Chronology of Major Battles from 1872 – 2000

1884 - 14 September
Some 396 Canadian "voyageurs" leave Halifax to take part in the British relief expedition to Khartoum; by spring 1885 most of them will have returned to Canada.

1885 - 26 March
Near the Duck Lake depot in present-day Saskatchewan, a party of Métis under Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont defeat a troop of North-West Mounted Police under Superintendent Lief Newry Fitzroy Crozier; the Métis lose only five men, while the government troop counts 12 dead and 11 wounded.

1885 - 2 April
Kapapamahchakwew, or Wandering Spirit, the chief of a Plains Cree band, attacks the Frog Lake depot in presentday Alberta, pillaging the Hudson's Bay Company stores as well as the police barracks and massacring nine men including two Oblate missionaries.

1885 - 24 April
At the head of 200 Indians and Métis, Gabriel Dumont manages to rout a troop of Canadian soldiers under General Frederick Dobson Middleton at Fish Creek.

1885 - 2 May
At Cut Knife Hill, some 325 to 350 Canadians under Lieutenant-Colonel William Dillon Otter fall back before Cree warriors commanded by Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker).

1885 - 12 May
Some 175 to 200 Métis entrenched at Batoche are conquered by Middleton's troops with over 800 men.

1885 - 15 May
Riel surrenders to Middleton.

1885 - 26 May
The Plains Cree chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin and his comrades surrender to Middleton's forces at Battleford.

1885 - 28 May
Led by Chief Kapapamahchakwew, the Cree repel an attack by Major-General Thomas Bland Strange near Frenchman's Butte in present-day Saskatchewan.

1885 - 2 July
The Plains Cree chief Mistahimaskwa, or Big Bear, who has thus far eluded all the soldiers looking for him, surrenders to a policeman at Fort Carlton, ending the Rebellion. Outcome of this military campaign for the Canadian militia: 26 dead, 103 wounded.

1898 - 14 May
Some 200 soldiers leave Vancouver for the Yukon to ensure a Canadian presence and maintain order in the Klondike gold rush.

1899 - 31 October
Approximately 1,061 Canadian volunteers, including four nurses, four reporters and 23 supernumerary officers, board Sardinia headed for South Africa.

1900 - 28 February
Conclusion of the Battle of Paardeberg, one of the toughest for the First Canadian Contingent. The engagement lasts 10 days. Under General Piet Cronje, 4,000 wellentrenched Boers stand off 35,000 British before surrendering unconditionally. The Royal Canadian Regiment lose 34 dead and 96 wounded.

1900 - 22 April-17 November
The Second Canadian Contingent takes part in nearly 40 engagements, the main ones being:

22-24 April Leeuw Kop
3 May Brandford
4 May Constantia
5 May Vett River
7 May Virginia Siding
10 May Verdris Vrag
25 May Viljeons Drift
27-28 May Klip Riversburg
30 May Driefontein
3 June Kalkhenval
11-12 June Diamond Hills
18-19 June Loutspans Drifts
6 July Rietfontein
7 July Olphansfontein
8-10 July Rietfontein
12 July Withooporrt
6-7 November Komati

1900 - 7 November
Near Leliefontein a rear guard made up of a Canadian artillery battery and some members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons is attacked by 200 mounted Boers. The Dragoons lose three men killed and 12 wounded out of a total of 95 officers and men. Three Canadians are awarded the Victoria Cross.

1910 - 4 May
Royal assent to the Naval Service Act creating the Canadian navy.

1914 - 3-6 August
On 3 August, Berlin breaks off diplomatic relations with France. The next day, German troops invade Belgium and Britain declares war on Germany. Canada is automatically and immediately at war.

1914 - 3 October
The fleet carrying the first Canadian contingent leaves Gaspé, Quebec, for Plymouth, England, where it arrives on the 15th.

1915 - 22 April
Second Battle of Ypres, in which the Germans use asphyxiating gas for the first time. The Allies retain control, thanks to the Canadians, who lose 6,035 men.

1915 - 18 May
At Festubert a Canadian attack aborts, causing the loss of 2,468 men.

1915 - 3 June
At Givenchy a mine intended to devastate German trenches blows up some Canadians; the assault fails.

1916 - 13 June
After losing Mount Sorrel to the Germans on 1 June, the Canadians manage to retake it 12 days later in a battle that costs them 8,000 men.

1916 - 15 September
The Canadians take the village of Courcelette where more than 2,000 Germans are entrenched and then push back seven German counterattacks. It is in this battle that the first tanks see action.

1917 - 9-12 April
The Canadians take Vimy Ridge with 10,602 casualties including 3,598 dead.

1917- 15 August
From Lens, two Canadian divisions successfully attack the well-fortified Hill 70. The Germans then launch 21 unsuccessful counterattacks to drive them out. The confrontation costs the Canadian Expeditionary Force 9,198 men, compared to some 20,000 for the Germans.

1917 - 26 October-6 November
Canadian troops capture Passchendaele (now Passendale) Ridge, which dominates Flanders. This victory concludes the third Battle of Ypres that began on 31 July. In their advance on Passchendaele, the four Canadian divisions cover themselves with glory; 3,042 Canadians lose their lives, a thousand others disappear in lakes of mud, and 12,000 are hospitalized behind the lines.

1918 - 8-9 August
In the Battle of Amiens the Canadians and Australians form the shock troops of the 4th British Army. In a single day the Canadians cover 13 kilometres, at a cost of 1,306 dead and 2,803 wounded, and clear the AmiensParis rail line.

1918 - 26 August
Canadian troops take Monchy, one of the best-fortified points in the celebrated Hindenburg Line, along with many prisoners.

1918 - 10 October
The Canadians enter Cambrai; the Hindenburg Line, an exceptionally well-organized German defence system, is finally breached.

1922 - 28 June
Passage of the National Defence Act consolidating the Naval Service, the Department of Militia and Defence and the Air Board into a single department.

1923 - 1 January
The National Defence Act comes into force.

1924 - 1 April
Begun in 1922, the organization of the Royal Canadian Air Force is finally completed.

1939 - 1 September
German troops invade Poland.

1939 - 3 September
France and Britain declare war on Germany.

1939 - 10 September
Canada enters the war.

1939 - 10 December
At Halifax, an initial Canadian contingent of some 7,400 men set sail for England under General A.WG. McNaughton; they arrive without incident six days later.

1939 - 17 December
The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand conclude an agreement setting up a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to be managed by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
1940 - 10 May
Germany begins its invasion of the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.

1940 - 22 June
France capitulates.

1940 - 2 July
The crew of the Canadian destroyer Saint-Laurent save hundreds of German and Italian civilians after their ship, Arandora Star, en route from England, is torpedoed by a German submarine. This rescue operation by a single ship will be one of the largest of its kind during the war.

1940 - 25 September
In the first significant capture by the Canadian navy, the auxiliary cruiser Prince Robert inspects and seizes the German freighter Weser in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.

1941 - 6 April
Germany comes to Italy's assistance in the Balkans; its troops invade Yugoslavia and Greece.

1941 - 15 April
The first Canadian air force attack over enemy territory, near Boulogne, France.

1941 - 22 June
Germany attacks the USSR.

1941 - 29 June
The government announces the creation of the Canadian Women's Army Corps.

1941 - 2 July
An order in council authorizes the establishment of the Women's Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

1941 - 7 December
A Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor brings the United States into the war. Canada declares war on Japan the same day.

1941 - 25 December
In Hong Kong two inexperienced and poorly equipped Canadian battalions share the fate of the entire British garrison and surrender to Japanese troops after 17 days of fighting, resulting in 290 Canadians dead, 493 wounded, 1,682 taken prisoner.

1942 - 11 May
During the night a German submarine torpedoes two freighters off Anticosti Island in the St Lawrence River and slips away with impunity.

1942 - 20 June
On the Pacific coast a Japanese submarine torpedoes an English freighter off Cape Flattery, while another fires on Estevan Point on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where 17 shells explode. These attacks on Canada's Pacific coast will have no sequel.

1942 - 6 July
Three ships in a convoy are torpedoed in the St Lawrence River off Cap Chat.

1942 - 19 August
Some 6,100 men, 4,963 of them Canadians, participate in a failed Allied landing at Dieppe. The Canadians lose 3,369 men, including 907 dead and 1,946 taken prisoner.

1942 - 27 August
The German submarines U-165 and U-517 sink three vessels in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

1942 - 6 September
The German submarines U-165 and U-517 torpedo five ships in the Gulf of St Lawrence, sinking two.

1942 - 13 September
At approximately midnight the Canadian destroyer Ottawa, on escort duty in the North Atlantic, is struck by two torpedoes and sinks rapidly, resulting in the deaths of five officers, including the commander, and 109 crew members.

1942 - 15-16 September
In the Gulf of St Lawrence the German submarines U-165 and U-517 sink four freighters in two successive attacks, during the afternoon of 15 September and the early hours of the 16th, on the same Quebec-Sydney convoy.

1942 - 14 October
The passenger vessel Caribou is torpedoed in Cabot Strait, resulting in 136 dead. Since May 1942 seven German submarines have sunk no fewer than 23 vessels in the St Lawrence River and Gulf.

1943 - 10 July
Allied troops, including the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, land in Sicily.

1943 - 10 August
The last German units withdraw from Sicily, where 564 Canadian soldiers have been killed and 1,664 wounded since the Allied landing.

1943 - 14 October
Canadian troops take Campobasso, Italy.

1943 - 16 December
Around Casa Berardi, on the crest of a very deep ravine, the 1st Canadian Division concentrates its efforts against German troops for two weeks before it is able to take the house on 16 December. During this engagement Captain Paul Triquet of the Royal 22e Régiment becomes the first Canadian to earn a Victoria Cross in the Mediterranean campaign.

1943 - 27 December
After six days of fierce fighting, Canadians manage to drive German troops out of Ortona, Italy, at a cost of 176 officers and 2,163 men killed.

1944 - 23 May
The 1st Canadian Division manages to breach the Hitler Line in the Liri Valley with heavy casualties: 51 officers, 838 men. Some 700 Germans are taken prisoner and hundreds more are killed.

1944 - 6 June
D-Day: 5,000 Allied vessels invade the Bay of the Seine to land 107,000 troops and 7,000 vehicles in a single day. By nightfall the Canadian infantry have penetrated further inland than any other Allied division. Casualties amount to 1,064 dead, wounded and missing.

1944 - 28 June
In aerial combat over Normandy, 34 enemy aircraft are downed by Allied forces, 26 of them by Canadian pilots.

1944 - 3 July
In the English Channel, four Canadian motor torpedo boats sink two German merchant ships and seriously damage a third as well as two escort vessels.

1944 - 16 August
Falaise falls to Canadian troops after four days of bitter fighting.

1944 - 30 August
After suffering heavy casualties, the 2nd Canadian Division succeeds in liberating Rouen.

1944 - 1 September
In France, the Canadians commanded by General H.D.G. Crerar take Dieppe without opposition: The Germans withdraw before they arrive. In Italy, after a week of fighting, Allied troops, including I Canadian Corps, manage to neutralize the eastern part of the Gothic Line and take the town of Tomba de Pisaro.

1944 - 22 September
In France, Canadian troops take Boulogne after six days of fighting.

1944 - 1 October
At Calais, France, after seven days of confrontation the Germans capitulate: More than 7,000 are taken prisoner by the Canadians, who lose only some 300 dead or wounded.

1944 - 9 November
Walcheren Island capitulates to Canadian forces.

1945 - 27 February
End of the Italian campaign for the Canadian forces. The last men of I Canadian Corps leave Italy to join the 1st Canadian Army on the northwest European front.

1945 - 16 April
The Canadian navy suffers its last disaster of the war when the Bangor minesweeper Esquimalt is torpedoed near Halifax, killing 39 men out of a crew of 65.

1945 - 2 May
The 5th Canadian Armoured Division fights its last battle near Delfzijl, taking more than 3,000 prisoners and liberating the northern Netherlands.

1945 - 5 May
At Wageningen, Canadian General Charles Foulkes accepts the surrender of the German armies in the Netherlands; at Bad Zwischenahn, Canadian General G.G. Simonds officiates at a similar ceremony.

1945 - 7 May
The German forces agree to an unconditional surrender, with the ceasefire to be effective the following day at 11 pm.

1945 - 2 September
Japan surrenders unconditionally.

1945 - 6 September
In Ottawa, Igor Gouzenko flees the Soviet Embassy with evidence of the existence of a large-scale Soviet spy ring.

1948-2000 United Nations missions
In Kashmir, Canadian soldiers complete their first tour of duty in the role of U.N. observer. More than 100,000 Canadian military men and women, professionals and reservists, will serve in various capacities as peacekeepers around the world, sometimes for agencies other than the U.N.

U.N. Truce Supervision Organization - UNTSO.

U.N. Military Observer Group India-Pakistan UNMOGIP.

U.N. Temporary Commission on Korea - UNTCOK. The U.N. General Assembly observes and supervises elections in South Korea.

International Commission for Supervision and Control (Vietnam) - ICSC.

First U.N. Emergency Force in Sinai - UNEE

U.N. Observation Group in Lebanon - UNOGIL.

U.N. Operation in Congo - UNOC.

U.N. Temporary Executive Authority and Security Force (West New Guinea and West Irian) - UNTEA.

U.N. Yemen Observation Mission - UNYOM.

U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus - UNFICYP.

Mission of the U.N. Secretary General's Representative in the Dominican Republic - DOMREP.

U.N. India-Pakistan Observation Mission - UNIPOM.

Observer Team in Nigeria - OTN.

International Commission for Supervision and Control (Vietnam) - ICCS.

Second U.N. Emergency Force in Sinai - UNEF II.

U.N. Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights - UNDOE

U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon - UNIFIL.

Multinational Force and Observers (Sinai) - FMO.

U.N. Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan - UNGOMAP.

U.N. Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group - UNIIMOG.

U.N. Angola Verification Mission - UNAVEM.

U.N. Transition Assistance Group (Namibia) - UNTAG.

U.N. Observer Group in Central America - ONUCA.

U.N. Observer Group for the Verification of Elections in Haiti - ONUVEH.

Op. FRICTION (pre-hostilities), Op. SCIMITAR, Op. FLAG (post-hostilities), Persian Gulf.

Office of the Secretary General in Afghanistan and Pakistan - OSGAP

U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara - MINURSO.

U.N. Advance Mission in Cambodia - UNAMIC.

The U.N. Iraq Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) supervises the Khawr Abd Allah Channel and the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait to comply with the delimitation of borders established by the Iraq-Kuwait Border Demarcation Commission in 1993. When UNIKOM is set up, Canada provides a high-ranking officer for the mission headquarters and a regiment of 300 members of all ranks of the Canadian Forces. The commitment is later reduced to four military observers. Two Canadians also serve on the U.N. Special Commission (UNSC) with offices in Iraq and New York.

U.N. Operation in Somalia - UNOSOM (Op. CORDON).

U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia - UNTAC (Op. MARQUIS).

The U.N. Security Council sanctions peace enforcement in Somalia - UNITAF (Op. DELIVRANCE).

Support to the U.N. Commission of Experts (former Republic of Yugoslavia) - UNCOE (Op. JUSTICE).

U.N. Observer Mission in El Salvador - ONUSAL (Op. MATCH).

U.N. Protection Force in ex-Yugoslavia - UNPROFOR (Op. CAVALIER).

Under the authority of U.N. resolutions, the Cambodian Mine Clearance Centre is mandated to conduct major mine clearance projects and train Cambodians so that they will eventually no longer require international technical support. The CMCC includes 14 clearance sections and 19 international technical military advisors, including some from Canada, provided through the U.N. Development Program - UNDPCMAC.

U.N. Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda - UNOMUR.

U.N. Operation in Somalia II - UNOSOM II (Op. CONSORT)

Enforcement of the embargo on Haïti - UNMIHA (Op. FORWARD ACTION).

U.N. Operation in Mozambique - ONUMOZ (Op. CONSONANCE).

U.N. Operation to Assist Rwanda - MINUAR (Op. LANCE).

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - OSCE. Vienna-Nagorny-Karabakh Peacekeeping Mission (Op. NYLON).

NATO Peace Plan Implementation Force (IFOR: Op. ALLIANCE) - Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The SF will contribute to the secure environment needed to consolidate peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In December the Canadian government announces that it will provide a well-equipped force of 200 to the NATO-led SF-SFOR.

In November the UN Security Council establishes MIPONUH as the successor to the U.N. Transitional Mission in Haïti (MTNUH). At one point the transitional missions are run by Canada and the U.N. forces include approximately 650 Canadians and 550 Pakistanis. Their mandate is to restore power to the government of Haïtian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which has been toppled by a coup d'état.

U.N. Mission Guatemala - MINUGUA.

U.N. Mission in Kosovo (mainly land participation) and in East Timor (naval, land and air)

1949 - 4 April
In Washington, delegates from 10 European states, the United States and Canada sign the North Atlantic Treaty. From 1951 to 1993, Canada will maintain troops in Western Europe (Germany and France) as a contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stemming from the Treaty. To date, Canada is still participating, with at least one ship in NATO's naval effort.

1950 - 25 June
The North Koreans invade and quickly occupy South Korea, except for a small area called the "Pusan perimeter." U.N. contingents from 16 countries intervene, the Canadian contingent being the third largest.

1951 - 22 April
The 2nd Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry repel a Chinese attack in the Kap'yong Valley at a cost of 10 dead, earning a citation from the U.S. president.

1953 - 27 July
End of fighting in Korea, where some 22,000 Canadians served, more than 300 losing their lives.

1968 - 1 February
Official date for the unification of the Canadian Forces.

August 1990-March 1991
Gulf War
Canada is part of a coalition of countries formed under the aegis of the U.N. to force Iraq out of Kuwait after its invasion of 2 August 1990. On 24 August an operational group of three ships leave Halifax for the Persian Gulf to control seaborne trade there. A fighter squadron is then transferred from Lahr, Germany, to Doha, Qatar, to be responsible for air patrols under the naval force. A Canadian headquarters is also set up, on 6 November 1990, at Al-Manâma, Bahrain.

On 15 January 1991, the day hostilities are declared, Canada also provides a field hospital to the British armoured division. The Canadian air force takes part in the fighting against Iraqi forces with escort and bombing flights. The naval forces play a logistical role in the coalition. Hostilities between the U.N. coalition and Iraq end on 31 March 1991. Canada continues its activities in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War by providing a contingent for the U.N. Iraq Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).

Canada is a member (mainly with air and naval participation) of the coalition to stop ethnic cleansing by the Serbs in Kosovo province against inhabitants of Albanian background.