The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is preparing to honour the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic which will be commemorated throughout 2020 by painting Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Moncton and Regina in a Second World War Admiralty disruptive paint scheme. This scheme is sometimes colloquially referred to as ‘dazzle’ paint.
The Battle of the Atlantic (BOA) was the longest battle of the Second World War and one in which Canada played a central role. The heritage paint scheme is just one way the RCN will commemorate its legacy, pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and celebrate those who continue to serve today.
HMCS Moncton recently returned to the Halifax waterfront painted in a retro white and blue wave pattern, following the ship’s recently completed planned docking period at the Shelburne Ship Repair yard. Work on HMCS Regina, which will be painted in a white and blue geometric scheme, is currently underway at CFB Esquimalt, and is expected to be complete by mid-October. Both ships will remain in their retro paint schemes for approximately one year and will showcase this important chapter in Canada’s naval history to Canadians and the world alike.
HMCS Moncton will proudly showcase its dazzle paint to Canadians when it participates in next year’s Great Lakes Deployment. The public will have the opportunity to see the ship up close, meet with sailors and tour the vessel when it visits communities along the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes.
Next summer HMCS Regina is set to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2020 (RIMPAC) and will make a dramatic entrance into Pearl Harbor for the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.
During the Second World War, these unique and unusual paint schemes were used as a form of camouflage. The unusual patterns made targeting more difficult and disrupted our enemy’s ability, particularly the ability of enemy submarines, to accurately track ships. Each ship had its own unique pattern, making it harder for enemies to identify classes of ships based on physical markings.
Courage, Honour, Sacrifice – remembering the Battle of the Atlantic
The longest battle of the Second World War, the Battle of the Atlantic, was fought at sea from 1939 to 1945 with the strategic outcome being sea control of the North Atlantic Ocean. Enemy vessels targeted the convoys of merchant ships transporting supplies and troops vital to safeguarding the freedom of the peoples of North America and Europe.
On any given day, up to 125 merchant vessels were sailing in convoy across the North Atlantic. It was during these treacherous, stormy crossings that Canada’s navy matured and won the mantle of a professional service by escorting more than 25,000 merchant vessels across the Atlantic. These ships carried some 182 million tonnes of cargo to Europe – the equivalent of 11 lines of freight cars, each stretching from Vancouver to Halifax. Without these supplies, the war effort would have collapsed.
Over the course of 2,075 days, Allied naval and air forces fought more than 100 convoy battles and performed as many as 1,000 single ship actions against the submarines and warships of the German and Italian navies.
Men and women of the RCN, Canadian Merchant Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force played an important role in the Allied war effort. More than 4,600 courageous Canadians lost their lives at sea and most of the 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy who died during the war lost their lives in this battle.
During the war, the RCN’s River-class frigates, Tribal-class destroyers, C-class destroyers and Flower-class corvettes were painted in the dazzle scheme.
The RCN is proud to honour the achievements of those who served as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic next year. This is a unique visual reminder that their sacrifices and selfless service to country have not been forgotten.
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