Air power and the battle for Vimy Ridge

Two aircraft fly over a huge white monument.
CF-100 Canucks fly over the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge in France. PHOTO: DND Archives, PCN-1392

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The engagement, part of the larger Battle of Arras (April 9 to May 16, 1917), took place from Easter Monday on April 9 to April 12 and resulted in the decisive defeat of the German defenders. The first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Corps had fought together, Vimy Ridge has become a potent symbol of Canadian nationalism, albeit at the cost of over 10,000 casualties (3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded).

The savagery of the fighting and the bravery of the combatants on the ground were matched by the war in the air. For the men of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) – and there were many Canadians among them – this was the start of “Bloody April”. As was (and is) often the case, the air battle began long before the first soldier went over the top. Continue reading the article . . .

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