Pacific Coast Artillery in Canadian Service
by GWL Nicholson.
Canada’s Weapons of War Series, WOW034
A5 size softback, 24 pages
Review by Peter Brown
“Defending ports and installations against attack or bombardment from the sea was still a major consideration in WW2.
Canada reviewed its coastal defences in the late 1920s and a complete plan was devised covering the types of guns to be put in each location for various purposes. Putting this plan into practice was very slow however, with the outbreak of war an interim scheme was put into action usually involving building the emplacements for the guns they should have had but fitting what was available.
This book is different from other Canadian Weapons of War series productions as it is based on a report compiled in 1944 by the Canadian “official historian” with additional details for non-military readers such as defining the difference between BL and QF guns. It covers the intended plans and what actually happened including details of what equipment was used in each location. This covers the guns themselves, supporting searchlights and the command and control measures for them.
It uses several period photos of guns, lights and emplacements but does not have any equipment plans, however a map shows the location of the many coast artillery sites.
These defences were never called on to fire in anger which means they were either a complete waste of resources or completely successful in deterring the enemy. Whichever view you take, this book sheds light on a form of defence which is now a thing of the past but is still well worth studying.
Thanks to Clive Law at Service Publications for the review book.”
“I just recently finished reading Pacific Coast Artillery in Canadian Service, which is part for the Weapons of War series from Service Publications. The book is very well written, considering the actual text for the book was written in 1944 by the author. According to the publisher, there was very little editing done, just some minor additions to bring it up to a modern understanding of some terms. The book has many great images and captions, and is very descriptive and informative.
The book is staple bound, printed on quality paper with a card stock cover. Priced at $9.95CDN from the publisher, I feel the book is very well priced, and it covers the pre-war conditions of the Pacific Coastal defence and what was implemented at the beginning of World War 2. The book provides the general state of the defences along the Pacific Coast, and then proceeds to describe efforts at the various sites along the coast to ensure proper coastal defence. I found the book very informative on the requirements of the sites, the different uses of coastal defence artillery, and the logistics of obtaining the weapons required.
As mentioned above, the text was written in 1944, as a report to the Army Headquarters, as report #8. The author demonstrates excellent knowledge of the material and does a good job describing the tactics of the defensive layout of the artillery and its usage. Overall I found the book to be a great read. For such a little book, 24 pages, it is packed with information, and I found it very educational. Definitely recommended.”