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Research Papers

The FCWM Research Papers are in-depth looks at some of the subject matter found within the galleries of the Canadian War Museum. They are provided as reference material for those seeking more detailed information than is currently available in the Museum.

pdf How to Knock Out a Tank (1.13 MB)

When the tank made its first appearance in battle at Flers-Courcelette in September 1916, its main obstacle was not enemy action so much as mechanical break-down and getting stuck in the tormented terrain of the Somme battlefield.

pdf How to Sink a Submarine (783 KB)

The Canadian Navy did not set out to be an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) force but events conspired to make it one. Consequently, the Canadian War Museum’s collection of naval artifacts includes a fair assembly of weapons used throughout its history by the Navy in its prosecution of submarines. In theory, it should not be hard to sink a submarine. This paper looks at the methods used by the RCN throughout its history.

pdf The Royal 22e Régiment (227 KB)

The Royal 22e Régiment which, as of 2014, has been serving Canada for one hundred years was formed on October 21, 1914, in order to provide French-Canadians with a French language unit in which they could better support Canada against the Germans.

pdf Chronicles of Courage - Canada's Victoria Cross Winners (5.61 MB)

The Victoria Cross is the highest British Commonwealth decoration for gallantry. This paper provides some background on the institution of the award and then provides details of each of the 100 "Canadian" Victoria Crosses awarded. In his definition of "Canadian", the author has included those born in Canada, those awarded the decoration while serving in the Canadian armed forces, and the one awarded in Canada. The commonly cited number of Canadian recipients is 94. Find out why the author has come up with the bigger number.

Samuel Holland: from Gunner and Sapper To Cartographer, 1755-1762

Before his appointment in 1764 as Canada's first British surveyor-general, Samuel Johannes Holland (1729-1801) served as a cadet and subaltern in the Dutch artillery from 1745 to 1755 and as an engineer in the British army from 1755 to 1762.

The U-Boat War 1939 - 1945

Winston Churchill once stated that the only thing that frightened him during the Second World War was the U-Boat threat. This paper provides information on the scope of this campaign, and of the men and boats of the German submarine service, including a summary annex on the activities and fate of every U-Boat.

Newfoundland in Two World Wars

This paper briefly outlines the contribution of the colony of Newfoundland to the Allied cause during the two world wars of the 20th century.

20th Century Canadian Artillery

The use of artillery in North America dates from the earliest visits to the continent by Europeans. Jacques Cartier’s guns impressed the natives in 1534. The American Generals Montgomery and Arnold had their incursion stopped by artillery at Quebec in 1775.

The Cold War. A Timeline of Major Events 1945 - 1991

This paper traces the origins of the Cold War to the Yalta Conference of 1945 and then briefly describes the major events that characterised the next forty six years as the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, and their allies faced off in the greatest military stand-off in history, all the time under the threat of a nuclear holocaust.  The paper concludes with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989  and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1990/91.

Field Artillery: The Evolution of Indirect Fire Methods and the Acquisition of Targets

This paper is intended to give a brief history of the evolution of indirect fire and the methods of target acquisition developed for field artillery over the last century and a half or so. It deals mainly with gunnery in Commonwealth forces, which, with minor differences, all used the same British Army methods.

Canada and the Battle of Britain

This paper describes the pivotal 1940 air battle that saw the Royal Air Force defeat the Luftwaffe over the skies of Britain thereby cancelling Hitler’s thoughts of an invasion of Britain. A large number of Canadians served in the RAF during this battle and, in addition, the first Canadian Squadron, 401 City of Westmount, also played a role in the victory. These Canadian contributions are summarised in the paper.

World War II Gallantry Awards

This paper describes the individual gallantry medals awarded by both the Allies and the Axis during World War II  and the criteria for their award.

pdf The Riel Rebellion (685 KB) s

Louis Riel is one of the most controversial figures in Canadian history – to some he is a hero and a martyr; to others, a traitor. This document is a snapshot of his life as chief of the Métis of Manitoba during two rebellions against the established authorities at he time - the Red River Rebellion of 1870 and the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.  This document explores the causes, events and results of these two rebellions.

pdf The War of 1812 (507 KB)

 This document describes the causes, principal events and results of the War of 1812, and further explores how it affected the eventual emergence of Canada as an independent nation.

6 (RCAF) Bomber Group Command

This paper describes the background, operations, organization and aircraft of 6(RCAF) Group, an entirely Canadian formation within RAF Bomber Command during World War II.

Canadian Submarines & Submariners

Canada acquired its first submarines in 1914 and in one way or another, the Royal Canadian Navy has been involved in or with submarines ever since. This paper describes the history of the Canadian submarine service and of Canadian submariners during both world wars and in the post-World War II period.

pdf Canada and the 2nd Boer War (712 KB)

This paper describes the origins of the Second Boer War of 1899-1902 and looks at the background to the Canadian participation and provides details of that participation.

Canada and the Korean War

The smoke had barely cleared from the battlefields of World War II when Canadians, many of them veterans of the world conflict, found themselves involved in a far-off location in a conflict that became known as the Korean War, or to many of those who participated – the Forgotten War.

The Fenian Raids

This paper describes the five incursions into Canada by the Irish Republican Brotherhood during the period 1866-1870. Each of the raids is described and the results and long-term effects on Canada-US relations are briefly discussed.

World War II Conferences

During World War II, the Allied grand strategy for the defeat of the Axis forces was developed at a series of conferences between the “Big Three”, Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. This paper looks at each of the major conferences and summarises the principal outcomes of each

pdf The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (892 KB)

Established in 1939 the BCATP was a huge training program for allied aircrew to meet the continually growing demand. The largest contributor to this program was Canada and this paper looks at the background to the Plan and, in particular the specific role played by Canada.

pdf U-Boats in the First World War (1.03 MB)

Today when one speaks of the “U-Boat War” they are usually referring to the Battle of the Atlantic of World War II and of the depredations and destruction caused by the submariners of the Nazi Kriegsmarine.  It may, therefore, come as a surprise to learn that the U-Boat campaign of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Imperial navy during World War I very nearly spelled the economic collapse of the Allied war effort.  This paper will trace the growth of the German U-Boat fleet in World War I, of its most successful commanders, and its eventual demise.

Canadian Nursing Sisters in the Korean War

This paper describes the largely unknown role played by 60 Canadian Nursing sisters during the Korean War. It includes descriptions of the living and working conditions and lauds their contribution to the overall Canadian contribution to the conflict.


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