Avro Arrow, considered to be a cut above anything either the Russians or the Americans could field at the time, if only politics note didn't get it canceled.
The Canadian Forces, as they are known today, were formed by the unification of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, and Canadian Army into a single command structure in 1968 to save on non-essential costs like overlapping training, supply and administrative structures
. This had elicited some resistance from Canadian soldiers
, but over time, they accepted it — mostly. The unified administration and training ultimately worked out after initial teething troubles, but the idea of trying to create a single service identity and uniform with no distinction between army, navy and air force never really caught on with the troops. Gradually, the services reasserted some of their former identities, with Maritime Command regaining the use of naval rank titles after a few years, followed by the readoption of separate dress uniforms for the (still lower-case) army, navy and air force in the 1980s
(though the new Distinct Environmental Uniforms were more of a palette swap
of the Unification uniform with some differences in detail rather than a return to the services' former uniforms).
By the 2000s
, the terms "Canadian Navy," "Canadian Army" and "Canadian Air Force" started creeping into semi-official use for recruiting posters, websites and such, in place of the official Maritime Command, Land Forces Command and Air Command (which had never been popular with servicepeople or gained much recognition with the public). Then in August 2011, the names of the elemental commands were changed back to the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, and Canadian Armynote
. Reactions were just as mixed as after unification: the return to tradition led some to rejoice, while others complained that it reinforces our connection to the British monarchy (which is seen as being detrimental to national identity). Either way, most civilians don't really care, accountants are annoyed at having to spend more money updating all the stationery, while many servicepeople are just happy to be able to officially call themselves Army, Navy and Air Force again within the unified structure of the CF, royal titles or not.
Until the 1860s, Canada was defended by British
soldiers, in addition to any ad hoc militias formed by its own citizens. By the 1860s, however, the cost of maintaining a standing army in Canada was taking a toll on both Britain's treasury and Britain's patience. One of the major factors that led to Confederation was in fact the need for a stronger defense of the North American colonies, something which had become painfully apparent in the Fenian invasions coming from the U.S. After Confederation, fencible regiments were developed throughout the rest of the 19th century, until when Canada sent its own military units in the Boer War. A national navy would follow in 1910, motivated in part by the need to save British resources for its naval competition with Imperial Germany
World War One
was when the Canadian army began Taking levels in Badass
, as it turned in an impressive performance at places like Passchendaele, Ypres, and of course Vimy Ridge, a performance that was integral to Canada's development both as a nation and on the world stage. The "Hundred Days Offensive" is sometimes called "Canada's
Hundred Days" as the Canadian Corps was used as "The Shock Army of the British Empire" in the attacks the pushed the Germans back over the Hindenburg Line. Canadian soldiers later made their Badass Army
reputation clear in World War IInote
and the Korean War
. Since then, though, they are usually deployed in UN peacekeeping, and that made some Canadian soldiers unhappy. Currently serving with their U.S. allies in the War On Terror
in Afghanistan, they also served in Bosnia and the First Gulf War
. To this day the Canadian forces have a reputation for punching above their weight and can be downright scary
in joint-forces training exercises.
Since the British monarch is also the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is also (technically) the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces. However, since Canada is a sovereign nation, the Governor General — who is the Queen's representative — carries out most royal duties in her name. In practice, both are no more than figureheads, and all military decision making either goes to Parliament or the Department of National Defence.
In spite of the unification, the Canadian Forces still possesses highly distinct military branches, all with their own separate roles and duties. In addition to the usual ground, air, and naval components, there is also Canada Command (analogous to the Northern Command in the States), Expeditionary Force Command (which coordinates almost all actions outside of the country), Special Operations Command (in charge of elite commando and counter-terrorist teams), Operational Support Command (handles logistics, medical care, and policing duties) and the Information Management Group (which specializes in electronic and cyber warfare). Aside from these primary forces, there's also the Reserve Force, which is split into a number of sub-components like the Primary Reserve and the Canadian Rangers.
Another British-like note is the regimental system in the Army. Although the Canadian Army doesn't encourage the extreme loyalty to "The Regiment" that the British Army does, the system of named regiments with strong identities is strong in Canada and soldiers are proud of their regimental histories.
As is the case in the United States, service is voluntary and more or less follows the same rules. Conscription has been introduced in the past, but is almost impossible to bring into the picture; the last two times it's been tried during the World Wars, rioting ensued (mostly by French-Canadians in Quebec) and the party in power got voted out. Today, with separation a definite option, the federal government even mulling over using conscription would be enough of a provocation for Quebec to immediately declare independence. Then again, the idea of conscription would probably elicit the same reaction in the rest
of Canada as well.
One interesting trait of the Canadian Forces is that they've done very good work with at times very crappy equipment
. In World War I, the first Canadian troops were sent into combat with rifles that tended jam in mud or even disassemble when fired
, and poorly stitched boots that tended to fall apart at the slightest wear. Yet in spite of these difficulties, Canadians still pulled off Crowning Moments of Awesome
at places like Vimy Ridge and Ypres. In World War II, the Canadian Army was smart enough to take "Hobart's Funnies," a variety of specialized tanks, when offered and used them to good effect on Juno Beach on D-Day. More recently, the Canadian Forces had to make do with antiquated junk like the Sea King helicopters (that required up to 24 hours of maintenance for every one hour of flight time), although they continued to serve in the first Gulf War and in the Yugoslavian conflict.
Good years or bad, the Canadian military has tended to use their own variants of equipment used by the Americans or British, possibly with modifications to better suit geographical or personnel requirements. However, some equipment (such as the LAV III armoured vehicle or the McMillan Tac-50 anti-materiel rifle) is standard-issue in the Canadian military, and otherwise unavailable or in limited use in those two countries.
The current standard issue weapon is the C7 Rifle, an M16 variant which is modified for better reliability and is commonly equipped with the C79 optical sight. It is supplemented by the C8 Carbine, carbine
version similar to the M4.
The backbone of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps is the LAV III, a 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicle derived from the Swiss MOWAG Piranha, which is also the base for the US military's LAV-25 and Stryker-series. When the Cold War came to a close, it was decided that existing Leopard C2 battle tanks (a later variant of the German Leopard I tank) would have been replaced by up-armoured LAV III variants armed with 105mm guns, on the premise that lighter, air-mobile vehicles would be better at responding to low-intensity combat environments that were predicted to define the future of warfare. However, the invasion of Afghanistan and the extensive guerilla warfare that took place in the aftermath proved that heavy armour was still very much needed, which led to the German Leopard 2 being acquired on loan from the Bundeswehr, and later purchased surplus from the Netherlands.
In the air, the CF-18 (derived from the carrier-based US F-18 Hornet) serves as the primary fighter craft of the Royal Canadian Air Force. With most airframes having accrued thousands of flight hours during their thirty years of service, the Canadian military is understandably looking for replacements. Currently, the leading and most controversial contender is the US F-35, which has caused some political problems, both because of the cost (which had been grossly understated by the party in power) and ongoing developmental issues that have plagued the aircraft for years. When not bumming rides off of its allies (as was often the case during the early years of Afghanistan operations), C-130 Hercules and a handful of C-17 Globemasters provide transport capabilities.
At sea, the Canadian military has fifteen surface combatants and four submarines (more on them later), in addition to roughly two dozen support vessels, namely minesweepers, support tankers, and patrol boats. It also utilizes aircraft for a variety of supporting roles, though they are operated by a separate air force division. Although larger and more capable than many other naval forces in other countries, the Royal Canadian Navy is actually quite small, given the fact that the country is surrounded by three major oceans and has by far the largest coastline in the world.
Many Canadians bemoan the lack of presence of the Canadian military in fiction, having to endure being compared to their rivals to the south. This is mostly true, but it is just about the same for a large number of other countries and their militaries as well.
Seriously, however, in any case Canada is attacked by an outside enemy like the Russians with Rusting Rockets
, their numbers, less than a hundred thousand full time troops and paid reservists, wouldn't be enough to stop them. So that, along with the fact that a very large portion of Canada's population lives along the U.S.-Canada border, is why the cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian Armed Forces is important, and NORAD is just one visible proof of that.
On the other hand, Canada is also in a nifty defensible position where the entire population, numbering only 34 million, could virtually vanish into the Arctic - and very few militaries in the world would be equipped to follow them. You see, General Winter
does not just fight for the Russians.
The Canadian armed forces contributed heavily to the creation during World War II
of the 1st Special Service Force, also known (and appears in the movie entitled) The Devil's Brigade
, the ancestor to most North American special service forces.
Note that the chinook is the name of a mountain wind that can cause drastic temperature changes, most commonly happening in the Pacific Northwest, so the phrase "Canucks with Chinooks" might in Real Life
be mistaken as referring to Calgary (In the U.S., it's more commonly called a foehn wind, or a Santa Ana
in Los Angeles
The Canadian Military in Fiction