After three days of fierce combat and over 10,000 casualties suffered, the Canadian Corps seizes the previously German-held Vimy Ridge in northern France on April 12, 1917.
Many historians have pointed to the victory at Vimy Ridge during World War I as an instant of greatness for Canada, when it emerged from Britain’s shadow to achieve its own way of measuring military achievement. As due to the victory, earned regardless of the failure of the larger Allied offensive which it was an element, Canadian forces earned a reputation for efficiency and strength on the battlefield.
The Allied offensive-masterminded by the French commander in chief, Robert Nivelle-began Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, as British and Canadian forces launched simultaneous attacks on German positions at Arras and Vimy Ridge, a fortified heavily, seven-kilometer-extended raised stretch of land with a sweeping view of the Allied lines. The initial day was overwhelmingly profitable for the Allies, because the British punched through the Hindenburg Line-the defensive positions to which Germany had retreated in February 1917-and overran parts of two German trench lines inside two hours, taking 5,600 prisoners.
The Canadians, attacking greater than a stretch of land full of the dead of preceding French attacks on the same positions, moved swiftly in the original hours of the offensive also, as four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30 am on April 9, continue under cover of a punishing artillery barrage that forced the Germans to hunker down within their trenches and from their machine guns. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry troops attacked Vimy Ridge that day, overrunning the German positions and taking 4,000 prisoners.
Three a lot more days of heavy fighting led to victory on April 12, when handle of Vimy was in Canadian hands. Though the Nivelle Offensive all together failed miserably, the Canadian operation had proved successful, albeit a pricey a definite: 3,598 Canadian soldiers were killed and something more 7,000 have already been wounded. Vimy Ridge became a shining instance of Canada’s effort in the Great War, and something that served as symbolic of the sacrifice the young British dominion had designed for the Allied bring about. As Brigadier-General A.E. Ross famously declared following war, in these couple of minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation. In 1922, the French government ceded Vimy Ridge and the land surrounding it to Canada the gleaming white marble Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936 as a testament to the a lot more than 60,000 Canadians who died operating throughout World War I.