Anecdotes About the Canadian Military
Tremendous fan of the site since the first minute I saw it. Freakishly appropriate that, chronologically, Patton's entry is right next to that of the Viking at Stamford Bridge. The only two people in history to whom the phrase "Go fuck him in the face until his head comes off" is a complete mission order.
Something about Patton: He got so goddamn tired of the USAAF bombing his units by mistake that he threatened to take his unit out of the line (IIRC, 3rd Army), turn it through 180 degrees, and smash the shit out of 8th US Army Air Force airfields.
Some things about Canadians when confronted with the unhappy reality we call "war":
2006, Afghanistan. Just after the battles in Panjwayi, incident occurring near the Arghandab River.
Corporal Ryan Pagnacco, 8 Platoon, C Company, Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR). From Cpl Pagnacco's memoirs:
"But, to my surprise, my brush with death came just after breakfast on September 4, 2006. And when I thought the end was near, my life didn't flash before my eyes. I didn't cry. I didn't pray. I didn't try to repent, and I wasn't angry or even upset. Only three thoughts went through my mind:
I'm not dying here... not like this.
I wonder if my bagpipes survived the attack.
I wonder how funny it would be if I asked the medic to draw a curly moustache and pointy beard on my face with that Magic Marker."
Now, regarding Otterlo. Back in '44-45, the Canadians were busily liberating the shit out of Holland. It was slow going, because Ze Djormanns didn't want to fuck off and die, and the Dutch women kept climbing into our vehicles and "distracting" the crews. Nazis being assholes (immutable law of the universe #3), they'd often drop mortar fire into the streets to disrupt the Canadian advance, which had the side effect of killing a shitload of civilians. Arguments can be made that indirect fire wasn't being observed, but in many cases it was quite clearly being observed and adjusted by a forward observation officer, which means he saw the civilians and called in the fire mission anyways. Because being a Nazi Superman requires you to be a Superasshole.
The bit regarding Otterlo comes from Terry Copp's superb "Cinderella Army: The Canadians in North-West Europe, 1944-1945." It is below:
Brigadier I.H. Cumberland, who commanded Fifth Armoured Brigade, was not about to pause. The Strathconas were told to take Otterlo and then push northwest to capture Barneveld. If Barneveld was defended, they were to bypass it and strike north to cut the Apeldoorn-Amersfort road, the main east-west route of the retreating German forces. The other two armoured regiments were to conform to this thrust, British Columbia Dragoons to the north and 8th Hussars to the south. Otterlo was cleared readily enough, but beyond the town's western limits were many pockets of Infantry, some with Panzerfaust or bazooka men, who had to be dealt with by the Westministers' Motorized Infantry.
The enemy held Barneveld in strength, and the Strathconas lost three tanks on the edge of town. Bypassing was accomplished quickly, but 2000 metres beyond the north edge of town a well-organized anti-tank gun position, guarded by machine guns, barred the way. The decision was made to stop and organize a proper attack at first light on 17 April. The 11th Infantry Brigade had spent two days following the rapidly moving armoured brigade and had seen little action, so when the Irish Regiment, Governor General's Horse Guards, and elements of the divisional and corps artillery moved into Otterlo, they knew they were well behind the leading troops. The Irish Regiment took up positions on the western perimeter of the village, and the tanks of the Horse Guards found convenient harbours in various corners of the village. Suddenly Otterlo was transformed into a battlefield as hundreds of German soldiers loosely organized into battlegroups stormed through the village, throwing hand grenades and firing at every shadow.
One group bumped into 17th Field Regiment, RCA, and got a warm reception from the enraged gunners. The Regimental Sergeant Major shot two with his Sten gun, and after it jammed he used his bare hands.
The officers of the Horse Guards were at an 'O' Group in the church when the attack began and were forced to stay there until the fighting died down. The regiment's troop sergeants had no difficulty organizing the defence of their positions or the mopping up that followed, leading some to question whether officers were really necessary.
Regarding the Aussies (ANZACs), they and us get along just fine. Example, Battle of Kapyong in 1951:
The Chinese and North Koreans launch a huge fucking offensive, which smashes the nuts off the Americans and South Koreans holding the line. 3RAR (Third Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) is taking five, and suddenly Americans and Koreans go streaming past them in retreat. "What the shit, mate?" and then the Chinese are trying to ram their funny stiletto-type bayonets into some Aussie guts. The Australians aren't having any of this shit, and start beating the wee Chinese bastards right into the mud with sheer testosterone-fuelled rage.
Meanwhile, 2PPCLI is hanging tight on their hill, not currently under attack, when they notice that 3RAR is in danger of being overrun. Canadian response is immediate: "FUCK! If the Aussies get taken out, where the fuck will any serious competition for drinking games come from? The French? Not fucking likely." (France being France, they didn't have much to do with Korea, but were part of the UN. Korea is also the one time that the UN got its head out of its ass long enough to make a difference in a big way.) So 2PPLCI and 3RAR start simultaneously kicking Commie ass all over Kapyong, allowing 1 Battalion Middlesex Regiment to withdraw.
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