The Principles of War Podcast
150th Anniversary of Australian ArtilleryPodcast

77 – The Battle of Vimy Ridge

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

These are the show notes for the Podcast Episode. To listen to the podcast search for the Principles of War on your favourite podcast player, Spotify or Audible.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge is seen as the birth of the Canadian nation – it was the first time that all four of the Canadian Divisions attacked together and it was a stand out success in a year that saw shocking casualty numbers. It was the model of a properly planned Corps attack.  Well resourced, well planned and very well rehearsed we look at the planning to understand what went right at Vimy Ridge.

Vimy Ridge Battle Map
This map highlights the detailed planning for the attack on Vimy Ridge, with phase lines for each of the 4 Canadian Corps Divisions.

The planning for the battle differed significantly from other battles in 1917. It bore some of the hallmarks of Mission Command, enabling SGTs and LTs to understand their part in the battle which ensured that the fog of war didn’t cause the attack to bog down. This was particularly important given that communications on a Western Front battlefield was incredibly difficult.

Ghosts of Vimy Ridge
In 1922 France ceded “freely and for all time” 250 acres of land on Vimy Ridge, including Hill 145.

The next episode will look at the conduct of the Battle, followed by a third episode detailing the lessons for Artillery from Vimy Ridge. We will also compare and contract this battle with Bullecourt. The Battle of Bullecourt occurred just 30 kms south and 48 hours later and yet the results were diametrically opposed. Different Armies, (5th under Gough vs 1st under Horne), different planning methodologies and different concepts for the employment of Artillery. LT GEN Horne was also the only Army Commander to have come from the Royal Artillery.

150 years of Permanent Artillery

This year, 2021, represents the anniversary of the formation of permanent Artillery in both Australia and Canada. The fact that both nations are celebrating this remarkable milestone in their nation’s defences is illustrative of our common heritage, with both nation’s taking responsibility for their own defence with the withdrawal of British troops.

To mark this auspicious occasion, BRIG Richard Vagg, The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery’s Head of Regiment has recorded this message of congratulations to all of the past and serving members of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.


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