Day: March 9, 2021

Recounting CEF’s first battle
Military History, Military Milestones

Recounting CEF’s first battle

  The Canadian Expeditionary Force’s first battle experience, aside from a trench raid, came in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in mid-March 1915. The Canadians were tasked with preventing the Germans from reinforcing their position while the British pushed through enemy lines to advance the front. A new front was established, but the Allies were unable to exploit their advantage and press on due to difficulty transmitting orders and a lack of reserves. “The guns are dropped and the teams go out, form up and move away.” James Wells Ross talked about battle preparations in a letter home on April 13, 1915, one of several quoted here from the Canadian Letters & Images Project. “Imagine a column of horses and vehicles moving along a road. They turn into a field over a rough di...
Snakes on a chopper: Vietnam vets tell harrowing serpentine tales
Defence Today, Front Lines

Snakes on a chopper: Vietnam vets tell harrowing serpentine tales

“Any veterans out there run into snakes while serving?” Thus began a thread on Facebook’s “Vietnam: Helicopter War” page that took readers on a raucous thrill ride through the jungles of Southeast Asia. The post included a picture of troops holding a fat snake at least six metres long, evidently dead. A well-travelled veteran identified it as a Burmese python. “We came across a large python—had a head the size of German shepherd,” wrote Larry Kirby, an infantryman in Vietnam in 1968-69. “It had been badly hurt by an airstrike. The CO, knowing we had a guy who was deathly afraid of snakes, told this person he needed his best man to check out a noise just ahead. “The poor guy saw this massive wriggling snake—dropped his gear and ran off. We…had to find the guy—so half the company...

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