Friday, April 09, 2010

Battle of Vimy Ridge

Battle of Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, with some of the heaviest artillery fire of the war. Behind this, the first wave of 20,000 Canadian soldiers, each carrying up to 36 kilograms of equipment, advanced through the wind-driven snow and sleet into the face of deadly machine gun fire.

Battalions in the first waves of the assault suffered great numbers of casualties, but the Canadian assault proceeded on schedule. Hill 145, as the main height on the ridge was called, was taken on the morning of April 10. Two days later, the Canadians took "the Pimple," as the other significant height on the ridge was called. The Germans fell back and the Battle of Vimy Ridge was over. The Canadian Corps, together with the British Corps to their south, had captured more ground, prisoners and guns than any previous British offensive of the war. Canadians would act with courage throughout the battle. Four Canadians would win the Victoria Cross, our country's highest medal for military valour. They were: Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.


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