Military Milestones

Weekly Military Milestones

The sinking of <em> U-211 </em>
Military Milestones

The sinking of U-211

The crew of U-211 was very lucky under the leadership of Korvettenkapitän Karl Hause, who took command after the German submarine had been commissioned in March 1942. It would eventually be a member of eight different wolf packs wreaking havoc in the North Atlantic. On its first patrol in August 1942, U-211 torpedoed and damaged three ships, and on its second, as part of wolf pack Raufbold, was credited with sinking the British destroyer HMS Firedrake, which was escorting a convoy in the mid-Atlantic. The luck carried on even on the third and fourth patrols in 1943, when it was attacked, first by an American B-24 Liberator, which dropped six depth charges, and three months later by a Royal Air Force Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, which dropped three depth charges. Both times the U-...
CPR reaches completion
Military Milestones, Uncategorized

CPR reaches completion

The dream of an iron road running from sea to sea was realized at 9:22 a.m. on Nov. 7, 1885, when financier Donald Smith drove the final spike connecting the east and west arms of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Craigellachie, B.C., in a pass through the Rocky Mountains west of Revelstoke. For British Columbians, it was high time, since a transcontinental railway, the inducement to become the westernmost province, was promised in 1871. When the troubled project was not complete by the original deadline of 1881, and with some B.C. politicians threatening to secede, the CPR took over the troubled project and completed it in just five years. There were actually four last spikes. A ceremonial silver spike never made it to the ceremony, so the spike that was used was identical to the othe...
Clearing the Scheldt
Military Milestones

Clearing the Scheldt

Overnight on Oct. 31, 1944, Canadian troops fought to establish a foothold on Walcheren Island, the last obstacle to opening the port of Antwerp, Belgium, to Allied shipping. The Allied invasion moved so quickly that by September, supplies had become a problem. What could be delivered through Allied-held ports or by air was insufficient to support an invasion of Germany. Antwerp, about 100 kilometres inland on the Scheldt River, was in Allied hands and could handle 1,000 ships at a time, but the Germans commanded the river approaches in the Netherlands. The First Canadian Army was tasked with liberating the Scheldt, supported by British and Polish troops. The gruelling campaign began on Oct. 2 to clear the Breskens Pocket and Leopold Canal and secure the islands on the river d...
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...

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