Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge The Canadian Corps staff officers produced a tactical analysis of the french army’s experiences in the Verdun battles and created a new tactical plan of attack. The plan divided the Canadian Corps advance into four coloured objective lines. The attack would be made on a front of 7,000 yards (6,400 m), the centre being opposite the village of Vimy, which lay to the east side of the ridge. The Black Line, the first objective, involved the seizure of the German forward defensive line.

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The final objective of the northern flank was the Red Line, which involved the taking of the highest point on the ridge, the fortified knoll known as “The Pimple”, the Folie Farm, the Zwischen-Stellung trench and the hamlet of Les Tilleuls. The southern two divisions had to achieve two additional objectives:  the Blue Line encompassing the town of Thelus and the woods outside the town of Vimy, and the Brown Line, which involved capturing the Zwolfer-Graben trench and the German second line. The infantry would proceed close behind a creeping barrage placed down by light field guns, advancing in timed 100-yard (91 m) increments.

The medium and heavy howitzers would establish a series of standing barrages further ahead of the infantry against known defensive systems. The plan called for units to leapfrog over one another as the advance progressed in order to maintain momentum during the attack. The initial wave would capture and consolidate the Black Line and then push forward to the Red Line. The barrage would pause, to enable reserve units to move up, and then move forward with the units pushing beyond the Red Line to the Blue Line. Once the corps secured the Blue Line, advancing units would once again leapfrog established ones and capture of the Brown Line.

Conducted properly, the plan would leave the Germans forces little time to exit the security of their deep dugouts and defend their positions against the infantry advance. If the corps maintained its schedule, the troops would advance as much as 4,000 yards (3,700 m) and have the majority of the ridge under control by 1:00 pm of the first day. This plan, though seemingly complex was carried out to near perfection. This new tactic used at Vimy Ridge was coordinated and practiced out by soldiers many times over.