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Cinderella Army

Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Cinderella Army
    Book Description:

    As passionately written and compellingly argued as its precursor,Cinderella Armyis both an important bookend to Copp's earlier work, and stands on its own as a significant contribution to Canadian military history.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8418-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    On 6 June 1944 the Allies launched one of the most complex operations in the history of war – an assault landing on a defended coast. Its planners, remembering Gallipoli and Dieppe, made certain they took every conceivable measure to improve the odds of victory, but when D-Day arrived, poor weather limited the contributions of naval gunnery, airpower, and artillery. For that reason the enemy defences were substantially intact when the infantry touched down. The courage and determination of combat soldiers won the day for the Allied forces, and by midnight they had established a shallow bridgehead. This forced the...

  6. 1 Normandy to the Scheldt
    (pp. 13-56)

    The Battle of Normandy is usually said to have ended in the third week of August, when the Trun–Chambois gap east of Falaise was finally closed. After just seventy-six days the Allies had destroyed the offensive combat power of two German armies, and what was left of both was in full retreat. In retrospect, this achievement has seemed less than complete because a large number of enemy soldiers escaped encirclement. At the time, though, the battle appeared to be a decisive victory that might bring the immediate collapse of the Nazi state. It was like the summer of 1918...

  7. 2 Siege Warfare: Boulogne and Calais
    (pp. 57-84)

    While First Canadian Army’s two armoured divisions fought their way towards the Scheldt, its infantry divisions peeled off to carry out their allotted tasks along the French coast. General Sir John Crocker’s corps had been assigned the capture of Le Havre in mid-August. The decision to commit two infantry divisions, two tank brigades, most of the army’s artillery, and large elements of specialized armour ‘gadgets’ of Major-General Sir Percy Hobart’s 79th Armoured Division to the capture of a single port may seen excessive, but Crerar had been ordered to ground the corps after the capture of Le Havre. The battle...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. 3 The Breskens Pocket
    (pp. 85-118)

    When Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds was told that his corps would be responsible for freeing the approaches to Antwerp as well as securing the Channel ports, he seemed to regard the limitations on the resources available to him as a challenge to his ingenuity rather than a cause for concern. Once the siege of Boulogne was underway, he turned his attention to the Scheldt and the ‘Appreciation’ drafted by the Plans Section of First Canadian Army. This document, prepared under the supervision of Brigadier Churchill Mann and Lieutenant-Colonel George Pangman, focused on Operation Infatuate, described as the ‘capture of the islands...

  10. 4 North from Antwerp
    (pp. 119-146)

    On 14 September, Field Marshal Montgomery issued a directive outlining the goals of Operation Market Garden: ‘Our real objective … is the Ruhr. But on the way we want the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam since the capture of the Ruhr is merely the first step on the northern route of advance into Germany.’ The task of securing the ports was assigned to First Canadian Army, which was to take over Antwerp on 17 September and begin operations ‘to enable full use to be made of the port.’¹

    The 2nd Canadian Division reached Antwerp between 16 and 20 September, with...

  11. 5 Walcheren
    (pp. 147-174)

    On 5 October the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, flew to Versailles to participate in a conference with Eisenhower and his subordinate commanders. Brooke’s presence forced Montgomery – who usually sent his Chief of Staff – to attend, and he had to suffer the indignity of speaking as one of Eisenhower’s three army group commanders. According to Admiral Bertram Ramsay, Montgomery claimed that he could go to the Ruhr without Antwerp – a comment that afforded Ramsay the opportunity ‘to let fly with all my guns at the faulty strategy we had allowed.’¹ Brooke’s...

  12. 6 Regeneration
    (pp. 175-196)

    On 18 October, two days after Montgomery had taken steps to make the opening of Antwerp a priority, he met with Eisenhower and Bradley to discuss future strategy. Despite concerns about shortages in men and materiel, the three senior commanders agreed on ambitious plans ‘to defeat decisively the enemy west of the Rhine; then to seize the Ruhr and, subsequently, to advance deep into Germany.’¹ Montgomery believed that the first phase of these operations could begin as early as 10 November, and he wanted to complete a regrouping of his forces as soon as possible. First Canadian Army was to...

  13. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  14. 7 Veritable
    (pp. 197-222)

    The year of victory, 1945, did not begin auspiciously for the Allies in Western Europe. In December the enemy’s Ardennes offensive had achieved complete surprise and taken the initiative away from Eisenhower’s armies. Then on New Year’s Eve, Hitler launched another offensive in the south aimed at diverting Allied resources from the Battle of the Bulge.¹ On New Year’s Day the Luftwaffe, long absent from the daytime skies, mounted a major offensive, destroying three hundred Allied aircraft, most of them on the ground. This attack, later dismissed as the ‘hangover raid,’ proved a greater disaster to the German Air Force,...

  15. 8 Blockbuster and the Rhine
    (pp. 223-246)

    General Bill Simpson’s 9th U.S. Army had waited impatiently while the battle of the Rhineland was waged by British and Canadian troops. With ten divisions, three of them armoured, 9th Army had more than 300,000 men under command as well as its own tactical air force. Intelligence reports indicated that now that Panzer Lehr had been committed to stemming Veritable, there were fewer than 30,000 German troops, of varying quality, between the Americans and the Rhine. Simpson and his corps commanders were understandably anxious to launch such a promising operation.¹ When U.S. Army engineers calculated that the reservoirs behind the...

  16. 9 The Liberation of Holland
    (pp. 247-284)

    The decision to try to destroy the German Army west of the Rhine and then cross the river in a major operation north of the Ruhr had been made in December 1944, before the Ardennes offensive. The Rhine crossing, code-named Operation Plunder, was to be the major Allied effort to end the war by striking in a ‘single thrust’ for Berlin. Then, at the Malta Conference in early February of 1945, Eisenhower revised this conception of the invasion of Germany, outlining a plan that allowed for a second major river crossing south of the Ruhr. The British leaders immediately protested...

  17. Conclusion
    (pp. 285-296)

    When the official historian C.P. Stacey came to write the conclusion to his book on the campaign in Normandy and Northwest Europe, he put forward the view that the Canadians, after a shaky start in Normandy, developed into a body of ‘battle-hardened soldiers’ who had ‘mastered every aspect of their task.’ First Canadian Army, he declared, ‘was an exceptionally efficient fighting machine’ with ‘sound, sure and intelligent command at all levels.’¹ The evidence presented in this study suggests a rather different picture: an army that continued to experience both success and failure at the command, staff, and combat levels. The...

  18. Appendix A. Deficiencies and Holdings of Canadian Infantry, Other Ranks: Northwest Europe, 27 August 1944–28 April 1945
    (pp. 297-298)
  19. Appendix B. Canadian Army Fatal Casualties, Northwest Europe, 21 August 1944–5 May 1945
    (pp. 299-301)
  20. Appendix C. Weekly Incidence of Losses Canadian Army Northwest Europe: All Causes
    (pp. 302-303)
  21. Appendix D. Artillery in Operation Switchback
    (pp. 304-307)
  22. Appendix E. Third Division Psychiatric Report, October 1944
    (pp. 308-311)
    (Maj.) R.A. Gregory
  23. Appendix F. Notes on Dyke and Polder Fighting – 3 Cdn Inf Div Study Period (from Hist Offr 3 Cdn Inf Div)
    (pp. 312-317)
    (pp. 318-321)
  25. Appendix H. Report of Combined Operations on Walcheren Island from the Viewpoint of #8 Cdn Fd Surgical Unit, RCAMC
    (pp. 322-326)
  26. Appendix I. Canadian Operations in Northwest Europe, June to November 1944: Extracts from War Diaries and Memoranda (Series 17)
    (pp. 327-330)
  27. Appendix J. Operation Blockbuster – 9th Brigade
    (pp. 331-333)
  28. Appendix K. Memorandum of Interview with Lt Col F.E. White, Officer Commanding 6 Cdn Armd Regt (1 Hussars) Given to Hist Offr 3 Cdn Inf Div 10 Mar 45
    (pp. 334-337)
    (pp. 338-340)
  30. Notes
    (pp. 341-380)
  31. Bibliography
    (pp. 381-390)
  32. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 391-392)
  33. Index
    (pp. 393-407)