Organization

Canadian Army

Domestic Military Organization

Headquarters

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Political Institutions

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►►Minister of Militia & Defence

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Reorganizations

1902-1904 Dundonald Reforms
1920 Otter Committee
1936 Reorganization
1954 Kennedy Board
1957 Anderson Report
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1968 Unification
1995 Special Commission

Organizational Corps/Branches

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Field Forces

1914-1919  

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1919

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1945

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1939-1945

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6th Division 

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3rd Tank Brigade

 1950-1953
1 Com Div | 25 Inf Bde

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►►15th Army Group

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SHAEF

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Special Forces

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Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

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The Canadian Airborne Regt

Organizational Formations

Reserve Bdes - 1941-1945

13 Cdn Infantry Training Bde

14 Cdn Infantry Training Bde

27th Canadian Brigade

1 CMBG

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1st Cdn Division (1954-1958)

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Unit Listings by Corps/Branch

Armoured Units 1940-1945

Cdn Dental Corps 1939-1945
Cdn Intelligence Corps 1942-45

Cdn Provost Corps 1940-1945

Infantry Battalions 1939-1945

RCOC 1939-1945

4th Canadian (Armoured) Division

4th Canadian (Armoured) Division
 
Authorized: as infantry 24 May 1940 (General Order 184/40)
Redesignated: 26 January 1942 (General Order 132/42)
Disbanded: 27 December 1945 (General Order 71/46)

The 4th Canadian Division refers to two organizations raised during the 20th Century.

  • 4th Canadian Division

  • 4th Canadian Infantry Division (1940-1942)

  • 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division (1942-1945) (redesignation of 4th Infantry Division)

The first formation so designated was a fully manned and equipped combat division which went to France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. A second iteration was raised for the Second World War; this article refers to the latter division.

Mobilization

The 4th Canadian Division was authorized by General Orders dated 24 May 1940, in response to the crisis in France. Headquarters mobilized as Serial 900 of the Canadian Active Service Force. The divisional artillery mobilized as the 15th, 16th and 17th Field Regiments, initially with two combined field-batteries per regiment.1

Serial

Unit

900 Headquarters, 4th Division, C.A.S.F.
904 Headquarters, 4th Divisional Artillery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
905 ►15th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
905A ►►Headquarters, 15th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
905B ►►41st/102nd Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
905C ►►3rd/47th Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
906 ►16th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
906A ►►Headquarters, 16th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
906B ►►24th/75th Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
906C ►►87th/88th Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
907 ►17th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
907A ►►Headquarters, 17th Field Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
907B ►►60th/76th Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
907C ►►37th Field Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908 ►4th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908A ►►Headquarters, 4th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908B ►►98th (Bruce) Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908C ►►24th Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908D ►►82nd Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.
908E ►►104th Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A., C.A.S.F.

Each infantry brigade initially had an anti-tank company assigned to it. While the authorization for forming the division was officially dated in May, some units did not receive telegrams from Ottawa ordering them to mobilize until June.

Serial Unit
930 Headquarters, 10th Infantry Brigade, C.A.S.F.
931 10th Infantry Anti-Tank Company, C.A.S.F.
932 The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles), C.A.S.F.
933 The South Alberta Regiment, C.A.S.F.
934 The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, C.A.S.F.  (On 1 August 1940 moved to 7th Brigade and replaced by 16th/22nd Saskatchewan Horse)
940 Headquarters, 11th Infantry Brigade, C.A.S.F.
941 11th Infantry Anti-Tank Company, C.A.S.F.
942 The Lake Superior Regiment, C.A.S.F.
943 The Irish Regiment of Canada (M.G.), C.A.S.F.
944 The Elgin Regiment, C.A.S.F.
950 Headquarters, 12th Infantry Brigade, C.A.S.F.
951 12th Infantry Anti-Tank Company, C.A.S.F.
952 The Governor General's Foot Guards, C.A.S.F.
953 The Canadian Grenadier Guards, C.A.S.F.
954

The Grey and Simcoe Foresters, C.A.S.F.

A full slate of divisional support units also mobilized in accordance with G.O. 184/40:

Serial Unit
914 Headquarters, 4th Divisional Engineers, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
915 ►4th Field Park Company, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
916 ►8th Field Company, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
917 ►9th Field Company, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
918 ►10th Field Company, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
919 ►4th Pioneer Battalion, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
920 ►No. 4 Road Construction Company, R.C.E., C.A.S.F.
926 4th Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.
926A ►Headquarters, 4th Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.
926B ►Headquarters, No. 1 Company, 4th Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.
926C ►►"A" (Wireless) Section
926D ►►"B" (Cable) Section
926E ►►"D" (Operating) Section
926F ►►"M" (Technical Maintenance) Section
926G ►Headquarters, No. 2 Company, 4th Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.
926H ►►"E" (Field Regiment, R.C.A.) Section
926J ►►"F" (Field Regiment, R.C.A.) Section
926K ►►"G" (Field Regiment, R.C.A.) Section
926L ►►"H" (Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A.) Section
926M ►Headquarters, No. 3 Company, 4th Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.
926N ►►"J" (Infantry Brigade) Section
926P ►►"K" (Infantry Brigade) Section
926Q ►►"L" (Infantry Brigade) Section
960 Headquarters, 4th Divisional R.C.A.S.C., C.A.S.F.
961 ►4th Divisional Ammunition Company, R.C.A.S.C., C.A.S.F.
962 ►4th Divisional Petrol Company, R.C.A.S.C., C.A.S.F.
963 ►4th Divisional Supply Column, R.C.A.S.C., C.A.S.F.
966 No. 2 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C., C.A.S.F.
967 No. 14 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C., C.A.S.F.
968 No. 24 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C., C.A.S.F.
969 No. 11 Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C., C.A.S.F.
972 4th Divisional Dental Company, C.D.C., C.A.S.F.
973 No. 5 Provost Company, C.A.S.F.
974 No. 6 Postal Unit, C.P.C., C.A.S.F.
975 No. 5 Employment Platoon, C.A.S.F.
976 No. 4 Mobile Bath Unit, C.A.S.F.

The division slowly mobilized and concentrated as follows:

Divisional Headquarters Established at Debert, Nova Scotia in 1941.
10th Canadian Infantry Brigade Concentrated at Nanaimo Camp, BC in October 1940.
11th Canadian Infantry Brigade Concentrated at Camp Borden, Ontario in October 1940.
12th Canadian Infantry Brigade Concentrated at Valcartier, Quebec in March 1941 and later in Camp Borden in June.

The Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War notes:

There was considerable delay before the organization of the 4th Division was completed. All the infantry battalions had been mobilized during the summer, but the three infantry brigade headquarters were not formed until the following winter (December 1940-February 1941); and the divisional headquarters was set up still later. The recruitment of the balance of the Division was authorized by the War Committee of the Cabinet on 9 May 1941, by which time the 3rd Division's departure for the United Kingdom was imminent. On 10 June the 4th Division's headquarters was finally formed, with the appointment of Major-General L. F. Page as General Officer Commanding.2

Training of the division was hampered by a low priority given to it for resources. A new formation initially referred to as the 1st Canadian Armoured Division was mobilized along with the 1st Army Tank Brigade, and to hasten the mobilization of these units, which had priority, the 17th Field Regiment was withdrawn from the 4th Division and reallocated to the 1st Armoured Brigade Group as part of the armoured division. The 4th Anti-Tank Regiment, RCA, was also transferred, and in February 1941 batteries of the 15th and 16th Field Regiments provided troops for the armoured division's light anti-aircraft unit. The 4th also transferred men and units from the medical, engineer, provost, signals, ordnance and service corps. The 18th Field Regiment, RCA, replaced the 17th in the 4th Division.3

Utilizing 4th Division units for the Armoured Division was not merely a means of speeding the organization of the latter; it also served as an economy measure. The size of the proposed budget for 1941-42 had caused alarm at the Department of Finance, and on 28 January the Cabinet War Committee agreed that the service departments and the Department of Munitions and Supply should so adjust their programmes as to reduce their total requirements from $1500 million to $1300 million. In these circumstances General Crerar, taking into account General Wavell's recent successes in the Middle East, felt that it was safe both to take 4th Division men and units for the Armoured Division and to delay reconstituting the 4th Division until later in the financial year, as well as deleting provision which had been proposed for mobilizing a fifth infantry division and taking preliminary steps towards mobilizing a sixth. It was only in May 1941 (after disasters had befallen the Allied cause in Africa and Greece) that reconstitution of the 4th Division was ordered and Crerar asked for authority to mobilize another infantry division for home defence.

In July 1941 the 1st Armoured Division was redesignated the "5th Canadian (Armoured) Division". (This designation was never officially altered afterwards; but the simpler form "5th Canadian Armoured Division" soon came into common use.) The Division moved overseas, as planned, that autumn, its main flight (Convoy T.C. 15) reaching the United Kingdom on 22 November. This convoy, which included the divisional headquarters, was the largest single troop movement from Canada up to that time, totalling nearly 14,000 all ranks. As a result of the build-up during 1941, the strength of the Canadian Army Overseas at the end of the calendar year was 124,472 all ranks.4
 

The 18th (Manitoba) Reconnaissance Battalion mobilized as Serial 977 under General Order 160/41, effective 10 May 1941, along with a list of other units intended for service with the 4th Canadian Division. New batteries of artillery were authorized for the divisional artillery.

Serial Unit
117E 4th Divisional Ordnance Field Park, R.C.O.C.
659 No. 8 Provost Company
916 8th Field Company, R.C.E
917 9th Field Company, R.C.E.
977 18th (Manitoba) Reconnaissance Battalion
978 95th Field Battery, R.C.A.
979 110th Field Battery, R.C.A.
980 18th Field Battery, R.C.A.
981 70th Field Battery, R.C.A.
982 Headquarters, 18th Field Regiment, R.C.A.
983 25th Field Battery, R.C.A.
984 19th Field Company, R.C.E.
985 6th Field Park Company, R.C.E.
986 No. 12 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C.
987 No. 15 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C.
988 No. 16 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C.
989 No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station, R.C.A.M.C.
990

No. 12 Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C.

The 6th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Serial 991) also mobilized under General Order 240/41 with effect 5 September 1941.5

Conversion to Armour

In October 1941, the Minister of National Defence, J.L. Ralston, and General H.D.G. Crerar visited the United Kingdom for consultation with British authorities and General McNaughton, then commanding Canadian forces in the U.K. On his return to Canada, Ralston relayed to the War Committee that the British Secretary of State for War had advised that a second armoured division from Canada would be a helpful contribution. Previous discussions in Canada regarding the conversion of the 4th Division to an armoured division were given added impetus.6

A series of reorganizations took place early in 1942 to convert the division into an armoured formation. General Order 132/42 effective 26 January 1942 reorganized the division, to include an armoured car regiment, two armoured brigades, and an armoured division support group (composed of the 15th Field Regiment, 5th Anti-Tank Regiment and 8th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment) plus The Irish Regiment of Canada.7:

Serial Unit Serial Redesignated as
900  Headquarters, 4th Division 900 Headquarters, 4th (Armoured) Division
975 No. 4 Defence and Employment Platoon 975 4th (Armoured) Division Headquarters Squadron, C.A.C.
904 Headquarters, 4th Divisional Artillery, R.C.A. 904 Headquarters, 4th (Armoured) Divisional Support Group
906A Headquarters, 16th Field Regiment, R.C.A. 1906A Headquarters, 8th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.C.A.
981 70th Field Battery, R.C.A. 1906B 70th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A.
905B 102nd Field Battery, R.C.A. 1906C 102nd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A.
905C 3rd Field Battery, R.C.A. 1992D 3rd Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A.
916 8th Field Company, R.C.E. 916 8th Field Squadron, R.C.E.
917 9th Field Company, R.C.E. 917 9th Field Squadron, R.C.E.
985 6th Field Park Company, R.C.E. 985 6th Field Park Squadron, R.C.E.
926 4th Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. 1926 4th (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S.
977 18th (Manitoba) Reconnaissance Battalion 977 18th (Manitoba) Armoured Car Regiment, C.A.C.
930 ►Headquarters, 10th Infantry Brigade 930 ►Headquarters, 3rd Armoured Brigade
472 ►►No. 10 Defence Platoon 472 ►►Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Armoured Brigade, C.A.C.
932 ►►The British Columbia Regiment 932 ►►28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment),C.A.C.
944 ►►The Elgin Regiment 944 ►►25th Armoured Regiment (The Elgin Regiment), C.A.C.
933 ►►The South Alberta Regiment 933 ►►29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment), C.A.C.
942 ►►The Lake Superior Regiment 942 ►►The Lake Superior Regiment (Motor)
950 ►Headquarters, 12th Infantry Brigade 950 ►Headquarters, 4th Armoured Brigade
474 ►►No. 12 Defence Platoon 474 ►►Headquarters Squadron, 4th Armoured Brigade, C.A.C.
952 ►►The Governor General's Foot Guards 952 ►►21st Armoured Regiment (The Governor General's Foot Guards), C.A.C.
1044 ►►The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment 1044 ►►27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment), C.A.C.
953 ►►The Canadian Grenadier Guards 953 ►►22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), C.A.C.
355 ►►The Princess Louise Fusiliers (M.G.) 355 ►►The Princess Louise Fusiliers (Motor)
987 No. 15 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C. 987 No. 15 Light Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C.
988 No. 16 Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C. 988 No. 16 Light Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C.
990 No. 12 Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C. 990 No. 12 Light Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C.
641 No. 41 Light Aid Detachment (Type "A"),R.C.O.C. 641 No. 41 Light Aid Detachment (Type "C"), R.C.O.C.
642 No. 42 Light Aid Detachment (Type "A"),R.C.O.C. 642 No. 42 Light Aid Detachment (Type "C"), R.C.O.C.
643 No. 43 Light Aid Detachment (Type "A"),R.C.O.C. 643 No. 43 Light Aid Detachment (Type "C"), R.C.O.C.
693 No. 75 Light Aid Detachment (Type "B"),R.C.O.C. 693 No. 75 Light Aid Detachment (Type "C"), R.C.O.C.
255A 4th Divisional Ordnance Workshop, R.C.O.C. 255A 4th Armoured Divisional Ordnance Workshop, R.C.O.C.
117E 4th Divisional Ordnance Field Park, R.C.O.C. 117E 4th Armoured Divisional Ordnance Field Park, R.C.O.C.

During the early months of 1942, the complicated process of converting the 4th Infantry Division into the 4th Armoured Division was going forward in Canada. Brigadier Worthington became a Major-General and was appointed to the command. His task was somewhat eased by improvements in the equipment situation; Canadian "Ram" tanks were now coming off the production line, and thus the units were able to train in Canada with the equipment which, in the first instance, they would use overseas. The Division moved across the Atlantic in the late summer and early autumn of 1942, the two main convoys reaching the Clyde on 31 August and 6 October. The last units arrived in the Queen Elizabeth on 4 November.8

The 6th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment left the division to eventually become a unit attached directly to 2nd Canadian Corps while 18th Field Regiment became a Medium Regiment. The headquarters of the 11th Infantry Brigade converted to armour to become the 2nd Army Tank Brigade taking with it The Grey and Simcoe Foresters and The 16th/22nd Saskatchewan Horse.

On arrival overseas, the division once again reorganized, from having a two armoured brigade organization to one armoured brigade and one infantry brigade.

Serial Unit Disposition
930 ►Headquarters, 3rd Armoured Brigade Phased out
472 ►►Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Armoured Brigade, C.A.C. Phased out
932 ►►28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment),C.A.C. 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade
944 ►►25th Armoured Regiment (The Elgin Regiment), C.A.C.

Transferred to 2nd Canadian Corps, redesignated 25th Armoured Regiment (eventually redesignated 25th Armoured Delivery Regiment and served as Army troops)

933 ►►29th Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment), C.A.C.

redesignated 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment), C.A.C., became divisional unit of 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division

942 ►►The Lake Superior Regiment (Motor) 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade
950 ►Headquarters, 4th Armoured Brigade Retained
474 ►►Headquarters Squadron, 4th Armoured Brigade, C.A.C. Retained
952 ►►21st Armoured Regiment (The Governor General's Foot Guards), C.A.C. Retained
1044 ►►27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment), C.A.C. Transferred to 3rd Army Tank Brigade
953 ►►22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), C.A.C. Retained
355 ►►The Princess Louise Fusiliers (Motor) Transferred to 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division, later served as M.G. unit

943

The Irish Regiment of Canada, C.A.S.F. Transferred to 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division

977

18th Armoured Car Regiment (Manitoba Dragoons) Transferred to 2nd Canadian Corps

The 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade arrived from Canada, comprising the 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers), The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, The Algonquin Regiment and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's).9

Arrival Overseas

The division deployed to the United Kingdom in the late summer and autumn on 1942 and despite the number of reorganizations, the availability of armoured vehicles from Canadian sources permitted units to arrive in an advanced state of training. Universal carriers had been used as substitutes for tanks, and by October 1942, 255 carriers were on hand "with the result that much useful training in troop and squadron tactics was
possible." The division aimed for collective training to reach squadron level by 15 February 1943 and for formation headquarters to be able to handle units by then. The division, initially under command of Canadian Military Headquarters in London, came under control of 1st Canadian Army on 21 October 1942. It was not until October 1943 that the entire formation would participate in an exercise as a division with all arms and services engaged.10

Combat History

The division deployed to Normandy at the end of July 1944, becoming operational as a formation of 2nd Canadian Corps on 29 July 1944. The formation participated in the breakout from Caen and the closing of the Falaise Gap. For actions during the fighting at St. Lambert-sur-Dives between 18-21 August 1944, Major David V. Currie of the 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) was awarded the Victoria Cross, the only soldier of the Canadian Armoured Corps to be so honoured.

The division advanced to the River Seine on the right of 2nd Canadian Corps, sending its infantry across above Elbeuf on 26 August 1944, and advancing to the Somme River. The division crossed this next obstacle on 2-3 September as the 2nd Division returned to Dieppe. An administrative pause followed at Abbeville, and the division advanced once more toward Belgium, where spearheads of the British Army were already in Brussels and Antwerp. Organizing into two battle groups, the division reached the Ghent Canal on 8 September, hitting the first of the Scheldt Fortress defences. Fighting for a bridgehead over the Ghent followed, as well as a battle to clear Bruges. More fighting to clear water obstacles south of the Scheldt followed, at Moerkerke and Eecloo.

The fighting to clear the approaches to Antwerp took on added importance as September went on; the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions were withdrawn from the French channel coast and committed to the region as parts of the 4th Armoured was shifted east, north of Antwerp, in early October leaving elements to patrol the Leopold Canal and contain the Breskens Pocket. On 17 October the entire division had been shifted north of Antwerp and came under command of 1st British Corps to assist the 2nd Canadian Division in its attack on the South Beveland Peninsula. In turn, the division took Esschen, on 22 October, then Bergen op Zoom, on 27 October, moving on to Sttenbergen on 4 November and on to Hollandschdiep.

At the conclusion of the Battle of the Scheldt on 8 November 1944, the division joined 1st Canadian Army in the Nijmegen Salient, thought remained under 1st British Corps as it held positions on the south bank of the lower Maas River. It was relieved in place from 26 November 1944 to 5 December by the 52nd (Lowland) Division, and then moved to s'Hertogenbosch where it was itself relieved on 21 December by the 1st Polish Armoured Division, and went into Army reserve, to occupy positions in the area Breda-Tilburg, still under 1st British Corps.

On 26 January 1944, The Lincoln and Welland Regiment made their initial attacks on Kapelsche Veer, a small island on the Maas River, in a battle that lasted until 31 January. The island had been the object of the Polish armoured division as well as Royal Marine Commandos in December and was the largest divisional action of the winter.

Operation VERITABLE, the clearance of the Rhineland and the preparation for the final attack on Germany, began on 8 February 1945. The initial phase of the operation was conducted by infantry divisions of British 30th Corps under 1st Canadian Army; 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division, with the British 11th Armoured Division, was to stand by and renew the momentum of the offensive once the 2nd Canadian Corps entered the battle. On 26 February, divided into five battle groups, the division went into the attack against the Hochwald Forest, clearing the high ground at Calcar and Udem by the next day. The Hochwald Gap proved troublesome and fighting lasted until 4 March. The fighting for Veen, the next objective, lasted until 9 March as the infantry of the 10th Brigade tried to wrest it from German defenders. Winnenthal fell on 10 March, marking the final operations for the division west of the Rhine.

The 2nd Canadian Corps came under operational control of 2nd British Army for Operation PLUNDER, the crossing of the Rhine, which went off on 23 March 1945. The 4th Division's artillery fired in support of the crossing, and 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was the first Canadian formation across. The headquarters of 2nd Canadian Corps followed by the 28th, and the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division landed on the far bank of the Rhine on the 28th and 29th, followed by the 4th Division, who entered the line to the right of both divisions on 1 April 1945 as 1st Canadian Army once again took operational control for 2nd Canadian Corps. The three Canadian divisions began a northward advance, with 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division on the right, with 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade now also supporting the two infantry divisions.

The 4th Armoured crossed the Twente Canal west of Delden on 3 April, cleared Almelo on 4-5 April then set its sights on Germany as the Polish Armoured Division returned to 2nd Canadian Corps to operate on the left of the 4th Armoured. The division crossed the German border and cleared Neuenhaus, Emlichheim and Coevorden, crossed the Ems River, and cleared the area east of the Ems to the Küsten Canal. The 10th Infantry Brigade fought towards Leer while the tanks cleared Sogel, Borger and Friesoythe. On 17 April, the division crossed the Canal at Edewechterdamm, eleven miles from Oldenburg, held in the face of German counter-attacks, then extended the bridgehead two miles to the Aue River by 21 April. The tanks again took the lead as the division advanced on Bad Zwischenahn, which fell on 30 April. The division was 10 miles north of Oldenburg when the cease fire was ordered on 5 May 1945.

4th Canadian Armoured Division concentrated near Almelo, (Netherlands) late in May and the run-down of the Canadian units was begun. Volunteers proceeded to the Canadian Army Pacific Force, joined the Canadian Army Occupational Force, departed on priority drafts, or were posted to divisional units originating in the military district of their enlistment for the return to Canada.11

General Order 71/46, taking effect 27 December 1945, disbanded the division.

Order of Battle 1944-1945

4th Canadian (Armoured) Division Headquarters

  • 10th Infantry Brigade Ground Defence Platoon

  • 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment)

4th Canadian Armoured Brigade

  • 21st Armoured Regiment (The Governor General's Foot Guards)

  • 22nd Armoured Regiment (The Grenadier Guards)

  • 28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment)

  • The Lake Superior Regiment (Motor)

10th Canadian Infantry Brigade

  • 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers)

  • The Lincoln and Welland Regiment

  • The Algonquin Regiment

  • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Royal Canadian Artillery

Headquarters, 4th Divisional Artillery, RCA

15th Field Regiment
  • 95th Field Battery

  • 110th Field Battery

  • 17th Field Battery

23rd Field Regiment (Self Propelled)
  • 31st Field Battery (Self Propelled)

  • 36th Field Battery (Self Propelled)

  • 83rd Field Battery (Self Propelled)

5th Anti-Tank Regiment
  • 96th Anti-Tank Battery

  • 65th Anti-Tank Battery

  • 3rd Anti-Tank Battery

  • 14th Anti-Tank Battery

8th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
  • 70th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

  • 102nd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

  • 101st Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers
  • Headquarters RCE

    • 6th Field Park Squadron, RCE

    • 8th Field Squadron, RCE

    • 9th Field Squadron, RCE

  • One bridge troop

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals
  • 4th Armoured Divisional Signals, RCCS

Royal Canadian Army Service Corps
  • Headquarters RCASC

    • 4th Armoured Brigade Company, RCASC

    • 10th Infantry Brigade Company, RCASC

    • 4th Armoured Divisional Troops Company, RCASC

    • 4th Armoured Division Transport Company, RCASC

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps
  • No. 12 Light Field Ambulance, RCAMC

  • No. 15 Field Ambulance, RCAMC

  • 4th Division Field Hygiene Section, RCAMC

  • Field dressing station

Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps
  • No. 4 Armoured Division Ordnance Field Park, RCOC

Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  • Headquarters RCEME

    • 4th Armoured Brigade Workshop, RCEME

    • 10th Infantry Brigade Workshop, RCEME

    • One LAA workshop

    • Twelve light aid detachments.

Canadian Postal Corps
  • One divisional postal unit

Canadian Provost Corps
  • One provost company.

Canadian Intelligence Corps
  • One field security section.

General Officers Commanding

Name Dates in Command Bio and Destination on Leaving Appointment
Major General L.F. Page, DSO 10 Jun 1941 - 24 Dec 1941  
Major General F.F. Worthington, CB, MC, MM 2 Feb 1942 - 29 Feb 1944  
Major General George Kitching, DSO 1 Mar 1944 - 21 Aug 1944

Major General George Kitching was 33 years old when he took over the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division. He had previously been GSO I of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division in Sicily and had later commanded the 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division's infantry brigade for a brief period.

Major General Harry W. Foster 22 Aug 1944 - 30 Nov 1944 Command of 1st Canadian Division
Major General Chris Vokes, CBE, DSO 1 Dec 1944 - 5 Jun 1945

Major General Christopher Vokes was born in Ireland in 1904 to a British military officer. He was was educated at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, and graduated in 1925. He was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Engineers, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill in 1927, and attended Camberley Staff College in England in 1934-35.

Vokes served as Adjutant General, Assistant Quartermaster General and GSO I of the 1st Division, as well as commanding the PPCLI, and in June 1942 assumed command of the 2nd Brigade. He led the Brigade through Sicily and the early months of the Italian campaign, and took over the Division just before the Moro River campaign. His handling of the division was criticized in some circles, but he retained command through the Hitler and Gothic Line fighting.

A clerical error led to his being reassigned to the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division (when his name was confused with that of Charles Foulkes). He he was not popular among the officers of the division, but nonetheless led the formation through the Rhineland and final phases of the war, and remained in Europe to command the Canadian Army Occupation Force.

Upon return to Canada, General Vokes was put in charge of the Canadian Army's Central Command and later of Western Command. He retired from the military in 1959 and, in 1985 published his memoirs, My Story.

Divisional Chiefs of Staff

Name Dates in Appointment Bio and Destination on Leaving Appointment
Lieutenant Colonel F.E. Wigle 3 Aug 1944 - 29 Jan 1945  
Lieutenant Colonel W.G.M. Robinson 1 Feb 1945 -  

Commanding Officers 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade

Name Dates in Command Bio and Destination on Leaving Appointment
Brigader E.L. Booth 23 Feb 1944 - 14 Aug 1944

Brigadier Eric Leslie Booth was born in 1906 and appointed to command the 4th Armoured Brigade while serving in the UK. He was killed in action in one of the first actions of his brigade.

Brigadier R.W. Moncel 19 Aug 1944 -

Brigadier Robert William Moncel was born in 1917. He commanded the 18th Manitoba Dragoons in 1942, and served as GSO I of II Canadian Corps the next year. He commanded the 4th Armoured Brigade from early in 1944 until the end of the war. He became Director of the Canadian Armoured Corps in 1946, commanded a brigade in the postwar Army until 1960, then served as Quartermaster General from 1960 to 1963. He became GOC of Eastern Command in 1965, and retired as Lieutenant General, having served as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff until 1966.

Commanding Officers 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade

Name Dates in Command Bio and Destination on Leaving Appointment
Brigadier J.C. Jefferson 27 Feb 1944 -

Brigadier James Curry Jefferson was a veteran of the Italian Campaign. He had been decorated with the Distinguished Service Order for his command of the Edmonton Regiment at Leonforte in July 1943, and a Bar to his DSO at Ortona in December. He was only in brief command of the 5th Brigade of the Second Division before transferring to the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division where he commanded the Algonquins and then the 10th Infantry Brigade. Jefferson was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1945 for his service with the 4th Division, in addition to being Mentioned in Despatches and receiving the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

 

Commanders of the Supporting Arms

Commander Name Dates in Command
Royal Canadian Artillery Brigadier W.C. Hyde, DSO, VD  
Royal Canadian Artillery Brigadier J.N. Lane, DSO 1 Mar 1944 - 9 Nov 1944
Royal Canadian Artillery Brigadier C.M. Drury, DSO, MBE 10 Nov 1944 -
Royal Canadian Engineers Lieutenant Colonel J.R.B. Jones 22 Feb 1944 -
Royal Canadian Signals Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Shireff 12 Nov 1942 - 20 Jan 1945
Royal Canadian Signals Lieutenant Colonel R.L. Houston 21 Jan 1945 -

Uniform Insignia

At the start of the Second World War, it was felt that colourful unit and Formation Patches would be too easily seen, and a very austere set of insignia was designed for the new Battle Dress uniform, consisting solely of rank badges and drab worsted Slip-on Shoulder Titles. In 1941, however, the trend was reversed, and a new system of Formation Patches, based on the battle patches of the First World War, was introduced. However, the use of lettered unit titles (at first won as Slip-on Shoulder Titles and later, as more colourful designs worn directly above the divisional patches) was also introduced - a privilege previously extended only to the Brigade of Guards in England, and in the Canadian Army to just four units: Governor General's Foot Guards, Canadian Grenadier Guards, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the Canadian Provost Corps.

The new formation patches were made from three materials mainly; felt and wool being most common, and canvas patches were adopted in the late war period as an economy measure.

Members of various corps serving in support units originally wore formation patches with letters added directly to the patch (or in some cases a plain coloured shape, such as the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC))

The hexagonal patch of the Canadian Army Pacific Force applied overtop of the formation patch indicated a volunteer for the CAPF.

The 4th Canadian Division readopted the divisional "battle patch" type of Formation Patches that had been worn in the First World War, being a green rectangle 2 inches by 3 inches. Formation patches were made from three materials mainly (canvas, felt and wool) and were first issued in about 1941.

Artifacts and photos courtesy Bill Alexander. Note the use of canvas, even for the simple RCAMC title (maroon rectangle on green rectangle).

Notes

  1. Tonner, Mark W. On Active Service (Service Publications, Ottawa, ON) ISBN 1-894581-44-X

  2. Stacey, C.P. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume I: Six Years Of War (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1956), p.80

  3. Falconer, D.W. Battery Flashes of W.W. II (D.W. Falconer, 1985) ISBN 0-9691865-0-9 p.368

  4. Stacey, Ibid, p.93

  5. Falconer, Ibid, p.368

  6. Stacey, Ibid, p.95

  7. Falconer, Ibid, p.369

  8. Stacey, p. 99 Canadian Ram tanks were never actually used in action as gun tanks, though some variants such as observation post (OP) and armoured personnel carriers (Kangaroos) were used.

  9. Falconer, Ibid, pp.369-370

  10. Stacey, Ibid, pp.247-252

  11. Falconer, Ibid, pp.372-374

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