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5th Canadian Division
5 Canadian Armoured Division patch.png
5th Canadian Division formation patch
Active Feb 1917- Feb1918
Country Canada
Allegiance Allies
Branch Canadian Army
Type Infantry
Nickname(s) The Mighty Maroon Machine
Engagements Italian Campaign
North-West Europe
Bert Hoffmeister

The 5th Canadian Division was first created as a formation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. It was stood down during the war only to be reactivated through the renaming from '1st Canadian Armoured Division' to the 5th Canadian Armoured Division during the Second World War. In both wars the division was recognized by the distinctive Maroon patch worn on the sleeve of its soldiers.

First World War[edit | edit source]

The 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Corps was formed during World War I. The 5th began assembling in Britain in February, 1917, but was broken up in February 1918 before it was fully formed. Its men were used as reinforcements for the other four Canadian divisions, helping to maintain the over-strength Divisions of 22,000-25,000 with more than 100,000 men Total.[citation needed]It was reactivated in 2013.[1]

Infantry Units[edit | edit source]

13th Canadian Brigade:

14th Canadian Brigade:

15th Canadian Brigade:

Attached Troops:

5th Canadian (Armoured) Division[edit | edit source]

5th Canadian (Armoured) Division was a Canadian division during World War II. Following its redesignation from '1st Canadian Armoured Division', the bulk proceeded overseas in one main convoy, arriving in the UK at the end of November 1941.

The 5th Armoured spent two years of the war uneventfully in the UK, finally transferring to the Mediterranean in November 1943 to join I Canadian Corps. The division moved without its tanks and vehicles, inheriting heavily used equipment as a legacy from the British 7th Armoured Division who they relieved in Italy. The majority of the vehicles were completely worn out, having first been issued in North Africa or were two-wheel drive – useless in Italy. It took several months for the division to be fully equipped with new vehicles, including M4 Shermans. Only the 11th Infantry Brigade was committed prior to 31 January 1944.[citation needed].[2]

The 5th Armoured took part in the Italian Campaign until the end of 1944 seeing notable action on the Hitler Line after the Allied breakthrough at Cassino in May 1944 and also during Operation Olive on the Gothic Line in August 1944. During the latter battle its single infantry brigade was augmented by a second, which was raised using reinforcements and units serving in other roles. Among them was 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards – 1st Canadian Division's armoured recce unit. As with other Allied armoured divisions in the Mediterranean, local resources were used to establish an additional infantry brigade, the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade.[citation needed] Based on the colour of its shoulder patch, the division became known as the "Mighty Maroon Machine".[3]

In January 1945, the division moved by truck, train, and naval transport to Belgium via Livorno and Marseille. After arriving, it disbanded the 12th Brigade, and re-equipped to join the First Canadian Army in time to participate in the final offensives across the Rhine.[citation needed]

Commanding officers[edit | edit source]

B.M. Hoffmeister

Organization until July 1944 and after March 1945[edit | edit source]

Formation sign used to identify vehicles of the 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division

5th Canadian Armoured Brigade[edit | edit source]

11th Canadian Infantry Brigade[edit | edit source]

Other Units[edit | edit source]

Organization July 1944 until March 1945[edit | edit source]

5th Canadian Armoured Brigade[edit | edit source]

  • 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians))
  • 5th Armoured Regiment (8th Princess Louise’s (New Brunswick) Hussars)
  • 9th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Dragoons)

11th Canadian Infantry Brigade[edit | edit source]

  • 11th Independent Machine Gun Company (Princess Louise Fusiliers)
  • The Perth Regiment
  • The Cape Breton Highlanders
  • The Irish Regiment of Canada
  • 11 Canadian Infantry Brigade Ground Defence Platoon (Lorne Scots)

12th Canadian Infantry Brigade (raised in August 1944)[edit | edit source]

Other Units[edit | edit source]

Land Forces Atlantic Area and 2013 reactivation[edit | edit source]

LFAA was created on 1 September 1991, taking command of what was previously the militia areas and the Regular Force Army units and formations in Atlantic Canada. At that point in time, the Militia Areas ceased to exist, and the subordinate Militia Districts were reorganised.[4]

Later that decade, the reserve force districts were again reorganized into two Canadian Brigade Groups.

In 2013, it LFAA was renamed 5th Canadian Division. With this change of name, the formation was also granted the identifying patch and historical lineage of the division that served in the two world wars.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4880
  2. Dancocks p208-209
  3. Mark Zuehlke, The Liri Valley: Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome, Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., Vancouver, 2003, p 58.
  4. "Domestic Military Organization 1900-1999". Canadian Soldiers.com. 22 February 2013. http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/organization/districts.htm. 

References[edit | edit source]

  • Dancocks, Daniel G. (1991). The D-Day Dodgers. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc.. ISBN 978-0-7710-2544-0. 
  • Groningen, J. Niemeijer "History of 17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, 5th Canadian Armoured Division" by (J. Niemeijer Groningen, 1946)
  • Zuehlke, Mark, "The Liri Valley: Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome", Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., Vancouver, 2003

See also[edit | edit source]

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