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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:36 pm
 


Northern Fights
Why is Canada naming its warships after U.S. defeats?


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Warships from the U.S. Navy will someday be sailing alongside the Royal Canadian Navy supply ships HMCS Queenston and HMCS Chateauguay, perhaps on a NATO exercise or a humanitarian relief mission. That might get awkward if a historically minded American sailor notices that Queenston and Chateauguay are battles where Canada defeated America in the War of 1812. Yo, Canada, what's the deal?

Yes, America's good-natured neighbor to the north is naming its newest naval vessels after battles where Canadians trounced U.S. invaders in the War of 1812.

The Battle of Queenston Heights, on Oct. 13, 1812, saw an outnumbered force of 1,300 British regulars, Canadian militiamen, and Mohawk irregulars repel a poorly organized attempt by 3,500 U.S. regulars and militiamen to cross the Niagara River. The Battle of Chateauguay, on Oct. 26, 1813*, was another embarrassing U.S. defeat, when a 1,600-strong British and Canadian force defeated 2,600 Americans who were attempting to capture Montreal.

"The Government of Canada has named the new Joint Support Ships (JSS) to commemorate the War of 1812, in recognition of the achievements and sacrifices made by those early Canadians who fought and died in these significant battles of Queenston Heights and Chateauguay," said Canadian Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Fidler in an email to Foreign Policy. "The War of 1812 was a defining moment that contributed to shaping our identity as Canadians and ultimately our existence as a country. It laid the foundation for Confederation and the cornerstones of our political institutions."

Historians may quibble: Since Canada was a British colony rather than a nation in 1812, then technically the war was fought between Great Britain and the United States, and the glory of these victories belongs to the British. But history is no match for patriotic fervor. "These two key victories helped ensure our independent development in what was then British North America, leading to the eventual achievement of Canadian nationhood and a mutually respectful relationship with the United States of America," Fidler said.

The HMCS Queenston and Chateauguay, which together will cost $2.6 billion Canadian, are scheduled to enter service in 2019. They are designed to replace older Canadian Navy replenishment ships. They are the first vessels to be named after U.S. defeats by Canada, but they may not be the last. "If an additional Joint Support Ships vessel is constructed, the names of other prominent War of 1812 battles will be considered," noted Fidler.

Not surprisingly, the naming of the two ships comes after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government sought last year to heavily commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. However, polls suggest that the festivities did not exactly stoke patriotic fires.

Should Americans feel aggrieved at Canada's actions, their northern friends have a fair riposte: We're only giving you a taste of your own medicine. The United States has never been shy about boasting of its own victories. British sailors must sail alongside current U.S. warships such as the USS Bunker Hill, USS Cowpens, and the USS Lake Champlain (at least the cruiser USS Yorktown has been retired). And the Japanese have to put up with the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, the Germans with the USS Normandy and USS Anzio -- and I'm sure the Vietnamese will look forward to a port visit from the cruiser USS Hue City. Not even domestic enemies are spared; Confederate nostalgists can grit their teeth over the USS Gettysburg and USS Vicksburg.

Britain and France are more or less friends now, but the British stuck it to the French with the now-retired nuclear submarine HMS Trafalgar. The Dutch have their frigate HNLMS Tromp (named after two admirals who beat the British). And the French have their frigate La Fayette, named after the general who helped the Americans beat the British, and of course the carrier Charles de Gaulle, named after a leader who drove the Americans and British crazy.

Perhaps the only nations that can't name their ships after famous victories are the former Axis powers. Germany would find it impolitic to name a ship the Denmark Strait or the Admiral Dönitz. The same goes for Japan. Will we ever see a Japanese warship named the Pearl Harbor?


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2 ... utions_end

Personally, I think it would be somewhat funny to see a Japanese ship named Pearl Harbor - AKA Pāruhābā.


Last edited by bootlegga on Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:54 pm
 


Ehhhh, it's no big deal. Not like the ships were named HMCS Kasserine Pass or HMCS Bataan. Or HMCS Saigon Embassy 1975. Given the quality of the US education system over the last few decades it's probable that only one out of a thousand Americans would even know what those names mean. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:00 pm
 


It's likely less an attempt to tweak other nations' sensibilities and more likely recognizing their history. Would it be proper for the Spanish navy to name a ship after the failed Spanish Armada?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:09 pm
 


Who gives a shit. I doubt anyone who would potentially be on either ship would know the significance of the others name.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:33 pm
 


It is a little odd that we're starting to name our Ships after battles we won since we never had to brag ourselves up before and always let our actions speak for themselves. All we did prior to this was post our Ships Battle Honours on a Battle Honour Board for all to see when they crossed the brow.

Normally we named our ships after Rivers, Cities, Provinces, Territories and places so, this may just be s sign that we've had enough of our neighbours to the south and have decided what's good for the goose is good for the gander or in this case Fog Horn Leghorn.

I guess rubbing a little salt in their wounds from time to time is a good thing since it teaches humility. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:19 pm
 


I don't see anything wrong with a ribbing/nudge from our North Neighbor's. You earned the right from history.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:24 pm
 


Cardonville Farm has a great tone......


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:37 pm
 


So long as all the Captains names are Pugwash, it will be fine.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:57 am
 


American invasions of Canada were far more frequent when the colonies were part of the British Empire.

During Queen Anne's War the Royal Colony of Massachusetts was instrumental in the British victory at Fortress Louisbourg and the expulsion of the Acadians.

Prior to that during King Williams War, the British colonies of New York and Massachusetts invaded Canada and attempted to take Montreal and Quebec in 1690.

There are monuments to the British victories over Canada throughout northern New England and northern New York state.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:39 am
 


Important to note that those parts of "Canada" were then controlled by France. Just little steps along the road to the Treaty of Paris and the creation of British North America.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:31 am
 


USS Lake Champlain

That specific one is named after a "Canadian-British" defeat in the same War of 1812. It was an embarrassment for our side:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plattsburgh

... not that far from the American defeat at Chateauguay as a matter of fact.

All's fair ...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:53 am
 


I don't see what's wrong with being proud of military victories of the past and honoring the men who fought and died in those victories with a ship.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:59 am
 


If you look at a map both are cities in Canada not just battles, Chateauguay QC is across the Mercier bridge from Montreal. And Queenston is about 5 km north of Niagra Falls


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:40 am
 


RoyalHighlander wrote:
If you look at a map both are cities in Canada not just battles, Chateauguay QC is across the Mercier bridge from Montreal. And Queenston is about 5 km north of Niagra Falls



I was in Queenston 16 hours ago. It's not exactly a city ... There is a nice village, there with Laura Secord's homestead in the middle (no chocolates, tho)

Chateauguay is a suburb of Montreal and has been since the 1950's +-


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:41 am
 


BartSimpson wrote:
I don't see what's wrong with being proud of military victories of the past and honoring the men who fought and died in those victories with a ship.



It's so typically Canadian to worry about it though, innit?


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