Battle of Vimy Ridge

Canadian troops after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, taken May 1917

Canadian troops after the Battle of Vimy Ridge, taken May 1917

The Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 9–12, 1917) was part of the Battle of Arras, a British offensive against the Germans on the Western Front of World War I. Fought in large part by the Canadian Corps, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is often considered a defining moment in Canada’s history

Background

In April 1917, the British launched an attack at Arras, in northern France, to divert German reserves from a planned French offensive. 

As part of this larger objective, the 4 divisions of the Canadian Corps and 1 British division were tasked with capturing Vimy Ridge from 3 divisions of Germans, who had held the ridge since 1914. The French had previously tried to take the ridge but failed with high casualties, as it was riddled with fortifications, trenches, and machine gun nests. 

Battle of Vimy Ridge

Leading up to the battle, the Canadians meticulously planned and rehearsed their attack against Vimy Ridge. The infantry was carefully trained, and engineers dug tunnels to safely get troops closer to the front. The artillery would provide a “creeping barrage” to protect the infantry as they moved closer to the German lines. 

The assault began at 5:30 AM on April 9, 1917. The attack largely went as planned, and the majority of the ridge had been taken by late afternoon the same day. The northern tip of the ridge took longer to capture, but by April 12 the Canadians had achieved their objectives and captured 4,000 Germans.

Allied losses from the battle were 3,598 dead and another 7,000 wounded. The Germans sustained an estimated 20,000 casualties

Aftermath & Significance

Despite the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge, the larger campaign ended in failure in May. 

However, the Battle of Vimy Ridge emerged as an important symbolic moment in Canadian history, helping to create a sense of national identity and pride. Brigadier-General Alexander Ross said about the battle that “In those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial was completed at Vimy Ridge in 1936.

Learn more about the Battle of Vimy Ridge through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Alberta front page with news coverage (and location map) of the Battle of Vimy RidgeAlberta front page with news coverage (and location map) of the Battle of Vimy Ridge 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Edmonton Bulletin (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comBritish Columbia newspaper carries articles about the opening days of the Battle of Vimy RidgeBritish Columbia newspaper carries articles about the opening days of the Battle of Vimy Ridge 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comManitoba newspaper reports on opening of Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917Manitoba newspaper reports on opening of Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) Newspapers.comBritish newspaper reports on the Battle of Arras and Battle of Vimy Ridge after first dayBritish newspaper reports on the Battle of Arras and Battle of Vimy Ridge after first day 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Times (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comKing George King George "Congratulates Haig and the Canadian Troops Who Captured Vimy Ridge" 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.com"Loss of Important Vimy Ridge to Allies May Force Enemy Back to Meuse-Maubeuge-Lille Line Soon" 10 Apr 1917, Tue The Victoria Daily Times (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comBritish Columbia newspaper reports on progress of the ongoing Battle of Vimy RidgeBritish Columbia newspaper reports on progress of the ongoing Battle of Vimy Ridge 11 Apr 1917, Wed The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comBritish newspaper publishes articles about the British newspaper publishes articles about the "Canadians' Storming of Vimy Ridge" 11 Apr 1917, Wed The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comReport that all 4 divisions of the Canadian Corps fought at Vimy RidgeReport that all 4 divisions of the Canadian Corps fought at Vimy Ridge 12 Apr 1917, Thu The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comPhotos of Canadian Corps leaders during Battle of Vimy RidgePhotos of Canadian Corps leaders during Battle of Vimy Ridge 12 Apr 1917, Thu The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comEyewitness accounts of the artillery bombardment during the Battle of Vimy RidgeEyewitness accounts of the artillery bombardment during the Battle of Vimy Ridge 12 Apr 1917, Thu North Bay Nugget (North Bay, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.com"Returned Men Believe Taking of Vimy Ridge an Important Victory" 12 Apr 1917, Thu The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comSummary of the Summary of the "Taking of Vimy Ridge" published at the time of the battle 12 Apr 1917, Thu The Lethbridge Telegram (Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comCanadian soldiers capture the Canadian soldiers capture the "Pimple" on 12 April 1917 at the end of the Battle of Vimy Ridge 13 Apr 1917, Fri The Calgary Albertan (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comGerman troops retreat following Battle of Vimy RidgeGerman troops retreat following Battle of Vimy Ridge 14 Apr 1917, Sat Saskatoon Daily Star (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) Newspapers.com4,000 German soldiers taken prisoner of war during Battle of Vimy Ridge4,000 German soldiers taken prisoner of war during Battle of Vimy Ridge 14 Apr 1917, Sat The Victoria Daily Times (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Newspapers.comIllustration from a Canadian newspaper about the Battle of Vimy RidgeIllustration from a Canadian newspaper about the Battle of Vimy Ridge 14 Apr 1917, Sat The Evening Mail (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) Newspapers.comNewspaper publishes Newspaper publishes "First Canadian official photographs of the victorious Canadians on Vimy Ridge" 08 May 1917, Tue The Montreal Star (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Newspapers.comNewspaper carries news of two Canadian officers wounded at Battle of Vimy RidgeNewspaper carries news of two Canadian officers wounded at Battle of Vimy Ridge 12 May 1917, Sat Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comFirsthand accounts from Canadian officers about the Battle of Vimy RidgeFirsthand accounts from Canadian officers about the Battle of Vimy Ridge 16 May 1917, Wed The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Newspapers.comNewspaper prints letter from Canadian colonel with firsthand account of Battle of Vimy RidgeNewspaper prints letter from Canadian colonel with firsthand account of Battle of Vimy Ridge 05 Jul 1917, Thu The Lethbridge Telegram (Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comPhoto of Canadian National Vimy Memorial in 1936 at time of its unveilingPhoto of Canadian National Vimy Memorial in 1936 at time of its unveiling 25 Jul 1936, Sat The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comDedication ceremonies for Vimy Ridge memorial in 1936; King Edward gives speechDedication ceremonies for Vimy Ridge memorial in 1936; King Edward gives speech 27 Jul 1936, Mon The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comArticle published for 50th anniversary says Article published for 50th anniversary says "Vimy often called 'birth of Canada as nation'" 03 Apr 1967, Mon North Bay Nugget (North Bay, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comNews coverage of 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with photosNews coverage of 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with photos 10 Apr 1967, Mon The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comFamous quote by Brigadier-General Alexander Ross about the Battle of Vimy RidgeFamous quote by Brigadier-General Alexander Ross about the Battle of Vimy Ridge 11 Nov 1982, Thu The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.com
"Battle of Vimy Ridge," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/world-war1/battle-of-vimy-ridge/ : accessed November 30, 2022)