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Monday, September 30, 2013


EARLY 1918

By early 1918, the Canadian Corps headed by Lt.General Arthur Currie, had evolved into an elite and efficient fighting force, possibly the most efficient weapon on the Western Front.

"In the first half of 1918, The Corps reached its maximum fighting efficiency when it all came together; command and control, staff work, and training. Certain changes in establishments in the first half gave each Canadian division a sapper brigade (three battalions each of 30 officers and 969 other ranks) and a pontoon bridging unit (66 all ranks) capable of bridging 225 feet. This organization would admirably meet the needs of the "Hundred Days". The other major change gave each division 96 advanced Vickers machine-guns, 30 more than in an Imperial division, Canadian brigades retained the four-battalion infantry brigade (Imperial brigades had been reduced to three battalion strength). By August, the Corps could punch considerably above any other. The four Canadian divisions stood at 84,000. With the addition of over 35,000 Corps troops, this made the Canadian Corps the strongest in the BEF and the equal in assault and firepower of a small Army. Knowing this and the Corps reputation, Haig made it the vanguard of the 1918 summer offensive."  We Lead, Others Follow, First Canadian Division 1914-1918, Kenneth Radley, Vanwell Publishing, 2006.

The Battle of Amiens, August 8, 1918
The end of January, 1918, found the battalion again in the line in the St. Emile Sector immediately north of Lens and it continued to do tours in this Sector and at Hill 70 till the great German offensive opened on March 21st. A few days later, the situation north of Amiens being serious, the 1st Division was rushed down there in buses. It had, however, no sooner arrived than it was ordered north again to support the retiring line before Arras. Here the 3rd Battalion went into the line at the beginning of April at Telegraph Hill. During the next four months several tours were done in the line about Arras, some south and some north of the Scarpe and a great deal of trench digging was done in the rear areas which were made extraordinary strong in view of a possible further enemy offensive in this region. The remainder of the period was spent in vigorous training at Caucourt and Izel-Les-Hameau. During this time a series of Regimental, Brigade, Divisional and Corps Sports were held, the latter being possibly the greatest sporting event ever held by the British Armies in France. The 1st Division scored 101 points, nearly twice as many as any other Division, and of these, 30 were to the credit of the 3rd Battalion.
Lt. Henry T. Poste, 3rd Battalion

In the first days of August, the Canadian Corps was very secretly assembled to the west of Amiens in preparation for the great British counter offensive which was to open on the 8th. On the night of the 5th, the troops were moved forward in buses and concealed during daylight hours in woods and villages. At dawn on the 8th, the 3rd, 1st and 2nd Divisions attacked, with the 4th in Reserve, the French on your right, and the Australians on their left. The 1st Division attack was opened by the 3rd Brigade, the 1st Brigade leap-frogging them and being in turn leap-frogged by the 2nd Brigade. So heavy was the fog for the first hour or more that the Headquarters and Companies of the 3rd Battalion were completely hidden fro one an other's view, and advanced to their objectives by compass bearing, but when the mist lifted, every Company was found in its place, and in spite of determined resistance, the objectives were all taken on time together with several field guns and six heavy guns. An unusually large number of the enemy were left dead on the field. The Battalion had advanced some ten miles over very difficult country and before it halted had reached the Luce River, east of Cayeux.
Upton Wood Cemetery& battlefield

The next morning the Brigade side-slipped to the south and, at noon, advanced to the attack of Beaufort, which was taken by the 1st and 2nd Battalions, the latter of whom pushed forward posts into Rouvroy. At 6:00 pm the 3rd Battalion pushed through and established a line to the east of Rouvroy. The following day (the 10th) the 4th Canadian and 32nd Imperial Divisions passed through to the attack of Fouquescourt and Parvilliers and on the 11th the Battalion was relived and moved back to Beaufort. Throughout these operations it was commanded by Lt.-Col. Rogers. The casualties amounted to 16 officers and 235 men.

Major D.H.C. Mason, 3rd Battalion
Battle Of Amiens - August 9, 1918

"The thing (attack) was done in three waves. Each Division with one Brigade; went a certain distance, to a certain line; stopped; and the next Brigade went through it, carried n, to another liner and then the final Brigade went through it, to the finish".

MAJOR IAN SINCLAIR (Queen's Own Rifles), 13th Battalion
Battle of Amiens - August 9, 1918

"We were to attack on a front called Hangard Wood where there had been bitter, bitter fighting in the Spring, where a German battalion and a British one had fought to a standstill in the Spring and it was just a solid mass of bodies, the whole place, and we tried going through it in the attack and it was just impossible to even get through the mass of dead in there so we split and went around either side but it was just an astounding piece of luck that day that everything went with us. The Germans couldn't see us coming. The first break we ever had in the war, and then we moved so fast we over-ran the first lot and the rest never recovered. The biggest advance that there had ever been on the Western Front in a single attack. It was beautiful"!

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