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Canada’s 100 Days

08 Aug

The beginning of the end of “the war to end wars” was on August 8, 1918.  It is known in history now as “the 100 Days of the Canadian Army.”  From the enemy’s point of view, August 8, 1918, was “the black day of the German army,” a phrase used by General Erich Ludendorff.

Erich Ludendorff, German general.

Erich Ludendorff, German general. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For three weary years, the Allies and the Germans had opposed each other in muddy trenches, sometimes only 50 yards (45.72 yards Meters) apart, along a front of 300 miles (482 km) from the sea coast to the frontier of Switzerland.  Trench warfare ended in March 1918, when the Germans broke through at Amiens, inflicting heavy losses on the British.  They nearly got through to Paris, but could not keep up the pace.

The Canadians had been held in reserve until August 8, and now, with the Australians, they were used in a move that fooled the enemy.  A small part of the Canadian and Australian armies was sent to Flanders as a decoy.  Their main forces were moved to Amiens only a few hours before zero hour.

The decoy worked.  When the Canadians and Australians began their attack on Amiens, supported by nearly 500 tanks, they found that the Germans had left only six reduced divisions to defend the city.  Tanks were comparatively new in warfare, having been used for the first time in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

A mist helped to hide the attacking Canadians and Australians at Amiens, and with firm ground they were able to move forward 8 miles on a front which was 15 miles (24 km) wide.  The tide of battle had been turned, although there was a great deal of hard fighting ahead.  By October, the Canadians had lost 16,000 men in the drive, but, helped by four British Divisions, they destroyed nearly fifty German divisions, one-quarter of the German force on the Western Front.

To learn more about the 100 Days of Canada, I suggest Awaken the Dream, and then I suggest an interesting site, the LibriVox where you can download and listen to volunteer readers recite a book on this subject! Then I would suggest the Canadian Great War Project.

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4 responses to “Canada’s 100 Days

  1. L. Marie

    August 8, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Talk about the calvary being here! What a dramatic conclusion to an ugly war.

     
    • tkmorin

      August 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Yes, I totally agree! I can’t imagine the strength they had to fight on and on …

       
  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy

    August 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

    What an awful war that was; the men who were involved in “The Hundred Days” campaign had no illusions about how dreadful things were. Those that survived through to the conflict’s conclusion were probably just grateful to be alive.

     
    • tkmorin

      August 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      And probably understood the value of a life more than some today! 🙂

       

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