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Most WWI historians agree that meticulous preparation, a unified Canadian command, and innovative artillery tactics were the keys to victory at Vimy Ridge. The intricacies of the battle are far too complex for our purposes here, so a brief overview will have to suffice. An excellent account of the circumstances leading up to the battle, and of the attack itself, is given by Pierre Berton in his book "Vimy".

This was the first time that all 4 Canadian divisions were used as a single force under Canadian command. This occurred after a great deal of debate, argument and downright unplerasant exchanges between Canadian and British commanders, and over the stringent objections of Lord Kitchener and later Field Marshal Haig. This represented a tremendous achievement and one of the few great successes for the otherwise bullying, uninspired, narcissistic and incompetent Sam Hughes.

Key tactical innovations introduced in this battle included:

-Counter-battery fire (made possible by the Canadian-developed techniques of flash spotting and sound-ranging), which was instrumental in putting the vast majority of German guns out of action prior to the attack . The amount of artillery used was also the largest single concentration of guns of the entire war, with over a million shells being fired in only one week leading up to the assault.

-Improved use of Creeping Barrages, in which the infantry advances behind a carefully-timed wall of heavy artillery fire, thus arriving at the enemy lines before they can recover from the bombardment to man their defenses. (The phases of advance all along the Vimy sector were timed to the second, with fresh regiments "leap-frogging" the lines at each stage of the advance, allowing the previous wave to dig in and consolidate)

-Providing even Private soldiers with detailed instructions, objectives, and plans to enable people to take over and lead troops when their unit leaders were wounded or killed

-Weeks of rehearsals in full-scale mockups of the front lines in rear areas

-A steady regime of trench raids in the weeks preceding the attacks which, while controversial because of the sometimes heavy casualties incurred, ensured that most soldiers already knew the terrain they were to cross, and helped pinpoint enemy strongpoints as well as verifying the destruction of barbed wire emplacements

-The use of Machine Gunners in increased numbers (until this battle, the British considered machine guns to be impractical and rather fanciful. Indeed, the Canadians had almost 10 times as many machine guns per battalion as the British, and used them not only in direct fire roles, but also in an indirect fire pattern to thicken the artillery barrage)

-The use of small groups to attack pillboxes and machine gun positions by suppressing them from the front and then flanking them, as opposed to the past near-suicidal practice of trying to overwhelm strong points by frontal assault.

-Massive use of underground tunnels, or "subways", some several kilometers long, that stretched into no-man's land and provided jumping-off points for advance units and made communications easier, These tunnels also allowed supplies and personnel to be brought forward under cover. (Although this was not a Canadian invention, the Canadian troops vastly increased the size and number of these Subways and incorporated them much more centrally into the battle plan that previous commanders had ever done)

Today, these seem like common sense strategies, but at the time of the battle, they were considered revolutionary by some, and even laughably over-complex by others. Indeed, during discussions on why massive counter-battery fire hadn't been more widely used in the past, one British commander reportedly told a Canadian "You take all the fun out of war"

When one compares the tactics of Vimy to the archaic and discredited ones used under British command at the Somme and other earlier battles, it is hardly surprising that the Germans were unable to withstand the Canadian assault. Until this point, the German Army had been able to take advantage of the fact that artillery was rarely coordinated, and enemies advanced mainly unprotected. In fact, when the 4th Canadian Divison on the far left of the assault briefly fell behind the artillery barrage, the result was nearly catastrophic, as the Germans were able to recover and re-man their fortified defenses before the Canadians were upon them.

Even with the improved overall tactics, the cost was high. Out of a force of just under 100,000 men, over 10,000 Canadian casualties were suffered on that day at Vimy, nearly 3600 of them fatal. This figure doesn't count the thousands of casualties incurred on the line and in skirmishes in the weeks and months leading up to the battle.

To non-Canadians, Vimy Ridge was merely a part of the British Battles of Arras, and a minor engagement. However, it captured a vital strategic point of the front, which commanded a large area and was a gateway to major industrial regions. The Germans were never able to recapture it. For Canadians, The battle of Vimy Ridge became a coming-of-age for Canada as an independent nation, and is often identified as one of the first examples of Canada throwing off its image as merely a Colonial possession of Great Britain.

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Q: Why was vimy ridge a success when the somme was a failure?
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What battle in World War 1 had the most Canadian casualites?

Canada lost 10,500 men at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

How did Canada attain its national identity and What are some major events and individuals that defined Canada as a nation?

One event that defined Canada as a nation was its decisive victory in WWI at Vimy Ridge. Canada entered the war automatically because they were considered still a colony. Vimy Ridge was a heavily fortified German bastion that the French and the British could not take. After the Canadians won the battle, they had a reputation of having strong and battle hardened soldiers. This eventually led to its autonomy as a nation, free from British influence.

How many German soldiers died in vimy-ridge?

An estimated 20,000 Germans were wounded or killed with a further 4,000 taken prisoner. A breakdown of wounded vs killed doesn't seem to be available.

How many troops did Canada send to World War 1?

Canada made a major contribution, both at home and abroad during WWI: * 600.000 Troops joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). * American Indians or First Nation troops as Canada prefers to call its indigenous population had a 35 percent volunteer rate providing 3,500 men (notable because First Nations peoples are exempt by law from conscription). * Canada with the help of Glen Curtiss of the US trained the majority of the UK's aviators. * Canadian industry was the major supplier of munitions for the early war effort. * Canada's heavy Mennonite population exempt on religious grounds from military service, provided a very large number of litter bearers and non-combatant troops for service. * Canada's Nursing Sisters provided much of the health care needs for the Allied forces. * 70 Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI. Yes, Canada was in the war to end all wars.

How was World War I good for Canada?

Canada sent thousands of men to WW1, far out of proportion to the population and in far more percentage of young men than any other country. it is said here that every city, town and village lost sons and brothers in WW1.

Related questions

How were battles fought in world war 1?

the battle of Vimy Ridge,Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele

Was the creeping barrage a success?

This depends, the creeping barrage was a huge flop at the Battle of the Somme (July 1916) because of a lack of communication and preparation. But at the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April, 1917) the Canadian Corps used it with great success, it allowed them to capture most of the ridge that day.

Where were the gritical world war 1 battles fought?

Vimy Ridge Somme Beaumont Hamel Amiens Ypres

What were the 3 major battle of world war 1?

Battle of Passchendaele Battle of Vimy Ridge Battle of Somme

What were the main battles of the war?

Ypres I II & III The Somme Vimy Ridge Passchendaele Tannenberg TheMasurain Lakes Gaza Caporetto Verdun

Where is Vimy Ridge located?

Vimy is in France. It is north of Arras about 190 km north of Paris.

Was the Battle at Vimy Ridge considered a victory?

Well, in terms of capturing the hill the plan was a success

What was one major battle fought during World War 1?

battle of ypres somme vimy ridge passendale last 100 days

What were the main battles of World War 1?

Ypres I II & III The Somme Vimy Ridge Passchendaele Tannenberg TheMasurain Lakes Gaza Caporetto Verdun

What is vimy day?

That is the anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

When did Battle of Vimy Ridge happen?

Battle of Vimy Ridge happened on 1917-04-09.

In World War 1 what battles did Canada fight in?

They fought in: The Battle for Vimy Ridge The Battle of Somme The Battle of Ypres The Battle of Passchendaele and The Battle of Beaumont Hill