An In The Footsteps tour to Vimy Ridge can include not only a visit to the Canadian Memorial, preserved trenches, Grange Subway and Visitor Centre, but can also explore the wider battlefield. Our expert guides can explain this important battle within its historical context and illustrate its importance in the formation of an effective and efficient Canadian Corps that for many heralds the birth of the Canadian Army the birth of Canada's national identity and nationhood.
Join one of our Expert guides on a tour at Vimy Ridge, follow the battle and see how it developed.
On Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 the Canadian Corps attacked the German Forces holding the prominent ridge overlooking the Douai Plain in the vicinity of Vimy about 5 miles (8 Km) to the northeast of Arras. This attack was part of the larger Battle of Arras that was launched by the British in support of the French Nivelle Offensive further south along the Chemin des Dames.
The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the Vimy Ridge that had been held by the Germans when it fell to them during the Race to the Sea in October 1914. This escarpment was at the northern most end of the British Arras Offensive and would ensure that the British attacking to the south could advance without suffering German enfilade fire from the prominent high ground. It was supported by a creeping barrage, often called the Vimy Glide, and resulted in the Canadian Corps capturing most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The bulk of crest of the ridge fell to the Canadian Corps once the considerable German resistance was overcome with the small town of Thélus fall to the 2nd Canadian Division during the second day of the attack, 10th April 1917. The fortified knoll, located just outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle and known as Cote 145, did not, however, fall to the Canadian Corps until four-days after the initial attack on 12th April 1917. With the Vimy Ridge in Canadian hands the German Forces were forced to retreat to the Oppy-Méricourt line thereby having to vacate part of the important coalfields that lay to the northeast of the high ground.