One hundred years ago, on August 8th, 1918, the Canadian Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie, flanked by the Australian Corps, opened the Battle of Amiens, termed by Field Marshal von Ludendorff as the Black Day of the German Army. The Canadians, after Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Paaschendale, were already known as “shock troops” and wherever General Currie’s corps was the Germans expected trouble. One key element of the British plan was to move the Canadians from Arras to Amiens in extraordinary secrecy in order to lull the Germans into a false sense of security. The Canadians were supported by the new tanks that smashed a hole in the German lines and allowed the Canadians to, finally, fight in open country ~ something they and the Australians did so well that in just two days they had totally outrun the allied supply chain and Field Marshal Haig had to, perhaps reluctantly, call a halt.
Amiens changed everything … the allies had been preparing to wait for 1919, when the newly arrived Americans might finally be up to strength and battle hardened, to launch a stratagic offensive with planners hoping for a victory in, perhaps, 2020. By the time Field Marshal Haig called a halt (13 August 1918) he and his superiors knew that there was no need to wait for the Americans ~ the British (the French army had mutinied in 1917 and was often unwilling to participate in offensive operations) could “win” in 1918.
What followed was the Hundred Days Offensive which forced the germans out of France and to the negotiating table …
… but it all began at Amiens, one hundred years ago.