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Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Formed: 13 August 1940

Status 1 January 2000: Active branch of the Canadian Forces.

The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps was created in 1940 as an adminstrative corps.

Creation

The Canadian Armoured Corps was authorized on 13 August 1940, and created as an administrative organization to hold reinforcements for armoured regiments in Canada and overseas. After the Second World War, the Corps comprised all armoured and reconnaissance regiments and other armoured establishments. The authority for the corps came from General Order 250/40 effective 13 August 1940. A Corps Headquarters, Canadian Armoured Corps, CASF was mobilized 13 August 1940 as well.

As the role of armour was expanded dramatically during the Second World War, the former Tank regiments, which were considered Infantry units, were redesignated as armour, as were many cavalry regiments and eventually infantry1 regiments as well.

Lineage

  • Canadian Armoured Corps created 13 August 1940

  • Redesignated Royal Canadian Armoured Corps 2 August 1945

  • Redesignated The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps 22 March 1948, superceded 18 April 1955

  • Redesignated Royal Canadian Armoured Corps 17 February 1964

  • Redesignated Armoured Branch 2 May 1969

  • Redesignated Royal Canadian Armoured Corps 1974 (?)

Senior Personnel

Units

Lists of armoured regiments can be found in other articles on the website.

Insignia

Rank Insignia

In 1940, coloured backings were adopted throughout the Canadian Army for officers' rank insignia. The corps adopted a yellow backing colour, and retained that colour until Unification, changing to a St. Edward's Crown after the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne.

Sergeants and Warrant Officers in some CAC/RCAC units wore a cap or collar badge in conjunction with the rank badges worn on the right sleeve. See the article on NCO Corps Badges for more information.

Insignia

The insignia of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps has been described as follows:

A mailed gauntlet for the right hand, fist clenched palm to the front with a billet on the wrist inscribed "RCAC"; issuing from the wrist upwards, two concentric circles, broken and barbed at the top; the whole surmounted by the Crown.2

Another source provides the following description:

In front of two concentric circles barbed at the top, a dexter mailed gauntlet clenched erect charged at the base with a nameplate and inscribed with the word CANADA. Above the nameplate a stylized maple leaf, the whole ensigned by the St Edwards Crown.

Significance

The concentric circles symbolize the pincer operations of armoured forces. The mailed gauntlet symbolizes armour.3

The RCAC adopted its own badge during the Second World War; it was generally used as a cap badge for those soldiers in training not yet assigned to a specific regiment. The original badge was based on that worn by the Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army. The Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle Training Centre also had its own badge, as illustrated at right.4

CAFVTC

CAC

A new badge adopted later depicted a mailed gauntlet for the right hand, with fist clenched palm to the front with a billet on the wrist inscribed RCAC; issuing from the wrist upwards, two concentric circles, broken and barbed at the top representing one of the roles of armour on the battlefield; the whole surmounted by the Crown. The crown was originally a Tudor Crown and naturally changed in 1953 with the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. The inscription on the billet changed in 1970 to read CANADA as RCAC was an English designation.

Tudor crown

St. Edwards' crown

Cloth Shoulder Titles

After the introduction of Battle Dress in 1939, Slip-on Shoulder Titles were worn in the early years of the war, with Reserve units in Canada possibly retaining them longer than Active units. Bill Alexander photo.

As the Canadian Armoured Corps was not granted the Royal prefix until August 1945, it is unclear why this slip on was created or whom it was worn by. (Bill Ellis and Bill Alexander photos.)

The cloth flash at left was worn during the Second World War by soldiers in training; it was also seen in use in the 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division in conjunction with Formation Patches bearing unit titles.

A flash in corps colours (yellow and red) was adopted after the "Royal" prefix was granted in 1945.

Published Histories

  • Marteinson, J.K. The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps: An Illustrated History Toronto, ON: Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association, 2000

Notes

  1. After the 1936 re-organizations, additional types of infantry regiments were added to the army's order of battle, including Tank and Machine Gun battalions.

  2. The Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1964) p.13

  3. Badges of the Canadian Forces, Canadian Forces Publication 267 (Department of National Defence, 1976). The image provided in the CF publication has the word ARMOUR on the nameplate, despite the description, which says CANADA in the text.

  4. Images courtesy Bill Ellis.

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