The war of Vinyl Ridge involved the military, who participated in the Arras War that took place in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais section of France, which happened during the First World War.
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The chief participants in the battle included the four divisions of the Canadian Corps and the German Six Army, which was composed of three divisions.
The aim of the involvement of the Canadian Corps was to dominate the land that was held high by the Germany, which was on an escarpment that was located at the Northern part of the Arras Offesive.1
The Battle of Vimy Ridge embraces an exceptional position in the shared thoughts of Canadians. In this discussion, it will be observed that this conquest was a manifestation of birth of Canada as an independent nation.
Success in this battle was essential for scores of reasons. Among many other battles that took place around this time, this was one of those that endeavored to cut off the German lines.
Also, among the many battles that Canada engaged in, the conquest at Vimy Ridge was the only significant achievement. It offered a solid security for the British force, which faced the Germans in 1918.
The long-term famous perception of the Vimy Ridge Battle resulted into a turning point in the Canadian military competence, which culminated into a fresh self-governing Canadian national character.
Furthermore, victory on a field that the colonial masters had previously failed catapulted Canadians out of their national adolescence and placed them in their rightful position as independent citizens.2
The weakness that is associated with any explanation of how Canada emerged out of their colonial status into an independent nation following the battle of Vimy Ridge is the pretence of the character of the Canadian Corps conquest and amplification of its position in the constitutional development of Canada.
However, an intellectual re-examination of Canada’s most significant military accomplishment is worth tribute for the important part it played for the nation.
By then, Canada, which was under British Empire, had all the reasons to take part in this historic battle. Although there were many important battles that occurred during this time, undoubtedly, the Battle of Vimy Ridge held a fundamental position since it culminated into the nation’s self-governance.
For Canada, this battle was a cut-off point. Indeed, the holding of Vimy Ridge Battle, which took place in 1967, has substituted the 1867 British North America Act as the rightful birthday for the nation.
Vimy Ridge was an important battle position in northern France. The Germans had secured the ridge for battle by digging trenches, tunnels, and complex walls.
Both the British and the French had attempted to possess the ridge, but every effort to do so ended up in flare ups. Shockingly, more than 200,000 people had been killed while attempting to possess the ridge that appeared unfathomable.
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When the Canadians attempted to possess the ridge, they took a record groundwork. Careful preparation would include a total imitation of the ridge on which training was thoroughly done until the layout of the ridge was completely understood.
The Canadian military took time to understand how to fire and load German weaponry so that, rather than transporting their own artillery, it could be possible to turn captured weapons against the adversary.
This calculated planning for the battle shows that the victory was not spontaneous and, hence, it disserves to be associated with the birth of the nation – it is a true manifestation of their prowess.
The then Canadian colonel, Andrew McNaughton, also revealed a way of locating the adversary’s weapons using their sound and flash.
This made it possible for the major German locations to be identified and methodically demolished before they opened fire. Additionally, this encouraged the British to plunge shells before the enemy could move forward, which enables the Canadians to advance at the back of a noisy ‘rolling barrage’.
The major strategist for the Vimy Ridge was Arthur Currie, a Canadian officer. This former schoolteacher amazed many by working privately and finally turning out to be one of the most respected generals of the Battle.
Again, this was a manifestation that Canada owned the battle and hence a significant incident in their history.3
The assault on the Vimy Ridge marked the first incident that all the four divisions of the Canadian military worked jointly.
The whole Canadian army, which included troops from Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Alberta among other places, approached the ridge in unison and patriotism, and they worked out vehemently.
They driven the German out of the ridge in a record three days, and captured more ground, guns, as well as prisoners. This is referred to as “the most perfectly organised and most successful battle of the whole war”.4
Besides, it was a dramatic conquest that transformed the direction of the battle in the favor of the Allies.
Following the battle of Vimy Ridge, the people of Canada were divided as storm troopers and engaged in one encounter after another.
David Lloyd Georg, the British Prime Minister said, “Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line, they prepared for the worst.”5
This is shows the prowess of Canadians in this battle. Arthur Currie, consequently, became the commandant of the whole Canadian military. It is sometimes thought that, if it were not for Canadian military together with Currie, Germany could have won the battle.
Canada earned a special position and admiration on the global scene, following this tremendous contribution and success. The political independence that followed the battle granted Canada powers to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which marked the end of the war without involvement of the Britain.
Canada did not recognise the victory of this battle as its greatest achievement, but also as a moment of making the nation. Actually, it is believed that Vimy Ridge was the occurrence that helped Canada acquire political autonomy.
Forever, the image of Canada was transformed. Following this victory, Canada, for the first time, was able to control its foreign affairs.
Before the war, Canada was still under vassal of Great Britain and could only control its domestic affairs. Additionally, Canada earned high accolade internationally – its international voice also grew stronger.
The number of Canadians who participated in this battle was extremely many, and the troop’s casualty for Vimy Ridge alone was particularly high.
Inglis Davis. Vimy Ridge: 1917-1992, A Canadian Myth Over Seventy Five Years. MA thesis: Simon Fraser University, 1995.
Morton Desmond. When Your Number’s Up: The Canadian Soldier in the First World War .Toronto: Random House of Canada Ltd., 1993.
Nicholson, Colonel. Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919 (Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War).Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1964.
Riddle, David & Mitchell Donald. The Military Cross awarded to Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1915-1921. Winnipeg: The Kirkby-Marlton Press, 1991.
1 Inglis Davis, Vimy Ridge: 1917-1992, A Canadian Myth Over Seventy Five Years, (MA thesis: Simon Fraser University, 1995), 96
2 Riddle, David & Mitchell Donald, The Military Cross awarded to Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1915-1921 (Winnipeg: The Kirkby-Marlton Press, 1991), 91.
3 Morton Desmond, When Your Number’s Up: The Canadian Soldier in the First World War (Toronto: Random House of Canada Ltd., 1993), 126.
4 Nicholson, Colonel, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919 (Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War) (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1964), 122.
5 Riddle, David & Mitchell Donald, 91.