NEW! Canadian Military History Trivia Challenge

Month: February 2011

Military History

Tank Shots

The year was 1916—September—and there was no denying the fear felt by those who faced them for the first time on the Somme. Big and noisy, the tank looked more like a warship than a land weapon. But while these early armoured monstrosities dealt a severe blow to German morale and proved effective in crossing trenches and wire entanglements, they were slow and prone to mechanical failure. They were also practically useless on soft cratered ground, and easily destroyed by artillery fire. But as the war progressed, so did the tank and by 1918 better tactics for coordinating their use with infantry, artillery and aircraft created better results. Ninety-three years later, modern versions of the battle tank continue to prove their mettle on the battlefield, including those deployed by Canadi...

Health File

Oxygen Therapy For Foot Ulcers Canadian diabetics with non-healing foot ulcers face a double barrier in access to a healing therapy that could prevent a significant number of amputations of toes, feet and legs. Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a cost-effective means to help heal stubborn ulcers, thus decreasing amputations, few family doctors know much about the therapy and consequently it’s not being prescribed often or early enough, says Dr. Wayne Evans, chairman of hyperbaric medicine for the Ontario Medical Association. As well, there’s a national shortage of HBOT equipment. About three million Canadians have diabetes and it’s estimated 300,000 of them will develop diabetic foot ulcers. Of those, about a third will have amputations because wounds will not heal...
Air Force

Flying Torpedoes: Air Force, Part 43

Military aircraft applications evolved quickly from 1910 onwards, including development of torpedo bombers as an anti-shipping weapon. Italy, Britain and Germany all deployed such aircraft during the First World War, but the initial problem was marrying a large, cumbersome weapon to an under-powered airplane. The most conspicuous, but limited, successes were registered by Italy against Austro-Hungarian shipping in the Adriatic and by Britain against Turkish shipping in the Sea of Marmara. Results showed that the torpedo bomber offered promise, and so development of aircraft and torpedoes continued with Japan and the United States joining the process. Second World War naval aviation most forcefully demonstrated the enhanced power of the torpedo bomber. On the night of Nov. 11-12, ...

An American Blunder: Navy, Part 43

On the night of Jan. 11-12, 1942, the war at sea reached the Western Hemisphere when U-123 torpedoed and sank the British steamer SS Cyclops southeast of Cape Sable, N.S. Kapitainleutant Reinhard Hardegen’s U-boat was the first of a wave of five submarines ordered into the west 10 days earlier by Admiral Karl Donitz. They were to operate between Newfoundland and Cape Hatteras, N.C., and, if conditions allowed, move further south. Hardegen did not linger off Nova Scotia, in fact he was on track for New England and what he found astonished him. Compared to the grim blackout conditions of Europe in winter, the brilliantly lit American shoreline looked like a carnival: even the navigation lights were on. As U-123 approached her first inshore target in Rhode Island Sound, Hardegen commen...

A Well-Entrenched Enemy: Army, Part 92

On  June 7, 1944, D+1, the 12th SS Hitler Youth Division blocked the Canadian and British advance to Carpiquet and Caen by committing the tanks and infantry of Kurt Meyer’s 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment to battle. It was a tactical victory with enormous operational consequences. Sepp Dietrich, the commander of 1st SS Panzer Corps, who was supposed to launch a powerful counterattack against the Allied bridgehead in Normandy with three armoured divisions, found that both 21st Panzer and 12th SS were heavily engaged and could not be withdrawn. Panzer Lehr, the third armoured division, was also being drawn into combat with British 30 Corps. T he best that Dietrich could do  was to try and dislodge the Canadian 7th Brigade which had seized ground astride the Caen-Bayeux highway and then...

Adding Life To Your Years

Thanks to medical advances that have cut the death toll from infectious diseases, babies born in Canada today can expect to live better than 80 years—nearly 30 years longer than those born a century ago. But that medical victory has given us another battlefield: chronic disease. One-third of Canadians live with chronic health conditions, and the proportion goes up as we age, with nearly half of those 65 to 79, and 59 per cent of those 80 and older living with high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. So years have been added to our lives, but can we add life to our extra years? Nobody can stop the clock; the years are going to go on anyway—but we all want a younger biological age,” says Dr. Aileen Burford-Mason, president of the Holistic Health Researc...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.