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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
August 27, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Prof. Michael Bechthold

Contract Academic Staff

Contact Information
Email: mbechtho@wlu.ca
Phone: 519 884 0710 ext.4594

Office Location: 232 King Street

Academic Background

BA, Wilfrid Laurier
MA, Wilfrid Laurier
Biography

Academic Interests

Second World War, especially Canadian and American operations in Northwest Europe; Tactical Air Power and Close Air Support; Canadian military history in general. I am currently working on a study of Air Vice Marshal Raymond Collishaw and his role in the Western Desert Campaign of 1940-1941. Collishaw, one of Canada's most famous aces in the First World War, played a key role in the early British campaigns against the Italians and Germans that has gone largely unrecognized.

Recent Publications

Chapters in Books

"Applied History: 1944 Normandy Campaign Battlefield Tours and Staff Rides," chapter in John Buckley, editor, Normandy 1944 (London: Frank Cass, 2006), (forthcoming January 2006).

"‘One of the greatest moments in my life': Lessons Learned on the Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation Study Tour," chapter in David Ian Hall, ed. Battlefield Tours and Staff Rides for Armed Forces in the 21st Century: Role and Relevance (London: JSCSC, 2005).

Articles

"A Question of Success: American Tactical Air Doctrine and Practice in North Africa, 1942-1943," Journal of Military History, July 2004, pp.821-851.

"Forgotten Victor: Raymond Collishaw in the Western Desert, 1940-1941 ," Proceedings of the Air Force Historical Society. Winnipeg, MB, 2000.

"‘The Development of an Unbeatable Combination': US Close Air Support in Normandy," Canadian Military History, Winter 1999, Volume 8, Number 1, pp.7-20.

"Air Support in the Breskens Pocket: The Case of First Canadian Army and 84 Group RAF." Canadian Military History, Autumn 1994, Volume 3, Number 2, pp.53-62.

"Tactical Air Power, Its Effectiveness During the Normandy Campaign: The Evidence of Operational Research." CAHS: The Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Part 1, Spring 1993, pp.12-21 and Part 2, Summer 1993, pp.54-59, 68.

Other Publications

Terry Copp and Mike Bechthold, The Canadian Battlefields of Northwest Europe, 1944-1945: A Visitor's Guide (Waterloo: LCMSDS, 2005). 

Terry Copp and Mike Bechthold, The Canadian Battlefields in Normandy: A Visitor's Guide (Waterloo: LCMSDS, 2004).

Recent Papers 

"The Development of Tactical Air Support Doctrine in the Second World War: Raymond Collishaw and the early battles in the Western Desert, 1940-1941," Military History Symposium, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, 17-18 March 2005.

"Defending the Normandy Bridgehead: Canadian Army Professionalism in Defeating 12th SS Counterattacks, 7-10 June, 1944". Paper presented to the Conference of the Society for Military History, The Citadel, Charleston, SC, 24-27 February 2005.

"Operation Jubilee: Disaster at Dieppe," Lecture at the University of Waterloo as part of the LCMSDS Speakers' Series, 16 February 2005.

"The Normandy Campaign at the Operational Level," Invited talk, Command and Staff Course at Canadian Forces College, Toronto, ON, 8 February 2005.

"Canadian Operations in the Scheldt Estuary, October-November 1944," Lecture at the University of Waterloo as part of the LCMSDS Speakers' Series, 18 November 2004.

"Lessons Learned on the Normandy battlefields: The Experience of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation Student Study Tours." Paper presented at The Normandy Campaign 60 Years On: An International Conference, History & Governance Research Institute, University of Wolverhampton, UK, 1-3 July 2004.

"Defending the Bridgehead: The Experience of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in Normandy: 7-10 June 1944," Paper presented at the 15th Military History Colloquium, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, 7-8 May 2004.

"The Myths of the Normandy Campaign," Invited talk, Command and Staff Course at Canadian Forces College, Toronto, ON, 9 February 2004.

"Raymond Collishaw and Operation Compass, December 1940-January 1941," Lecture at the University of Waterloo as part of the LCMSDS Speakers' Series, 10 December 2003

"Put out to pasture: The Second World War Career of Air Vice-Marshal Raymond Collishaw." Paper presented to the Canadian Historical Association Conference, Dalhousie University, Halifax, May 2003

"Battle Over Memory: The Valour and the Horror, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Strategic Bombing Campaign Over Germany" Lecture at the University of Waterloo, 27 Feb 2002.

"‘One of the greatest moments in my life': Lessons Learned on the Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation Study Tour". Paper presented to the Conference of the Society for Military History, University of Calgary, May 2001.

"Canada and the Battle of the Scheldt: A Strategic Overview," Invited talk to the Senior Course, Canadian Forces College, Toronto, Canada, February 2000.

"Raymond Collishaw in the Western Desert, 1940-1941." Paper presented to the 36th Annual Canadian Aviation Historical Conference/5th Air Force Historical Conference, CFB Borden, Ontario, June 1999.

"‘Torch' to ‘Overlord': The Evolution of American Tactical Air Doctrine". Paper presented to the Conference of the Society for Military History, Penn State, April 1999.

"'An Unbeatable Combination': The Evolution of American Tactical Air Power in Normandy." Paper presented to LCMSDS Conference on Military History, Wilfrid Laurier University, May 1994.

"Air Support in Operation Switchback." Paper presented to LCMSDS Conference on Military History, Wilfrid Laurier University, December 1991.

Battlefield Tour Leader

August 2-10, 2005 - Study Tour of Canadian Battlefields in Normandy, Dieppe and Vimy for a group of 35 high school teachers from across Canada run in association with the Juno Beach Centre.

February 13-14, 2005 - Study Tour of Canadian Battlefields in Normandy and Dieppe for the Command and Staff course at the Canadian Forces College, Toronto, Ontario.

July 22-August 2, 2004 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in France (Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, D-Day Beaches, etc.).

February 14-15, 2004 - Study Tour of Canadian Battlefields in Normandy and Dieppe for the Command and Staff course at the Canadian Forces College, Toronto, Ontario.

August 26-September 8, 2003 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in Belgium and Holland (Ypres salient, Scheldt Estuary, Arnhem, the Rhineland, etc.).

August 15-September 1, 2002 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in France (Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, D-Day Beaches, etc.).

August 27-September 10, 2001 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in Belgium and Holland (Ypres salient, Scheldt Estuary, Arnhem, the Rhineland, etc.).

October 2-21, 2000 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in France (Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, D-Day Beaches, etc.).

March 18-25, 2000 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in France (Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, D-Day Beaches, etc.) for First Canadian Division Intelligence Company, CFB Kingston, Ontario.

February 4-6, 2000 - Study Tour of Canadian Battlefields in the Scheldt Estuary, Belgium and the Netherlands for the Senior Officers course at the Canadian Forces College, Toronto, Ontario.

June 1-19, 1999 - Study Tour of First and Second World War Canadian Battlefields in France (Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, D-Day Beaches, etc.).