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How Canada Won The Battle of Vimy Ridge During World War I

Updated on July 2, 2012
A map of the area World War I took place, and where roughly Vimy Ridge is.
A map of the area World War I took place, and where roughly Vimy Ridge is. | Source

What was the Vimy Ridge Battle?

Vimy Ridge was a battle during World War One that took place on April 9th, 1917. It was a very large and very bloody battle. With none of the other allied forces of that time being able to take Vimy Ridge from Germany they let Canada take a shot at it, needless to say; we came, we saw, we conquered. Vimy Ridge in World War 1 was a huge defining moment for Canada because it showed the world who Canada was and that Canada is a real force to be reckoned with. Through Canada's great innovations and battle strategies Canada could overcome.

Canada's Objective- - Vimy Ridge

Canada's objective at Vimy Ridge? Victory, capturing the land that was once owned by France but ripped away by the hands of Germany, and the Canadian forces had to get it back. And that's exactly what happened. Canada had come up with some new innovations and a new battle strategy.

Read More About Canada's Heros

The Biggest Challenge - Getting Over the Top

First of all one of the main changes in strategy was not sending people “over the top”, which was a very common mistake made throughout World War 1, this was sending a wave of people out of the trench to try to reach the opposing sides' trench. But with the invention of the machine gun, this plan failed miserably because they would all just get slaughtered. So one of the strategies used at Vimy was the creeping (or rolling) barrage. This was using the allied batteries to fire just ahead of the infantry to protect them from any enemies that might be hiding in small holes waiting to shoot anybody that came at them and it also provided a sort of smoke screen so that if the enemies did try to use their machine guns they wouldn't be affective because they would be completely inaccurate and the shells would stop any other shells flying at the infantry.

Constantly Taking Ground

Just to make sure that the the Germans wouldn't be firing on advancing troops they bombed all of the machine guns and batteries that had been previously mapped by airplanes that flew over to check out the German Defenses at Vimy Ridge. After this “week of suffering” as the Germans call it, Canada used another ingenious innovation. Indirect firing, this was firing on the previously marked batteries and machine guns, no-matter the time. They would fire day and night to make sure that the Germans wouldn't be able to fire on the advancing Canadian troops.

Canadian Soldiers returning home.
Canadian Soldiers returning home. | Source

The Platoon System - Vimy Ridge

Yet another brilliant innovation was the platoon system. Before Vimy the generals would send people over the top, and not just random people either. It was something called a platoon, these platoons were created by what you specialized in, weather it was bombs (grenades), flame throwers, machine gunners, rifle, and any other categories, whatever your specialty was you were stuck in that platoon. But the Canadians developed a new strategy, why have all of the same specialty in one platoon? What if you require some other skill that you don't have? You would be screwed right? Well not with the platoon system. They put all different specialties into one platoon so that you wouldn't get into a situation that you could have gotten into before the invention of the platoon system. So the flamethrowers, machine gunners, rifle men, bombers and everyone else would form one platoon, and the next platoon would be the same.

Canadians Became Heros

With all of these new strategies and innovations it was hard to loose. All of them were made and carried out by Canadian men and corps. Everything used in Vimy Ridge was a new innovation, it's incredible that Britain and France were these big powers in the world but they couldn't overcome the German forces but only 4 Canadian divisions could even though their allies were slaughtered while trying to capture this one, very advantageous battle position were able to capture it on their first try.

Through excellent execution and results the cost was unfortunately heavy in men it was even heavier in German lives.

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    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I enjoyed this hub. I wasn't aware that the Canadians utilized all these innovations. I was aware, however, that the Canadians were ferocious fighters. Voted up and interesting.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      It's hard to write a short hub on such a monumental and historical battle. You did a good job providing a brief synopsis of the the event and of the Canadian innovations and successes. If you haven't already read Pierre Berton's book "Vimy" you might want to take a look. It provides a fascinating and detailed account of the famous Canadian victory. good hub...voted up.