Canada comes of age
In the period before the assault on the Ridge, the Canadians carried out an intensive campaign of raids against the enemy positions. These raids were designed to hurt morale, but more importantly to learn as much as possible about the enemy defences and the ground over which the Canadians would have to attack.
Not all of these raids were successful: one raid in early March against Hill 145 was not preceded by the usual artillery bombardment or wire cutting, and 700 Canadians were lost.
But the information gained during the raids was invaluable. Far behind the lines, the infantry were rehearsed for their part in the upcoming attack, practising over ground laid out to resemble as closely as possible the German defences on the Ridge. They carried the equipment which they would take into battle on April 9. Mounted officers rode ahead of them carrying flags at the same pace as the artillery barrage which would precede them as they attacked - the range lifting 100 yards every three minutes.
At the Canadian Corps Headquarters a relief map of the Vimy sector was constructed of plaster. Officers, sergeants and even section leaders were brought in to study the map so that they and their men knew exactly what their objectives were. Every man knew his task, what lay ahead of him, and what was expected of him.
Vimy Ridge soldiers Preparing for battle
The Attack takes place
Follow up and fall out of the battle
Lest we forget
Lest we forget