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The Battle Of Vimy Ridge: A Symbol Of Canadian National Pride & Awareness

1223 words - 5 pages

The years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge may have passed quickly, but the legacy of the Canadians whose accomplishments were great in that pivotal First World War battle lives on. Many people claim to this day that Canada came of age as a country on those hard April days in 1917. At first, through the meticulous planning of the battle, the world saw a nation capable of working together and making decisions as a team. Afterwards, with the range of technical and tactical innovations involved in the attack, the world saw a strong nation unafraid to protect and defend. In the end, through great sacrifice the world bore witness to the birth of the Canadian legacy. To conclude that the nation was born on April 9th 1917, on the Artois plains is to deny over three centuries of history during which the ancestors of millions of Canadians devoted their lives to building the country. This is why the Battle of Vimy Ridge wasn’t the birth of Canada itself, but the birth of our legacy- the ‘true’ origin of our nation.
Planning is one of the, if not the most, important element of war. This is why the hard-work Canadian military forces put into planning for the attack on Vimy Ridge earned the nation much deserved respect in the eyes of other countries around the world. Germany captured Vimy Ridge early in the war and made it into a strong defensive position, consisting of a huge system of tunnels and trenches manned by soldiers with machine guns and artillery pieces. Previous Allied attacks on Vimy Ridge in 1914 and 1915 had cost the British and French hundreds of thousands of casualties and had been mostly unsuccessful.The planning and preparations for the attack were extensive, and time consuming. The Canadians were trained rigorously. Models of the trench systems were made and the soldiers were drilled on what they were to do and when to do it. They also had soldiers raiding German camps to gather intelligence on enemy defences and plans. Extensive “mining” operations were undertaken in which the tunnels were dug beneath the German lines and huge explosives were set to be detonated when the time for the attack came. These tunnel systems were equipped with train tracks, piped water, lights, and large underground bunkers for supplies and arms created to aid the Canadians during the battle. To soften defences in preparation for the attack, Canadians made a large and prolonged artillery barrage. The heaviest shelling was spread out over a week in order not to tip off the Germans on exactly when the attack would happen. Millions of shells fell from the sky during what the Germans referred to as the “Week of Suffering.” The strategic planning and extensive training that Canadian troops and officials conducted before the battle demonstrated how capable the nation was to work together towards a common goal which was in this case, victory.
As dawn broke on Easter Monday at Vimy, nearly a hundred thousand Canadian soldiers emerged from trenches, dugouts and tunnels,...

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