Military Milestones

Weekly Military Milestones

HMCS <em> Skeena </em>
Military Milestones

HMCS Skeena

After five years of intrepid war service, HMCS Skeena came to an ironically tragic end on anti-submarine patrol, sunk not by enemy torpedoes, but by the most relentless of sailors’ enemies, the sea. One of three Canadian ships ordered to seek shelter from a gale near Iceland on Oct. 24, 1944, Skeena sailed between Engey and Videy islands and dropped anchor. The moorage was poor on the sea bottom of rock and volcanic ash, and with the sea high and winds fierce, two holding cables were strung and an anchor watch set. Despite these precautions, the ship dragged anchor. A second anchor was dropped just before midnight. Too late. Pounded by the relentless gale, Skeena was dragged onto the rocks of Videy Island, losing both propellers. The twisting and grinding threatened to break the ...
Taking back Hill 355 – October 17, 1952
Military Milestones

Taking back Hill 355 – October 17, 1952

Hill 355, about 40 kilometres south of Seoul, South Korea, was so named by the United Nations military coalition during the Korean War because it was 355 metres above sea level. The troops called it Little Gibraltar because, like the British fortress for which it was named, it commanded the highest ground overlooking supply lines. Whoever controlled it had the upper hand in the sector. Canadians saw a lot of action on and around Hill 355, defending the front lines and pushing back heavy enemy assaults. Every Canadian battalion saw service there at some point. Following heavy bombardment in November 1951, the Chinese wrested control from American troops. The Chinese “shelled for a long, long time,” recalled Gunner Noel Knockwood in a Heroes Remember video. The Royal 22nd Regim...
Military Milestones

Wallace Algie’s sacrifice – Oct. 11, 1918

After occupying Cambrai, France, Canadian troops continued the Hundred Days Offensive, engaging in the attack on Iwuy, eight kilometres to the northeast, on Oct. 11, 1918. German machine gunners laid down heavy fire from secure positions atop a railway embankment and behind groups of houses in the town. Lieutenant Wallace Lloyd Algie of Toronto saw more machine guns being brought to bear on the Canadian position. Collecting nine volunteers, he charged a gun post, killed the gunner, and turned the weapon on the enemy, allowing his men to cross the railway embankment. Then he rushed a second machine gun, killed its crew, captured an officer and 10 men and cleared his end of the village. After showing the volunteers how to use the captured guns, Algie went back for reinforcem...
Victory over a Zeppelin
Military Milestones

Victory over a Zeppelin

On Oct. 3, 1916, dozens of people flocked to a farmer’s field just north of London at a place called Potters Bar to see the grisly spectacle of the crash site of a Zeppelin airship. The owner of the property charged a shilling to see the carnage, promising to use the money to cover damages to his property and turn the remainder to the Red Cross. For nearly two years, Britain suffered helpless outrage as German airships, particularly Zeppelins, rained destruction on military targets, killing more than 100 citizens and injuring hundreds more. The Germans called airship pilots Knights of the Air—the British called them baby-killers. Airships were part of Germany’s plan to destroy war factories and break the spirit of the British through strategic bombing. Zeppelin raids destroyed an...
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