On 6 April 1917, the United States of America declared war on Germany. Three days later, the Battle of Vimy started. It would take the American forces one year of preparation to join the Allied armies on the Western Front.
The Canadians on the other hand, being a Dominion of the British Commonwealth, had arrived on the Western Front since early February 1915. They got to know the horror of the Great War the hard way. Gassed in April 1915 in ‘Flanders Fields’, mined at in June 1916 at Mount Sorrel and shelled at the Somme in late August 1916, the Canadian Corps were experienced and renowned by 9 April 1917.
As the mines beneath the ridge exploded, the four Canadian Divisions attacked Vimy Ridge under the cover of a creeping barrage. Two days later, all objectives were taken. Vimy Ridge was in Canadian hands.
Never before in the war was an attack so well planned, co-ordinated and executed as at Vimy 1917. The Canadian Corps had lost over 10,000 casulaties. The German lost twice as many men, and the ridge.
On our day tour we visit the Australian Memorial Park of Vimy with the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Grange Tunnel and trenches, the German Cemetery of Neuville Saint Vaast, the French Notre Dame de Lorette and the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery.