We salute our Canadian friends for this great accomplishment of Canadian arms one hundred years age. In a previous post about Notre Dame de Lorette I mentioned that the French Colonial Corps failed in several attempts to capture the Vimy Ridge escarpment in 1915. The newly-constituted Canadian Corps, using a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, drove the Germans off of the ridge in four days of fighting. This was a part of the British Arras offensive which was supposed to be a diversion from the French Nivelle or Chemin des Dames offensive to the east. Ironically, the Arras offensive was, by the standards of the day, a big success while the Nivelle offensive was a colossal failure. You can read more about this here.
The Canadian Corps lost 3,598 men killed and 7,004 wounded at Vimy Ridge, out of 97,184 Canadian soldiers participating. This was Canada’s first great military triumph, and the last time in WW1 that Canadian soldiers would serve under a British general. Soon after all Canadian soldiers became under the command of the Montreal real estate speculator Gen. Sir Arthur Currie.
In the future I’ll post an article about the Memorial to the Missing, which is located on the site.