Battle of Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Coming of Age

Canadian soldiers -- Battle of Vimy Ridge

Battle of Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Coming of Age

The Battle of Vimy Ridge took place April 9-12, 1917, near Arras, France. The nations involved were Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Major Events of the Battle:

  • Learning from the mistake during the Battle of the Somme, troops were better trained and better informed than during previous battles. Many of these recommendations came from 1st Division commander Arthur Currie.
  • The battle began with an artillery barrage involving 1,000 guns.
  • 15,000 of Canadian Corps’ nearly 100,000 men moved across No Man’s Land during cover from the barrage.
  • The troops fought in snow and sleet.
  • Most of the ridge was captured by the Canadians within an hour.
  • The remainder of the ridge was captured on April 12.

Why?

  • The British and French had failed to capture the ridge. Those previous attempts resulted in more than 150,000 casualties.
  • The attack was part of a larger offensive in the Arras region that also involved the British and the French. Only the Canadians would be successful.

End Result

  • The battle is attributed as being the first significant step for Canada to separate its foreign policy from Great Britain’s. It is often called Canada’s “coming of age”.
  • The battle marked the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together. It has gone down in history as a moment of great pride and nationalism, proof of what Canadians can achieve when they work together to reach a common goal.
  • Causalities for the Canadians were 10,600, but this number would have been much higher were it not for planning.   The Germans suffered 20,000 casualties.

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Updated:  22 October 2020
Melina Druga
Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.
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