15 août 1917 – 25 août 1917


Centre canadien pour la grande guerre

The Canadian Corps in August 1917

Hill 70, 15-25 August 1917
The Battle of Hill 70 set the the Canadian Corps against five divisions of the German 6th Army in the summer of 1917. It took place along the Western Front on the outskirts of Lens in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.

“I saw not only the bursting shells, but the bursting oil drums with their pillars of liquid fire, whose smoke rose high in the air.”
Canon F. Scott in The Great War as I Saw it, 198.

Hill 70 was the first battle for the new Canadian Corps Commander, Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, and tough test for the Corps after their victory at Vimy. The strategy used a three-stage advance, with very little time between each phase.

Pictured: Trench Map Lens-Vimy-Avion, 1917. Gnr Jerred Mansfield fonds, Collections CCGW/CCGG.

The Corps attacked at 4:25am under a creeping barrage and smoke screen, by the end of 16 August, Hill 70 was under Canadian control. German counter attacks with mustard gas made holding the objective awful work.

Private John Ashworth was an English immigrant working in Three Rivers, Quebec, when he enlisted in 1915 with the 14th Battalion.

He was killed in action during German counter attacks on Hill 70, on 18 August, 1917.

Lens, 21-25 August 1917
Despite the win at Hill 70, the Germans remained in the city of Lens. General Currie came under increasing pressure from High Command to attack the city, which he decided to do on 21 August 1917 on a narrow front.

Currie sent the 3rd and 4th Divisions into the city on 21 August, where they were halted in the maze of fortified houses and cellars. In an uncharacteristic decision, Currie decided to pivot to the Green Crassier on the outskirts of the city, sending in only one battalion – the 44th. The attack was called off on 25 August.

[Image] Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001820

“The gas sticks to the men’s clothing who then go into the dugouts and gas the men next to them”

Lt Col. Agar Adamson to his wife, Mabel, 22nd August 1917.

Artillery map for the Lens area, correct to 11 May 1917. Canada. Dept. of National Defence, 1st Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers. Canadian War Museum

"Chemin des Canadiens" near Lens

Canadian Centre for the Great War
Crédits : histoire

Design A. Chan

Image of Agar Adamson courtesy Library and Archives Canada. Original caption: Col. Adamson and Lieut.-Col. Stewart, P.P.C.L.I. Battle of Passchendaele. November, 1917.Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-002095

Map for Harassing Fire courtesy Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian War Museum. Original citation: Artillery map for the Lens area, correct to 11 May 1917. Canada. Dept. of National Defence, 1st Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers. Canadian War Museum

Remerciements : tous les supports
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