Published on 13 Apr 2017
This week 100 years ago, the Western Front comes to live with a big British offensive at Arras. The Canadian Corps and the British 51st Infantry Division take Vimy Ridge which had been contested for 3 years by now. The rest of the battles goes well in the beginning too but due to a snowstorm and the German defences it soon slows down.
April 14, 2017
April 10, 2017
David Warren recalls the then-ongoing battle at Vimy Ridge, along with a ghostly visit from his grandfather, who fought in WW1:
Today is the hundredth anniversary of the day after the four divisions of the Canadian Corps launched their assault up Vimy Ridge, and stormed to the top, as part of the Battle of Arras in the Great War. This was a task the British and French armies had failed to accomplish. In the national mythology, it was the day we truly became a nation, at the cost of more than ten thousand casualties, including three thousand five hundred and ninety-eight dead; and rather more, I should say, among the Sixth German Army. The engagement was essentially settled in the first light hours of April 9th, which was Easter Monday. The mop-up continued until the 12th, when we took “The Pimple,” silencing the enemy’s last artillery.
One cannot argue with mythology, and I was not arguing with my grandfather, Harry Roy Warren, when he appeared to me in a dream last night. This helped me recall what he had had to say about the whole affair, when he still lived. He said that the gods were with us, in the form of the magnificent British artillery and logistics that lay behind us; the remarkable generalship of the very British “Bungo” Byng, and of our beloved Canadian, Arthur Currie; and most importantly, the sky. After an unusually cold and prolonged winter, it was hurling snow and sleet into the faces of the defenders, who were often shooting blind. But to our farm boys, from across the fair Dominion, it was, if one could overlook the shell-bursts, just like home.
Grandpa was more impressed with the casualties. It was the first in a long string of engagements in which the Canadians were used as shock troops — Hill 70! Amiens! Cambrai! — as the allies broke the German lines, setting stage for the rest of the twentieth century.
April 9, 2017
Published on 11 Nov 2014
A visit to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France. The memorial commemorates the lives lost in the April 1917 battle of Vimy Ridge.
April 6, 2017
Published on 5 Apr 2017
Diplomatic tensions after the return of German unrestricted submarine warfare and the aftermath of the Zimmermann telegram lead to the United States declaration of war on Germany this week 100 years ago. Meanwhile the British and French high command are still debating the upcoming offensive, namely the Battle of Arras which includes taking the contested Vimy Ridge and the Nivelle Offensive at the Chemin Des Dames.
April 3, 2017
Published on 31 Mar 2017
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge, Legion Magazine, Canada’s Ultimate Story and William Shatner tell the story of this important First World War battle. Our victory at Vimy was a defining event for Canada. On the 100th anniversary, we revisit the Canadian triumph over the German army and explore why the battle has come to signify the birth of our nation. We ask you to share with #Vimy100 #LestWeForget or #VimyRidge
Directed by Adam Tindal
Written by Don Gillmor
Graphics & Animation by Julia Paddick
Produced by Jason Duprau, Jennifer McGill, Eric Harris
Executive Producer: Jennifer Morse
Recorded by William Harp, Media City Sound, LA
Special thank you to Library and Archives Canada
Copyright Canvet Publications Ltd. 2017
January 15, 2017
Ted Campbell reacts to the news that corporate logos will be included at the updated Vimy Ridge Centre:
I’m not faulting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr for starting this, but they can and should put a stop to it. The business of getting the private sector to “support” public projects is not new and, generally, the public, including me, approves of it: in almost all cases it is good to have commercial sponsorships … almost all. National memorials are different […]
I don’t doubt the generosity or patriotism of Bell Canada or WalMart are anyone else, but a few things have to be sacrosanct, and our national memorials honouring our war dead must be amongst them.
Let is be very clear: it is the visitors’ centre, not the memorial itself that is being rebuilt and I’m guessing that the officials close to the project can see a very big difference between the little visitors’ centre building and the memorial, proper, but I, and many others, do not and will not; If the see even an understated, dignified sign in the visitors’ centre they will likely conclude that a corporation is, now, responsible for the whole monument. From the very first moment one sets foot on the land which France ceded, in perpetuity, to Canada it is “our” place, honouring our war dead and, more broadly, the significance of our contribution to the Great War. It is a small, $10 million, project and I am sure that officials will say that they are only trying to make the best use of their budget so that they can devote more to providing much needed care to veterans by spending less on this little building … and I would, normally, applaud them, but not on this.
October 1, 2016
Published on 29 Sep 2016
Erich von Falkenhayn had been fired from his position as Chief-of-Staff but he had a new task: Leading the combined Austro-German forces into Romania. So, this week 100 years ago Falkenhayn crosses the Carpathian mountains into Transylvania where they met fierce Romanian resistance. At the same time the British attacked at the Somme again and failed to utilise their new weapon: the tank.
September 23, 2016
Published on 22 Sep 2016
This week 100 years ago Manfred von Richthofen is credited with his first aerial victory on the Western Front. He shoots down a British airplane with his Albatross D.II. At the same time the Isonzo Front is in full swing again where Luigi Cadorna is leading another offensive.
July 19, 2016
Published on 18 Jul 2016
Francis Pegahmagabow was not only the most successful sniper of World War 1, but he is also among the most decorated aboriginal soldiers in history. He joined the Canadian Army in 1914 and quickly made a name for himself as a sniper during reconnaissance missions.
July 5, 2016
At Samizdata Patrick Crozier points out some things that are necessary to understand why it took so long (relatively speaking) for the “new army” (and the other freshly raised Dominion and Empire forces) to begin winning battles:
First of all, Britain was fighting a war in Western Europe against a large, well-equipped and tactically skillful enemy. That is a recipe for a bloodbath. Britain repeated the exercise twice in the Second World War (May 1940 and June 1944 onwards). They were bloodbaths too. We tend to forget that fact because overall the numbers killed in the Second World War were much lower than than the First and because they achieved a succession of clear victories.
Secondly, Britain began the war with a small army. To make a worthwhile contribution Britain was going to have to raise and train a large army. Soldiering, like any other job, is one where experience counts. Anyone who is familiar with the rapid expansion of an organisation will know that this is a recipe for confusion and chaos. In the case of the British army the inexperience existed at all levels. Corporals were doing the jobs of Sergeant Majors, Captains doing the jobs of Colonels and Colonels doing the jobs of Generals. Haig himself (according to Gary Sheffield) was doing jobs that would be carried out by three men in the Second World War. Talking of the Second World War, it is worth pointing out that it took three years for the British to achieve an offensive victory (Alamein) over the Germans which is much the same as the First (Vimy).
Thirdly, Britain began the war with a small arms industry. Expanding that involved all the problems mentioned above plus the difficulty in building and equipping the factories. It comes as no surprise that many of the shells fired at the Somme were duds and even if they were working they were often of the wrong type: too much shrapnel, not enough high explosive.
Canada’s army in both 1914 and 1939 was a tiny cadre of what the nation would eventually raise, train, equip, and send to foreign shores. The amazing thing is that they managed to become a valuable fighting force to the British army in particular and the allied cause in general from such a tiny, unmilitarized population. Britain’s highly competent regular army was effectively expended to gain enough time for the volunteer forces to train and organize, and even then the early going was far bloodier at least in part because the troops had still not been sufficiently trained and had to be lead in ways that exposed them to higher risks of casualties whenever they were on the attack.
June 21, 2016
Published on 20 Jun 2016
Special thanks to Karim Theilgaard for composing the the new theme for our brand new intro!
We are approaching the 100th regular episode and decided to surprise you with an extra special episode about the staggering numbers of World War 1.
February 8, 2016
Published on 8 Dec 2015
Othais and Mae delve into the story of this WWI classic. Complete with history, function, and live fire demonstration.
C&Rsenal presents its WWI Primer series; covering the firearms of this historic conflict one at a time in honor of the centennial anniversary. Join us every other Tuesday!
Ross Rifle MkIII
Capacity: 5 rnds
weight: 9.9 lbs
This disastrous straight pull rifle remains an infamous part of WWI. It brought down politicians, cost soldiers’ lives, and was generally a complete failure on the battlefield. But was the Ross Rifle really unfixable? Or did the Canadians drop the gun just when they had it finally working?
The Ross Rifle Story
Roger F. Phillips
January 13, 2016
Published on 11 Jan 2016
Arthur Currie is one of the few universally acclaimed generals of World War 1. His refusal to send is troops into battle as canon fodder and his detailed planning and training made the Canadian Corps a force to be reckoned with on the Western Front. Find out all about the man who was only serving in the militia before the war.
May 26, 2015
Published on 25 May 2015
One of the countries that found its identity in the trenches of World War 1 was Canada. During the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Vimy Ridge the Canadians and Newfoundlanders proofed their worthiness over and over again. Indy takes a special look on Canada in World War 1 and how they became one one of the feared enemies of the Germans.
April 24, 2015
Published on 23 Apr 2015
After experiments on the Eastern Front, the German Army is using poison gas for the first time on the Western Front. At the beginning of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the wind blows in a favourable direction; the wide spread use of chlorine gas has a devastating effect on the French troops. Even the Germans are surprised by it. The incredible sacrifice of the Canadian troops make it possible to defend Hill 60 in the end.