Vimy (France) - Canadian National Vimy Monument - part 1

by Björn Roose September. 06, 2019 430 views

Let's move from Hungary to France for a few days. Vimy is in between Atrecht (Arras in French) and Lens (see here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and it is, as many places in Flanders and the part of France that used to be Flemish, known for the fact that it was a battlefield in World War I.

The Battle of Vimy (Ridge) was part of the larger Battle of Arras, the main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army and three divisions of the German 6th Army. It took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 and was intended to pull away German reserves from the French, before their attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Dames ridge. To do this the Canadian Corps was to capture the German-held high ground of Vimy Ridge.

They managed, according to historians due to "technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the inability of the 6th Army to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine". It cost them however 3600 killed and 7000 wounded, with an unknown number of casualties on the German side and 4000 men becoming prisoners of war.

I seriously doubt that the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, on ground granted to Canada for all time by France, has been of any help to the 11.285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as "missing, presumed dead" in France during the First World War - there names are inscribed in the monument - or that this "tribute to all who served our country in the conflict and paid a price to help ensure the peace and freedom we enjoy today" brought any of the dead back to life. But what's the worth of a human life when it comes to who's the one who we pay taxes too, right (this was after all not a war about ideology or religion) ?

Anyway, it is a beautiful monument. And that's enough for a photographer.

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