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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


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First World War
Troops and Traditions

Canadian Expeditionary Force: Operations of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

The official history of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) is the obvious place to begin a study of Canadian operations. Between the World Wars, the Department of National Defence planned a multi-volume history but only the first, by Colonel A.F. Duguid, along with an accompanying volume of appendices, appeared before the Second World War broke out. Two volumes of official medical history (listed in the Medicine section) were also published. When most of the Second World War official histories were completed, the Historical Section at Army Headquarters again addressed the absence of an official military history of Canada's war effort in the first conflict. A one-volume history of the CEF by Colonel G.W.L. Nicholson, published only in 1962, was much more modest than Duguid's proposals, but remains the authoritative standard work.

Subsequent works have dealt with particular aspects of the CEF. The article by Stephen Harris emphasizes the changing relationship of the CEF and its primary combatant component, the Canadian Corps, to the British Army, and how this changed the relationship of Canada to the mother country. Harris also investigates this relationship in his monograph Canadian brass, listed in the General part of these pathfinders. Desmond Morton has condensed several decades of research into When your number's up, which is the most comprehensive study of life in the CEF.

A few writers have delved into how the CEF and the Canadian Corps organized for war and conducted battle. For this, a basic reference is Report of the Ministry : overseas military forces of Canada which provides a wealth of organizational information on the Canadian forces at the end of the war. Bill Rawling, both in Surviving trench warfare and in his articles, has investigated the role of technology upon organization and tactics. Tim Cook's recent book on gas warfare examines the tactical environment created by a weapon that became almost synonymous with the horror of the Great War. Three M.A. theses have attempted to analyse the success of the Canadian Corps and its unique features. Kenneth Eyre investigates the sources of leadership that enabled Canada's amateur soldiers of 1914 to become so thoroughly professional by the end of the war. William Stewart concentrates on the growth of tactical doctrine within the Corps. Ian McCulloch's thesis is a case study in how one formation went about its tasks.

Canadians have viewed the capture of Vimy Ridge, in 1917, as a symbolic step to nationhood and a number of writers have examined this battle at length. More recently, historians have turned to the battles of the Hundred Days after Amiens, in August 1918, to seek the reasons for the Canadian Corps' success. Both Shane Schreiber's book and Dan Dancocks's Spearhead to victory are useful sources for this study.

Cook, Tim -- No place to run : the Canadian Corps and gas warfare in the First World War. -- Vancouver : UBC Press, 1999. -- 296 p.

* Duguid, A. Fortescue. -- Official history of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914-1919. -- Volume I. -- Ottawa : King's Printer, 1938. -- 1 vol. in 2. -- Also published in French under the title: Histoire officielle de l'Armée canadienne dans la Grande Guerre, 1914-1919

Eyre, Kenneth C. -- Staff and command in the Canadian Corps. -- M.A. thesis, Duke Univ., Durham, N.C., 1967.

Goodspeed, D.J. -- The road past Vimy : the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918. -- Toronto : Macmillan, 1969. -- 185 p.

Harris, Stephen. -- "From subordinate to ally : the Canadian Corps and national autonomy, 1914-1918". -- Revue internationale d'histoire militaire. -- No 51 (1982). -- p. 109-130

McCulloch, Ian. -- The fighting Seventh : the evolution and devolution of tactical command and control in a Canadian infantry brigade of the Great War [microform]. -- Ottawa : National Library of Canada, [1998]. -- 4 microfiches. -- (Canadian theses on microfiche). -- M.A. thesis, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ont., 1997

Morton, Desmond. -- When your number's up : the Canadian soldier in the First World War. -- Toronto : Random House, 1993. -- 354 p.

* Nicholson, G.W.L. -- Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919. -- Ottawa : Queen's Printer, 1962. -- 621 p. -- (Official history of the Canadian Army in the First World War). -- Also published in French under the title: Corps expéditionnaire canadien, 1914-1919

Rawling, Bill. -- "Communications in the Canadian Corps, 1915-1918". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 3, no. 2 (Autumn 1994). -- p. 6-21

____. -- Surviving trench warfare : technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1992. -- 325 p.

____. -- "Technology in search of a role : the machine gun and the CEF in the First World War". -- Material history review = Revue d'histoire de la culture matérielle. -- No. 42 (Fall 1995). -- p. 87-100

Stewart, William. -- Attack doctrine in the Canadian Corps, 1916-1918 [microform]. -- Ottawa : National Library of Canada, 1982. -- 3 microfiches. -- (Canadian theses on microfiche). -- M.A. thesis, Univ. of New Brunswick, 1982. -- 207 l.

Swettenham, John. -- To seize the victory : the Canadian Corps in World War I. -- Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1965. -- 265 p.

Ypres and Flanders, 1915-1916

Cassar, George. -- Beyond courage : the Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres. -- [S.l.] : Oberon Press, 1985. -- 218 p.

Christie, N.M. -- Gas attack! The Canadians at Ypres, 1915. -- Nepean, Ont. : CEF Books, 1998. -- 38 p. -- (The access to history series, no. 1)

Cook, Tim. -- "The blind leading the blind : the battle of the St. Eloi craters". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 5, no. 2 (Autumn 1996). -- p. 24-36

Dancocks, Daniel G. -- Welcome to Flanders Fields : the first Canadian battle of the Great War : Ypres, 1915. -- Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1988. -- 292 p. -- (A Douglas Gibson book)

McWilliams, James L. ; Steele, R. James. -- Gas! : the battle for Ypres, 1915. -- St. Catharines, Ont. : Vanwell Pub., 1985. -- 247 p.

The Somme, 1916

Christie, N.M. -- Futility & sacrifice : the Canadians on the Somme, 1916. -- Nepean, Ont. : CEF Books, 1998. -- 36 p. -- (The access to history series, no. 2)

Arras and Vimy, 1917

Berton, Pierre. -- Vimy. -- Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1986. -- 336 p.

Boire, Michael. -- "The underground war : military mining operations in support of the attack on Vimy Ridge, 9 April 1917". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 1, nos. 1-2 (Autumn 1992). -- p. 15-24

Christie, N.M. -- Winning the ridge : the Canadians at Vimy Ridge, 1917. -- Nepean, Ont. : CEF Books, 1998. -- 36 p. -- (The access to history series, no. 3)

Cook, Tim. -- "'A proper slaughter' : the March 1917 gas raid at Vimy Ridge". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 1999). -- p. 7-23

Godefroy, Andrew B. -- "A lesson in success : the Calonne trench raid, 17 January 1917". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 1999). -- p. 25-34

* Greenhous, Brereton ; Harris, Stephen J. -- Canada and the battle of Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April, 1917. -- Ottawa : Supply and Services Canada, 1992. -- 149 p. -- Also published in French under the title: Le Canada et la bataille de Vimy, 9-12 avril, 1917

Macintyre, D.E. -- Canada at Vimy. -- Toronto : p.  Martin, 1967. -- 229 p.

Macksey, Kenneth. -- The shadow of Vimy Ridge. -- Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1965. -- 264 p.

Wood, Herbert Fairlie. -- Vimy! -- Toront  : Macmillan, 1967. -- 186 p.

Ypres and Passchendaele, 1917

Christie, N.M. -- Slaughter in the mud : the Canadians at Passchendaele, 1917. -- Nepean, Ont. : CEF Books, 1998. -- 36 p. -- (The access to history series, no. 4)

Dancocks, Daniel G. -- Legacy of valour : the Canadians at Passchendaele. -- Edmonton : Hurtig Publishers, 1986. -- 289 p.

The German Offensives, 1918

Grodzinski, John R. ; McNorgan, Michael R. -- "'It's a charge, boys, it's a charge!' : Cavalry action at Moreuil Wood, 30 March 1918". -- Fighting for Canada : seven battles, 1758-1945. -- Edited by Donald E. Graves. -- Toronto : R. Brass Studio, 2000. -- p. 243-274

Amiens, 1918

Chappelle, Dean. -- "The Canadian attack at Amiens, 8-11 August 1918". -- Canadian military history. -- Vol. 2, no. 2 (Autumn 1993). -- p. 89-101

Greenhous, Brereton. -- The battle of Amiens, 8-11 August 1918. -- Toronto : Canadian War Museum ; Balmuir Books, 1995. -- 37 p. -- (Canadian battle series, no. 15)

The Hundred Days, 1918

Dancocks, Daniel G. -- Spearhead to victory : Canada and the Great War. -- Edmonton : Hurtig, 1987. -- 294 p.

Schreiber, Shane B. -- Shock army of the British Empire : the Canadian Corps in the last 100 days of the Great War. -- Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 1997. -- 164 p. -- (Praeger series in war studies)

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