Battle of Vimy Ridge
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 the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Nivelle Offensive, intended to attract German reserves from the French.
About Battle of Vimy Ridge in brief
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 the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Nivelle Offensive, which was intended to attract German reserves from the French. The Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadians on 12 April. Historians attribute the success to technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the inability of the 6thArmy to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine. The Vimy sector calmed following the offensive with both sides taking a largely live and let live approach. A 100-hectare portion of the former battleground serves as a memorial park and site of the Canada National Vimy Memorial. In all, the French suffered approximately 150,000 casualties in their attempts to gain control of VimY Ridge and surrounding territory. The French 1st Moroccan Division managed to briefly capture the height of the Ridge but was unable to hold it owing to a lack of reinforcements. The ridge fell under German control in October 1914 during the Race to the Sea as the Franco-British and German forces continually attempted to outflank each other through northeastern France.
The British soon discovered that German tunnelling companies had taken advantage of the relative calm on the surface to build an extensive network of tunnels and deep mines from which they would attack French positions by setting off explosive charges underneath their trenches. On 21 May 1916, after shelling both forward trenches and divisional artillery positions from eighty hidden batteries, the German infantry began Unternehmen Schleswig Holstein, an attack along the British lines along the front to eject them from a 2,000 yd front. The Germans captured tunnels and mine crrenching positions before halting their advance and entrenching their positions. In October 1916, Lieutenant-General Sir Edwin Alderson presented First Army headquarters with orders outlining orders to change the situation. In March 1917, the British IV Corps relieved the British XVII Corps stationed along the western slopes of the Vimy ridge in October 1916. On 28 May 1917, Lieutenant General Sir Julian Byng took command of the British Corps from Lieutenant- general Sir Alderson. On 22 May 1918, the 140th and 141st Brigades took control of several British-controlled positions on the ridge. The Battle of the Douai Plains took place on the western edge of the Douai Plain on the eastern side of the French Douai Plain in the early hours of the morning of 22 May 1917. It was the first time that the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together and it was made a symbol of Canadian national achievement and sacrifice.