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CANADA: Operation Metropolis

2 minute read

One cloudy afternoon last week, twelve B-26 light bombers roared down the runway at Floyd Bennett Field, took off and disappeared to rendezvous for a bombing run on New York City. Minutes later, three radar stations in outlying areas, two manned by Canadians, one by Americans, had picked up the bombers and flashed instructions by radio to eight waiting Canadian Vampire jets and eight U.S. F47 Thunderbolts. “Operation Metropolis,” a simulated air attack and defense of New York, was underway.

In the first peacetime U.S.-Canadian joint air maneuver, 240 R.C.A.F. reserves worked from a defense control center with the U.S. Air National Guard. Every bomber was intercepted by the defending fighters before it got within range of its target. Limited and simple as the problem was, it demonstrated, said the R.C.A.F., “the ability of the Canadian Air Reservists and United States Air National Guardsmen to integrate forces in the event of an emergency.”

The maneuver was one more small piece in the growing pattern of joint defense. Both Washington and Ottawa want a pool of officers and men who know how both services work. Recently Canada’s Naval Air Group 18 finished an intensive three-month course at Quonset Point, R.I. With U.S. pilots, they concentrated on detecting and bombing schnorkel submarines. This month, the Canadian destroyer Halda spent two weeks training in Chesapeake Bay, then sailed with a U.S. Navy amphibious force for a practice assault on the coast of Labrador.

Three weeks ago such team work got a priority policy rating from the North Atlantic Treaty Defense Committee. If North American forces were to work as an operational unit, both Washington and Ottawa wanted many more get-togethers like Operation Metropolis.

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