Lest We forget: The Vehicles Canada Made for WWIINov 9th, 2016
Canada’s involvement in both World War I and World War II have become a large part of our national identity. We participated in massive battles on the ground, supported troops from above, and ran into the face of danger without a second thought. The individuals who gave their lives proved that Canada is a strong country, united by a common will to do good in the world.
While many of the vehicles and equipment Canadian troops used in both world wars were imported from either Britain or the US, there were a few vehicles Canada was responsible for manufacturing during WWII. Here are a few:
Fox Armoured Car
This little tank-like vehicle was built by GM Canada and was based on the British Humber Armoured Car MK III. While only 1,506 vehicles were made, the Fox was used in operations in Italy, UK and India. With only enough space for four men the crew often consisted of the commander, the driver, a gunner and wireless operator.
This tank was made to safely carry troops and medical aid from one place to another. General Guy Simonds, acting commander of the First Canadian Army was was ordered to follow up D-Day attacks with an assault on Falaise, wanted to using armoured vehicles to transport troops to ensure they reach their objectives. At the time, there were no vehicles equipped for the task, so the Canadian army converted extra M7 Priest 105 mm self-propelled guns by removing the guns and welding steel plates across the gaps this left in the armour. They’re called “Kangaroos” because the idea was to carry infantry in the belly of the tank, similar to the away a mother kangaroo does with her young. The kangaroo would serve to be the basis for the armoured personnel carriers that are still in use today.
While this was a British design, many variations of this tank were built at the Canadian Pacific Angus shops in Montreal, as they were the only factory capable of such builds in Canada at the time. Known for being both strong and reliable, the Valentine Tanks featured riveted and welded construction, petrol and diesel powerplants and a progressive increase in armament.
On this Remembrance Day, we want to say thank you to the men and women of the Canadian Forces who continue to make great sacrifices to serve our country.