Land Force Central Area - Dept of National Defence

Land Force Central Area - Dept of National Defence

September 08, 2011 13:47 ET

BACKGROUNDER: The "Kangaroo" Regiment (1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment)

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2011) -

Editor's note: There is one image associated with this press release.

The armoured personnel carrier, or "APC" is a Canadian innovation that has shaped the face of the modern battlefield. It was the brainchild of Canadian Lieutenant-General Guy Simmonds during World War II. Simmonds was faced with the problem of getting large numbers of soldiers through enemy fire at the same speed as tanks during Operation TOTALIZE in August, 1944. He ordered the guns removed from some tracked artillery pieces built for "D-Day". The original vehicle, mounting a 105 mm howitzer, had been dubbed a "Priest". The new version, minus its gun and equipped with additional armour plating, was called a "Defrocked Priest". It was better known, however, as a "Kangaroo", because it was first produced in an Army workshop codenamed "Kangaroo", but also because it carried soldiers in a "pouch" where the gun used to be. 76 Kangaroos were produced in just four days of non-stop work – a feat first thought impossible, but accomplished by wide-spread "scrounging" of armour and other materiel.

The original Kangaroo was soon replaced by an all-Canadian version. Canada had developed a tank known as the Ram, similar to the American Sherman tank. It was too under-gunned and under-powered for war, but once the five-ton turret and gun were removed, and machine guns added, it made an ideal armoured carrier to get infantry soldiers through enemy fire to capture their objective. Hundreds were converted and used throughout the remainder of the war in Europe. Their armoured protection and machine-gun firepower saved countless Canadian and British lives, and contributed significantly to most key Commonwealth victories in the European theatre.

On October 19th, 1944, the original ad-hoc unit was formed into a new regiment of the Canadian army, known as the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, or "1 CACR". It is the only Canadian unit formed and disbanded overseas, without ever serving in Canada. Many of the original members came from The Elgin Regiment of St. Thomas, Ont., serving overseas as the 25th Armoured Delivery Regiment. The Elgins delivered new and repaired tanks back to the front for other units to use in combat. With the new unit, however, the transferred Elgin armoured troopers, augmented by soldiers from other units, would see plenty of action, winning 14 battle honours for their unit. It was disbanded in Holland on June 20th, 1945 and its soldiers returned to their parent units.

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Contact Information

  • Editors and Producers:
    For additional information please contact:
    Kangaroo Veterans Association (Calgary)
    Mr. Bill Miller
    Home: 403-226-4037 or Cell: 403-605-0059

    The Elgin Regiment Association (St. Thomas)
    (519) 709-3253

    Headquarters Joint Task Force (Central)
    /Land Force Central Area
    Captain John-Hugh MacDonald
    Public Affairs Officer
    Cell: 416-629-8277