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The Second World War Canadian Rifle Company in Action

August 20 2009 at 9:49 AM
Christopher Ono 

Hello everyone,

With some research in my limited printed library and online resources, I've found a typical Canadian Rifle Company order of battle in the Second World War.

I think most of the readers here are knowledgeable about the formations and equipment involved - my question is more about usage and tasking.

At the Company HQ level, there is a Jeep, a 15-cwt truck and a Universal Carrier attached. I'm familiar with the role of the Jeep and Universal Carrier as a general purpose vehicle and fire support/ammo carrier/general use vehicle respectively, but what was the purpose of the truck at the company level? Generally carrying the Company's HQ/admininstrative equipment and records around? Food? Supplies? I would think that the trucks of the RCASC would take care of supply and motorized transport for most needs - what role/mission did the company truck have?

Up until November of 1944, two snipers were organic to the Company. Did they operate independently, generally, or were they used more directly? For example, if the rifle company was on the advance against fixed defensive positions (hasty or deliberate), what did the snipers do?

Or were they primarily employed between engagements or in defensive situations to harass the enemy?

Late in 1944, the snipers were consolidated in the Battalion as a separate section. This allowed certain administrative and hierarchical changes, but was also apparently as a result of experiences in Normandy. What was happening with the snipers that it was felt that their role was better served at the Battalion level of attachment?

There are three orderlies listed - are these typically used as runners and general go-fers, or did they have more specific roles?

The equipment list allocated three PIAT launchers at the company level. Were they typically allocated to the platoon HQs, to a specific section in the platoon, or on a ad hoc basis?

A lot of questions. Thanks in advance for answers.

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