The Principles of War Podcast
Battle of Vimy Ridge podcast
150th Anniversary of Australian ArtilleryArtilleryPodcast

78 – Vimy Ridge – The attack goes in and Artillery Sound Ranging.

This episode details the conduct of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a stunning success for the Canadian Corps and the development of sound ranging, which provided critical intelligence for the artillery planning in the battle.

This is a special miniseries to celebrate 150 years of Permanent Artillery since the formation of A and B Batteries, Royal Canadian Artillery

Have a listen to the podcast today on your favourite podcast player to find out about the brilliant Corps Attack on Vimy Ridge and the innovative way that the Canadian Artillery supported the development of sound ranging.

MG 08
The MG 08 was German water-cooled medium machine gun. Over 200,000 were manufactured and they fired a 7.92 with an effective range of 2,000 meters. It was nicknamed the Devil’s Paintbrush.
Vimyt Ridge divisonal attack battle map
This maps details the plan for the attack on Vimy Ridge. The map details Divisional and Brigade lines of advance, phase lines and boundaries.

The episode covers the actual conduct of the attack and then we look at the great work the Canadian Army had done with integrating new technologies, particularly with Artillery procedures to enable accurate and devasting fires in support of the infantry.

Professor Sir Lawrence Bragg
Professor Sir Lawrence Bragg – Nobel Prize winner and father of sound ranging.

Sound ranging, the ability to locate artillery pieces based on the sound waves generated by their firing, was pioneered by a team lead by Professor Sir Lawrence Bragg. Joining the Royal Horse Artillery shortly after the start of the war, he was seconded to the Royal Engineers in 1915 to work on sound ranging as the Artillery couldn’t see a use for it. In September 1915, his brother was killed in Gallipoli. Shortly after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, he was just 25 years old and is still the youngest recipient of the Prize. Along with a team of very talented scientists, Bragg developed sophisticated and very accurate techniques to locate hostile batteries along with determining the calibre of the weapons.

These skills would be a key input into the Counter Battery Staff Office – a development lead by the Canadian Artillery, under a very gifter officer, Andrew McNaughton.

This follows on from our Bullecourt series.  The Battle of Bullecourt occurred 48 hours later and 30 km south of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  We will compare and contrast Vimy Ridge with Bullecourt to highlight to the real cost of failing to correctly plan and resource an attack.

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