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Canadian Army Reading List- 11+ Years Of Suggestions and Ideas

I would like to contribute to this list with the following suggestion.

"Painting the Map Red: Canada and the South African War 1899-1902" by Carman Miller.
Fantastic book and it will leave you with a very strong appreciation for the men who started Canada's professional Army, and made history in this Countries infancy.

Great book, it follows all three of the Canadian Contingents 1st consisting of 2RCRI, 2nd consisting of the RCD, CMR & Artillery, 3rd Contingent being a Bttn. Of RCR's to take over Garrison of Halifax from the British, Lord Strathcona's Horse, also it discusses the Canadians serving in the S.A.C. (South-African Constabulary) as well as the Canadians that served in British Line Regiments.

Very informative about a subject that is rarely touched upon by today's military historians.

I personally Love Farley Mowatt's the regiment it is a great book. and it is a very personal book, as Farley was there.  also And No Birds Sang is a good book.
OCdt S.D.Rosenberg
Moro Coy
OK I am going out on a limb here:

Once you read it, you'll know why

World War Z by Max Brooks.  :blotto:
Baden  Guy said:
Col.C.P.Stacey and the three volume " The Canadian Army 1939-1945: A Historical Summary."
I particularly liked "Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume III. The Victory Campaign."


The official histories are now on line as pdf files.


I have a few of my own to add in here, forgive me for any that have already been mentioned

1915 - Lyn Macdonald. Has some of the most poignant narrative I've ever read about the first world war. Made me want to be a Patricia, reading about third Ypres. S/he (I honestly don't remember) quotes extensively from letters home and diaries, and paints an extremely vivid and accurate picture of life in the Great War.

Defeat into Victory - Field Marshal 1st Viscount (William) Slim - the definitive account of the Burma campaign during WW2. This is an often forgotten theatre, but the struggle against the Japanese here involved some of the most brutal combat of the war. Also, Slim is possibly the most capable of the British commanders of his era, and definitely the most loved by his own men.

The Desert Generals - Corelli Barnett - If you're part of the Montgomery cult, this is not for you. Sheds a very different light on the 5th desert general, his use of Ultra and what parts of Alamein were actually his. He makes up only about 1/4 of the book, though. The rest is a truly excellent account of the North African from 8th Army's perspective and their other commanders.

Barbarossa - Alan Clarke. The best history of the war on the eastern front (Operation Barbarossa) that I've come across, save perhaps Anthony Beavor's Stalingrad. Puts a very human face on a very brutal struggle. Also paints possibly the best picture of just how much Hitler shot himself in the foot

1812: Napoleon's Russian Campaign - Richard K. Rhien. Follows Napoleon's Grande Armee across white Russia. If you didn't understand the phrase "Amateurs talk tactics, Professionals talk Logistics" before, you will after you read this book. Not the best example of Napoleon's normally brilliant generalship, however :(

The Face of Battle, The First World War, The Second World War, The Mask of Command, Six Armies in Normandy, The Iraq War - John Keegan. Actually, every book John Keegan has ever written has subsequently become a seminal work. He's probably the pre-eminent military historian of our time (in my humble opinion).

The Other Side of the Hill - Liddell-Hart. Excellent work on the German side of the story in WW2, featuring interviews with the ones that survived and were made captive.

The Battle for the Falklands - Max Hastings. The Falklands were the most recent conflict fought between two opponents who were on a relatively equal footing, and there are a great many things to be learned from it, particularly for Navy-types.

Six Days of War - Michael Oren. An excellent account of the October War between Egypt, Jordan, Syria (vs) Israel. The Israelis really get all-arms co-operation and it's very interesting to read about it in action.

That's all for now, but I've found all of these books highly illuminating in their own respects.
War without Battles 4 Brigade 1951-1993,cannot remember the authors
name,I am sure someone could help me out.Will mostly be of interest
to those who served in NWE during the Cold War and explains why we
did some of the things we did during those interesting times.
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

You have to be prepared for anything!! :camo:
hey everyone, Ive started reading a few of the general leadership and historical books you've mentioned here.  Im merit listed for MARS officer and wondering if anyone can recommend any technical naval books to brush up on. Looking for something talking about modern maneuvers, weapons and techniques.  I have read what i could find on the websites, mostly leadmark and its newer version.  Also have read Operation Apollo by richard gimblett.  Any help will be appreciated!
The one book i've found to be very informative for prospects like my self : A Soldier First Gen Rick Hellier.
WOW!! :nod:

Just began reading this personal narrative and don't know where to begin praising it; the account is so haunting, honest and passionate.  It's the kind of story that gets right under the skin.  The book's time line covers the summer of 2006 and underscores the uniqueness of that particular tour with its unique set of frictions.  Conrad was part of the commanded the National Support Element involved in providing logistics support  to Task Force Orion.  Blatchford refers to him as a " Soldier-Poet."

What the Thunder Said: Reflections of a Canadian Officer in Kandahar by Lietenant-Colonel John Conrad with an Introduction by Christie Blatchford

Dundurn Group: Toronto and Canadian Defence Academy Press: Kingston: 2009 in cooperation with the Department of National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada.
ISBN 978-1-55488-408-7

One Review:

Edit: Correction
Journeyman,  thanks for that important distinction/correction!

-Apologies to Lieutenant-Colonel John Conrad.

Some of us civvies get it wrong no matter how hard we try! ;D
leroi said:
Journeyman,  thanks for that important distinction/correction!

-Apologies to Lieutenant-Colonel John Conrad.

Some of us civvies get it wrong no matter how hard we try! ;D
~meh~  No worries; John's just some numpty staff officer now

....and yes, I'm forwarding this reply to him  ;D
I have spent the past several months, off and on, reading and re-reading LCol Conrad's book and trying to formulate my own review.

Ultimately, however, the book leaves me cold.  It is an admirable memoir of life as a senior logistics officer deployed (and in the politicking leading up to deployment).  Its failure, to my mind, is unfortunately representative of the military's struggle with introspection and self-criticism.  There is too much "inside baseball", where a casual reader will miss important details that are glossed over so as not to offend (the lack of names in some places is much more important than the presence of names in others - to me, it's an immediate flag when someone is only ever referred to by their title, and not their name).

It is also instructive that LCol Conrad bemoans "the system" and the Logistics Branch writ large for a failure in leadership and vision (valid, if understated critiques to my mind), but also proudly asserts that he was never posted to NDHQ.  It is perhaps an unfortunate truism that the loudest critics inside the military of the way things are are generally those most proud that they avoided postings to NDHQ where they might have gained either an understanding of some of the whys, or the ability to influence change.

This is not to belittle the book - it is well written, does contain valuable insights and LCol Conrad is more than willing to admit to errors or failings of his own.  In fact, I would suggest takes too much responsibility in some instances - if his superiors never took interest in matters of logistics (well documented throughout the book), and did not engage the -4 staff in plans for operations, then finding yourself short of ammunition is not a supply issue - it's a command issue.

I have and will continue to recommend it as a work worthy of reading and considering for professional development of all military leaders, NCM and officer, combat arms and service support.  (Perhaps especially to combat arms officers, whose concept of logistics planning often seems to be "At this point, a miracle occurs!").  But I am still left with a nagging question of what could have been... the source material and the writer both seem so much better than the final product.
I found the book interesting and informative, especially in what it told me of the logistics concept of operations for TF-K. As an example, without getting into too much detail, the artillery ammunition supply issue very nearly derailed a major operation in 2006 when the actual in theatre bullet count was well below what the loggies were claiming. To their credit, the logisticians performed magnificently in both filling the bins and supporting the operation over the next few weeks. There are a couple of reasons why this happened, including a reliance on historical data to determine future expenditure rates (without noticing that the tempo picked up mid-tour.) If there is a lesson, and John Conrad does not mention it, it is that the just in time system may work for industry and for retail, but it can bite you on the butt in war, especially if the enemy does not cooperate. Sometimes logistics planning has to err on the side of overinsurance, and not rely on precision. To my mind, the responsibility here is shared and it would be wrong, as Dapaterson points out, to allow the CoC and the operations staff to escape criticism.

I recommend this book.
Old Sweat said:
the artillery ammunition supply issue very nearly derailed a major operation in 2006 when the actual in theatre bullet count was well below what the loggies were claiming.

One minor quibble:  My reading of that part of the book suggests a breakdown in communication, vice a mis-statement of the count.

LCol Conrad, based on prior consumption rates, did not identify a shortfall in artillery ammunition - thus, if asked, would say that holdings were sufficient.  That statement should have been caveated: "sufficient - as long as the consumption rate does not change."  A rather important caveat.

Thus, it would appear that it was not a conflict over the count - presenting a simple set of numbers would have been clear to all.  "We have 20 rounds, since the average usage rate is one a week, we're good for 4 months."  "But our plan needs 30 rounds in the first week."  "Well, then, we need to get more."  (Note: Numbers here are entirely fictional)

The problem was one of communication - "sufficient" means different things to different people.

Communication is a two-way street - so I'd argue LCol Conrad's assertion of sufficiency was inadequate communications on his part, and the command team's failure to ask deeper questions about what "sufficient" meant was inadequate communications on their part.

I would say that this is one of the key lessons to learn from the book - ensure clear, concise communications that are not misunderstood at either end.  (I also seem to recall a similar lesson from many, many moons ago in a leadership course in what today is called CAP...)
Ah the old ABC of military communications:


I have seen too many briefings where none of these Principles were observed.
Whatever the reason, the arty ammunition count got badly out of whack. I don't want to get into numbers for obvious reasons, but I have interviewed the then CO 1 RCR and BC and BSM of E Bty, 2 RCHA. Their stories match. I have an agreement from John Conrad to discuss the subject when we can get together.

As Dapaterson notes, there was a breakdown in communications. Let's leave it at that for now.