History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

MARKET-GARDEN Sep 44

(Arnhem)

BERLIN Nov 1944

(Nijmegen)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Bazentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

Flers-Courcelette

15-22 Sep 16

Thiepval

26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Cambrai, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

Amiens

Amiens was a Battle Honour granted to Canadian units participating in the Battles of Amiens in August 1918, during the battles on the Western Front during the First World War. The battle was the first act in what became known as the Last Hundred Days, and the opening day of the battle was to be the "Black Day of the German Army."

Background

Field Marshal Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France, had selected the ground in front of Amiens for an Allied offensive as early as May 1918; this sector was vital to securing the railway line running from Paris to points north. Initially planned for a June start, German attacks on the Marne river postponed this offensive until early August.

German defences were weak - they themselves had only overrun the area in March, and they had not had time to construct concrete fortifications or deep trench systems and belts of wire emplacements. Both time and surprise were seen as vital factors to success. Marshal Foch, the Allied supreme commander, and Field Marshal Haig, agreed that the Canadians and Australians - "colonial storm troops" - would bear the main burden of the upcoming attack, and that secrecy would be a prime consideration in the planning. General Currie, the Canadian corps commander, was not advised of his role until 16 July, giving him only three weeks to prepare, and battalion, brigade and even his division commanders were kept out in the dark until 29 July, just a day before the corps was tasked to move south.

Advance to Victory 1918

Amiens – Arras, 1918 – Scarpe, 1918 – Drocourt-Quéant – Hindenburg Line – Epéhy – Canal du Nord – St. Quentin Canal – Beaurevoir – Cambrai, 1918 – Ypres, 1918 – Valenciennes – Sambre – Pursuit to Mons – Courtrai

Planning

Not wishing to signal an imminent attack, as the arrival on the front of the Canadians adjacent to the Australians surely would, elaborate deception measures were taken in order to give the impression to the Germans that the lines were being thinned instead of being prepared for an attack. Canadian officers on reconnaissance missions dressed in Australian uniform, and at Kemmel Hill in Flanders, the 27th Battalion and 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles staged a trench raid, leaving equipment and insignia in their wake to be identified as Canadian. Canadian Corps wireless messages were sent to establish a presence in the area, as well as two casualty clearing stations. In the meantime, 100,000 Canadians, with 20,000 horses and 1,000 guns moved as discretely as possible between 30 July and 3 August to a concentration area south of Amiens, with three of the four divisions crowding into a wood just two by three kilometres in area.



8th August, 1918 A painting by Australian official war artist Will Longstaff, in oil on linen, painted in 1918-1919 on a 107cm x 274cm canvas. This painting depicts shows German prisoners heading back towards Amiens, visible in the distance, off to the west from the artist's viewpoint, while artillery advances after the Allied armies.
Logistics

Not permitted to establish their own supply dumps, the Canadian Corps struggled to move seven thousand tons of shells for their artillery and 10 million rounds of small-arms ammunition from distant British dumps before the start of the offensive; some units had to scavenge for grenades and rifle bullets from French units before Zero Hour despite Herculean efforts by Canadian service corps units.1

Plan

The main attack, by five Australian and four Canadian divisions, scheduled for 8 August, was to go in without a preliminary bombardment. French attacks also planned for that day were being conducted with a preparatory barrage. For the Canadians and Australians, a rolling barrage would start at Zero Hour, with tanks crashing through the enemy's front lines, as had been done at Cambrai. Three objective phase lines were marked out; the German front line (Green Line), the reserve and gun lines (Red Line), and a final line far to the enemy's rear (Blue Dotted Line). The artillery planned elaborate counter-bombardment measures to prevent German artillery from hindering the attack.

There would be no preliminary bombardment, for two reasons. One was that the 106 fuse, introduced in early 1917, was now available in substantial quantities. The 106 fuse ensured consistent wire-cutting by causing shells to explode on contact; previously, they would detonate either high above the wire or far below the ground, which required a deluge of shells for a prolonged period to make sure that gaps were cut for the infantry at zero hour. The second reason to dispense with preliminary bombardment was the presence of tanks - 324 Mark V heavy tanks and 96 Medium Mark A "Whippets." With a road speed of 4.6 miles per hour, the Mark V weighed more than thirty tons and carried a crew of seven who manned six machine-guns (the so-called "female" tank) or four machine-guns and two light guns (the "male" version). The Whippet's top speed was 8.3 miles per hour, but it was equipped only with light machine guns. The Mark V's would lead the attack, crushing barbed wire entanglements and smashing strongpoints, while the Whippets would go into action with the Cavalry Corps during the exploitation phase of the battle.2

Each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions were scheduled to attack with a single brigade up, a second brigade to move into the line as the front widened, and a third brigade in reserve. The 4th Division remained in Corps reserve with the cavalry, earmarked to leapfrog ahead once the advance passed the Luce river upon the 1st and 3rd Divisions reaching the second phase line. The three assault divisions had a battalion of 42 Mark V tanks assigned to each, with a fourth battalion of 36 tanks assigned to the 4th Division. Two battalions of lighter Whippet tanks were to accompany the cavalry.

And, more than any other battle yet fought, Amiens involved air power. Each of the corps had a squadron of two-seaters allocated to it for reconnaissance patrols and artillery observations duties. These corps squadrons were protected by eight single-seater fighter squadrons, some of which would engage in close ground support when circumstances permitted.3


Mark V tanks pass by soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Division at Hourges, while German prisoners are escorted back by wounded assault troops on August 8th, 1918.  Library and Archives Canada photo.
 
The planning has been described as "an astonishing departure from the methods of the Somme and Passchendaele" for its reliance on surprise. Not only was there no preparatory bombardment, but "in fact, the heavy artillery (also) fired without registration)."4 Hopes were instead pinned on the tanks. In all, the 4th Army under Rawlinson amounted to 420 tanks, 9 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry divisions, and 2,070 guns. Facing them were ten under-strength German divisions in the line, with four in reserve on a 14-mile front.5
 
After midnight on 8 August, two Canadian-flown Handley-Page bombers began low-level flights over the front, using their engine noise to mask the sound of tanks moving up to the front. Zero Hour was set for 04:20 a.m.

At 4:20 a.m., the world seemed to explode. The barrage overhead lit up the dark sky. "You could've read a newspaper whichever way you looked - reflection from the gun fire," recalled Private William Curtis, who professed amazement at the amount of artillery assembled for this operation. "We had to step over the wheels of the guns, between the hubs, to get forward."6

The Canadian official history described the opening of the battle in these words:

The night of 7-8 August was fine with no moon. There was a tense air of expectancy as the troops earmarked for the assault moved up under cover of darkness to their assembly area. On the Canadian Corps right the 3rd Division relieved an Australian brigade at 2:00 a.m.; it was four o'clock, only twenty minutes from zero, before the last of General Lipsett's attacking units were in position. By that time a thick ground mist had  begun to form in the valleys, blotting out visibility even after the sun had risen. The supporting tanks began to move for ward at twelve minutes before zero from positions one thousand yards behind the front. To drown the hum of their engines - running as quietly as possible in second gear - the artillery maintained a normal harassing fire, and a large bombing plane droned noisily up and down above the forward trenches. Exactly at 4:20 the barrage opened with the thunder of more than nine hundred guns and immediately the assaulting infantry pressed forward. In the Luce valley, where the mist was especially heavy, the Canadians were hard put to it to keep pace and direction. The enemy's barrage came down within a few minutes of zero, but thanks to the excellent counter-battery work of the British guns the German fire was generally erratic and not particularly damaging.

The 1st and 2nd Divisions were each attacking on a single brigade frontage, using a fresh brigade at successive lines of advance, but because the River Luce split the 3rd Division's front General Lipsett employed two brigades in the initial phase. He crowded three battalions of the 9th Brigade and a company of the 5th Tank Battalion into the narrow bridgehead south of the river about Hourges, while on his left flank the 8th Brigade assaulted with a single battalion up.

The leading battalions advanced well deployed so as to reduce the number of casualties from the enemy's fire. In general each was disposed in five waves at intervals of one hundred yards. Skirmishers in the foremost wave of two lines, thirty yards apart, helped guide the tanks. The next three waves consisted of well dispersed section columns in single file; and carrying parties brought up the rear. The infantry found themselves less heavily burdened than in former operations, for to meet the requirements of a prolonged yet rapid advance General Rawlinson's staff had devised a modified "fighting order"* which eliminated some unnecessary weight and distributed the rest more evenly.7

The Attack

The three Canadian divisions faced little opposition to the first assaults, as they went in through heavy mist. While the tanks performed less than admirably, many becoming lost, bogged (notably at the Luce river crossings in the south) or else broke down with mechanical problems, the infantry were able to overcome scattered resistance or simply bypass them to secure the Green Line by 08:20 a.m. and push fresh brigades onto the next objective.

As the fog began lifting in mid-morning, resistance began to stiffen, especially from enemy machine-gun crews. Four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross for actions during the Battle of Amiens, all for engaging enemy machine guns.

Private John Croak (posthumous, died 8 August 1918) 13th Battalion 1st Division
Corporal Herman Good 13th Battalion 1st Division
Corporal Harry Miner (posthumous, died 8 August 1918) 58th Battalion 3rd Division
Lieutenant James Tait (posthumous, died 11 August 1918) 78th Battalion 4th Division

Third Division Assault - 8 August

The 9th Brigade began the attack by over-running German defenders in their positions, many taken completely by surprise and not firing a single shot in defence. The 43rd Battalion on the right of the brigade took a feature known variously as "Rifle Wood" or "Dodo Wood', and after the 116th Battalion cleared German resistance north of the main road, tanks worked through the wreckage of the feature to clean out German M.G. posts still holding out. The Wood was reported cleared at 7:30 a.m., and more than 250 prisoners and approximately 40 machine guns were reported captured. The tanks had been impeded by lack of reconnaissance, which had not permitted to maintain secrecy, the heavy mist, and marshy ground. Many arrived late and found it hard to navigate and co-ordinate with the infantry. Nonetheless, the 9th Brigade was on the Green Line by 7:30 a.m., with the 116th Battalion having captured Hamon Wood and the 58th Battalion having taken Demuin and then pressed on into Courcelles.


Canadian tank passes a field hospital at Hangard. Library and Archives Canada photo.

On the opposite side of the Luce River, the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles opened the 8th Brigade's attack by advancing far ahead of their tank support, and captured Cemetery Copse alone. The tanks linked up before the battalion put in an attack on Hangard, and they advanced from there to forge a bridgehead over the river at Demuin. The 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles passed through them.

The 7th Brigade, in reserve, followed on in the rear, passing over the Luce over duckboard bridges past streams of German prisoners, and formed up at the far edge of Hamon Wood in jumping-off trenches, attempting to keep to the tight schedule of the operation. They were on time for the second phase, and at 8:20 a.m., the 49th Battalion stepped off on the left, with the 42nd Battalion in the centre and The Royal Canadian Regiment on the right, straddling the road to Roye.

Progress was rapid. The 49th Battalion, meeting little opposition in its advance across the unfenced fields of standing grain, reached the Red Line at ten o'clock. In the centre the 42nd, having overrun two German batteries that were engaging it with point-blank fire, crossed over the plateau of Hill 102 and arrived on its objective with four supporting tanks at 10:20. The last part of the advance, wrote the regimental historian, "was more or less of a route march enlivened by the sight of the panic-stricken enemy running in every direction". Meanwhile the R.C.R., proceeding with "something approaching the clock like precision of a well rehearsed manoeuvre", was already on its objective, having cleared two woods with the assistance of the few surviving tanks. On the Canadian Corps' right the Franco-Canadian liaison detachment, while maintaining contact between the 3rd Canadian and 42nd French Divisions' flanks, had contrived to clear a small copse south of Rifle Wood, taking thirty prisoners and a dozen machine-guns. On reaching the Green Line the original Canadian component rejoined its parent unit (the 43rd Battalion) and was replaced by a platoon from the R.C.R. The 3rd Division had completed its assignment, though of its original 42 tanks only eight remained. The final infantry advance to the Blue Dotted Line on this part of the front was to be made by the 4th Canadian Division.

In German eyes the capture of the southern part of the Red Line had settled the fate of the 225th Division, except at Mézières, outside the Canadian right boundary. The official German report spoke of the loss of the entire artillery position and the virtual destruction of all the front line and support battalions. The division's reserve battalions, rushed in piecemeal, "had either been thrown back or had not got into action at all". Towards 10:00 a.m., the faltering 225th Division was told that the 376th Regiment of the 109th Division was being placed under its command and sent to Cayeux. It would also receive the Regiment Bellmann, composed of the three resting battalions of the 192nd Division, being assembled in the wooded area south-east of Beaucourt. In addition the 1st Reserve Division from the neighbouring corps of the Eighteenth Army was moving forward astride the Roye-Amiens road with orders to stop any Canadian attacks in the Beaucort-Fresnoy area.8

When the 3rd Division reached the Red Line just before 10:00 a.m., the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, leading the 3rd Cavalry Division, passed through with 32 Whippet tanks, hoping to exploit the breakthrough. The tanks, intended to deal with enemy machine-guns, proved to slow to support the galloping cavalry.

The Royal Canadian Dragoons and Strathconas charged forward with true cavalry elan. Along the Corps' right boundary they advanced nearly four kilometres and captured several hundred prisoners, but enemy machine-gun fire killed hundreds of their horses, and the cavalry thrust was soon blunted. They had been committed too early - before a real gap in the enemy defences had been torn open.9


German prisoners are escorted to the rear near Amiens by Canadian cavalrymen. Library and Archives Canada photo.
 
The 4th Division passed through the 3rd Division and the Cavalry Brigade during the noon hour but were halted by the same machine gun fire that had stopped the horses of the cavalry units. In the meantime, the 1st Division was pressing on in its own sector against light resistance, and they reached the ambitious objective of the Blue Dotted Line, 14,000 yards ahead of their starting positions, ahead of schedule.10
 
First Division Assault - 8 August
 
In the centre of the Canadian Corps, the 1st Division was charged with fighting through the wooded area north of the Luce River and advancing beyond Hangard Wood, through a narrowing frontage towards the Outer Amiens Defence Line past the town of Caix. The final phase of the operation would require the division to negotiate the steep, tree-lined Luce valley.
 
The initial attacks were initiated by the 3rd Brigade; from north to south the 14th Battalion, 13th Battalion and 16th Battalion attacked through the dense mist, and here, too, tank-infantry co-operation was extremely poor, though the attackers were well-hidden from German view and enemy fire was much reduced in effectiveness.

Disregarding threats from flank and rear, the Canadians pushed quickly ahead. Small detachments which became involved in local actions left the mopping up for succeeding waves. So rapid was the advance that the 3rd and 5th Battalions, which theoretically were not involved in this stage of the attack, found themselves committed in sharp encounters with parties of Germans that had been by-passed. Twenty-five hundred yards from the start line fighting developed all along the trenches which formed the enemy's main line of resistance in front of his artillery positions. It was here that Private J.B. Croak earned the first of two Victoria Crosses won that day by members of the 13th Battalion. Having attacked and captured a machine-gun nest single-handed, Croak, though badly wounded, later charged another German strongpoint and with the aid of other members of his platoon silenced three machine-guns, bayoneting or capturing their crews. Wounded a second time, he died just after the last resistance was overcome. Equally courageous was Corporal H.J. Good, of the 13th, in disposing of three machine-guns and their crews, and then with the assistance of three comrades, assaulting and capturing German battery of 5.9-inch guns and their entire crews.

Beyond Aubercourt, where the division entered the Luce Valley, the speed of the advance quickened, for with the lifting of the fog the 3rd Brigade was able to get forward its supporting tanks (of the 4th Tank Battalion) to deal with troublesome enemy machine-guns. In a quarry on the river bank east of the village a party from the 16th Battalion aided by a tank flushed the regimental commander and headquarters staff of the 157th Regiment (117th Division). The battalion crossed the Luce, and abreast of the 13th and 14th reached the Green Line by 8:15 a.m. Almost immediately the attacking battalions of Brig.-Gen. Griesbach's 1st Brigade leapfrogged the 3rd Brigade units and were on their way to the Red Line.

In this second stage the advance of all three battalions followed the same pattern. On several occasions they were held up by the fire of German machine-guns advantageously sited on the high ridges or concealed in the small woods that interspersed the grain fields. Before their tanks caught up, the infantry had only the support of their own Lewis guns in dealing with these. Canadian casualties were light, most of the losses coming from German artillery fire. By eleven o'clock the 2nd Battalion, south of the Luce, had reached its objective and established outposts on the high ground east of Cayeux. In the centre the 4th Battalion, advancing astride the river bed, cleared Cayeux without meeting much opposition; while on the Brigade left the 3rd Battalion, having run into trouble in the deep ravines that entered the Luce valley from the north, made good its portion of the Red Line by 11:30.
11
 

The 2nd Brigade then passed through, advancing on a narrower front with just two battalions forward, each with two companies forward. The 7th Battalion had been delayed by the absence of bridges over the Luce River and a stream of cavalry traffic barring the way, and had to come up through the 1st Brigade's right wing an hour and a half behind schedule. While organized enemy resistance had collapsed, isolated machine gunners and snipers still occupied the assault troops as the bulk of the Germans retreated. By 1:30 p.m., the 10th Battalion, on the north side of the river, managed to attack through Caix and seized its final objectives in the Amiens Outer Line, being joined by the 7th Battalion at 2:30 p.m.12
 
 
The first unit the Canadian Corps to reach its objective was in fact the 10th Battalion. The Amiens Outer Line, which had been built by the British earlier in the war, and then captured by the Germans earlier in 1918, in fact represented the Blue Dotted Line. German defenders during this new battle at Amiens had put up a stronger fight from sunken roads and the remaining trenches, but the part of the 1st Canadian Division was now over, its objectives secure.13

German losses had been very great. Thanks to the good work done by the heavy artillery supporting the Canadian attack, many troops of the 117th Division had been pinned in their shelters until overrun. Resting battalions, thrown in piecemeal, had suffered heavily in attempting to stand and even more severely in the subsequent retreat. Examination after the battle showed that the neutralization of German bakeries had been very effective. The Canadians captured many batteries that had not fired a shot, although there were some cases of German gun crews being credited with firing until the last round before they deliberately destroyed their pieces. According to official German sources the 117th Division was virtually wiped out. In an effort to bolster resistance opposite the centre of the Canadian front, the German Second Army was thrusting in the 119th Division, borrowed, like the 1st Reserve Division, from the neighbouring Eighteenth Army. Farther north the exhausted 109th Division, which... had been relieved by the 117th only a short time before, on the morning of the 8th, was rushed forward from corps reserve to Harbonnières, and thrown into action opposite the Canadian left. It was evening before the 119th Division arrived, but by 8:40 p.m. it could report having plugged the last gap in the Second Army's front, in the area Caix-Beaucourt.14

Second Division Assault - 8 August

The 2nd Canadian Division had the most favourable terrain with which to contend of any of the Canadian Corps' formations, being largely rolling farmland, some of it already having been harvested, which left little cover for the enemy. Occasional villages and wooded gullies provided some benefit to German defenders, particularly Marcelcave which lay just out of range of most of the divisional artillery; a 45-minute preparation by heavy guns was ordered. The division attacked with the three brigades (4th, 5th, 6th) in succession.

In the first phase, the 18th Battalion attacked on the right of the 19th Battalion, and the heavy mist prevented the tank support of the 14th Tank Battalion from co-ordinating with the infantry, as was the case all along the front. The tanks were nonetheless underway by thirty minutes past Zero Hour and doing yeoman's work in neutralizing enemy M.G. posts. A company of the 18th Battalion assisted the 14th Battalion of the 1st Division in seizing Morgemont Wood, south of the divisional boundary, and the battalion went on to overrun a battery of 5.9-inch howitzers, and a second battery of 7.7cm guns by the time it reached the Green Line.

To the north, the 19th Battalion paralleled its advanced with two companies of the 21st Australian Battalion, who was using Lewis Guns to effectively shoot the Canadians forward. The attack into Marcelcave was greatly assisted by the heavy bombardment, but fighting in the town was more difficult, and the 21st Battalion had to assist in clearing out stubborn defenders. At 8:20 a.m., the second phase of the operation began with the 5th Brigade passing through to assault Wiencourt and Guillaucourt. The 24th Battalion attacked on the left and the 26th on the right.

The main opposition...still came from scattered machine-gun posts, whose positions could not be sufficiently defined to be engaged by the artillery. It was difficult for the tanks to deal with these, as the mist had risen and the fighting had advanced out of range of protective smoke-screens. There were costly tank casualties from German batteries firing over open sights; and those that took evasive action by dodging about the country soon found themselves short of petrol. It took longer to clear Pieuret Wood and Snipe Copse, east and south-east of Marcelcave, than it did to secure Wiencourt, the first of the two villages in the 5th Brigade's path. A mile to the east fairly heavy fighting developed in and around Guillaucourt. The 18-pounders of the 5th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery, which had moved forward to Marcelcave, gave useful support, being supplemented by five German field- pieces captured in Pieuret Wood. It was about 2:15 p.m. when the 5th Brigade reached its Red Line objective. By half-past two the three batteries of the 5th Brigade C.F.A. had moved up to positions just west of Guillaucourt to support the final advance by the 6th Infantry Brigade. (Before the day ended every battery in the artillery brigade had taken up new positions at least five times in support of the rapidly advancing infantry.)82 British units of the 1st Cavalry Division had taken the lead, and following them the 29th (on the left) and 31st Battalions crossed the Red Line at 4:30 p.m. Apart from some hostile shelling, opposition was negligible. The Canadian infantry passed through a British cavalry regiment a thousand yards short of the outer Amiens defences and, by early evening, were firmly established on the Blue Dotted Line. North of the railway, however, where the 15th Australian Brigade had not reached its objective, there remained a small pocket of resistance opposing the Canadian left. That night a patrol of the 29th Battalion cleared up the trouble, capturing four machine-guns, so that contact with the Australians was restored next morning. For the Germans opposite this part of the Canadian Corps front operations of 8 August had been as costly as to their neighbours farther south. The 41st Division, facing the 2nd Canadian and 2nd Australian Divisions astride the railway, was officially reported as having sacrificed all its front and support battalions, "as well as the entire artillery down to trifling remnants" (in fact only three guns). Reserve units had been reduced to seven infantry and three machine-gun companies.15

Cavalry and 4th Division Operations on 8 August

After the 3rd Division reached the Red Line in the early afternoon of 8 August, men and horses of the Cavalry Corps began to form up for attack. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade led the 3rd Cavalry Division into action behind the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions while the 1st Cavalry Division followed behind the 2nd Australian and 2nd Canadian Divisions. With the Canadian Cavalry Brigade was two companies of Whippet tanks, or 32 machines in total. They crossed to the south bank of the Luce River at Ignaucourt, reaching the Roye road just after 10:30 a.m., and made contact with a force of Canadian armoured cars.

Lord Strathcona's Horse then advanced astride the Roye road with the Royal Canadian Dragoons on their left. In the Canadian path lay the villages of Beaucourt-en-Santerre and Le Quesnel, roughly one-third and two-thirds of the distance to the Blue Dotted Line; the 7th Cavalry Brigade, moving up the valley of the Luce, would come in turn to Cayeux and Caix. Moving across the inter-army boundary, the Strathcona advanced guard squadron encircled Fresnoy-en-Chaussée, and captured 125 prisoners there. Shortly afterwards, however, the enemy reoccupied the village. Beaucourt, which the Germans were already evacuating, presented no problem and yielded 300 prisoners; but in the wood to the east a stand by the Regiment Bellman was aided by fire from south of the Roye road, where the French had not yet secured Fresnoy. As a result Beaucourt Wood remained for the time in German hands. A mile to the north, British cavalry were more fortunate in capturing Cayeux Wood after a short, sharp fight.16

Two hours after the cavalry, the 4th Canadian Division began passing through the 3rd Division at 12:40 p.m. The 11th Brigade directed its focus on Le Quesnel, with the 12th Brigade alongside to the left. A mile east of the Red Line, the lead battalions met up with mounted units, near Beaucourt.

Each of the division's supporting tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion-the new Mark V Star, capable of transporting a score of men in addition to the crew-carried an infantry officer, a scout, and three machine-gun detachments (two Lewis, of three men each, and one Vickers, of five men)-thirteen men in all, besides the tank crew. The plan was for the tanks to make straight for the Blue Dotted Line, where they would drop their passengers. Half would then remain forward while the others drove back to assist the main body of the infantry.

But this scheme to transport foot-soldiers in tanks did not work out well. Jolted about in their cramped quarters, the men suffered severely from the unaccustomed heat and fumes from the engines; many became sick, and a number fainted. More than half of the infantry detachments were obliged to seek fresh air and follow on foot. But there was worse to be faced than a lack of fresh air. A single German battery hidden a thousand yards south of Beaucourt Wood knocked out ten tanks. Eleven machines reached the objective; but because of unexpectedly strong German fire coming from north and east of Le Quesnel, seven of these picked up their infantry again and withdrew with them some 1500 yards.17

North of the Luce River, British cavalry reached the Blue Dotted Line by 1:00 p.m., making good use of the covered valleys, and the south bank of the river was mostly secure by 2:30 p.m. The left wing of the 4th Division's tanks and infantry arrived at 3:30 p.m. In the south, the French 31st Corps was assisted forward by the efforts of a platoon of The Royal Canadian Regiment and elements of the Independent Force, and Mézières was occupied by the French. But the right wing of the 4th Division was jeopardized when the Germans reoccupied Fresnoy, and defended Le Quesnel in depth to the west, south and east to more than a mile, blocking the way of the 11th Brigade with machine guns and endangering the flank of the 12th Brigade. The 54th Battalion's tank support - three vehicles - was knocked out, and an effort personally led by the battalion commander to clear positions in a wood was only partially successful. The 102nd Battalion, aided by this effort, continued the assault on the wood and cleared it by 4:30 p.m. while the 75th Battalion passed through the 54th. Machine guns continued to bar the way into Le Quesnel and Fresnoy, and the brigade was forced to dig in a mile north-west for the night, leaving the Corps only untaken objectives in enemy hands.
 
The 12th Brigade faced lighter opposition and made better progress, as cavalry initially swept over the ground they were to traverse. Despite initial heavy M.G. fire from north of Beaucourt Wood, tanks and artillery got them forward, and it was here that Lieutenant Tait of the 78th Battalion knocked out an enemy machine gun post single-handed. the 72nd Battalion passed through the 78th and reached the Blue Dotted Line by 6:15 p.m. On their left, the 38th Battalion and 85th Battalion, passing through, made their objectives by 4:30 p.m. The 11th Brigade relieved units of the cavalry at about 5:00 p.m., and an hour later the 7th Cavalry Brigade withdrew from positions it was holding with the 12th Brigade. The 4th Division was secure in positions covered by their divisional artillery, which had moved up to the Red Line during the afternoon, and the danger of an attack on the flank was reduced when Fresnoy fell to troops of the French 31st Corps.
 
Results - 8 August
 
On the left of the Corps' flank, the Australians were on the majority of their objectives by early afternoon; British failures north of the Somme made for difficult going in the north of their sector. The 3rd British Corps had suffered during the German offensives in March 1918, and shortages of officers and NCOs with experience were telling, exacerbated by recent heavy fighting on August 6th and 7th. The 3rd Corps also had to contend with extremely difficult terrain, and by day's end had only advanced a short distance past its first objectives, leaving the 4th Australian Division to also withdraw from its final objectives.

More far-reaching in its effect than the setbacks on the Fourth army's flanks was the failure to employ the cavalry to exploit the general success. Because of difficulties in transmitting orders* and an apparent reluctance by Cavalry Corps Headquarters to act without instruction from the Fourth Army a great opportunity was lost. Fighting ahead of the
infantry in the final phases, by early afternoon of 8 August the cavalry had (except, on the extreme right, east of Le Quesnel) gained a footing in the Amiens Outer Defence Line across the whole of the Canadian Corps front. But there the advance had stopped. In the meantime, at 12:30 General Rawlinson's Major General, General Staff had sent instructions to the G.O.C. Cavalry Corps that the cavalry should not halt at the Blue Dotted Line, but push on eastward towards the general line Chaulnés-Roye. But it was 4:15 p.m. before such orders, relayed by Cavalry Corps Headquarters, reached the frequently moving headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division. Attempts in the late afternoon to push patrols towards Chaulnes failed, for the Germans had dug in strongly along the line Rosières-Vrély, some two thousand yards east of the Blue Dotted Line. The 3rd Cavalry Division, as we have seen, had been checked in front of Le Quesnel. The 7th Cavalry Brigade on the divisional left, however, reached the Dotted Blue Line before three o'clock; but an attempt by the 2nd Cavalry Division to pass through and push on eastward failed. At 5:20 p.m. General Kavanagh ordered his 3rd Division to hold on to the line it had reached until the infantry came up.

Although the day's operations by the Fourth Army and the French First Army had attained somewhat less than complete success, the enemy had suffered its greatest defeat since the beginning of the war. From north of the Somme to south of Moreuil the German line had been thrown back as much as eight miles in the Canadian sector and up to seven on the Australian front. On the flanks the French had advanced a maximum of five miles, and the British two. The cost of all these gains had been remarkably light. The Fourth Army's casualties were approximately 8800, exclusive of tank and air losses. Canadian casualties totalled 3868-1036 killed, 2803 wounded, and 29 taken prisoner.
The enemy admitted that his forward divisions between the Avre and the Somme had been "nearly completely annihilated", while his troops north of the Somme had "suffered severely". Official German figures gave the Second Army's casualties as "650 to 700 officers and 26,000 to 27,000 other ranks.... More than two-thirds of the total loss had surrendered as prisoners." Allied forces had destroyed or seized more than 400 guns, many trench mortars and "a huge number of machine-guns". The Canadian Corps was credited with capturing 5033 prisoners and 161 guns.
18

Another historian summed it up succinctly:

In just over fourteen hours the Canadian Corps had thrust forward by twelve kilometres, and the Australians by nearly as much. In the process nearly two German divisions had been obliterated. The Canadians alone took over 5000 prisoners-of-war in that brief time. General Ludendorf(f) later called this the "black day of the German Army in the history of this war." And while the German Army was still far from being defeated in the field, the morale of its high command had suffered an irreparable blow; they were now convinced that they would lose the war!19


Armoured car of the Independent Force during the Battle of Amiens. Library and Archives Canada photo.

The question of to whom the credit should go to has been debated by historians:

The Canadian Corps possessed infantry of a very high calibre, and although there remained problems in integrating new methods into the existing system, Canadian infantrymen stood up to their reputation at Amiens, demonstrating a great deal of bravery and skill, as the advance and the four Victoria Crosses awarded to their ranks on 8 August attest. The large number of prisoners and guns captured for the day also attested to the infantry's skill, as tanks, cavalry and artillery units were not tasked or equipped for the capture and holding of prisoners. The advance, in all phases, depended on an infantry willing to push on often under very difficult circumstances. The troops were certainly given extra drive by their great advance, as several first hand accounts spoke of the elation felt by all at such an advance after so many years of static warfare. The valour of the infantry was especially evident in the advance from the red to blue dotted lines, where they played a vital role in securing the latter objective, when planners believed that they would be unable to be of much use in capturing such a distant and well defended objective on the first day. Doyle
put it best when he noted that: "The Canadians were on top of their form that day, and their magnificent condition gave promise of the splendid work which they were to do from that hour until almost the last day of the war."

The Mk V tanks working with the Canadian Corps also performed generally quite well, despite the aforementioned problems. The Germans captured in the battle were much impressed by the new machine and realised that it constituted a great improvement over past models. The machines played an important role, particularly in the advance from red to blue dotted lines where they were useful in attacking enemy MG nests. There are problems with suggesting that the machines played the decisive role in the victory of 8 August, as some authors have done. While this holds some truth as far as the attack on the Australian front, as demonstrated here they were far from the decisive element on the Canadian.

It should not seem surprising that some Canadian historians, such as Dancocks and Nicholson, have seen Amiens as a whole as a victory of artillery and infantry, while viewing tanks as minimal factors in the success. These authors, examining the Canadian attack only and depending almost exclusively on Canadian sources, have drawn the right conclusion as far as the Canadian attack was concerned. The problem, of course, arises when the whole battle is characterized in this manner. But the problem with Dancocks' conclusion that the conception of Amiens as a great tank victory is a myth, and Nicholson's similar comments, are that tanks played a very effective role in the Australian attack. Conversely, Tim Travers has suggested that the tanks played a great role in the victory at Amiens, and uses
Australian accounts to prove his point. Both assessments are correct, depending on which sector is examined in the most detail. The battle was thus neither a complete break from previous attacks, nor the logical conclusion of earlier operations, but rather a somewhat confused mix of the two, which reflected the somewhat haphazard "trial and error" manner in which the BEF developed during the Great War.
20

Another Canadian success story occurred on the right flank of the Corps where the Canadian Independent Force operated, under the command of Raymond Brutinel. Fighting for the first time in their entirety, this force of machine-gun armed armoured cars, signal and cyclist units "had the difficult task of coordinating its actions with the attacking infantry, tanks and cavalry" as it advanced down the Amiens-Roye road, keeping contact with the French on the right and preventing the two formations from dividing.
In addition to this, the CIF acted as a reconnaissance unit, and in doing so harassed the enemy, particularly past the blue dotted line. The force's mobility was certainly a great factor in its success. It penetrated some distance past the blue dotted line and thus played a valuable role in reconnaissance. Unlike the infantry, a post-battle report of the CIF noted that: "The training and lessons learnt on recent open warfare manoeuvres were of the greatest value, as all ranks understood the role they had to play. " Among the most successful weapons of t he force was the employment of 6" Newton mortars mounted on armoured cars. These were essentially an early version of a self-propelled gun and acted as an independent unit. They engaged several enemy batteries with a good deal of success, and provided the CIF with responsive, indirect fire support. Even Fourth Army HQ realized the value of this experimental weapon and recommended a great increase in their use. Finally, the CIF also aided the French on several occasions, especially in outflanking strong points, as well as sending back many useful reports from its main task of reconnaissance. That is not to suggest that the force did not encounter problems, as it would have been extremely odd if a new formation of such an experimental nature did not encounter difficulties in its first attack. There was some lack of co-ordination between the armoured cars and problems in using these vehicles for frontal attacks. The latter difficulty was no doubt caused by a desire to keep the vehicles on the road, as they were ill-equipped for off-road use. They were also relatively vulnerable to enemy gun fire, due to their high profile, which had to be compensated for with speed.21
9 August
Unaccustomed to such success, British staff officers rushed to the front when reports came through to General Headquarters (GHQ) of the breakthrough, wanting to canvas the Canadian General Currie for his advice on what to do next. The Germans were in no mood to give up, and their reserves were rushed to the front. While the Allies continued the advance, resistance stiffened. Four more Canadian Victoria Crosses were awarded for actions on 9 August, as machine guns proved troublesome to the attackers.
 
Sergeant Raphael Zengel 5th Battalion 1st Division
Corporal Alexander Brereton 8th Battalion 1st Division
Corporal Frederick Coppins 8th Battalion 1st Division
Lieutenant Jean Brillant (posthumous, died 10 August 1918) 22nd Battalion 2nd Division
 
The Canadians added five more kilometres of gains on the 9th, but eight German divisions had been thrown into the line, the enemy making good use of railroads to reinforce their positions.
 

10 August

On 10 August, the 1st and 2nd Divisions went into reserve and the 3rd and 4th Divisions were ordered to clear the network of trenches directly in front of the Canadian Corps. At 4:30 a.m. the 1st and 2nd CMR began their attack on Le Quesnoy-en-Santerre and cleared it two hours later while the 1st Battalion cleared enemy trenches to the north. The 3rd Division was relieved by the British 32nd Division who ran into heavy resistance and made no further gains.

The 4th Division pushed the 10th and 12th Brigades two miles into German resistance, as Maucourt and Chilly were taken, the latter by the 72nd Battalion. The 78th Battalion passed through Chilly at noon and by 2:00 p.m. seized Hallu. The 38th and 85th Battalions tried to advance past Maucourt but came under heavy machine gun fire when the Australians were unable to occupy Lihons north of the railway line. The Germans then counter-attacked Chilly and Hallu. Lieutenant James Tait of the 78th Battalion, who had distinguished him during the capture of Hallu, now rallied his troops again when German troops re-entered the village, stopping their advance, though at the cost of his life. The 44th and 46th Battalions of the 10th Brigade fought a spirited battle at Fouquescourt, which changed hands three times in the course of the day.22

Aftermath

The Battle of Amiens was the last time that the Canadian Corps fought as an all-volunteer force; reinforcements arriving at the front began to include conscripts, the politically controversial solution to manpower problems in the CEF.

As always during the First World War, railways permitted the defender to reinforce his failing front much faster than the attacker could widen and deepen any gap that he might create. Another ten divisions would arrive by midnight on the 11th, despite efforts by the (Royal Air Force) to destroy the Somme bridges and thus isolate the battlefield. Then too, the advance had reached the edge of the 1916 Somme battlefield, with mazes of old trenches and barbed wire..

The fighting continued until 19 August, but after the 10th it involved mainly small, albeit often sharp and bitter actions to straighten the line and to clear some of the old trenches that the Germans had fortified and were attempting to hold.

Amiens was a great tactical victory. The Canadian Corps had advanced 22 kilometres on a front of 10 thousand metres, and had captured nearly 9000 prisoners. These gains had cost nearly 12 thousand casualties, but this time at least there had been real purpose, and very substantial results. This battle changed the course of the war; it brought the end in sight! And, as the London Times wrote in August 1918, '"...it was chiefly a Canadian battle."23

On August 14th the Corps was ordered to move to the Arras sector as part of the First Army, though in fact they did not move until the 16th. Amiens had been costly for the Germans, and if conscription was a political crisis for Canada, the Germans too had their manpower problems, in the form of 75,000 new casualties. They had to break up divisions to reinforce others. The German leadership finally began to believe the war could be lost - and started negotiating through neutral organizations.
 
Battle Honours

The Battle Honour "Amiens" was awarded to units for participation in these actions.

Canadian Cavalry Brigade

  • The Royal Canadian Dragoons

  • Lord Strathcona's Horse

  • Fort Garry Horse

Notes

  1. Marteinson, John. We Stand on Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (Ovale Publications, Montreal, PQ, 1992) ISBN 2894290438 p.190

  2. Dancocks, Daniel G. Gallant Canadians: The Story of the 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion 1914-1919 (The Calgary Highlanders Regimental Funds Foundation, Calgary, AB, 1990) ISBN 0-9694616-0-7

  3. Marteinson, Ibid

  4. Goodspeed, D.J. The Armed Forces of Canada, 1867-1967: A Century of Achievement (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1967) p.58

  5. Ibid

  6. Dancocks, Ibid, p.172

  7. Nicholson, Gerald Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Candian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 (Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery, Ottawa, 1964)

  8. Ibid

  9. Marteinson, Ibid, p.192

  10. Ibid, p.193

  11. Nicholson, Ibid

  12. Ibid

  13. Dancocks, Ibid, p.176

  14. Nicholson, Ibid

  15. Ibid

  16. Ibid

  17. Ibid

  18. Ibid

  19. Marteinson, Ibid, p.193

  20. Chappelle, Dean "The Canadian Attack at Amiens, August 8-11 1918" Canadian Military History Volume 2, Issue 2

  21. Ibid

  22. Bishop, Arthur True Canadian Battles That Forged Our Nation: 1759-1953 (Key Porter Books Ltd., Toronto, ON, 2008) ISBN 978-1-55267-549-6 pp.159-160

  23. Marteinson, Ibid, p.194


© canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present