The date was 11 August 1944. The Battle of Normandy was over two months old, and First Canadian Army had just concluded Operation Totalize, a massive armoured thrust across the Verrières Ridge and down the Caen-Falaise highway. Falaise, the next major communications centre south of Caen, remained in German hands.
In Normandy during the early morning hours of 9 August 1944, a battlegroup under of the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Worthington (British Columbia Regiment (BCRs) and the Algonquin Regiment) set out in the dark to capture Point 195 north of Falaise. When daylight broke, Worthington confidently reported to 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade headquarters that he was on the objective and requested immediate support to defeat the determined German attempts to dislodge him. Unbeknownst to him, his battlegroup had lost its way in the dark and ended up on a piece of high ground near Hill 140, some six and half kilometres east of its intended destination.
Operation Atlantic, 18 to 21 July 1944. The debut of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and II Canadian Corps headquarters in Normandy. Its purpose was to guard the western (right) flank of a British armoured assault (Operation Goodwood) to the east and south of Caen. Operations Goodwood and Atlantic were part of a series of costly battles designed to grind down the German armies in Normandy to facilitate a breakout.
A dark overcast sky looms overhead; the low rumble of engines and waves filling the air between the nervous-silence that envelop the crews. Miles behind them, the massive invasion force slowly steams towards France. Onboard their Bangor-class minesweeper vessels, the men of the Royal Canadian Navy know their objective is but one of many critical tasks necessary for the success of Operation NEPTUNE. It is perhaps the most critical task, yet it remains one of the unheralded acts of bravery and naval discipline in the Second World War.
Operation Dick Tracy took place towards the end of World War Two (1944 – 45). Foreseeing an imminent collapse of Nazi Germany, Allied commanders seized large quantities of cartographic materials and aerial photographs. It was quickly realized by the Allied Forces that the Luftwaffe had much more advanced aerial photogrammetry techniques. Faced with the possibility of losing such information to the rapidly advancing Soviets on the Eastern front, Operation Dick Tracy was of paramount importance, considering the geopolitical divisions of an eventual post-war Europe.
During the Second World War 1939-1945, overseas surveying and mapping consisted of topographic survey, map reproduction and mensuration of aerial photography. Unlike in the First World War were the British Royal Engineers provided much of the geographic support for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), during the Second World War the Royal Canadian Engineers would provide geographic support for the Canadian Army.
by Asher Pirts
Phantom’s role was to provide early information on the progress of the battle, and on other matters of immediate importance, primarily for the higher command holding reserves capable of influencing military operations also for other commands directly concerned in the conduct of the ongoing operations. Phantom had no duties in the field other than the collection, passage and dissemination of information. In the battle information was obtained by liaison, intercept (J) or personal reconnaissance.
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For those of you who are just joining us, Project ’44 began over a year ago with a mission of mapping out the First Canadian Army on its Battle through Normandy.
by Alexander Fitzgerald-Black
At 2045 hours on 7 July 1944 nine Hawker Typhoon IBs flown by Canadians in 439 “Sabre-Tooth Tiger” Squadron RCAF took off from B5 airfield near Le Fresne-Camilly. It was a short seven kilometres to their target, the village of Buron, which had been a feature of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division’s frontline for a month.