3rd Canadian Infantry Division

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 3rd Canadian Infantry Division

caption=3rd Canadian Infantry Division Formation Patch
dates= 1940-1945
country= Canada
branch= Canadian Army
nickname=The Water Rats
battles= D-Day, Juno Beach
Battle of Normandy
The Scheldt
notable_commanders= Rodney F.L. Keller
Daniel C. Spry
Ralph H. Keefler


The formation of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division was authorized on 17 May 1940. There was then a considerable delay until the brigade and divisional headquarters were formed on September 5, and the first divisional commander was appointed on October 26.

While the division’s components were forming, The Cameron Highlanders were detached and transferred to Iceland as part of Z Force. The battalion spent the winter of 1940–41 there before moving to the UK. The division's 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade and 9th Canadian Infantry Brigades began embarking as early as July 1 1941 and arrived in the UK at the end of that month. The 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade embarked in August and arrived at the beginning of September. After its arrival, the division spent three uneventful years in garrison and training duties prior to the assault landing on Juno Beach in Normandy, as part of the British 2nd Army, later joining the newly-formed 1st Canadian Army. Battle honours include Caen, Falaise, capturing the Channel ports, the Breskens pocket, and the final offensives of 1945. During the Battle of the Scheldt, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had the nickname of "Water Rats" bestowed upon them by General Bernard Montgomery, for their skilled amphibious abilities.


; 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade:*The Royal Winnipeg Rifles:*The Regina Rifle Regiment:*1st Battalion The Canadian Scottish Regiment

; 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade :*The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada:*Le Régiment de la Chaudière:*The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment

; 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade :*The Highland Light Infantry of Canada:*The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders:*The North Nova Scotia Highlanders

; Other units :*7th Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars):*The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (machine gun):*12th Field Artillery Regiment:*13th Field Artillery Regiment:*14th Field Artillery Regiment:*3rd Anti-tank Regiment:*4th Light Anti-aircraft Regiment:*16th Field Company:*3rd Canadian Divisional Signals, R.C. Sigs

Juno Beach , D Day

Juno beach was five miles wide and stretched on either side of Courseulles-sur-Mer.

The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division with the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade under command landed in two brigade groups,the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade and the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade ,Each Brigade had three Infantry Battalions and an armoured regiment in support , 2 artillery field regiments, combat engineer companies and extra units from the 79th Armoured Division. The Fort Garry Horse tanks (10th Armoured Regiment) supported the 7th brigade landing on the left and the 1st Hussars tanks (6th Armoured Regiment) supported the landing on the right.

The 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade was kept in reserve and landed later that day and advanced through the lead brigades. The Sherbrooke Fusiliers tanks (27th Armoured Regiment) provided tank support.

The initial assault was carried out by::North Shore Regiment on the left at St. Aubin (Nan Red beach):Queen's Own Rifles in the centre at Bernières (Nan White beach)

:Regina Rifles at Courseulles (Nan Green beach) :Royal Winnipeg Rifles on the western edge of Courseulles (Mike Red and Mike Green beaches)

In the first hour of the assault on Juno Beach, the Canadian forces suffered approximately 50% casualty rates, comparable to those suffered by the Americans at Omaha Beach. Once the Canadians cleared the seawall (about an hour after leaving the transports) they started to advance quickly inland and had a much easier time subduing the German defences than the Americans at Omaha had. By noon, the entire 3rd Canadian Division was ashore and leading elements had pushed several kilometres inland to seize bridges over the Seulles River. By 6:00pm they had captured the town of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. A 1st Hussars armoured troop reached its objective along with men of the The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada before nightfall, when both units moved 15 km inland and crossed the Caen-Bayeux highway. [Martin, CC "Battle Diary", p.16] However, this troop was forced to pull back because they had passed the supporting infantry. By the end of D-Day the 3rd Canadian Division had penetrated farther into France than any other Allied force, though counter-attacks by elements of two German armoured divisions would stop any further movement for several weeks.

"None of the assault divisions, including 3rd Canadian Division, had managed to secure their D-Day objectives, which lay inland, although the Canadians came closer than any other Allied formation." [Graves, Donald E. "Century of Service"]

By the end of the next day, the Canadian forces had linked up with the British forces that had landed at Sword Beach.

Time line Juno Beach

*6 June 1944
**05.35 German shore batteries open fire; Allied naval forces, now massed along entire Normandy coast, begin bombardment.
**06.30 Assault on beaches starts. 3rd Canadian Division landing on Juno made more difficult by strong current. Delay allows Germans to mount strong defence. Objective: advance inland and join troops from British beaches.
**07.00 German radio broadcasts first report of landing.
**08.30 48 Commando lands at St Aubin, Juno Beach and heads east. Beach clearance difficult due to high tides and rough seas.
**09.00 General Eisenhower issues communiqué announcing start of invasion.
**09.35 Canadian 8th Brigade liberates Bernières.
**11.12 After fierce fire fight, 7th Brigade secures Juno exit at Courseulles. But congestion as Canadian 9th Brigade arrives.
**11.20 Canadians capture Tailleville, Banville and St Croix.
**12.00 As Winston Churchill reports landings to House of Commons, Further landings on Juno. Langrune captured by Juno troops.
**13.35 German 352nd Division wrongly advises HQ that Allied assault repulsed. Message not corrected until 18.00.
**14.15 All Canadian 3rd Division now ashore on Juno. Rapid advances start: troops link with those from Gold.
**18.00 3rd Canadian Div, North Nova Scotia Highlanders reach three miles inland. 1st Hussar tanks cross Caen-Bayeux railway, 10 miles inland. Canadian Scottish link with 50th Division at Creully.
**20.00 Canadians from Juno Beach reach Villons les Buissons, seven miles inland. Attack by 21st Panzers reach coast between Sword and Juno at Luc-sur-Mer.
**22.00 Rommel returns to HQ from Germany. Montgomery sails for France.

Juno Beach: 21,400 troops landed, with fewer than 1,000 casualties. Aim of capturing Carpiquet airfield not achieved. No link yet with Sword forces. [cite web|title=independent.co.uk|url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-longest-day-731283.html]

Other formations

In 1945, the Canadian Army Occupation Force was formed, based on the organization of the 3rd Infantry Division.

ee also

* [http://www.memorial-montormel.org/?id=72 History of the 3rd Canadian infantry division at memorial-montormel.org]
* List of military divisions
* List of Canadian divisions in WWII

External links

* [http://www.members.shaw.ca/junobeach/index.htm Juno Beach - The Canadians on D-Day]
* [http://www.memorial-montormel.org/?id=56 Memorial of Coudehard-Montormel - 3rd ID in the Falaise pocket]

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