Defining Moments in Canada's History Vimy Ridge By Hiba Madi Mister Craigs CHC 2 D November 11 th 2003 Canada's Defining Moment in WWI The Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917 The First World War is known for its destruction, people dieing, and many failures in the battles. Not many battles were successes and most of them turned into chaos and many people died basically like butchering. For example, in the battle of The Somme, 20 000 British soldiers were killed on the first day alone with 60 000 being wounded. The Somme ended on November 18 th with the British losing 418, 000 and the Germans losing an amazing 650, 000 people. The amount of casualties was getting higher. People at home and on the front waited desperately for peace and harmony.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a success, and it was able to become a major victory. The Battle of Vimy Ridge, used lots of planning and thorough training to take Vimy Ridge. Many Canadians today see this battle as the birth of their nation and a defining moment in Canada's history. One of the most important reasons why Vimy Ridge is a defining moment in Canada's history is because of the independence it gave Canadians and most of all Canadian troops. The Canadian's troops and soldiers did something that the French and the British troops could not do. For example, the French were an utter failure.
They only had a quarter million men and seven thousand guns. In the beginning on April sixteenth, Nivelle, the general of the French troops sacrificed one tenth of his men in only five days. It was like butchery. General Henri Petain finally replaced Nivelle. As for the British troops, the further one moved south from Vimy Ridge, the more depth of British penetration diminished. Eventually, the British troops got to The Sense Valley and found themselves putting up a fight against nearly one hundred thousand casualties.
The British troops gave up and stopped. As a result of Britain's failure to carry out a successful battle, the British officers and generals gave the Canadian troops more independence and because of this the British officers treated the Canadians with a lot more respect. Britain allowed Canada to have more freedom and gave them respect and independence from the British rule. Arthur Currie gave his Canadian troops maps before they went out and fought at Vimy Ridge so that if the troops got lost they could find their way back. He also made sure that each soldier was carrying at all times at least 120 rounds of small-arms am munitions, 4 bombs, a shovel or a pick, 48 hours' rations, a waterproof sheet and empty sandbags. The British troops never had that idea and thought that the Canadians were stupid in doing so.
Now the regret it and wish they had maps of their own. For this purpose, when Sir Julian Byng was promoted to command a British army in June 1917, Arthur Currie was finally given command of the Canadian Corps. The Canadian troops accomplished something that the British and French troops could not achieve, successfully fighting in Vimy Ridge. Moreover, the Canadian corps planned the whole raid and fighting maneuvers before they even went into Vimy Ridge. They had mock practicing tunnels and they had maps. What the Canadian troops were doing was different from what all the other troops were doing.
For example the British divisions kept shuffling in their various corps formations. Byng nominated Currie to represent the Canadian corps. And when he returned from Verdun, he has come interesting suggestions for plans at Vimy Ridge. As Currie explained the new tactics the soldiers were mystified at what he had come up with. The plan was basically a straightforward assault from the front. The plan that was made by both Byng and Currie was simple when they explained it, hard in the application and the success of the plan depended on the perfect co-operation of the troops.
All four Canadian divisions would attack in line, set in numerical order from south to the north. The maps that were given to the soldiers had colored lines that helped to distinguish where the 4 bounds were and where they had to be. The troops were also trained to use the tools of their trade. They had bombing practices and troops were taught the art of throwing a grenade. Some troops even learned how to use German machine guns as well as their own machine guns. The training did not neglect the importance of communications.
The troops practiced how to use flares and lamps just incase they got lost in the tunnels or even outside the tunnels. Arthur Currie made sure that not too many soldiers died by making sure that the attack was well planned out and that even if the worse should happen, then they would have a back up plan always. The Canadian corps and the generals made sure that the Battle of Vimy Ridge would be won and they did win. Finally, the Battle of Vimy Ridge was the only battle in which it was made a memorial in Canada. Some monuments were being built and put up within the days of the battle. The structures were unofficial and yet the structures were very heartfelt.
The artist's were very happy in making something to commemorate the winning of Vimy Ridge. Also the Canadian corps won all kinds of medals and decorations. Many soldiers won Victoria Crosses. This year Remembrance Day commemorates 86 th year since the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Many Canadians volunteered from every corner of the nation to come together as a team and fight in the war. The Canadian corps successfully fought at Vimy Ridge while the French and British repeated attacks for 2 and a half years and failed.
It is also the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian corps had fought as one team. Before the war ended, Canadian courage and independence had gotten a seat at the peace conference in Versailles and won them recognition in the Imperial War Cabinet. Even more important was that this battle gave Canadians a sense of being Canadian and of being a citizen of a nation. And the Canadian troops continued to have this sense of nationhood and they kept it during some wars and more battles and peacekeeping operations.
Very little events in Canada's history played such an important role in the development of Canada, as a nation and a country all on its own like Vimy Ridge. The battle of Vimy Ridge is truly a success story for Canada in World War One. It was planned out for a long time and when it was carried out, it succeeded. The Canadian army was such a small one, they had volunteered yet contributed very much. Canada became recognized separately from Britain, although it didn't become independent until later. Many consider the Battle of Vimy Ridge to be a turning point in Canada's history because it helped Canada be a distinct country on its own.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge proved what careful planning and good training could achieve on the battlefield during World War One. By: Hiba Madi.