The Worthington Force Staff Ride Handbook
By Major John Rickard - October 15, 2021
Reading Time: 300 min
The Worthington Force Staff Ride Handbook follows the odyssey of a Canadian battle group to its ultimate destruction in Normandy. The force was composed of Lieutenant-Colonel Don Worthington’s 28 Canadian Armoured Regiment (CAR), the British Columbia Regiment and Lieutenant-Colonel A.J. Hay’s Algonquin Regiment. The BCR were part of 4 Canadian Armoured Brigade (CAB) and the Algonquins were part of 10 Canadian Infantry Brigade (CIB), all under the command of Major-General George Kitching’s 4 Canadian Armoured Division (CAD).
Worthington Force is a story of misdirection, communications failure and ultimately the fog of war. Many opportunities presented themselves to turn the unfolding events to advantage for higher formations. The Canadian Army Command and Staff College (CACSC) prides itself on training junior officers to mitigate the fog of war by sound planning. It is apparent that sound planning was not necessarily the signature trait of the Worthington Force story.
The genesis of this handbook arose after the College’s professional military education (PME) staff produced a VSR based on Worthington Force for Directing Staff professional development. The VSR now runs during each Army Operations Course (AOC) serial to demonstrate time and space to the students and how things can go wrong. Students are encouraged to think critically about the fate of Worthington Force in 1944 and how they would fight this scenario today given our modern equipment and communications.
Staff-riding is a much more rigorous experience than battlefield ‘touring.’ This handbook is designed to assist staff ride team leaders and students in the preparation and delivery of the Worthington Force staff ride and consists of operations orders, logs and orders of battle, first-person accounts and contemporary maps and air photos. The staff ride can be conducted virtually in any Canadian Army (CA) facility with access to Google Earth or on the ground in Normandy.
The Worthington Force Staff Ride Handbook is the first of its kind in the CA and others will follow covering different types of battles and operations.
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