Most Canadian soldiers spent a long time in Great Britain training to fight the Germans in Europe. The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.) was a machine gun unit and trained to provide heavy weapons support to other, more lightly-armed, infantry units. For the Camerons much of their firearms training involved mastering the Vickers medium machine gun. The Vickers had been in use during the First World War, and was still a very good weapon. It was liquid cooled and fired .303 calibre ammunition from belts fed into the firing chamber.
Most Canadian soldiers spent a long time in Great Britain training to fight the Germans in Europe. The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.) was a machine gun unit and trained to provide heavy weapons support to other, more lightly-armed, infantry units. For the Camerons much of their firearms training involved mastering the Vickers medium machine gun. The Vickers had been in use during the First World War, and was still a very good weapon. It was liquid cooled and fired .303 calibre ammunition from belts fed into the firing chamber.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Vickers Machine Gun

Camerons practising with their Vickers medium machine guns in Great Britain, c.1942.

Ken Reynolds
c. 1942
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Great Britain, UNITED KINGDOM
© The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum


The British army introduced the Bren light machine gun in 1937. The gun was standard issue for British and Canadian infantry units during the Second World War. Each infantry group was equipped with one Bren gun group for local automatic support fire. Designed to be portable, the use of the Bren gun meant that tactics could include fast-moving automatic fire. This was a great improvement over the older Lewis light machine gun whose weight and dimensions prevented it from being used in an attack at speed. Also used as an anti-aircraft weapon, the Bren gun played an important role in attacking German planes during the Battle of Britain.


Specifications: The Bren gun was manufactured by the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield Lock with a calibre of 303" (British), an overall length of 1,150 mm (42.5"), an empty weight of 10.15 kg (22.38 lbs.), a 635 mm (25.0") barrel, a feed system including a 30-round detachable box, a rate of fire of 500 rounds per minute and a muzzle velocity of 731 metres per second (2,400 feet per second). Equipment for the Bren gun included a mounting tripod, a gun cover, a spares holdall or wallet, a box of magazines, utility pouche Read More
The British army introduced the Bren light machine gun in 1937. The gun was standard issue for British and Canadian infantry units during the Second World War. Each infantry group was equipped with one Bren gun group for local automatic support fire. Designed to be portable, the use of the Bren gun meant that tactics could include fast-moving automatic fire. This was a great improvement over the older Lewis light machine gun whose weight and dimensions prevented it from being used in an attack at speed. Also used as an anti-aircraft weapon, the Bren gun played an important role in attacking German planes during the Battle of Britain.


Specifications: The Bren gun was manufactured by the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield Lock with a calibre of 303" (British), an overall length of 1,150 mm (42.5"), an empty weight of 10.15 kg (22.38 lbs.), a 635 mm (25.0") barrel, a feed system including a 30-round detachable box, a rate of fire of 500 rounds per minute and a muzzle velocity of 731 metres per second (2,400 feet per second). Equipment for the Bren gun included a mounting tripod, a gun cover, a spares holdall or wallet, a box of magazines, utility pouches to hold the magazines.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Bren light machine gun

Equipment layout for a Bren gun carrier, 1940.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives
c. 1940
Great Britain, UNITED KINGDOM
© Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives


Anti-tank mines were one of the most effective defensive weapons available during the war. The mines could protect a large area without the presence of soldiers. The anti-tank mines were often paired with anti-personnel mines, making it difficult for the anti-tank mines to be removed by an advancing army. One way to avoid the mines, as demonstrated by the platoon led by Lieutenant C.S. Munro of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was to send scouts ahead in hopes they could observe the mines being planted. If successful, this would allow the soldiers to enter the minefield later and defuse the mines.
“Pats” Maintaining Reputation As a Great Patrolling Troops.
Anti-tank mines were one of the most effective defensive weapons available during the war. The mines could protect a large area without the presence of soldiers. The anti-tank mines were often paired with anti-personnel mines, making it difficult for the anti-tank mines to be removed by an advancing army. One way to avoid the mines, as demonstrated by the platoon led by Lieutenant C.S. Munro of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was to send scouts ahead in hopes they could observe the mines being planted. If successful, this would allow the soldiers to enter the minefield later and defuse the mines.
“Pats” Maintaining Reputation As a Great Patrolling Troops.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

"'Pats' Maintaining Reputation As Great Patrolling Troops," newspaper article

"'Pats' Maintaining Reputation As Great Patrolling Troops," newspaper article by Louis V. Hunter, Canadian Press war correspondent in Italy. Article includes mention of the use of anti-tank mines in battle. Source of the article is unknown.

Louis V. Hunter

© Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canada’s Army in the World War II
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated in military events during World War II
  • Identify key locations in which Canada’s military operated during World War II
  • Evaluate the weapons and technology used by Canadian soldiers

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