable observation positions, the battle was intended to gain drier winter positions on higher ground.

Second Battle of Passchendaele - 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company.jpg

The assault position was directly south of the inter-army boundary between the British Fifth Army and Second Army. As a result the Canadian Corps was to attack with support of formations from the British Fifth Army to the north and I Anzac Corps to the south. The offensive was executed in series of attacks each with limited objectives, delivered at intervals of three or more days. The execution dates of the phases were tentatively given as 26 October, 30 October and 6 November with a final smaller action on 10 November. To permit time to facilitate inter-divisional reliefs, there was a planned seven day pause between the second and third stage during which time British Second Army was ordered to take over the section of the British Fifth Army front adjoining the Canadian Corps, so that the central portion of the assault could proceed under a single command.

Nine Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration for valour awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, were awarded for actions during the battle. For the Canadian Corps, participation in the Second Battle of Passchendaele is commemorated with the Passchendaele Memorial located at the former site of the Crest Farm on the southwest fringe of Passchendaele village.

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The Battle of Amiens (also known as the Third Battle of Picardy (French: 3ème Bataille de Picardie)), which began on 8 August 1918, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive later known as the Hundred Days Offensive that ultimately led to the end of the First World War. Allied forces advanced over seven miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war, with Henry Rawlinson's British Fourth Army playing the decisive role.

6 Bn 1918 (E02866).jpg

The battle is also notable for its effects on both sides' morale and the large number of surrendering German forces. This led Erich Ludendorff to describe the first day of the battle as "the black day of the German Army." Amiens was one of the first major battles involving armoured warfare and marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front; fighting becoming mobile once again until the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.

The battle began in dense fog at 4:20 a.m. on 8 August 1918. Under Rawlinson's Fourth Army, the British III Corps attacked north of the Somme, the Australian Corps to the south of the river in the centre of Fourth Army's front, and the Canadian Corps to the south of the Australians. The French 1st Army under General Debeney opened its preliminary bombardment at the same time, and began its advance 45 minutes later, supported by a battalion of 72 Whippet tanks.

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Francis Pegahmagabow.jpg
Francis Pegahmagabow MM & Two Bars, (March 9, 1891 – August 5, 1952) was the First Nation soldier most highly decorated for bravery in Canadian military history and the most effective sniper of World War I. Three times awarded the Military Medal and seriously wounded, he was an expert marksman and scout, credited with killing 378 Germans and capturing 300 more. Later in life, he served as chief and a councilor for the Wasauksing First Nation, and as an activist and leader in several First Nations organizations. He corresponded with and met other noted aboriginal figures including Fred Loft, Jules Sioui, Andrew Paull and John Tootoosis.
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Royal Canadian Navy Tribal class destroyer as depicted on a 1944 Canadian postage stamp

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McMillan Tac-50 with scope, used by the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry that holds the recorded for longest sniper kill in action.

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