COLD WAR CANADIAN ARMOR
Approximately 3,000 armoured vehicles 1947-1990.
- AVGP Cougar
- AVGP Grizzly
- Canadian M4A2(76)W HVSS Sherman ‘Easy 8’
- Canadian M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman Easy Eight
- M113 C&V Lynx
History and Origins in World War 2
Canadian Armour history began at the outbreak of World War 2 and rapidly expanded with the mobilization of manpower and industrial might. The Permanent Active Militia was beefed-up and reorganized as a standing army. By the end of the war, Canadian industry had turned thousands of Rams and Valentine tanks, Sexton self propelled guns, three types of armoured cars, and almost one million of the famous “Canadian Military Pattern” (CMP) trucks from Ford, GM Canada and Montréal Locomotive Works factories. After the ill-fated raid on Dieppe in 1942, Canadian tanks continued to serve from Sicily to Italy, France, the Low Countries and Germany. With this experience, Canadian armoured forces entered the cold war.
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Canadian Armour in the Korean War
The first Cold War test came with the Korean War, when in 1950, a Canadian contingent was sent under the UN banner to defend South Korea against the Northern aggression. At that time, the Canadian Army relied on existing WW2 stocks and its only modern tanks were acquired in 1946 from US WW2 surplus stocks in the form of the Sherman M4A2 (76)W HVSS. They saw heavy action early on in the conflict. In 1952, the Canadian government purchased additional Sherman M4A3 (76)W HVSSs which were immediately shipped overseas for use in the war. The government also began purchasing Centurion Mk.3 and Mk.5, and after the ceasefire, Centurion Mk.11 to replace the Shermans.
Cold War Canadian Armour
Until the early 1970s, Centurion Tanks formed the bulk of the Canadian tank force. Here a Mark V-1, of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) in Exercise Holdfast, Northern Germany, September 1960. Below, a Mark V-2 of Lord Strathcona’s Horses (Royal Canadians), Soltau, West Germany, September 1966. Some Mark 11 were also purchased. By 1979 all of the Centurions were sold to Israel, where they were modified, modernized (Shot Kal) and kept in service until the early 1990s.
Canada acquired the German Leopard 1 main battle tank in 1978. 127 in total, of which 114 were “Canadianized” with specific local requirements, starting on Leopard 1A3s.
AVGP Cougar (1976)
Scorpion light tank turret. Based on the Piranha II 6×6. Pure Recce vehicle.
AVGP Grizzly (1976)
Same but with a Cadillac-Gage 1 metre turret. Recce/APC.
AVGP Husky (1976)
Base version of the Piranha 6×6 recce/APC vehicle.
A reconnaissance vehicles designed in Canada from the M113 chassis.
Cold War Tanks