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Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945
Terry Copp
 Book Details
 Author  Terry Copp
 Publisher  University of Toronto Press (2006)
 Rating
- 1 votes (8.0/10)
In his controversial and award-winning 2003 book Fields of Fire, Terry Copp offered a stunning reversal of accepted military history, challenging the conventional view that the Canadian contribution to the Battle of Normandy was a failure. Cinderella Army continues the story of the operations carried out by the First Canadian Army in the last nine months of the war, and extends the argument developed in Fields of Fire that ?the achievement of the Allied and especially the Canadian armies? has been greatly underrated while the effectiveness of the German army has been greatly exaggerated.? Copp supports this argument with research conducted on numerous trips to the battlefields of France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. His detailed knowledge of the battlefield terrain, along with contemporary maps and air photos, allows Copp to explore the defensive positions that Canadian soldiers were required to overcome, and to illustrate how impressive their achievements truly were.
 
Except for a brief period during the Rhineland battle, the First Canadian Army was the smallest to serve under Eisenhower?s command. The Canadian component of that Army never totalled more that 185,000 of the four million Allied troops serving in Northwest Europe. It is, however, evident that the divisions of 2nd Canadian Corps played a role disproportionate to their numbers. Their contribution to operations designed to secure the Channel Ports and open the approaches to Antwerp together with the battles in the Rhineland place them among the most heavily committed and sorely tried divisions in the Allied armies. By the end of 1944 3rd Canadian Division had suffered the highest number of casualties in 21 Army Group with 2nd Canadian Division ranking a close second. Among armoured divisions, 4th Canadian was at the top of the list as was 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade among the independent tank brigades. Overall Canadian casualties were twenty percent higher than in comparable British formations. This was a direct result of the much greater number of days that Canadian units were involved in close combat.
 
As passionately written and compellingly argued as its precursor, Cinderella Army is both an important bookend to Copp?s earlier work, and stands on its own as a significant contribution to Canadian military history.
 


 From firstcanpara on Feb 22, 2010 15:32:59
I recently finished both of these books (Fields of Fire and C.A.) and found them to be very informative but in some ways not so controversial as hyped.  Maybe this is b/c I have never been a Monty "fan" so Copp's revelations that Monty mishandled the support for the  Scheldt battles for example, are no surprise to me.  I also never believed in the incompetancy/slowness of the Canadian army for taking too long to capture Caen, the Channel ports or the Scheldt estuary anyway as the enemy has a vote on things too! Therefore without knowing why, I always suspected Monty of looking for scapegoats.   I can certainly see where others who are familiar with Copp's work commented to me that his work was much more "academic" than say Mark Zuelhke's books.  This is not bad however, as he very logically and orderly builds his case against Monty et al...but it did make a few parts a little dry as he recapped key points at the end of some chapters which I did not feel was necessary but again, I was agreeing with him and didn't need anymore convincing.  I gave it an 8/10 b/c I did learn quite a bit about the Canadian army in NW Europe which is why I bought the book in the first place.  They (both books- F o F and CA) are nowhere near a complete record of all of the units, all the minor actions, tell all the stories etc... but they do not try to be either.  Either combined with F o F or read alone, Cinderella Army is a solid book for anyone interested in this (WWII in NW Europe) topic. PS: the information regarding NP (neuro-psychiatric) patients and treatment was a real eye opener.  Keep his figures in mind when reading about modern NP cases from Iraq and Afghanistan.  One more thing...I wonder how the US and Canada Olympic Hockey teams are feeling today after the 5-3 win by the US last night (21 Feb., 2010). Better than Jagr after Ovechkin's massive hit I'll bet!  I'm forever in Canada's debt for inventing hockey (the greatest sport!) and if the US doesn't win Gold then I'm all for C A N A D A winning...oh no I forgot about Crosby...never mind, I can't root for that guy at all even if he is a skilled player.