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Bypassing the Chain of Command: The Political Origins of the RCN’s Equipment Crisis of 1943
At the behest of Angus L. Macdonald, the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, John Joseph Connolly conducted a secret investigation in October 1943 into the state of equipment on Canadian warships. Connolly, who was Macdonald’s executive assistant, traveled to St. John’s, Londonderry and London where he discovered that the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was far behind its allies in the modernization of its escort fleet. Canadian ships lacked gyroscopic compasses, hedgehog, effective radar and asdic, as well as other technical gear that was essential in the Battle of the Atlantic. These deficiencies should not have come as a surprise. Inadequate equipment on RCN ships had already become obvious during the intense convoy battles of 1941, and had been confirmed yet again by those of 1942. Insufficient training and manning policies also played their part in Canadian problems at sea. However, it was to be the technical aspects that Macdonald focused upon once Connolly returned from overseas, leading not only to a disruptive feud with the naval staff, but also, in their way, to the eventual replacement of Vice Admiral Percy W. Nelles as the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) in January 1944.
Mayne, Richard Oliver "Bypassing the Chain of Command: The Political Origins of the RCN’s Equipment Crisis of 1943." Canadian Military History 9, 3 (2000)