Our History

The history of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group can be traced back to the South African War where its units won honours at Paardeberg and Leliefontien. Although under a different name it fought with distinction during the First World War and carries such Battle Honours as Ypres, Somme, Arras, Mons and Vimy on its Colours and Guidons. Deactivated in the peacetime following the First World War, it was then reactivated during the Second World War and saw action in and throughout Italy and North West Europe; distinguishing itself during the Battles of Sicily, Rimini, and Ortona.

The Cold War

2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade was recalled to the active order of battle in 1954 and restructured as 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade Group (CIBG), under the 1st Canadian Division, and formed part of Canada’s land contribution to NATO. In 1955 2 CIBG deployed to Germany. With changes to Canada’s NATO commitments, the Brigade returned to Canada in 1957.

2 CIBG began its move to Camp Petawawa in the summer of 1957. Petawawa became the Regimental depot of the newly raised Canadian Guards Regiment.

In 1966, 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade Group was renamed 2 Combat Group. The formation was converted to an air-transportable light brigade trained to deploy to Northern Norway in the event of war or increased tensions between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. It was also trained for tasks involving UN Peacekeeping Operations, internal security operations and limited war operations. In addition, 2 Combat Group was tasked to provide a battle group to NATO Allied Command Europe Mobile Force.

Throughout the 1970s, 2 Combat Group participated in three major Operations: Operation Ginger, Operation ESSAY and Operation GAMESCAN.

On 11 October 1970, Operation GINGER commenced with the movement of 1,000 troops, by helicopter and vehicles, to Ottawa to protect Federal government buildings and officials in the context of the FLQ Crisis. It was immediately followed by Operation ESSAY, a deployment of troops from 2 Combat Group, throughout the province of Quebec.

Operation GAMESCAN was a deployment of troops in support of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

In 1977, the units of 2 Combat Group, less the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, combined with the Canadian Airborne to form the Special Service Force.

Special Service Force

On April 1, 1977, 2 Combat Group was disbanded and the Special Service Force was officially formed at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. The Force derived its name from the First Special Service Force, a historic formation of Americans and Canadians nicknamed “The Devil’s Brigade” during the Second World War.

The Special Service Force was intended to fulfill a dual role: the first, as a highly mobile rapid reaction formation capable of executing peacetime missions, and the second, in times of war, it would form the core of a standard brigade group.

Since the Airborne Regiment was designed to deploy rapidly into "hot" situations, its 1, 2, and 3 Commando units, with attached support, were sent to Somalia late in 1992 as part of Operation DELIVERANCE. Operation Deliverance formed part of the overall U.S. led Operation Restore Hope.

Brigade soldiers’ involvement in United Nations and NATO operations during the 1990s was extensive. Ranging from the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), Cambodia (1992), Cyprus (1964-1993) the Balkans (1992-2003) Somalia and Rwanda (1994-1996).

By a Ministerial Order on April 24, 1995, the Special Service Forces was officially re-designated as 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG).


Since 1995, 2 CMBG has participated in a multitude of Operations and taskings. The roles of 2 CMBG have been demanding and varied. Its troops were called upon during natural disasters like the 1997 Winnipeg Flood and the 1998 ice storm in Ontario/Quebec.

2 CMBG has also played a key role in humanitarian aid through the deployement of the DART to Turkey in 1999 as part of Operation TORRENT, to Sri Lanka in 2003 as part of Operation STRUCTURE and to Pakistan in 2005 as part of Operation PLATEAU.

Members of 2 CMBG also served in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 2000-2003 as part of Operation ADDITION.

Since 2003, members of 2 CMBG have played a key and insrumental role in Canada’s deployment to Afghanistan: first as part of Operations ATHENA and second, since 2006, as part of Operation ARCHER.

2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group will continue its roles in the defence of Canadian soil. Its soldiers will continue to participate in numerous peacekeeping missions around the world and will be available for emergency response missions in Canada.

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