After Dunkirk, as the tattered remnants of Britain’s best troops returned home without their heavy weapons, Canadian troops moved in to defend northwest Europe, sending in virtually all of its disposable weapon resources and 368,000 soldiers. The majority of these were to be part of the First Canadian Army, which would play a key role leading to the unconditional surrender by Nazi Germany on May 9, 1945.
This book is a pictorial history of the First Canadian Army in northwest Europe during the final year of the war. It concentrates not just on the events of 75 years ago but also what can be seen on the ground today.
The illustrations, over 350 of them, include battle, landing and assault maps; photographs of soldiers in action and resting, aerial photographs of key sites of action then and now; battlefield survivors such as Sherman tanks; memorials to individuals and units; and, of course, the cemeteries of Canadian, Polish and British soldiers.
In eight chapters, the book covers the D-Day landing, the Battle of Normandy, Clearing the Coast, Clearing the Scheldt, The Rhineland, “Last Rites,” and a remembrance. Historic photos are supported with modern views of the towns and terrain over which the Canadians fought.
Military history buffs will enjoy this book for its focus on a specific battalion and its actions at a decisive moment in the war. The archival photographs are important records and reminders of this watershed moment in WWII’s European theater.
While the tables of organization are useful to scholars, collectors, military vehicle enthusiasts, gamers, and reenactors, this book does not offer much coverage of the equipment, uniforms, or weapons unique to the Canadian forces. Regardless, the maps, photos, and historic explanation in this book will form a strong foundation for further study into the First Canadian Army’s role in liberating Europe.— JAG
Look inside: First Canadian Army
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