Portal:Canadian Armed Forces

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The Canadian 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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Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
The Victoria Cross of Canada (French: Croix de Victoria) is a military decoration of Canada modelled on the original British Victoria Cross—instituted in 1856—in both intent and appearance, with several small changes. Created in 1993, it and the original are the highest honours in the Canadian honours system (though the latter is no longer presented to Canadians), taking precedence over all other orders, decorations, and medals. It is awarded by either the Canadian monarch or his or her viceregal representative, the Governor General of Canada, to any member of the Canadian Forces or allies serving under or with Canadian military command for extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing hostile forces. Whereas in many other Commonwealth countries the Victoria Cross can only be awarded for actions against the enemy in a wartime setting, the Canadian government has a broader definition of the term enemy, and so the Victoria Cross can be awarded for action against armed mutineers, pirates, or other such hostile forces without war being officially declared. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters VC (for both English and French), and also to receive an annuity of C$3,000.

The Victoria Cross is awarded for "the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy" at any point after 1 January 1993, may be presented posthumously, and, unlike its British counterpart, may be revoked. The main distinction between the Victoria Cross and the Cross of Valour is the specific reference to "the enemy", which the Canadian government has defined as a force hostile towards the Canadian Crown, including armed mutineers, rebels, rioters, and pirates, meaning that the Queen-in-Council does not officially have to declare war to give acknowledgement of the existence of a hostile force that fits the official description. Thus, a Canadian serving as part of a peacekeeping operation is eligible to be awarded the Victoria Cross if the service member fulfils the above criteria.

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A Handley Page Halifax, of No. 4 Group, over Caen's burning northern suburbs following the previous night's bombing.
Operation Charnwood was a Second World War Anglo-Canadian offensive that took place from 8–9 July 1944, during the Battle of Normandy. The operation was intended to at least partially capture the German-occupied French city of Caen (French pronunciation: ​[kɑ̃]), which was an important Allied objective during the opening stages of Operation Overlord. It was also hoped that the attack would pre-empt the transfer of German armoured units from the Anglo-Canadian sector to the lightly-screened American sector, where a major US offensive was being planned. The British and Canadians advanced on a broad front and by the evening of the second day had taken Caen up to the Orne and Odon rivers.

Preceded by a controversial bombing raid that destroyed much of Caen's historic Old City, Operation Charnwood began at dawn on 8 July, with battalions of three infantry divisions attacking German positions north of Caen behind a creeping artillery barrage. Supported by three armoured brigades, the forces of the British I Corps made gradual progress against the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend and 16th Luftwaffe Field Division. By the end of the day the 3rd Canadian and British 3rd and 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Divisions had cleared the villages in their path and reached Caen's outskirts.Moving into the city at dawn the following morning, the Allies encountered resistance from remnants of German units who were beginning a withdrawal across the Orne. Carpiquet airfield fell to the Canadians during the early morning and by 18:00, the British and Canadians had linked up and were on the Orne's north bank. Discovering Caen's remaining bridges to be defended or impassable and with German reserves positioned to oppose their crossing, I Corps closed down the operation.

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BillyBishopCadet.jpg
Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED (8 February 1894 – 11 September 1956) was a Canadian First World War flying ace and one of the top Canadian ace, and according to some sources, the top ace of the British Empire. By the end of the war, he had claimed some 72 air victories, including two balloons, 52 and two shared "destroyed" with 16 "out of control"

Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order with Bar, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, 1914–1915 Star, British War Medal 1914–1920. Bishop's decorations include the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order & Bar, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, légion d'honneur and the Croix de Guerre with palm. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the King's Birthday Honours List of 1 June 1944.

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Royal Canadian Air Force Second World War recruiting poster.

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HMCS Shawinigan, Flower class corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy and was lost during the Battle of the Atlantic.

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