Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monumental Sherman

The Sherman tank was ubiquitous on the battlefields of the Second World War.  With over 50,000 tanks produced during the war, and a bad reputation for going head-to-head with those big German cats (Tigers, and Panthers, and Nazi's oh my!) the Sherman has been used as an example proving the Brute Force concept of Second World War historiography.   This line of reasoning claims that while the Sherman was inferior to the later model panzerkampfwagens, the Allies eventually used their sheer numbers to overcome the Wehrmacht. Yet a handful of historians challenge this popular version of the Sherman's failings and claim that in certain terrain, and commanded by skilled operators, the Sherman could best the hallowed panzers.

Charlottetown, PEI

"Athena" Memorial in Ortona, Italy
Shermans are also ubiquitous in Canadian memorials across the country and overseas.  The vast majority of these memorials are not, however, the M4A4 model Sherman, which was widely used by British and commonwealth formations during the second world war, but in fact M4A3E8s, used in the post-war era.  Giveaways, include muzzle-breaks on 76mm guns and the Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension.

M4A3E8 in Kelowna, BC
Here a few pictures of Shermans that I've "discovered" in my travels.  What message does the Sherman tank send when used in this way?
Mewata Barracks, Calgary, Alberta
A Sherman Firefly at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

M4A4 in Normandy

The Banner Unfurled!

Klaxon's sound, trumpets blare, and the war drum pounds!  The sound of a hundred hooves of the cavalry charge echoes unto eternity!  The reek of acrid cordite and the stench of heroism's remains fill the air of the battlefield!

Bit dramatic ain't it?  Ne'er you mind!

This blog will be dedicated to Canadian Military History, and while that seems fairly straight forward some sort of a definition of boundaries seems appropriate.  I will set the parameters widely to begin with and narrow things down if need be.  For the time being, however, I'm going to define my subject area as armed conflict within the geographical boundary of current day Canada, but open up exploration to pre-1867 conflict on colonial and pre-colonial soil as well.  The military exploits of Canadians overseas will, of course, also be examined.

As an academic who studies Canadians in the Second World War, the tendency will be to drift in this direction, but I hope to use this space to entertain my militant thoughts on a broad range of subjects.  While I know that the Cannon's Mouth largely features a monitor of academic events of interest to Canadian Military Historians, I'll include those events that occur on my radar that have been overlooked by that excellent blog.

The King's Own Calgary Regiment's motto seems an appropriate way to close this inaugural post: