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Canada's FWW Battles

Read more about some of the lesser-known battles of Canadians.

tIMELINE

Canadian Battles (1915-1919)

The Vimy Foundation is actively working to ensure that these major battles of the First World War involving Canadians are recalled and our losses commemorated.

May

1915

Festubert and Givenchy

In May and June of 1915, at Festubert and Givenchy in Northern France, Canadian troops went on the offensive for the first time in the First World War.

June

1916

Battle of Mount Sorrel

The high ground between the villages of Hooge and Zwartelleen was by 1916 the only raised area near Ypres still until Allied control. The ground, comprising of Hill 62, Hill 61, and Mont Sorrel were held by the 3rd Division, Canada’s most newly arrived division and as yet untried in battle.

July

1916

Battle of Beaumont-Hamel

On July 1, 1916, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment faced devastating losses at Beaumont Hamel on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. While the casualty list varies, most records indicate that 287 Newfoundlanders were killed in this battle.

September

1916

Courcelette

Aside from the Canadian victory at Flers-Courcelette, the battle also marks the debut of General Sir Douglas Haig’s latest weapon, the tank.

September

1916

Thiepval Ridge

After their use at Courcelette, Thiepval was the second site of employment for the new British Mark I tanks.

October

1916

Regina Trench

Regina Trench had been part of the original Thiepval objectives. But the attack, in October 1916, devolved to a multi-week slog.

April

1917

The Battle at Vimy Ridge

Amid sleet, mud and shellfire, the Canadian soldiers fought their way up the Vimy ridge to take the high ground overlooking the Douai plain.

April

1917

Monchy-le-Preux

Two days after Vimy, an attack was launched on Infantry Hill by the Newfoundland Regiment and the 1st Essex Regiment from the village of Monchy-le-Preux.

April

1917

The Arleux Loop

British General Haig hoped to achieve a redeeming victory by ordering an attack by the Canadians on the “Arleux Loop” at Arleux-en-Gohelle.

May

1917

Fresnoy

Fresnoy was taken within several hours, but the Canadian brigades were now in the typical problem facing armies – holding their position.

August

1917

Hill 70

Currie believed that Hill 70 was the most important objective, since controlling it meant a strong artillery position above the city of Lens.

August

1917

Langemarck

While the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought the Battle of Hill 70, the Newfoundland Regiment was taking part in the Battle of Langemarck.

August

1917

Attack on Lens

With the success of the Canadian Corps at Hill 70, Currie now turned his eyes to the town behind the hill – Lens.

October

1917

Poelcappelle

On 9 October 1917, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment took part in the Battle of Poelcappelle, in Flanders, Belgium.

October

1917

Passchendaele

The Canadian Corps entered the Battle of Passchendaele in October 1917 after a largely successful spring and summer of victories at Vimy and Hill 70.

November

1917

Cambrai

In November 1917, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Canadian Cavalry Brigade take part in the launch of the massive Commonwealth attack on Cambrai.

March

1918

Operation Michael

On 21 March 1918, General Ludendorff launched Germany’s massive Spring Offensive, “Kaiserschlacht” (Kaiser’s Battle), along the Western Front.

March

1918

Villers-Bretonneux

In April 1918, along with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, the CMMGB would be sent out to harass the advancing Germans and prevent a breakthrough at any cost.

March

1918

Moreuil Wood & Rifle Wood

30 March 1918: the Canadian Cavalry Brigade set off at a gallop, surging down from Castel, charging across the bridge and up toward Moreuil Wood.

August

1918

Amiens

Characterised by Ludendorff as “the black day of the German Army”, the first day of the Battle of Amiens set the tone for the last 100 days of the FWW.

August

1918

2nd Battle of Arras

At Arras, Currie compensated for the lack of surprise by planning a night battle, which began under darkness on 26 August at 3 AM, in the pouring rain.

August

1918

Chérisy

In August 1918, in Chérisy, the German 132rd Infantry Regiment, whose machine guns mowed down the advancing Canadians, resisted fiercely.

September

1918

Drocourt-Quéant Line

Known by the German Army as the Wotung Stellung, the Drocourt-Quéant defensive system posed a significant obstacle to the Allies.

September

1918

Battle of the Canal du Nord

After retreating from the Drocourt-Quéant Line, the German Army withdrew to their final defensive lines in the Hindenburg system, behind the Canal du Nord.

November

1918

Valenciennes

After a general retreat through October 1918, the German Army decided to make a stand in Valenciennes, a strategically-located city.

November

1918

The Capture of Mons and the Armistice

General Currie had orders to capture Mons, so he ordered an attack on the city on November 10, one day before the Armistice.

Historical events

Other important events happened during the First World War from using planes in war to trench raids.

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