Month: August 2020

Defence deal
Canada Corner, Home Front, Military History

Defence deal

The first Canadian-American defence alliance was born in menacing times After the German invasion of Scandinavia, the Low Countries and France in April, May and June 1940, the chances of Britain’s survival seemed very much in doubt. In Canada, there was consternation and fear, but the federal government dutifully sent every military resource it had at its disposal to bolster the United Kingdom’s defences. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division joined the 1st in southern England. A Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron helped the Royal Air Force resist the Luftwaffe’s onslaught. And the RCN’s four destroyers in the Atlantic proceeded overseas. Canada had promptly stripped itself bare to help the desperate mother country. Nonetheless, the astonishing Nazi conquests forced the Canad...
War inside of war
Military History

War inside of war

The end of the Second World War in Europe led to celebrations in Allied cities the world over, but for many Europeans devastated by tragedy and loss over six long years of conflict, the continent must have seemed a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It was no place for celebration. The cost of fascism’s march across Europe and subsequent occupations was exacted on non-combatants more than anyone. Fewer than 30 per cent of the 85 million people killed during the war were military, and the vast majority were citizens of Allied countries— primarily the Soviet Union and China. The war spawned 11 million refugees in Europe alone. Many had nowhere to go. Entire cities lay in ruin; some towns and villages had disappeared altogether. Vast swaths of the Netherlands lay underwater, floode...
EYE ON DEFENCE: Dealing with racism
Eye On Defence

EYE ON DEFENCE: Dealing with racism

In late 2019, Patrik Mathews, an army reservist with 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Manitoba, disappeared from Canada after receiving a discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces. The combat engineer had been under investigation by the military for racist behaviour since the spring of 2019 and was suspected of having illegally entered the United States. Mathews had been trained in the use of explosives. Mathews was subsequently arrested by the FBI in Delaware. His case was considered before a federal grand jury in Maryland where he was indicted along with two other men on firearms and illegal entry-related charges. He is also facing charges in Delaware. If convicted on all these offences, he could serve a very long term in a U.S. prison. Mathews was a member of a secret white supremacist g...
Deadly tech: the rapid advance of First World War weaponry
Defence Today, Front Lines

Deadly tech: the rapid advance of First World War weaponry

The First World War is known for stagnancy and stalemate—trench-bound days of misery and boredom punctuated by periodic terror and wholesale slaughter. Soldiers from both sides lived in 2,490 kilometres of trenchworks winding southward from the North Sea through Belgium and France. For them it was a waiting game—a long, cold, mud-soaked ordeal broken only by the call to go “over the top,” a suicidal charge into a hail of bullets, usually at a whistle’s blow. But for all its frustrating lack of movement and futility, the First World War was, technologically speaking, a turning point, marked more than any conflict before it by advances that changed the nature of war and, in some cases, peace. The machine gun replaced the long gun as the most lethal small weapon on the battlefield; t...
A Canadian squadron in the Battle of Britain
Military Milestones

A Canadian squadron in the Battle of Britain

More than 300,000 men were evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk at the end of May 1940, and in June Britain was in a dire plight. The Germans had overrun Western Europe and France surrendered on June 22. Two days earlier, Robert Lesley Edwards of Cobourg, Ont., arrived in Britain and joined No. 1 Squadron, RCAF, in early July. His war was to be a short one. “The whole might of the enemy must soon be turned upon us,” warned Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The German air force, the Luftwaffe, was about to launch an attack designed to clear the air for a seaborne invasion. Fewer than 3,000 airmen, 112 of them Canadian, including Edwards, stood between Britain and the Germany of Adolf Hitler during the Battle of Britain. Edwards was at the controls during the squadron’s seco...
Judging a book by its cover
Defence Today, Front Lines

Judging a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover, goes the adage. But magazine readers do it all the time. In the highly competitive periodical industry, the cover is all-important. It’s that hook that can make a publication stand out from all the others on crowded newsstands, inspiring potential readers to pick it up and, hopefully, buy it. The cover, say marketers and editors alike, is the most important page of the magazine. If it doesn’t grab a shopper in three seconds, goes the rule, it won’t grab them at all. The graphic designers at Canvet Publications, publishers of Legion Magazine and the quarterly Canada’s Ultimate Story series of special editions, usually produce up to a dozen cover designs for each issue. If the preferred ideas turn out to be a particularly close call, the top ...

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