The Defining Legacy Of Vimy Ridge

1691 words - 7 pages

Since before the First World War, Canadians have had a long history of weakness, cowardice, and insipidity. Seen as feeble and insignificant, Canada had often been overlooked by the European superpowers; until April 9th 1917. On this day, Canadian Corps completed the task of capturing the once German-held Vimy Ridge. Canadian success is attributed to their communication and precise planning that allowed them to stay one step ahead of the enemy. Canadians created new and innovative tactics that made for a more efficient offensive line. Also, the battle resulted in Canada’s autonomy, nationalism, and patriotism that changed the course of Canadian history forever. The battle of Vimy Ridge is considered the defining moment for Canada as it emerged from under the shadow of Britain and for the first time, felt capable of greatness.
A big reason behind Canadian victory at Vimy is due to the preparations made beforehand. To understand the demand for such intense preparations made by the Canadians, it is necessary to understand why this Battle was so significant. “The taking of Vimy Ridge was very important offensively as it was a key position of the German line in Northern France, but it was even more important for the Germans to not lose Vimy Ridge”(Stephens). If the Allies are successful in capturing the ridge, German position on the battlefield would significantly weaken. Should the Allies take the Ridge from the Germans, they would have a clear view of German positions throughout the Douai Plain. For the Germans, winning this Battle was extremely important as the Ridge defended the Hindenburg line as well as the western front. The battle was important to win because Vimy Ridge was an important strategic point that gave a perfect opportunity for observation.
With such high stakes, Canadians were forced to take drastic measures. The Canadians were ordered to build a replica of the battlegrounds by their General, Arthur Currie. Canadians used this replica to practice their attack on the Germans and become familiar with the battlefield. To be certain of their success, Canadian officers would forge closer ties with their soldiers to make a bond of brotherhood and trust. This enabled them to give orders and relay any changed in battle plans much more efficiently and effectively. Each and every man would also be given individual responsibilities and objectives, making them feel as if they are truly contributing to a greater cause. The Canadians rehearsed their attack by the second allowing them to take the Ridge in no time. For the first time, maps were crafted from aerial photographs and were given out to guide everyone, even the smallest units, unlike previous battles in which only higher authorities were informed (Cook) Along with the replica of the battleground, maps were constructed from information found by balloons, aircrafts, and trench raids. With these maps, soldiers would be able to know exactly where German artillery was located.
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