Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

A War of Patrols: Canadian Army Operations in Korea

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

A War of Patrols: Canadian Army Operations in Korea

Article excerpt

William Johnston, A War of Patrols: Canadian Army Operations in Korea (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003), xx + 426pp. Cloth. $29.95. ISBN 0-7748-1008-4.

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Canada contributed a Special Force, variously known as 25th Brigade, the Second Battalions or Rocky's Army. This initial contribution to the American-led United Nations Forces was speedily raised from men who had served in the Second World War: as Johnston points out, it was the only occasion in the country's history when Canada entered an overseas conflict with a large pool of ready trained recruits who had recent battle experience. Subsequently, the Special Force troops were replaced by regulars, who were critical of their forerunners.

Not much has been written about the Canadians in Korea. 309 deaths in action represented an appreciable loss for the peaceable kingdom, but hardly the basis for a miniature publishing industry. Johnston's comprehensive study forms part of the Canadian War Museum's series, Studies in Military History. While it provides a detailed chronicle of operations, this is no bland 'official history'. Johnston contests ad indeed inverts the denigration of the Special Force troops, and is scathing about the leadership and fighting qualities of many regular officers a criticism of some wider import, since it was Korea veterans who would run the army until the 1970s. …

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