The Battle of Vimy Ridge
The birth of a new nation
Supported by intense artillery fire, the Canadians launched their main attack on Vimy Ridge at 05:30 hours on April 9. At the end of three days of ferocious fighting against stubborn German resistance, the Canadian Corps troops managed to take the trenches and fortification.
- All soldiers were specifically trained and prepared for the battle, other than charging a field of machine gun fire.
- Troops built underground city of it's kind. Models of ridge and attacking points were built to simulate the attack.
- Allies shelled the Germans for a week straight and used planes to survey the areas to help in building their models. Germans called it "week of suffering".
- Before Vimy, attacks could be predicted. Waves of soldiers going over the top would be mowed down after a barrage of shellfire.
- Small units and individual soldiers were given much more information about the battle, and were expected to exercise initiative in keeping the advance moving, even if officers were wounded.
"It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the parade. I thought then , and I think today, that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation."- Brigadier-General Alexander Ross, Commander, 28th Battalion at Vimy Ridge, 1917
- There were 97, 184 Canadians at the battle.
- The battle started at 5:00 am when the Canadians advanced towards the German positions. This day also happened to be Easter Monday.
- Canadian Corps and British XVII Corps seizes more ground, prisoners, and guns than any other British Force Offensive.
- The Vimy Ridge Memorial in France took 11 years to build and was unveiled on July 26, 1936.
- Each year on April 9, Canada remembers that battle, and the sacrifices of those Canadians, in commemorative services held at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
- Four Canadians earned the Victoria Cross, Canada’s highest medal for military valour, for actions during the battle: Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.