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 Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from 9 April to 12 April 1917, was part of the opening phase of the British-led Battle of Arras, a diversionary attack for the French Nivelle Offensive.

2nd Canadian Division soldiers behind a Mark II Tank during the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 1917)

The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern flank could advance without suffering German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack.

The town of Thélus fell during the second day of the attack, as did the crest of the ridge once the Canadian Corps overcame a salient of considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadian Corps on 12 April. The German forces then retreated to the OppyMéricourt line.

The battle was the first occasion when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle together, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. A 250-acre (100 ha) portion of the former battleground now serves as a preserved memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

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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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CFB Goose Bay located in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Members of the North-West Mounted Police in 1900, attached to the British Army during the Second Boer War of South Africa.

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