Project Haida

Student's Research and Role

Five teams of 5 will be formed; each one will be assigned a role of one of the combative elements of the Battle of the Atlantic:

  1. Royal Canadian Navy
  2. Royal Navy
  3. RCAF / RAF Maritime Command
  4. Kriegsmarine (U-Boats)
  5. Allied Merchant Marine

The research will focus on the role that each of the elements played in the longest battle of World War II. Attention should be made to the relative size, experience and equipment of each of the elements and how they developed and evolved during the period of conflict. This research will be important in preparation for the on-board exercise.

The research compiled by each team will be interpreted and developed in a display format. This in turn, which will be used as part of the on board, display on HMCS Haida.

The on-board exercise on HMCS Haida will take the form of a simulated war game and will draw on the interpretation of knowledge and facts gained by the teams during their research activities.

The exercise, code name Clarify will provide an opportunity for the student teams to participate in the protection of an Allied convoy (HX212) outbound from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Liverpool, England. The merchant ships will be protected by ships of the RCN and RN, and will have degrees of air cover from the RCAF and RAF maritime/coastal commands.

The convoy will be carrying needed war supplies such as food, munitions, and petroleum, needed in Britain for the maintenance of the population and the military build up that was being undertaken for the eventual invasion of Europe by Allied armies.

Each of the student Allied teams will be charged with explaining their specific role and responsibility within the convoy.

RCN/RN will identify their vessels, their weapons and equipment. They will also speak to the significance to their role in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Coastal Air Command team will identify their equipment and their roles with regard to sub-hunting. They will also identify the base from which they operate and their operational range.

The Merchant Marine team will identify their vessel, its 'flag', displacement, cargo and crew. They will explain why the cargo is so important and where they are located in the convoy pattern.

The Kriegsmarine (U-Boats) team will describe their vessels and their operational area. They will also identify their home base. The team will speak to their role and why it is important to the German war effort. They will explain how, where and when they plan to attack allied convoys. They will also identify what difficulties they face in their role.

At the end of the exercise we will have a brief period to discuss our collective findings and feelings about this aspect of World War II, and invite Andy Irwin, an ex-RCN Naval Officer to provide some comments about the real experience he had as an 18-year-old Canadian youth on board a destroyer that conducted escort duty on the North Atlantic convoy run to Liverpool, and also to Murmansk in Russia.