Army History

The Canadian Army

The Canadian Army is a Canadian Forces branch, responsible for all land warfare. As of 2011, the Army consists of nineteen thousand five hundred regular soldiers and sixteen thousand reserve soldiers with the total number of soldiers being thirty-five thousand five hundred. Regular forces units are maintained by the Army at different base located across Canada. It also has the responsibility of maintaining the Canadian Army Reserve, the greatest component of Primary Reserve. Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin serves as the Commander Canadian Army. The National Defense Headquarters located in Ottawa controls the Army. Each area is accountable for both the regular army as well as the reserve forces situated within its own geographical purview. All areas except for the Land Force Atlantic Area have the command of one regular army operated brigade group along with 2-3 reserve brigades.

In the traditional sense, the name "Canadian Army" implies the ground forces of Canadian military from the Confederation in the year 1867 to present. However, the official use of the name began in the year 1940. In 1965, a new entity named Mobile Command was created to place all the army units under it before the unification of army, air force and navy. The existence of Canadian Army as a legal body ceased in the year 1968 when the army, air force and navy were joined to form one single service called Canadian Forces. In 1993, the mobile command got renamed as Land Force Command during a reorganization of Canadian Forces. The Land Force Command returned to using the pre- 1968 name "Canadian Army" in August 2011.

The Canadian Army Picture


Before the 1867 Confederation, the British Army defended Canada during wartime. At that time British Army included militia units of Canada. The creation of one Permanent Active Militia took place after 1867. Many regular bodies were created to control troops during the later decades. Some of their descendants include Royal Canadian Dragoons, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and Royal Canadian Regiment. In the year 1885, the Canadian troops took part in the North-West Rebellion. They also participated in the Second Boer War (South African War) in 1899. The Canadian Expeditionary Force that fought in World War I consisted of a much larger number of troops.

The Permanent Active Militia in the Second World War was renamed as Canadian Army (Active) in 1940. It was supplemented by non-permanent militia called Canadian Army (Reserve). They took part in Korean War and constituted a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the western Germany during Cold War. The size of the Canadian land forces were cut down after it was unified with the air force and navy in 1968. However, the Canadian troops took part in several military actions with the country's allies. These include the Gulf War (1991) as well as the war in Afghanistan (2001). They also participated in various peacekeeping operations under the United Nations (UN) auspices in different countries.

Notably, the Canadian land forces didn't directly get involved in the Iraq War and the Vietnam War despite their strong support of American and British initiatives.