Plan of Attack on Vimy Ridge.

On the night of April 8th, 1917 at 9:30 pm the men of the 27th City of Winnipeg Battalion assembled and moved into the Assembly Trenches just east of Aux Reitz, with all companies in position by 2:55am. The night passed quietly, except for the Canadian Artillery bombardment that lasted throughout the night, at exactly 5:30am, the attack started, with all guns firing right on time.

At 9:30 am the 27th left the assembly trenches and formed up just south of Neuville St. Vaast, at this time the Germans sent a counter gas attack on the troops which caused no casualties. The Battalion then proceeded to advance toward the Red objective passing between Thelus wood and the Town of Thelus. The German barrage was heavy along the original front line, the 27th advanced as if on parade and kept formation, casualties were light until they reached Lille Road, where a second hostile barrage was met.

1917 Vimy Ridge Barrage Map

Battalion headquarters was set up in Les Tillsulls, when crossing the Blue line another gas attack was launched by the Germans, with the soldiers donning box respirators, no causalities were reported. When the 27th reached the “jumping off” point at 11:30 am, amongst heavy shelling by German artillery, they paused in shell holes waiting for the Canadian barrage to start. At 12:43pm the barrage started, and the battalion formed up ready to advance, as the barrage crept forward the men marched along with it. Great cool was displayed by Bandsman Paddy Smith, who played the regimental march on his piccolo throughout the advance, unfortunately he was killed at the objective by a shell.

Actual map carried during battle.

There was momentary pause while a machine gun opened up on the left, a couple of well directed rifle grenades soon took care of that. On the right, the German gunners of one company of heavy guns opened fire at point blank range with muzzle bursts. The battalion charged the last 50 yards with a cheer and leaped into the gun pits, where the gunners put up a stout fight. Our line lead by Captain Lane seized the guns, put out of action those of the crew who resisted and took the remainder prisoners, and prevented the guns from being dismantled.

Location of the 590

While still under heavy fire Corporal Jones, painted each of the captured guns “27th (City of WPG)”. The 10cm k14 s/n 590 was captured at B.1.a.6.7 1/2  ref THELUS N.E. 1/10000

The ground fell away sharply from one edge of the wood to the village of Farbus. From there eastward the country was flat and we had complete command. At 1:50pm the signal of three white very lights was sent up showing that we were in touch with both flanks and in the possession of the whole of our portion of the Brown objective. By 4:00 pm the battalion had captured the village of Farbus.

On the 11th these guns were turned on the enemy under direction of officers from the Canadian 6th ARTILLERY Brigade, and send sent back several thousand rounds captured with them.

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