Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.
Self-propelled weapon directed by remote or automatic control. Canada has never been armed with long range nuclear guided missiles nor has missile technology been developed in the country. The only exception was the deployment of the Bomarc surface to air missile in the 1960s. First developed in the late 1950s by Boeing Aircraft, the Bomarc missile went through several improvements leading to the Bomarc IM-99B or Bomarc B. In June 1961, the first IM-99B squadron became operational in the US Air Force. The IM-99B, redesignated CIM-10B, was also used by Canada, after this country had cancelled its advanced CF-105 Arrow manned interceptor jet fighters and deployed by RCAF 446 and 447 Squadrons in North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Québec respectively, from 1961 to 1972. This missile was designed for a cruising speed of Mach 2.8 at 20,000 m (65,000 feet). Its maximum range was 400 km (250 miles), and it could carry either a conventional high-explosive or a nuclear warhead. Designed to destroy manned bombers, it was considered obselete by the late 1960s when the major threat then came from intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In the 1980s, Canadian airspace and facilities were used by the US Air Force, with Canadian government support, to test the Cruise missile. Smaller missiles arming warships and fighter aircrafts have also been routinely used by the Canadian Forces, some of the latest being the US Standard missile for the navy, the IAM-120C for the air force and the Javellin for the army.
See also: Congreve Rockets
Leggings adapted from Indian dress; used extensively by French regular colonial troops and militiamen when on the frontier and on expeditions in the wilderness. Later worn by early British Regime militias and voyageurs on military duty.
Originally a US Navy armoured turreted ship made famous in its 1862 battle with the Confederate ironclad ship Merrimac. Ships denoted as "Monitors" quickly appeared in other navies and evolved into warships designed solely for bombarding shore targets.
Short, relatively large-bored artillery piece used for high-angled shooting. Bombardiers served mortars, being the specialized gunners who would light the bomb fuse and then shoot it, all of which was very dangerous. The first large scale use of mortars were at the sieges of Louisbourg, in 1745 and 1758, and at the siege of Québec, in 1759.
Museums, Monuments and Memorials
Building used for storing and exhibiting objects relating to military events and service. The first national military museum was established and operated by the Canadian Militia in 1882 and located in an Ottawa drill hall. After World War One, there were many plans to build a large war memorial museum, such as the Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Memorial, but little was done and the Canadian War Museum remained little more than an annex building to the Public Archives of Canada on Sussex Drive. In 1967, the archives moved to Wellington Street and the Canadian War Museum took over its vacated building on Sussex Drive. With a rapidly growing collection that included armoured vehicles and artillery, the museum soon became cramped. After much effort, a new Canadian War Museum is being built and is due to open in 2005.
There are many Canadian Armed Forces unit museums in armouries and bases across the country. The 20th century also saw the preservation of many battlefields and forts, most of them within the Historic Sites network of Parks Canada. These include such sites as Fort Louisbourg, the Halifax Citadel, the fortifications of Québec, the Rideau Canal, Batoche and Fort Rodd Hill. Many military airplanes are preserved at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa.
The earliest major monument in Canada honouring a battle hero was the column bearing a statue dedicated to Lord Nelson, raised in Montréal in 1810, by Canadian merchants grateful for his victory at Trafalgar five years earlier. The first monument to General Brock, hero of the War of 1812, was inaugurated in 1824. It was later rebuilt and still towers above the Niagara River at Queenston, Ontario. In 1827 an obelisk, was dedicated to General Wolfe at Québec.
Following the horrific casualties of the First World War, monuments became less glorious as they reflected the overwhelming grief at such loss. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was created to set up the military cemeteries for over 800,000 British Commonwealth soldiers that perished, mostly in France and Belgium. Canada built a notably large memorial at Vimy to honour its dead soldiers. Nearly 600,000 Commonwealth soldiers fell in the Second World War, and the 111,500 Canadians are buried with their fellow soldiers in 70 countries around the world. In all cases, their graves are dominated by sober monuments that put the emphasis on sacrifice. In Canada, the most important monument is the National War Memorial in Ottawa where, on every November 11th, flowers are deposited by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the President of the Canadian Legion, the Chief of Staff, and a mother who has lost one or several children at war.