The increasingly volatile situation in Europe and the Far East prompted the Canadian chief of general staff, Major-General Andrew G.L. McNaughton, to propose a reorganization of the Canadian militia. He anticipated that Canada could be called on to assist Britain or support military operations by the League of Nations. The Canadian army had no tanks or armoured cars and lacked anti-aircraft guns.

In 1936, the reorganization of the militia was implemented with a planned field force of seven divisions. They would include 59 infantry battalions, 26 machine gun battalions, 6 tank battalions, and 52 new units (including anti-tank and anti-aircraft units) for the Royal Canadian Artillery. Some attempts were made to rearm the permanent army, but, by 1939, the Canadian army would have only 14 light tanks and no anti-aircraft batteries. One of the most significant pre-war preparations was the purchase of Czech-designed Bren light machine guns, the basic weapon of the infantry. These weapons were ordered in sufficient quantities to equip two infantry divisions, the exact size of the initial expeditionary force envisaged in the mobilization plans.


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