[29] The court concluded that the 6th Army headquarters had disregarded frontline commander reports, noting a possible imminent attack and as a result, reserve units were kept too far back to execute a timely and effective counterattack. [113] The German forces were evacuated off the ridge with German artillery batteries moved west of the Vimy–Bailleul railway embankment or to the Oppy–Méricourt line. The war of Vimy Ridge was part of the Arras, in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region of France. The grounds of the site are still honeycombed with wartime tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions and are largely closed for public safety. [111] Shortly before 1:00 pm, the advance recommenced with both the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions reporting their final objective. [5] A 100-hectare (250-acre) portion of the former battlefield is preserved as part of the memorial park that surrounds the monument. For three years, the Germans had fortified the ridge with an array of defensive works — three successive lines Engineering troops, or sappers, would also accompany some infantry units onto the battlefield The Canadian Corps were to capture the German-held high ground of Vimy Ridge, an escarpment on the northern flank of the Arras front. This record won for Canada a separate signature on the Versailles Peace Treaty ending the War. At the widest point, the German first and third line defences on Vimy were more than 8 km apart, interspersed with fortified strong points. This was a less a result of the battle’s importance than of Vimy’s extraordinary geographic location — a high vantage point with a commanding view, visible from miles around. far greater impact on the course of the war (seeCanada’s Hundred Days). next to you. At 5:30 am, the Allied artillery guns opened Vimy was a strategic stronghold […] the German trenches. The Canadian Great War Soldier. The following afternoon, renewed artillery and infantry attacks, with help from 4th Division reserve battalions, finally put Hill 145 in Canadian hands. divert German resources from the French assault. an end. “Nations,” he told his students, “are made by doing great things together.” [28], The only portion of the Canadian assault that did not go as planned was the advance of the 4th Canadian Division, collapsing almost immediately after exiting their trenches. As a result, only minutes into the assault on 9 April, the leading waves of the 4th Division came under withering fire and were cut to pieces. Vimy Ridge is an escarpment 8 km (5.0 mi) northeast of Arras on the western edge of the Douai Plain. This was followed in later decades by Canada’s increasing push for autonomy from Britain on the world’s stage — a desire triggered, James T. Kobus and Arthur James Hay, both of whom were awarded the DCM for their part) reached the German position ahead of his company. Written by noted historian Tim Cook. [34] In total, the British made available to the Canadian Corps twenty-four brigade artillery groups consisting of four hundred and eighty 18 pounder field guns, one hundred thirty-eight 4.5 inch howitzers, ninety-six 2 inch trench mortars, twenty-four 9.45 inch mortars, supported by 245 corps-level siege guns and heavy mortars. [60] Another mine, prepared by 176th Tunnelling Company against the German strongpoint known as the Pimple, was not completed in time for the attack. Essay on anxiety disorder. To the north and east of the ridge are the Douai plain and the important coal mining city of Lens – in 1917 both were occupied by Germany. [24] Along Vimy Ridge, the German forces spent two years constructing fortifications designed for rigid defence. [14] The first objective, represented by the Black Line, was to seize the German forward defensive line. And while most of the infantry that attacked the ridge were Canadian, they would not have been able to do so without the British artillery, engineers and supply units that supported them. for the 1st and 2nd, enemy machine gun crews who survived the shelling scrambled to their guns in well-protected bunkers. WO 106/399 Canadian Corps Artillery Instruction No. At the British First Army headquarters, a large plasticine model of the Vimy sector was constructed and used to show commissioned and senior non-commissioned officers the topographical features of the battlefield and details of the German trench system. The battle took place on the Western Front, in northern France. [58][52] To protect some advancing troops from German machine gun fire, as they crossed no man's land during the attack, eight smaller Wombat charges were laid at the end of the subways to allow troops to move more quickly and safely enter the German trench system by creating an elongated trench-depth crater that spanned the length of no man's land. Both he and Sifton were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest award for military valour. The barrage would pause, to enable reserve units to move up and then move forward with the units pushing beyond the Red Line to the Blue Line. More than 980 heavy artillery pieces and field guns were concentrated together for the operation. The battle has since become an important symbol for Canada, the place where Canadians from across the country delivered an unprecedented victory, all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fighting together for the first time in the war. The soaring white monument — a memorial to loss and sacrifice, rather than to military victory — has drawn visitors [19] The 4th Canadian Division encountered a great deal of trouble during its advance and was unable to complete its first objective until some hours later. The progress on the left flank was eventually impeded by harassing fire from the Pimple that was made worse when the creeping barrage got too far ahead of the advancing troops. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. By 1917, after three years of fruitless slaughter, the First World War had become a struggle of attrition. 43 Squadron, with No. barrages at Vimy. important, the leading wave of attacking troops would move across the battlefield close behind a “creeping barrage” of Allied shellfire, designed to protect the attackers by keeping the enemy troops sheltering in their bunkers — unable to man their machine [53] After September 1916, when the Royal Engineers had completed their network of defensive galleries along most of the front line, offensive mining largely ceased although activities continued until 1917. Don’t lose contact with the platoon The ridge rises gradually on its western side and drops more quickly on the eastern side. thousands a day.’ The enemy named this period ‘the week of suffering.’”. On 11 April, the 4th Guards Infantry Division first reinforced and then relieved affected 16th Bavarian Infantry Division units. [133][134] McKay and Swift contend that the theory that Vimy Ridge is a source of Canada's rise as a nation is highly contested and developed in the latter part of the twentieth century after most of those who experienced the Great War had died but in 1919 Hopkins had attributed to F.A. [18][19] The infantry would proceed close behind a creeping barrage placed down by light field guns, advancing in timed 100-yard (90 m) increments. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial ParkThis Veterans Affairs Canada website offers an online tour of The Canadian National Vimy Memorial Park. Vimy Ridge On April 19th, 1917, the battle of Vimy Ridge took place at the North Eastern France.Vimy Ridge was thought to be the best military position for the German against the British / France forces due to the highland advantages.Vimy Ridge is one of the most famous battles of World War I and a Canadian general, Arthur Currie, was the key of this victory. [40] The introduction of the instantaneous No. The commander of the British Forces in France, Sir Douglas Haig, ordered an attack on Vimy Ridge. carefully rehearsed the attack in the weeks before the battle. The attack was originally planned for the morning of 8 April (Easter Sunday) but it was postponed for 24 hours at the request of the French. Once the corps secured the Blue Line, advancing units would once again leapfrog established ones and capture the Brown Line. [107] By night time, the German forces holding the top of the ridge believed they had overcome the immediate crisis for the time being. fighting together for the first time, attacked the ridge from 9 to 12 April 1917 and captured it from the German army. [46] The new measures gave each platoon a clearer picture of how it fitted into the greater battle plan and in so doing, reduced the command and control problems that plagued First World War combat. Tweet. in part, by Canadian sacrifices in the war. The soldiers rehearsed their roles over and over again, practising working with the creeping barrage. The attack on Vimy Ridge started on April 9th 1917. Overhead during the day, Royal Flying Corps pilots scouted the location of German gun batteries, while contending with enemy fighters. Shortly after 7:00 am, the 1st Canadian Division captured the left half of its second objective, the Red Line and moved the 1st Canadian Brigade forward to mount an attack on the remainder. [139], The memorial was designed by Toronto architect and sculptor Walter Seymour Allward, who described it as a "sermon against the futility of war". On 9 April 1917 at Vimy Ridge, France, Captain MacDowell, with the assistance of two runners (company orderlies, Pvts. Winning Vimy Ridge gave Canada independence due to the fact that other allied countries tried to win Vimy Ridge, although ended up failing. Twelve subways, up to 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long were excavated at a depth of 10 metres (33 ft) and used to connect reserve lines to front lines, permitting soldiers to advance to the front quickly, securely and unseen. Steady fire from 150 supporting machine guns, raking the battlefield ahead of the 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. [132] That Canadian national identity and nationhood were born out of the battle is an opinion that in the late twentieth century became widely held in military and general histories of Canada. Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Canadian Corps that consisted of four divisions fought together against the Germans to capture Vimy... See full answer below. Number 2 Forestry Detachment even set up a sawmill nearby that churned out vast quantities of lumber to support the army’s needs. The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, Most importantly, Vimy wasn’t simply a Canadian accomplishment. This year marked 103 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which you may see commemorated in your community on April 9 each year, which marks the start of the assault. German forces had been entrenched on the heights of the ridge since nearly the beginning of the war in 1914, despite several attempts to dislodge them. [116] The Pimple was initially defended by the 16th Bavarian Infantry Division but the Canadian Corps' preliminary artillery bombardment leading up to the assault on 9 April caused heavy casualties amongst its ranks. Vimy Ridge was the first time the entire Canadian Corps, which was composed of at least 75,000 to 80,000 Canadian soldiers across four divisions, fought together. Other Canadian engagements, such as at Hill 70 in were taken prisoner. Hon. that soldiers from every region of Canada — fighting together for the first time as a single assaulting force in the Canadian Corps — had taken the ridge together. [45] The corps implemented the tactical doctrine for small units by assigning objectives down to the platoon level. 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. After destroying one machine-gun nest he chased the crew from another. Essentially, the entire Canadian Army that was on the Western Front at that time all went into action together. [26] The ridge was 700 metres (2,300 ft) wide at its narrowest point, with a steep drop on the eastern side, all but eliminating the possibility of counterattacks if the ridge was captured. Time was of the essence: all the armies were depleted from years of fighting and struggling to fill their [113] The Canadian 1st and 2nd Divisions were nonetheless able to secure the Brown Line by approximately 2:00 pm. Vimy Ridge Day remembers Canadians who fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge during World War I. [61] In the end, two mines were blown before the attack, while three mines and two Wombat charges were fired to support the attack,[52] including those forming a northern flank. [117] The 10th Canadian Brigade, assisted by snow and a westerly wind, fought hastily entrained German troops to capture the entire Pimple by 6:00 pm. [12] The Germans captured several British-controlled tunnels and mine craters before halting their advance and entrenching their positions. By nightfall, neither Hill 145 nor the Pimple had been taken. [28], Three line divisions, comprising seven infantry regiments were responsible for the immediate defence of the ridge. [18] The final objective of the northern flank was the Red Line: taking the highest point on the ridge, the fortified knoll known as the Pimple, the Folie Farm, the Zwischen-Stellung trench and the hamlet of Les Tilleuls. Several times the Allies tried to take it from the Germans without success. [18] The medium and heavy howitzers would establish a series of standing barrages further ahead of the infantry against known defensive systems. More than 10,600 Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. The 4th was assigned the far left flank of the assault on the ridge, which included the toughest objectives — Hill 145 (the highest point on the ridge, Located on the site of a major victory by Canadian forces, the Battle of Vimy Ridge took place on 9th – 12th April 1917. troops were told. Queen Elizabeth II rededicated the restored monument on 9 April 2007, during a ceremony commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle. The Arras–Vimy sector was conducive to tunnelling owing to the soft, porous yet extremely stable nature of the chalk underground. By 1917, after three years of fruitless slaughter, the First World War had become a struggle of attrition. With the provinces represented by battalions As one Canadian observer noted at the time, “more of the Jones was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal by his commanding officer for his heroic actions during the Battle of Vimy Ridge; however, he did not receive the medal during his lifetime. Canadian troops composed of the four divisions in the First Army fought in unison for the first time with the reinforcement of the 10th Canadian Brigade and the British 5th Division. The Russian Revolution was also underway, with the revolutionists threatening to pull Russia (one of the key Allied nations) out of the war. Often incorporated into subways were light rail lines, hospitals, command posts, water reservoirs, ammunition stores, mortar and machine gun posts and communication centres. [79] The court concluded that 6th Army commander General Ludwig von Falkenhausen failed to apply an elastic defence properly as espoused by German defensive doctrine of the time. Three Carleton University architecture students have won a national design competition for a water feature at the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park in France, commemorating the legacy of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. [21] If the corps maintained its schedule, the troops would advance as much as 4,000 yd (3,700 m) and have the majority of the ridge under control by 1:00 pm of the first day. [21] Coupled with the observations and suggestions made by Currie in the report he submitted in January 1917 following the Verdun lectures, the Canadian Corps instilled the tactical change with vigour. Britain and Canada fought together at Vimy Note: a very large document. The Taking of Vimy Ridge, Easter Monday, 1917 by Richard Jack. Although significantly outnumbering the Germans, the RFC lost 131 aircraft during the first week of April (Bloody April). to bring them safely onto the German lines. [70] The Royal Flying Corps deployed 25 squadrons totalling 365 aircraft along the Arras sector, outnumbering the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) by 2-to-1. [87] During the late hours of 8 April and early morning of 9 April the men of the leading and supporting wave of the attack were moved into their forward assembly positions. [52][51] From spring 1916, the British had deployed five tunnelling companies along the Vimy Ridge and during the first two months of their tenure of the area, 70 mines were fired, mostly by the Germans. Outside of Canada the battle has much less significance and may simply be noted as being one part of the larger Battle of Arras. [41] In addition, the corps conducted coordinated counter-battery initiatives before the battle. Crown Prince Rupprecht estimated 85,000 casualties for the 6th Army, with 3,404 men becoming. But it's an entry point into World War One for many Canadians—and is worthy of a pilgrimage. up once again, and the Canadians began their assault, keeping as close as safely possible behind the roaring artillery barrage sweeping over the German front trenches. The bombardment continued until 8 April. Robert Borden to step out of Britain’s shadow and push for separate representation for Canada and the other Dominions at snow. A Russian withdrawal would effectively bring the war to an end in the East, allowing [8] The Vimy sector calmed following the offensive with both sides taking a largely live and let live approach. New artillery tactics would also be used at Vimy in advance of the main assault, including a nearly unlimited supply of shells, and a new shell fuse that allowed the bombs to explode on contact, rather than become buried, useless, in the ground. [15] A formal assault plan, adopted in early March 1917, drew heavily on the briefings of staff officers sent to learn from the experiences of the French Army during the Battle of Verdun. 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. From the Canadian War Museum. [64] The four months before the April attack saw the Canadian Corps execute no fewer than 55 separate trench raids. Further north, the the early casualties were numerous junior officers — company and platoon leaders — whose loss added to the confusion, and hampered the flow of information to commanders at the rear. Then, in the pre-dawn darkness of 9 April, Easter Monday, 15,000 Canadians, the first wave of the assault, gathered at their assembly points in the underground subways, or in selected shell holes, or trenches above 16 Squadron and Nos. [7] The French made another attempt during the Third Battle of Artois in September 1915 but only captured the village of Souchez at the western base of the ridge. Each subway was equipped with electric lighting, water supplies, first aid stations and dug-out chambers for battalion headquarters staff. [41] Assaulting infantry battalions used hills behind the lines as full-scale models of the battlefield. Facing the Canadians were the German army’s 1st Bavarian Reserve Division, the 79th Reserve Division and the 16th Infantry Bavarian Division. Scott Normand, Kevin Complido and Brendan Dyck are master’s students in the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. [66] An even more ambitious trench raid, using chlorine gas, on 1 March 1917, once again by the 4th Canadian Division, failed and resulted in 637 casualties including two battalion commanders and a number of company commanders killed. Veterans Affairs Canada maintains the memorial site. More than 100,000 French soldiers [41], Foreign intelligence gathering by the Germans, big Allied trench raids and troop concentrations seen west of Arras, made it clear to the Germans that a spring offensive in the area was being prepared. First World War in ColourThe images featured within this project highlight important battles in Canada’s history, but also life on the home front, wartime industries, the contributions of women, and advances in medical and communications technologies. [104][105][Note 4] Towards midday, the 79th Reserve Division was ordered to recapture the portions of its third line lost during the progression of the Canadian attack. 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