The battle of Vimy Ridge was an assault on the German
forces by Canadians, taking place on April 9th of 1917
. However, the preparations of this attack actually began in February. The Germans had secured the Ridge, and could see any attacks
coming from all directions. Many said that the hill would be impossible to conquer, but General Arthur Currie
knew the value of good planning. Before the attack, soldiers
were given maps
of the surrounding area. Scale models
were built to demonstrate specific strategies, and troops practiced and rehearsed
the assault beforehand. When the time for action had arrived, every soldier knew exactly
what to do.
The Ridge itself was 110 meters high, nearly 10 kilometers long, and was piled with machine guns and barbed wire along the length of it. Under the ground was a series of complex tunnels to provide protection from shells and bombs. The main attack consisted mainly of small groups of soldiers sent individually, that could hide and avoid machine gun fire better than a large crowd. The Canadian forces used machine guns to fire at areas where Germans were known to be, and scared them from performing raids on the Allies.
As the Canadian troops crept towards the enemy lines, shells were fired always slightly ahead of them, to prevent any Germans from getting near. All of the strongest points along the Ridge had been mapped weeks ago and bombed constantly since, and the machine gun shower had kept repair teams away. When the Allies arrived, most of the German defences were gone, and the Ridge was taken.
The victory at Vimy was the only victory celebrated by the Allies that whole year, but there were more than 10,000 deaths. This battle marked a turning point in World War I for the Allied forces, because it could be more useful in Allied hands than in German possession. The surrounding area was completely German territory, and could be destroyed from atop the Ridge. The fact that the whole procedure was organized and executed flawlessly by a nearly all-Canadian force depicted Canada's men for what they really were: fearless, cunning, and effective. By the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Canada was represented apart from Britain, as many Allies kept Vimy Ridge in mind, and remembered the ferocity of the Canadians Corps.