60 Historical Photos of the Battle of Vimy Ridge During the Great War, 1917

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, the first attack of the Nivelle Offensive, which was intended to attract German reserves from the French, before the French attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Dames ridge further south, several days later.

The Canadian Corps were to capture the German-held high ground of Vimy Ridge, an escarpment on the northern flank of the Arras front. This would protect the First Army and the Third Army farther south from German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day. The village of Thélus fell during the second day, as did the crest of the ridge, once the Canadian Corps overran a salient against considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadians on 12 April. The 6th Army then retreated to the Oppy–Méricourt line.

Historians attribute the success of the Canadian Corps to technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the inability of the 6th Army to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine. The battle was the first occasion when the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together and it was made a symbol of Canadian national achievement and sacrifice. A 100 ha (250-acre) portion of the former battleground serves as a memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. (Wikipedia)

Loading a large naval gun on the Canadian front, taken during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 9-12 April 1917.
Canadians searching captured German trenches for hiding Germans at Vimy Ridge, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 9-12 April 1917.
A machine gun emplacement on the crest of Vimy Ridge and the men who drove the Germans from it during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 9-12 April 1917.
Stretcher bearers and German prisoners bringing in wounded at Vimy Ridge, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 9-12 April 1917.
German first line captured & Canadians on the crest of the Ridge advancing on Hun third line trench. Vimy Ridge. April,1917
28th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Gen. Crerar, of the 1st Canadian Army, talking to veterans. 9 April 1945
29th Infantry Batallion advancing over “No Man’s Land” through the German barbed wire and heavy fire during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.April 1917
First aid to an airman brought down on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
A Canadian covered with mud returning from front.
A skull found on the battlefield of Vimy Ridge in April 1917
20th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, taking ammunition to forward guns during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917.
A heavy artillery piece firing during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917.
Canadian soldiers in a captured German machine-gun emplacement, Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917.
Canadian troops head to the rear after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917.
Canadian troops washing in a shell hole, June 1917.
Canadian nurses, May 1917.
German prisoners making their way through the Hun Barrage. – Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
Looted watches. April 1917.
Bringing in German officers. – Vimy Ridge. April 1917
Canadians captured several German Trench Mortars. April, 1917. Photograph shows captured trench mortars from the Vimy operations, including a granatenwerfer grenade thrower, and a variety of Minenwerfers.
A big Naval gun firing on the Canadian front. April, 1917. This photograph shows a BL 6-inch Mk VII naval gun firing.
King George V conferring the honour of Knighthood on General Arthur William Currie, Commander of the Canadian Corps. Albert, France, 12 July 1917.
An Anti-aircraft gun advancing along a road under water during Battle of Vimy Ridge. April, 1917. This shows a motor lorry with a 13-pounder Anti-aircraft gun fording a sunken road near the Front.
Examining a skull found on battlefield of Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
Canadian infantry resting on the Arras battlefield between the villages of Blangy and Feuchy,south of Vimy Ridge. April 1917.
Shells breaking over the German trenches. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
General Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian Corps Commander unveiling the Memorial erected near Thelus by Canadian Artillery in memory of Artillerymen who fell during the taking of Vimy Ridge. February, 1918. Note the chain fencing with supports in the style of artillery shells.
Grange Crater on Vimy Ridge blown by Canadians. July, 1917. Grange crater was the site of tunneling operations and mining in the lead up to the Attack on Vimy Ridge. This photo depicts the site of these operations. An early memorial can be seen at the lip of the crater. Official photographer William Rider-Rider’s assistant, Cpl. Percy Reeves, can be seen in the crater.
Canadians consolidating their positions on Vimy Ridge. April 1917
Canadian troops in the 2ndwave of attack on Vimy Ridge wait in a trench for signal to advance.
Shrapnel from German shell bursts over reserve trench sheltering 2nd wave troops-Vimy Ridge,1917
Naval gun firing over Vimy Ridge behind Canadian lines at night. May, 1917
A mine exploding on Vimy Ridge. May, 1917.
33rd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, bringing up the guns. Vimy Ridge, April, 1917
As the Canadians advanced, parties of Germans left their dug-outs only to glad to surrender. – Vimy Ridge. April 1917
Canadian Byng Boys returning after beating the Germans at Vimy Ridge. May 1917
German Whiz-bang captured by Canadians at Thelus. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
The Canadian Light Horse going into action. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
First aid to an airman brought down on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
German prisoners bringing in wounded Canadian soldiers. – Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
Canadian Field Artillery bringing up the guns. Vimy Ridge, April, 1917
Tending a wounded German on the battlefield. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
Canadians giving a lorry a helping hand on a shell battered road on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
Stretcher cases waiting to be loaded on light Railway. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
German soldier beyond human aid. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
German prisoners and Canadian Red Cross men assist in the despatching of wounded on a light railway. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
Light Railroad truck with wounded on board.Note the German soldiers carrying wounded Canadian soldiers. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
Bringing Canadian wounded to the Field Dresseing Station. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
German shrapnel breaking. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
German shells bursting behind our dug-in troops. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
The first train over the new railroad on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge.April 1917
Looking over crest of Vimy Ridge on Vimy Village. May 1917
Canadians advancing through German wire entanglements – Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
A machine gun emplacement on the crest of Vimy Ridge and the men who drove the Germans from it during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.9-14 April 1917
King George V traversing the Vimy Ridge, Centre figure, Gen. Currie, Commanding Cdns. Right, Gen. Horne.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge,
a painting by Richard Jack
Happy Canadians who captured Vimy Ridge returning to rest billets on motor lorries in 1917.
Canadian machine gunners dug in shell holes in Vimy advance, April, 1917
Stretcher Bearers Bringing in Wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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