A hundred years later, Vimy Ridge is still a powerful symbol of Canadian identity and an important part of history lessons in schools across the country. The Canadians stormed the seven-kilometre ridge in the early morning of April 9,overrunning German troops along the front. They kept moving forward under heavy fire and captured the ridge in four days.
Last Edited April 6, The Battle of Vimy Ridge, during the First World War, is Canada's most celebrated military victory — an often mythologized symbol of the birth of Canadian national pride and awareness.
The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting together for the first time, attacked the ridge from 9 to 12 April, and captured it from the German army. It was the largest territorial advance of any Allied force to that point in the war — but it would mean little to the outcome of the conflict.
More than 10, Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. Today an iconic white memorial atop the ridge honours the 11, Canadians killed in France throughout the war who have no known graves. Part of Arras Offensive Byafter three years of fruitless slaughter, the First World War had become a struggle of attrition.
The opposing Allied and German armies were stuck in a stalemate on the Western Front — a vast line of trench works stretching from the North Sea through Belgium and France to the Swiss border.
Millions of soldiers on both sides had been killed and wounded in battles that brought the Vimy ridge for canada no closer to an end. In the spring ofthe French and British planned a new offensive in the hope of breaking through the German lines and ending the stalemate. Time was of the essence: The Russian Revolution was also underway, with the revolutionists threatening to pull Russia one of the key Allied nations out of the war.
A Russian withdrawal would effectively bring the war to Vimy ridge for canada end in the East, allowing Germany to focus more of its forces on the Western Front.
With this in mind, in Aprilthe French armies under their newly appointed commander General Robert Nivelle, made plans to launch a massive offensive against German lines in the Champagne region of France, around the Aisne River.
Further north, the British would launch a diversionary assault near the French town of Arras — seeking to pin down German resources there, to give the French a greater chance of success in Champagne.
The Canadians, fighting as part of the larger British effort in what became known as the Battle of Arras, were ordered to seize the high strategic strong point of Vimy Ridge, on the northern flank of the British attack.
Attacking the ridge would help divert German resources from the French assault. Capturing this high ground would also give the Allies an important geographic vantage point, with sweeping views over enemy positions to the east.
As one Canadian observer noted at the time, "more of the war could be seen atop Vimy Ridge than from any other place in France. To the north and east of the ridge are the Douai plain and the important coal mining city of Lens — in both were occupied by Germany.
To the west and south were the British lines and unoccupied France. German forces had been entrenched on the heights of the ridge since nearly the beginning of the war indespite several attempts to dislodge them. More thanFrench soldiers had been killed and wounded in previous efforts to recapture the ridge.
For three years the Germans had fortified the ridge with an array of defensive works — three successive lines of trenches spread among a network of barbed wire, concrete machine gun bunkers, underground chambers for the front line troops to shelter in during artillery bombardments — the whole system connected by a web of communications trenches and tunnels.
At the widest point, the German first and third line defences on Vimy were more than eight kilometers apart, interspersed with fortified strong points. Among the roughly 10, German soldiers entrenched on the ridge, many had a clear view of the Canadian positions at the base of Vimy's gradually-angled western slopes.
Before the Battle The bulk of Canada's army on the Western Front — the ,strong Canadian Corps, with its various British and Canadian support units — had moved into the Vimy area after the fighting at the Somme ended in the autumn of At Vimy Ridge, the Corps inherited a battlefield badly scarred by years of previous fighting.
Trenches were half-destroyed or in poor shape, and the landscape was already pulverized by shell craters and mine explosions. Throughout March,the Canadian staging area to the west of the ridge was a busy, militarized, industrial zone, with thousands of infantry soldiers rehearsing their assault on the ridge, and tens of thousands more troops, plus mules and horses, engaged in building roads, tram tracks, tunnels and trenches, or hauling thousands of tonnes of food, guns, munitions and other supplies up to the front lines.
Much of this work was carried out only after dark, to avoid the watchful eyes of the Germans. Some of the troops were billeted in nearby homes and villages, others were sheltered in tented camps, or in ancient, man-made underground caverns — the famous souterrains, carved out of the chalky soil, that were a common feature of this part of France.
|Why the Battle of Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada | CTV News||The battle, which took place on April 9,is commonly highlighted as a turning point in Canadian history, where the four Canadian divisions fought together as a unified fighting force for the first time.|
|The Battle of Vimy Ridge | Canadian War Museum||The Battle of Vimy Ridge, April Tim Cook Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness. Canadian troops also earned a reputation as formidable, effective troops because of the stunning success.|
|Canadian National Vimy Memorial - Wikipedia||Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission Design competition submissions Inthe Government of Canada announced that the Imperial War Graves Commission had awarded Canada eight sites—five in France and three in Belgium—on which to erect memorials. A foundation bed of 11, tonnes of concrete, reinforced with hundreds of tonnes of steel, served as the support bed for the memorial.|
|History Of Vimy Ridge – Vimy Foundation||The ridge rises gradually on its western side and drops more quickly on the eastern side. The ridge fell under German control in October during the Race to the Sea as the Franco-British and German forces continually attempted to outflank each other through northeastern France.|
Meanwhile, dozens of kilometers of road and light tramways were built or repaired to facilitate the movement of men and material; 50, horses were used during the weeks of preparation beforehand; new water reservoirs and pumping systems — and many kilometers of new pipes — were constructed to meet the water needs of the assembled army and its working animals; more than kilometers of communications cable were laid in the Canadian zone, buried several meters deep to avoid destruction from enemy shelling.
The Corps' Number 2 Forestry Detachment even set up a sawmill nearby that churned out vast quantities of lumber to support the army's needs. At night, Canadian raiding parties ventured across German lines to rattle the enemy, capture prisoners and gather intelligence. Overhead during the day, Royal Flying Corps pilots scouted the location of German gun batteries, while contending with enemy fighters.
Meticulous Preparation Perhaps the most important work leading up the battle was the secret construction of 11 tunnels or subways — totalling nearly six kilometers in length — designed to bring many in the first wave of assaulting troops safely out in front of the German lines, without having to cross, under fire, a wide area of open ground or "no man's land" at the opening of the battle.
Each subway was equipped with electric lighting, water supplies, first aid stations and dug-out chambers for battalion headquarters staff. The assault plan called for the four divisions of the Canadian Corps to attack up the slopes of the ridge in side-by-side formation.
The British 17th Corps would attack at the same time on the Canadians' right flank. Under the overall command of British General Sir Julian Byngand assisted by scores of British and Canadian commanders and staff officers, the Canadians carefully rehearsed the attack in the weeks before the battle.Hill 70 and Vimy, years later: Read The Globe’s full coverage In a series, The Globe and Mail untangles the mythology around Canada’s war.
After Vimy, there was the Battle for Hill The Battle of Vimy Ridge, April Tim Cook Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness.
The message of Vimy Ridge is one of bravery and sacrifice. The battle, which took place on April 9, , is commonly highlighted as a turning point in Canadian history, where the four Canadian divisions fought together as a unified fighting force for the first time.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, April Tim Cook Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness.
The Road to Vimy Ridge Canada and the First World War The Battle of Vimy Ridge in April of was both an extraordinary victory as well as a deadly slaughter that resulted in greater than 10 casualties. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War.
The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army.