Canada's Mechanized Infantry
264 pages, 6 x 9
17 b&w photos, 4 maps, 1 table
Release Date:01 Aug 2020
Release Date:01 Feb 2020
Release Date:01 Feb 2020
Release Date:01 Feb 2020

Canada's Mechanized Infantry

The Evolution of a Combat Arm, 1920–2012

UBC Press

Although many modern studies of technology and war focus on tanks and armour, soldiers from the Second World War onward have discovered that success depends on a combination of infantry, armour, and artillery to form combat teams.

Canada’s Mechanized Infantry explores the largely ignored development of the infantry in the Canadian Army after the First World War and exposes the intellectual and cultural barriers it faced as it introduced armoured vehicles and vehicle-mounted weapons. Peter Kasurak demonstrates how Canadian forces, building on British Army experiments from the 1920s, implemented successful infantry vehicles and doctrine to ultimately further their military goals during the Second World War. These advancements were abandoned in the postwar period, however, even as the army quickly developed mechanized infantry  in response to the possibility of a nuclear war in Europe. Progress was slowed by a top-down culture and an unwillingness to abandon conventional thinking on the primacy of foot infantry and regimental organization. Post-Afghanistan, the army has yet to resolve these central issues.

This insightful book is the first to examine the challenges that have confronted the Canadian Army in transforming its infantry from First World War foot soldiers into a twenty-first-century combat force integrating soldiers, vehicles, weapons, and electronics.

Military historians, political scientists, serving officers, and public servants, as well as general readers with an interest in the Canadian Army or mechanized warfare, will all find this book compelling reading.

… a book about what the Canadian Army wants to be and how it has gone about trying to achieve this vision. Robert C. Engen, Canadian Military History.
Peter Kasurak draws on Canadian and allied military doctrine, the hard lessons gained from conflict, and pragmatic defence-spending decisions to explore the evolution of Canada’s mechanized infantry. The result is a book that fills a gap in Canadian military historiography. Howard Coombs, associate chair, War Studies Program, Royal Military College of Canada
The infantry is the heart of any fighting army. Canada’s Mechanized Infantry provides a comprehensive history of the thinking underlying the development and, at times, non-development, of this important branch of the Canadian military. This book will fascinate soldiers and scholars alike. Stephen Harris, chief historian, Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defence Headquarters
Peter Kasurak is a retired public servant who led the defence and national security sections of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada until 2007. He is also the author of A National Force: The Evolution of Canada’s Army, 1950–2000 and of many articles on Canadian-American relations, the Canadian Army, counter-terrorism, Parliamentary oversight of defence, and police governance. He is currently a part-time instructor in history and political studies at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.


Part 1: Second World War

1 Pre-War Theorizing

2 Learning from Experience

Part 2: Post–Second World War

3 The Concept of a Mechanized Force

4 The Bobcat

5 Implementing the Mechanized Force

Part 3: Cold War Era and Beyond

6 The Imagined War

7 Lightweight? Mediumweight? Heavyweight?


Appendix; Note on Sources; Notes; Bibliography; Index

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