Vimy Ridge is an escarpment in France near Arras. The German army captured it at the beginning of the war in 1914. Neither the French nor the British succeeded in taking it back and, as a result, they believed Vimy Ridge to be untakeable.
But on April 9-12, 1917, the Canadian Expeditionary Force captured Vimy Ridge, thanks to "a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support, and extensive training, as well as the failure of the German Sixth Army to properly apply the German defensive doctrine." (Wikipedia)
But, like all such victories, Vimy Ridge came at a terrible price -- 3598 Canadian soldiers killed and 7004 wounded. German casualties are unknown but 4000 prisoners of war were taken.
Today, the landscape around Vimy Ridge is still heavily scarred from that wartime period, scars which are easily visible under the fresh green grass. The whole area remains honeycombed with tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions. As a result, much of the site is closed off for public safety. Only sheep are allowed to wander these spots. Their job is to graze and keep the grass short.
And, of course, Vimy Ridge is also surrounded by Canadian war graves.
Tomorrow -- the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge.
[Photos borrowed from various sources on the internet.]
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