The New Brunswick Rangers

The New Brunswick Rangers

(Author Photo)

(New Brunswick Military History Museum Collection)

The New Brunswick Rangers

The New Brunswick Rangers was an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army until its amalgamation with The Saint John Fusiliers (MG).

The New Brunswick Rangers trace their Lineage to the 74th Battalion of Infantry authorized on 12 August 1870.  They were re-designated as the 74th Regiment on 8 May 1900, and then as the 74th Regiment 'The New Brunswick Rangers' on 2 November 1903, and as The New Brunswick Rangers on 15 March 1920.  They were amalgamated with The Saint John Fusiliers (M.G.) on 31 August 1946 to become The South New Brunswick Regiment. The designation was changed three months later, to The New Brunswick Scottish, on 2 December 1946, with its Headquarters in Sussex, NB.  The 74th Regiment contributed men to the 12th Battalion, CEF, and recruited for the 55th, 145th and 236th Battalions, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), all of which are perpetuated by the New Brunswick Rangers. All were amalgamated on 31 August 1946, to create The South New Brunswick Regiment.

Details of the New Brunswick Rangers and The Saint John Fusiliers (Machine Gun) were called out on 26 August 1939 and then placed on active service on 1 September 1939 for local protection duties until disbanded on 31 December 1940.  The New Brunswick Rangers mobilized the 1st Battalion, The New Brunswick Rangers, CASF, on 1 January 1941.  It was re-designated as The 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade Support Group (The New Brunswick Rangers), CIC, CASF on 1 November 1943 and as The 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers), CIC, CASF on 24 February 1944.  The unit served at Goose Bay, Labrador in a home defence role as part of Atlantic Command from June 1942 to July 1943. It embarked for Britain on 13 September 1943.  On 26 July 1944, the company landed in France as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, and it continued to fight in North-West Europe until the end of the war.  The overseas company was disbanded on 15 February 1946.

The Saint John Fusiliers (Machine Gun) mobilized the 1st Battalion, The Saint John Fusiliers (Machine Gun), CASF, on 1 January 1941.  It served in Canada as part of the 18th Infantry Brigade, 6th Canadian Division, and "C" Company of this unit took part in the expedition to Kiska, Alaska as a component of the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, serving there from 16 August 1943 to 6 January 1944.   It embarked for Britain on 2 January 1945, where it was disbanded on 10 January 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA 113666)

New Brunswick Rangers, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, entering Bergen-Op-Zoom, Holland, 29 Oct 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224573)

New Brunswick Ranger, May 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224583)

New Brunswick Ranger on a winter exercise, with a Universal Carrier, May 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224768)

New Brunswick Rangers patrolling on a motorized toboggan, May 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224767)

New Brunswick Rangers, May 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224765)

Personnel of The New Brunswick Rangers at a Bren gun site, with a Universal Carrier in the background, May 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224580)

New Brunswick Rangers, May 1943.

Cloth Shoulder Flashes

During the Second World War, a cloth shoulder flash in red stitching on a blue background was worn on Battle Dress.

The New Brunswick Rangers are perpetuated by the Royal New Brunswick Regiment with its Headquarters in Fredericton.

No photo description available.

Küsten Canal, Netherlands, 17 April 1945

Overall Situation

As the 1st Canadian Corps was engaged in operations in the western Netherlands, the 2nd Canadian Corps was clearing out the last pockets of German resistance in the northwestern Netherlands, and advancing into Germany itself. The 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division crossed the Twente Canal on 4 April and had reached the Ems, finding flooded terrain making poor going for tanks. The commander of 1st Canadian Army refused to attach the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division to the British 30th Corps while the 2nd Canadian Corps prepared for Operation CANNONSHOT far to the south and the division continued its drive over the Overijsselsch Canal, to Coevorden and into Meppen on April 5. According to the Canadian Army's official history:

The following day the 4th Armoured Brigade occupied the suburbs of Meppen on the left bank of the Ems, while the 10th Infantry Brigade encountered somewhat stiffer resistance at Wierden, only a few miles west of Almelo. Evidently fearing a movement by our troops across his northward line of retreat to Groningen, the enemy was surprisingly active in this area, and Wierden was not finally cleared until the 9th.

While the Algonquins were occupied at Wierden, the remainder of the division was on the move north again. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), fighting with the 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade, made an assault crossing of the Ems at Meppen and captured the town with the loss of only one casualty. German prisoners included a number of 17-year old youths with only six to eight weeks of total military experience.

German defences in the area below Bad Zwischenahn comprised two battalions of "marines" - naval personnel fighting as infantry - as well as elements of the 7th Parachute Division.

The Battle

An hour after midnight on 17 April, the Algonquin Regiment made the first crossing of the canal in assault boats, supported by tanks of the British Columbia Regiment, machine guns from the New Brunswick Rangers, and gunfire from the divisional artillery. Despite enemy artillery and mortar fire, as well as a counter-attack by a self-propelled gun and marines, the Algonquins managed to retain a 350 yard deep bridgehead 1500 yards wide. Two companies of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada reinforced the bridgehead, helping drive off two additional counterattacks. On 18 April an additional company from the Lincoln & Welland Regiment crossed over to widen the gains and provide a secure bridging site for the 9th Field Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers who put up a Bailey bridge under fire while their comrades of the 8th Field Squadron continued rafting operations. Tanks began to cross the canal the next day.

The New Brunswick Rangers’ history records the following:

The battle of the Küsten Canal and the period that followed was perhaps the most intense fighting and prolonged action that our troops has participated in to date. It was the darkness preceding the dawn. The Algonquin Regiment were ordered to establish the bridgehead with one platoon of MMGs in direct support. Lt JS Drury and his No. 5 Pl were given the task of setting their guns in position on the canal bank and at H hour, as the first assault craft pushed into the darkness, they opened fire. At a range of only 100 yards the enemy gun positions replied and their heavy mortars took up the fight. Not a shot was fired at the assaulting troops until they had gained the bank of the canal on the enemy side. Under the relentless rain of fire the machine guns continued to give support as the struggle for the bridgehead developed into a battle of the first magnitude.


By 21 April the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade had advanced beyond the bridgehead to the Aue River over poor roads and flooded terrain. The divisional engineers were stretched to capacity keeping traffic moving, and lack of tank support hampered infantry operations, with rifle companies in the week following the canal crossing dipping to average strengths of 50%.

For their part in the action the Battle Honour KÜSTEN CANAL was granted to the 10th Independent Machine Gun Company (The New Brunswick Rangers).

NUNQUAM NON PARATUS (New Brunswick Military History Museum)

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