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Vimy | Preparation | The Attack | Notes | Comments


On the "strategic" level the operations of April 1917 were unsatisfactory from the Allied viewpoint.  As so often on the Western Front in this war, one sees the effect of lack of clear-cut Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.  Important local successes were gained without achieving any genuine effect upon the outcome of the war.  The plans made for exploitation were ineffective, and the main operation to which those at Vimy and on the Scarpe were supposed to be subsidiary accomplished nothing.

On the lower "tactical" level, on the other hand, the Battle of Vimy Ridge presents a bright picture: a sound plan effectively carried out. 

With all arms and services it was the same labour crowned with success.  The Heavy Artillery destroyed the field defences, silenced the enemy's batteries and broke up his reserves; the Field Artillery fired a perfect barrage under which the infantry moved steadily forward in accordance with an exact time, table overcoming one centre of resistance after another and proceeding to one objective after another; and as each objective was reached it was consolidated and machine guns disposed to meet counterattacks.

The wounded were brought back and cared for; ammunition, rations, and forage were brought forward at the proper time and in the proper order; there was neither hurry, nor confusion, nor delay.  To an unusual extent e course of this battle can be followed by the orders issued ... *

*Col.  A. F. Duguid, "Canadians in Battle, 9r5-igx8" (Annual Report, Canadian I'Historical Association, 1935).

The preparatory bombardment ruled out the possibility of achieving Surprise on the strategic level, but a useful degree of tactical surprise was obtained on 9 April.  Much of the success obtained was due to effective Co-operation between the arms and set-vices.  The increased importance of the assistance of the air arm is a notable feature of the operation in this connection.  Efficient detailed Administration was, as always, the forerunner of victory.  Finally, the thorough preparations made and the pains taken to ensure that every individual fully understood his own task helped to produce and maintain the high Morale required to carry through successfully an operation so formidable as the breaching of the enemy's long-prepared defences on Vimy Ridge.

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