Newsletter - RUSI Vancouver

Highlights of the October 16 Newsletter

World War II:  October 17 - 23, 1943
John Thompson Strategic Analyst - Quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
RUSI Vancouver Speaker Series - Nov. 14
Topic: “Canada & The Great War: Unity and Discord”
Guest Speaker: Cam Cathcart, President, RUSI Vancouver
The Carl Gustaf Is Getting Yet Another Lethal New Upgrade
Todd South - Oct 10, 2018
This Advanced Night Vision Goggle is Headed to Army and Marine Units
Jared Keller, T&P on Facebook - Oct 4, 2018
Vancouver Artillery Association Yearbook Updates
Who Is It?
Newsletter Posters

WO Mike Meehan’s new book - A History of the Reserves in the Time of the Korean War (1950-1954)

Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society Fundraising Dinner - Nov 3

RUSI Vancouver Speaker Series: Cam Cathcart, RUSI-Vancouver President - Nov. 14

15th Field Artillery Regiment Annual Mess Dinner - Oct 27

Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir & Band of the 15th Field Regiment
With Glowing Hearts, Music & Songs of Remembrance - Nov. 10 & 11

See the complete October 16 RUSI Vancouver Newsletter HERE for articles and details (.pdf file)


Robert W. Mackay's Newsletter "Forces with History"



October 9

A Submarine Gathering approaches. Not the actual boats, but as many as a hundred submariners who served in HMCS RAINBOW and OKANAGAN will be in Victoria November 2-4 this year.

Fifty years ago the RCN welcomed the two boats to the fleet. For a short article about the "OK", see Forces With History #111, here. OKANAGAN was as swept up as any U-boat anywhere when she commissioned.

RAINBOW, though, was another story. In a previous life she was USS Argonaut, a Tench-class boat built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1944. She carried out one war patrol against the Japanese, sinking a junk. Modified later, she served the USN in the Mediterranean Sea, then was tied up and more or less ignored until she was sold to Canada in 1968. Her Canadian crew worked miracles, delivering her safe and sound after an event-filled passage to Esquimalt where she was an integral unit in the RCN until 1974. Returned to the US, she was scrapped in 1974.

RAINBOW's spirit lives on, though. Her ship's company was a close-knit, highly efficient crew, and they'll be celebrating in Victoria.


October 2

It’s been 50 years since HMCS OKANAGAN, the third of Canada’s O-boats, sailed from Gosport for workups. And in November this year, the Submarine Association of Canada (West) will celebrate the anniversary of her commissioning in the Chatham Dockyard.

The occasion, November 2-4, will also mark HMCS RAINBOW’S 50th. More about her in a later post.

OKANAGAN went on to an illustrious career in the RCN, most of her operations taking place in the Atlantic out of Halifax. Along with her sister boats, OJIBWA and ONONDAGA, her life was extended by a major update of periscopes, sonar, torpedo tubes, etc in the late 1980s that kept her operating until the late ’90s.

One of OKANAGAN’S last tasks was the search for and locating of the flight recorders of Swissair 111 which sadly crashed off Peggy’s Cove in 1998.

Many of her crew, now known as “The Crunch Bunch,” will no doubt reminisce about an unhappy day in 1973 when the OKANAGAN had a run-in with the propellers of Royal Fleet Auxiliary Grey Rover.

HMCS OKANAGAN was paid off in 1998, and sold for scrap. Both her sister O-boats, though, are museum pieces in Ontario and Quebec. They can be toured by the public, and will give an idea of life in what some have called “the last and best” of the O-boats.

For a photo taken that memorable day when HMCS OKANAGAN slipped and proceeded from HMS DOLPHIN for her first workup, check out my blog here.


August 8

On August 8th, 1918, the Allies launched the Battle of Amiens, designed to knock the Germans back from their threatening position close to the vital Amiens-Paris rail line. At Zero-hour, 4:20 am, 4,600 heavy guns opened up, providing a creeping barrage to cover the infantry advance across the fog-shrouded fields of northern France.

At the heart of the attack were the Canadian and Australian Corps, with the Aussies on the left of the Canucks. To the left of them was the British Third Corp, and to the right of the Canadians the French First Army.

At 5:40 am the Canadian Cavalry Brigade joined the advance, operating under the Canadian Corps banner for the first time in the war. They swept forward through the infantry positions, a small part of the tens of thousands of mounted troopers in the fight on the Allied side.

Famously part of the undertaking were some 600-plus tanks, 324 of which were heavy British models.

Lighter, faster (a man’s walking pace!) Whippet tanks were assigned to each cavalry brigade, a sign of the changing times. The Whippets couldn’t keep up with the horsemen, but on the other hand they were mighty handy at times when the cavalrymen were up against heavy fire.

HMCS OKANAGAN was paid off in 1998, and sold for scrap. Both her sister O-boats, though, are museum pieces in Ontario and Quebec. They can be toured by the public, and will give an idea of life in what some have called “the last and best” of the O-boats.

For a photo taken that memorable day when HMCS OKANAGAN slipped and proceeded from HMS DOLPHIN for her first workup, check out my blog here.


July 10

It’s hard to say where our government’s defence policy is just now, given its rightful preoccupation with American tariffs and the stalled NAFTA talks. What we do know is that there is the Mali mission and our continued presence in Latvia. But both those are relatively small, with the African involvement committed to for only a year.

In the meantime, Mr. Trump has gone to Asia and pronounced Kim of North Korea a good fellow. In return for Kim shaking his hand, Trump cancelled scheduled US armed forces exercises with its major ally South Korea. He thus handed an original member of what an earlier president called the Axis of Evil a huge propaganda victory.

The US president intends meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia within a few days. In the background are credible findings that Putin hacked the US presidential election, not to mention that his Russian forces overran Crimea. He is now waging a war on Ukraine, and according to the British government poisoned an ex-spy in England.

Trump, for reasons unknown, continues to fawn over Putin. What will he do to try to further cement his relationship with the Russian leader? Given Trump’s threats to the stability of NATO and formerly close bonds to the UK and Europe, is it beyond the realm of possibility that he’ll somehow water down NORAD? After all, he might say, those sneaky Canadians don’t pay their share of defence costs. Who cares if Russia does a few overflights of northern Canada?

We may find ourselves spending more on defence out of necessity.


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MEETINGS

RUSI Vancouver members gather for lunch on Wednesdays at 12:00 Noon at the Officers' Mess of the 15th Field Regiment (RCA) located in the Bessborough Armouries, 2013 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver, BC.

 

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