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Canadian Replacement Crisis 1944

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  • #16
    I was thinking 52nd Division while I was typing 15th. By the time a British Male reached 18 he had passed up the Royal Navy and RAF to become drafted. The age of being drafted was 18. At the beginning of the war a conscript was put into Basic Training and then transferred to a Reserve Division until age 19. This was cut back until it was 18. I am unsure if the Basic Training was kept at 6 months at the end of the war. Units in the UK provided replacement drafts for the units in combat until they were sent into combat themselves. The 3rd Division (Infantry) was sent to France full of trained Regulars in 1939/40. These Regulars were long gone when the unit landed in Normandy.

    At the beginning of the war, the RAF insisted on Army units to guard its airfields. This did not benefit Infantry units as there was no combat training. As the war went on, the RAF Regiment was created. Like most wartime organizations it grew until it was almost too big. This did allow Infantry units to go into the fight. The Dodecanese Campaign saw the RAF Regiment actually face German Infantry.

    The further the British Army advanced in Italy and Germany the more support troops were needed. The African colonies did provide a lot of labor units. Canada sent a unit of Lumberjacks to provide lumber for Army use. Look at all the Truck Companies used in the ETO!

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #17
      A couple of things to take in consideration when comparing Canadian troops verses British or American manpower is :

      1. All Canadian troops serving in Europe or the FarEast were Regular troops as Canada did not have a Draft/Conscription programme for the general population. Read up on the "D-Day Dodgers"

      2. Re the population of Canada at the start of WW2 did not give a big gene pool to draw from......appox 11,million in 1940
      Last edited by Bow; 11 Jun 19, 10:36.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
        I was thinking 52nd Division while I was typing 15th. By the time a British Male reached 18 he had passed up the Royal Navy and RAF to become drafted. The age of being drafted was 18. At the beginning of the war a conscript was put into Basic Training and then transferred to a Reserve Division until age 19. This was cut back until it was 18. I am unsure if the Basic Training was kept at 6 months at the end of the war. Units in the UK provided replacement drafts for the units in combat until they were sent into combat themselves. The 3rd Division (Infantry) was sent to France full of trained Regulars in 1939/40. These Regulars were long gone when the unit landed in Normandy.

        At the beginning of the war, the RAF insisted on Army units to guard its airfields. This did not benefit Infantry units as there was no combat training. As the war went on, the RAF Regiment was created. Like most wartime organizations it grew until it was almost too big. This did allow Infantry units to go into the fight. The Dodecanese Campaign saw the RAF Regiment actually face German Infantry.

        The further the British Army advanced in Italy and Germany the more support troops were needed. The African colonies did provide a lot of labor units. Canada sent a unit of Lumberjacks to provide lumber for Army use. Look at all the Truck Companies used in the ETO!

        Pruitt
        Our infantry training in 1943 was 6 months. lcm1
        'By Horse by Tram'.


        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
        " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by MarkV View Post

          Although behind the US in 1938 the number of UK households with access to a car was the highest in Europe and similarly the number of men with occupations that required the ability to drive (delivery men etc) was higher The thing that distinguished the US was the number of households with multiple vehicles. Britain may have had a higher proportion who owned a motor cycle but figures on this are a bit flakey. British tank crews certainly performed routine maintenance that German crews could not and they had special teams that would go round the lager each night just to perform these tasks.

          By 1943 the name of a unit was no longer a reliable guide to where its recruits came from. The older men would most likely be from the locality but conscripts were increasingly allocated as replacements to the units most in need regardless of where they were enlisted which is why you'll find Cornishmen serving in Highland regiments etc

          Often the culture of a unit owed at least as much to that of the commanding officer as anything else and there are case studies of the efforts some Scots COs took to maintaining a Scots identity in their division even though a significant number of the men did not come from Scotland.
          A lot of Irishmen joined up while living in England and ended up in English units
          The fact that the UK Family was the highest in Europe in 1938 for access to a car I found very amusing. Working class families did not have cars for the most obvious of reasons! A man that drove a company car might ( with a bit of luck ) have access to the car at weekends but that was about all. People did not drive cars they rode bikes or sat on a bus or tram!! lcm1
          'By Horse by Tram'.


          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

          Comment


          • #20
            I've just finished reading 'The Guns of Victory: Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1944-45' by George Blackburn. He was an artillery FOO who worked closely with the Canadian Infantry. In several chapters he relates the footsloggers Company COs telling him of the very poor standard of training of replacements coming to their Platoons. These poor lads were almost all killed or wounded within the first week. It's a real eye opener for anyone who thought the Germans had shot their bolt after Christmas 1944. Right up to the last day of the war in Europe, these poorly trained youngsters, were paying the ultimate price to put the nazis in history's dustbin.
            The long toll of the brave
            Is not lost in darkness
            Over the fruitful earth
            And athwart the seas
            Hath passed the light of noble deeds
            Unquenchable forever.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post

              The fact that the UK Family was the highest in Europe in 1938 for access to a car I found very amusing. Working class families did not have cars for the most obvious of reasons! A man that drove a company car might ( with a bit of luck ) have access to the car at weekends but that was about all. People did not drive cars they rode bikes or sat on a bus or tram!! lcm1
              Probably half the people in the country who knew how to drive in 1946 were taught to do so in the forces!

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                At the beginning of the war, the RAF insisted on Army units to guard its airfields. This did not benefit Infantry units as there was no combat training. As the war went on, the RAF Regiment was created. Like most wartime organizations it grew until it was almost too big. This did allow Infantry units to go into the fight. The Dodecanese Campaign saw the RAF Regiment actually face German Infantry.
                The RAF Regiment seemed to get bigger even as the importance of their role receded. I bet the Army's efforts to recruit men from the RAF Regiment to the infantry wasn't helped by the fact that the RAF men were paid 6d per day more!

                Churchill certainly had the right idea though, for all the talk of a manpower 'crisis' it would have only taken an extra 25,000 trained infantrymen by September 1944 to have obviated the need to disband any of the infantry formations on the Continent!
                The Canadian forces probably only needed an extra 5,000 trained infantryman to prevent the half-trained cooks, clerks and drivers being fed into the frontline.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Gooner View Post

                  Probably half the people in the country who knew how to drive in 1946 were taught to do so in the forces!
                  Even Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, learned to drive in the armed forces during WW2.

                  https://www.history.com/news/8-thing...n-elizabeth-ii
                  "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by lcm1 View Post

                    The fact that the UK Family was the highest in Europe in 1938 for access to a car I found very amusing. Working class families did not have cars for the most obvious of reasons! A man that drove a company car might ( with a bit of luck ) have access to the car at weekends but that was about all. People did not drive cars they rode bikes or sat on a bus or tram!! lcm1
                    True but much more so in mainland Europe. Britain tended to have more middle class families who were beginning to aspire to be motorised especially with the growth of suburbia (on the continent many more lived in city apartments and had less need for a car). By 1938 there were 2 million private cars on British roads and well over 3 million motor vehicles in total (including motor bikes, vans, lorries, buses etc ) According to The Coventry Museum of Transport car ownership had doubled in the 1930s. In 1938 alone the British motor industry produced 341,000 cars most being made by Morris, Austin and Ford and destined for the domestic market.

                    Incidentally road deaths skyrocketed being about three times higher than they are today.
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      There was a good book recently published about conscription in Canada that uses a lot of primary source material and examines the high level as well as low level implementation of the process. It also does an excellent job of looking at previous study on the subject.
                      51u1oAsNZNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
                      https://www.amazon.ca/Zombie-Army-Ca.../dp/0774830514

                      UBC Press published a sample excerpt which can be found here:
                      https://www.ubcpress.ca/asset/13397/...15_Excerpt.pdf

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                        I've just finished reading 'The Guns of Victory: Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1944-45' by George Blackburn. He was an artillery FOO who worked closely with the Canadian Infantry. In several chapters he relates the footsloggers Company COs telling him of the very poor standard of training of replacements coming to their Platoons. These poor lads were almost all killed or wounded within the first week. It's a real eye opener for anyone who thought the Germans had shot their bolt after Christmas 1944. Right up to the last day of the war in Europe, these poorly trained youngsters, were paying the ultimate price to put the nazis in history's dustbin.
                        Well I must admit that the 33rd Battalion was 75 percent teen and early twenties but until recently I never considered us poorly trained. Perhaps we were good because of the excellent senior NCOs that we were blessed with. lcm1
                        'By Horse by Tram'.


                        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                        " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                          True but much more so in mainland Europe. Britain tended to have more middle class families who were beginning to aspire to be motorised especially with the growth of suburbia (on the continent many more lived in city apartments and had less need for a car). By 1938 there were 2 million private cars on British roads and well over 3 million motor vehicles in total (including motor bikes, vans, lorries, buses etc ) According to The Coventry Museum of Transport car ownership had doubled in the 1930s. In 1938 alone the British motor industry produced 341,000 cars most being made by Morris, Austin and Ford and destined for the domestic market.

                          Incidentally road deaths skyrocketed being about three times higher than they are today.
                          Ah yes, middle class and upwards, I was talking about the class I belonged to, most of whom were so poorly paid by their middleclass bosses that they had to think twice about buying a packet of Woodbines! Road deaths I can understand when I think of the things they were allowed to do in those days, a good for instance that comes to mind is Builders that had open backed trucks would pile his workers onto the back of his open truck and drive them into town at the end of the day. And no 'Booze Buses' in those days!! No seat belts, He He, no wonder the death rate was high! lcm1
                          Last edited by lcm1; 12 Jun 19, 20:08.
                          'By Horse by Tram'.


                          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Gooner View Post

                            Probably half the people in the country who knew how to drive in 1946 were taught to do so in the forces!
                            Now that is a high possibility!! lcm1
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


                            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post

                              Ah yes, middle class and upwards, I was talking about the class I belonged to, most of whom were so poorly paid by their middleclass bosses that they had to think twice about buying a packet of Woodbines! Road deaths I can understand when I think of the things they were allowed to do in those days, a good for instance that comes to mind is Builders that had open backed trucks would pile his workers onto the back of his open truck and drive them into town at the end of the day. And no 'Booze Buses' in those days!! No seat belts, He He, no wonder the death rate was high! lcm1
                              Actually the majority of those killed or injured on the road were pedestrians. Before 1935 there was no driving test. you could just buy a license and off you went. My dad never took a test. The original test was very basic covering basic competency but very little on safety
                              • General questions on the highway code.
                              • Correct use of hand signals.
                              • Emergency braking on the command - stop!
                              • Pull away on a steep hill.
                              • Three point turn.
                              • Reverse manoeuvre.
                              No mirror, signal stuff. Speed limits were few and far between. The pedestrian crossing was only introduced in the mid 30s after the minister for transport was nearly knocked down crossing the road and it was a while before these became common. Kids were not taught how to cross a road in their basic schooling.

                              Anyway to get back to my original point - with between 3 to 4 million vehicles on the road there would be at least that number of people with driving experience - mostly male and a good proportion of service age.

                              Army driving instruction could be minimalistic. I remember hearing the experience of a friend's father who learnt to drive a truck in 1941. His instruction consisted of being shown the controls by a sergeant and then spending an hour or two on his own in the cab driving round and round a large parade ground with a load of other trainees to the sound of clashing and grinding gears. The rest he picked up 'on the job'.
                              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                From the Canadian Official History, C.P. Stacey.
                                Royal Hamilton Light Infantry:

                                "We were prevented from probing forward as the average company strength was forty-five and the casualties amongst our officers and NCOs and older men were very heavy. The bulk of the men in the battalion at the present time had not had very much infantry training, but had been remustered from other branches of the service.

                                'At this time (17 October) two of the R.H.L.I.'s four rifle companies had only one officer each. The Canadian Black Watch on 19 October calculated that in the battalion's rifle companies, then 379 all ranks in strength, there were 159 men with three months or more of infantry training; 46 with two months or more; 131 with one month, 29 with less than one month and 14 with none. The Second-in-Command reported to the C.O., "It is unnecessary to point out to you, sir, that the previous training of a man listed as, for instance, 'one month', on paper, probably represents considerably less time actual training. This assumption is borne out by the fact that very few men arrive with knowledge of the PIAT, or elementary section and platoon tactics. Some reinforcements have never fired the Bren L.M.G. or handled grenades."'
                                https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/...ictory-15.html


                                Did the men 'remustered' from other branches of the service have any choice in the matter of going into the infantry?

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