In a momentous event 100 years ago, the four divisions that composed the Canadian Corps fought together for the first time. They were tasked with evicting the German Sixth Army from a long, high hill in northern France called Vimy Ridge.
The Germans had captured the ridge early in the war and turned it into a well-defended complex of machine gun nests, tunnels and barbed wire traps. Subsequent efforts by the Allied forces to take it back had resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. The Canadian Forces moved to the front at Vimy in the late fall of 1916.
After a winter spent training and preparing for the assault, the Canadian soldiers assaulted the German positions on April 9, 1917. By April 12, they had taken the entire ridge and provided the Allies with commanding views of the neighbouring valley, where the Germans had retreated to.
But victory was not without its costs. Some 3,598 Canadian soldiers were killed and another 7,004 wounded in the assault.