Quebec 1775 Osprey Campaign 128 Book Review

Quebec 1775: The American Invasion of Canada

By Brendan Morrissey, illustrated by Adam Hook

Series:  Osprey Campaign Series 128

Softcover, 96 pages, profusely illustrated

Published by Osprey Publishing, October 2003

Language: English

ISBN-10: ‎ 9781841766812

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1841766812

Dimensions: ‎ 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.7 inches

The subtitle of this book is a misnomer as neither the United States of America nor Canada existed in 1775.  Here is a convoluted but more accurate version: “The thirteen British colonies in rebellion (of seventeen total) in North America invade the British Province of Quebec.”  There, all fixed.

The Province of Quebec was ceded by the French to the British by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  The people who lived there were organized in a feudal structure with the Catholic church owning the land and the French Canadien habitants working largely as tenant farmers.  Added to this was an influx of small numbers of “Old Subjects” loyal to the crown, along with a few Regiments of British regulars.  There was also a sizable population of indigenous peoples of various tribes in the region.  The area of the province extended all around the Great Lake Region, including what is Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio today.

The Continental Congress, seeing an opportunity to eliminate a perceived British threat from the North and control a vast tract of land, authorized a two-pronged invasion under General Philp Schuyler and General Benedict Arnold (still under good graces at this point).  The Continental leadership expected the French Canadien habitants to welcome them as liberators and rebel against British rule just as they themselves had done.

The expedition began well for the Continentals, with General Richard Montgomery (replacing Schuyler, who had fallen ill) taking Montreal in November.  Provincial Governor Guy Charlton struggled to raise militia from the population to defend Quebec, but managed to fortify and garrison the city before the arrival of the Continental columns, which were weakened by disease and the arduous trek through the wilderness.  The assaults began on 30 December as many of the Continental soldiers’ enlistments expired with the New Year.  The attack failed to take the city and resulted in a siege, which eventually ended in the British reinforcement of Quebec and the Continental Army’s retreat.

This is one of those “nexus of history” moments – if Quebec fell and had remained in the hands of the Continental Army in 1782 would there even be a Canada today?

This book follows the standard format for volumes in the Osprey Campaign series.  I found this one quite hard to follow, as the long series of skirmishes and minor battles involved a mish-mash of regular units and militias which the author has identified by their commanders.  I had to re-read several passages as it wasn’t initially clear which unit commander was subordinate to whom, and on which side, in each small battle.  Several of the commanders were described as having various shortcomings which were not explained or illustrated in any detail.  More specifics or examples would have been very helpful.  A useful, but confusing, introduction to a forgotten expedition during the American Revolution.

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop of Sgt. George Beurling in 1/72 Scale

Sgt. George “Screwball” Beurling was the highest-scoring Canadian ace, with 31 credited victories, the majority of which were scored over Malta.  BR323 was one of the Spitfires he flew with 249 Squadron at Malta, achieving 5 victories with this aircraft in July 1942.  The dual drop tanks on the centerline were a field improvisation, the blue camouflage was applied in theater and has been interpreted in several ways.


IBG Models Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry in 1/72 Scale

This is the IBG Models 2009 release of the Canadian C15A Personnel Lorry.  The design is very distinctive and, like most trucks, a number of variations were produced to fulfill specialized roles.  IBG has released several versions and the aftermarket has served us well with a wide range of accessories and detail parts.  This is a nice kit, but one which has been made needlessly difficult to build by being over-engineered.  There were quite a few minuscule parts which were molded separately when they could have just as easily been molded as part of another assembly without sacrificing any detail.

The model represents a C15A assigned the Carlton and York Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry Division, Sicily 1943.

















Canadian Escort Ships Colour Photographs

A beautiful photograph of HMCS Arrowhead (K145) underway.  Arrowhead was a Flower class corvette, which were designed to provide a number of cheap, easy to construct convoy escorts and were based upon a commercial whaling ship hull.  Displacement was 925 tons with a crew of 85, maximum speed was a modest 16 knots.  Armament was light but sufficient, with a four-inch gun forward and a variety of lighter guns for anti-aircraft protection.  They carried depth charges and were later fitted with a Hedgehog projector for anti-submarine work.  Many were also fitted with minesweeping gear.  Ships of the class were named for types of flowers in Royal Navy service, Arrowhead being a flowering water plant.  HMCS Arrowhead was commissioned in November 1940 and survived the war.

Another Flower class corvette, here is HMCS Midland (K220) airing her signal flags while moored to a pier.  She was a Canadian-build ship, being constructed (and named for) Midland, Ontario.  She spent her wartime service escorting shipping along the North American seaboard.  She was active in a countering a series of incursions by German U-boats into Canadian coastal waters collectively known as the Battle of St. Lawrence.

HMCS Regina (K234) was named after Regina, Saskatchewan.  She was commissioned in January 1942 and had an active service career.  She was assigned as part of the screening force for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  Subsequently she screened convoys between England and Gibraltar.  On 08FEB43 she depth charged and sank the Italian Acciaio-class submarine Avorio off Algeria.  She later was part of the invasion fleet for the landings at Normandy.  On 08AUG44 Regina was rescuing survivors of the American Liberty ship Ezra Weston when she was torpedoed by the U-667, sinking with the loss of thirty of her crew.

HMCS Restigouche (H00) was originally commissioned into the Royal Navy as the C-class destroyer Comet in June of 1932.  Original armament was four 4.7-inch guns in single mounts, eight 21-inch torpedo tubes in two quadruple mounts, and depth charges.  Later refits would reduce the numbers of main guns and torpedo tubes in favor of increased anti-submarine and anti-aircraft capability.  Maximum speed was a respectable 36 knots, complement was 165.

Restigouche was very active during the Battle of the Atlantic, screening several local and trans-Atlantic convoys.  She was part of the screening force during the Normandy invasion, and participated in the sinking of three German patrol boats on 06JUL44 off Brest.  She survived the war and was scrapped in 1946.

River-class frigates were designed to be larger, more capable, and more sea-worthy convoy escorts than the Flower class corvettes, while still being less expensive to build and operate than destroyers.  They were armed with a twin 4-inch mount forward (although the first units completed were initially fitted with a single mount as seen here) and a 3-inch gun aft along with Oerlikon 20mm cannon, Hedgehog and depth charges.  They were four knots faster than the Flowers and had twice the range.  Pictured here is HMCS Waskesiu (K330), which was built at Esquimalt, British Columbia and commissioned on 16JUN43.  On 24FEB44 Waskesiu and HMS Nene engaged the German submarine U-257.  After multiple depth charge attacks the U-257 was forced to the surface where she was sunk by gunfire from Waskesiu.  She survived the war and was sold to India.

HMCS Weyburn (K173) was another Flower-class corvette, built at Port Arthur, Ontario on Lake Superior.  She was commissioned in November 1941, escorting shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  She escorted convoys in support of the Torch landings in North Africa.  On 22FEB43 she struck a mine laid by the German submarine U-118 and began to sink.  The British destroyer HMS Wivern came alongside to remove the crew, but the Wivern was severely damaged when Weyburn’s depth charges exploded as she sank, killing many of the crew of both ships.


Two interesting photographs taken from the crow’s nest of HMCS Thetford Mines (K459), a River-class frigate.  These views show details of the fo’c’sle, twin 4-inch gun mount, and open bridge which should be of use to modelers.  Thetford Mines participated in the sinking of U-1302 in St. George’s Channel on 07MAR45.  She survived the war.