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Canadian Army Transition Team

January 22 2017 at 11:54 AM
Dan Martel 

Response to Great start


On 19 Feb 1951 the Canadian Army Transition Team (CATT) put forward An Appreciation of the Re-Organization of the Infantry Battalion and Infantry Brigade HQs which essentially was a discussion of whether the Canadian Army should adopt US Army (USA) weaponry and organization on the assumption that USA organization was not suitable for Canadian purposes. (I know that seems contradictory but that's how the opening paragraph reads).

In short, the Appreciation recommended that, with the exception of the Support Company, Canadian Army brigade and battalion organization be retained but with American weaponry in lieu of the current British pattern. The CATT felt that the USA Heavy Weapons Company (with the addition of the Battalion HQ Company's Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon) be implemented to replace the Canadian Army Support Company. This change would replace the 17-pdr anti-tank gun with the 75mm recoilless rifle, replace the 13 Bren guns in the Carrier Platoon with 4 MMGs, and eliminate the carrier from the organization.

On 9 Apr 1951 the CGS (Lieutenant General GG Simonds) issued a letter to the Corps Directors and the DSD directing that "revised establishments will be prepared in accordance with the general principles approved:
a) Units will remain organized as at present and will adhere to present operational doctrine.
b) USA weapons and equipment will be introduced on a one-for-one basis where exact counterparts exist.
e) Where an opportunity is offered, and where it can be done without affecting organization or employment, equipments will be so selected that the Canadian organizations will achieve a degree of numerical conformity with comparable USA Army organizations.
f) Present Canadian principles of administration, maintenance and repair will continue to apply."

On 30 Apr 1951 the CATT put forward the establishments as prepared by the Corps Directors. The proposed infantry battalion establishment (957 (38-919)) retained complete Canadian Army organization (including the Support Company) but was equipped with American weaponry. (The exception was the pistol 9mm which was retained but the Gun Sub Machine cal .45 would be adopted.) In a letter to the CGS the Chairman of the CATT recommended the adoption of the establishments which had been prepared in accordance with his (the CGS's) principles.

Unfortunately the file from which I obtained this information did not contain a copy Simonds order to adopt and implement the Chairman's recommendations, but from what we know of how the Canadian infantry battalions for Korea and NATO were equipped, I think it's safe to assume that the recommendations were adopted.

So as the 25th CIB was arriving in Korea the impetus to adopt American weaponry had already been undertaken by Army Headquarters (AHQ). I think that this order was what allowed Brigadier Rockingham to purchase Sherman tanks to replace the Archers after the Brigade arrived in Korea, and to replace the 17-pdrs with 75mm recoilless rifles. At some point 3.5-inch rocket launchers, 60mm and 81mm mortars replaced the PIATs, 2-inch and 3-inch mortars. Rifle companies also received the .30 cal machine gun, but I don't know if the Vickers was replaced by the M1917A2 .30 cal or not.


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