Arras, 1918

Canadians advancing through a German barrage. Advance East of Arras. September, 1918.

Canadians advancing through a German barrage. Advance East of Arras. September, 1918.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3522265)

First World War

This battle honour designation refers to two battles of Arras in 1918:

Date

  1. 28 March 1918
  2. 26 August – 3 September 1918

Geographical parameters

  1. Road Authuille – Bertrancourt – Couin – Gaudiempré – Arras – Oppy
  2. No geographical parameters defined.

Context

  1. A battle honour formally entitled “First Battle of Arras, 1918” and itself being part of “The First Battles of the Somme, 1918”
  2. A group honour incorporating the “Battle of the Scarpe, 1918” and the “Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line”, formally entitled “The Second Battles of Arras, 1918”, and itself being part of “The Breaking of the Hindenburg Line (26 August – 12 October, 1918)”Footnote 1

Description

  1. The German Spring Offensive's main effort was an attack in the Picardy and Somme regions against the British Fifth Army. Although the Canadian Corps (Lieutenant-General Sir A.W. Currie), in the First Army sector was spared from the initial attack several Canadian cavalry and machine gun regiments did see action. Their roles were to assist in preventing a German breakthrough. Both the cavalry and motor machine gun batteries could be moved quickly to fill in gaps as required or to cover the withdrawal of infantry.
  2. The first part of this offensive saw the Canadian 2nd and 3rd Divisions (Major-General Sir H.E. Burstall and Major-General L.J. Lipsett) take part in an assault to the east of Arras astride the Arras-Cambrai road. In the first three days of fighting over what was difficult terrain with well-prepared German defences, the two Canadian divisions advanced over five miles and had seized the German Fresnes-Rouvroy defence system by the 28th of August. With this position securely in Canadian hands the Canadian Corps began planning for the next phase the assault on the Drocourt-Quéant Line. In order to prepare the assault on this formidable position, the artillery conducted wire cutting barrages; the engineers prepared bridges to cross the Canal du Nord and a number of minor operations were conducted to improve the jumping-off lines. There were also huge efforts required behind the line to repair and extend roads as well as to extend the light rail lines in order to move much needed supplies. The attack on this formidable German defensive position began on 2 September. Most of the Canadian objectives were taken on that day and most importantly the Drocourt-Quéant line had been overrun on a width of about 1600 metres. Canadian orders at the end of 2 September were to continue to press the offensive on the 3rd but the Germans withdrew during the night to positions east of the Canal du Nord. This second phase had seen the Canadian Corps advance an additional five miles and to capture all German positions west of the Canal du Nord. Between 26 August and 4 September the Canadian Corps had advanced over ten miles and captured one of the most heavily fortified German defensive positions on the Western Front.
Lieutenant General Currie, Commander of the Canadian Corps in France, and A.D.C. Location unknown. June, 1917.

Lieutenant General Currie, Commander of the Canadian Corps in France, and A.D.C. Location unknown. June, 1917.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001370; (MIKAN no. 3191901)

This photograph shows a Mk. V female tank advancing across a sunken roadway on the Arras front. Advance East of Arras. September, 1918. 

This photograph shows a Mk. V female tank advancing across a sunken roadway on the Arras front. Advance East of Arras. September, 1918. 
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3522274)

Major-General Sir Henry Edward Burstall was General Officer Commanding the 2nd Canadian Division. Location unknown. December, 1917.

Major-General Sir Henry Edward Burstall was General Officer Commanding the 2nd Canadian Division. Location unknown. December, 1917.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3213482)

Major-General L.J. Lipsett, commander of the 3rd Canadian Division. Camblain l'Abbé. May, 1918.

Major-General L.J. Lipsett, commander of the 3rd Canadian Division. Camblain l'Abbé. May, 1918.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada; (MIKAN no. 3218379)

Awarded to:

Currently serving units

Units on the Supplementary Order of Battle

  • 11th Field Squadron, RCE
    Award to The Lambton Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 14th Canadian Hussars
    Award to the 14th Canadian Light Horse (GO 5/31)
  • 21st Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
    Award to The Wellington Rifles (GO 71/30)
  • 24th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
    Awards to the 54th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF (GO 110/29) and The Kootenay Regiment (GO 110/29))
  • 26th Field Battery, RCA
    Awards to The Lambton Regiment (GO 71/30) and The Wellington Rifles (GO 71/30)
  • 27th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
    Award to The Eastern Townships Mounted Rifles (GO 110/29)
  • 38th Field Battery, RCA
    Awards to the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, CEF (GO 71/30) and the 2nd Motor Machine Gun Brigade, CMGC (GO 71/30)
  • 48th Field Squadron, RCE
    Award to The Lambton Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 50th Field Artillery Regiment (The Prince of Wales' Rangers), RCA
    Awards to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF (GO 123/29), the 4th Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, CEF (GO 123/29), The Peterborough Rangers (GO 110/29), and the 4th Machine Gun Battalion, CMGC (GO 123/29)
  • 65th Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Assiniboia Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 76th Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Assiniboia Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 97th Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Bruce Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 98th (Huron) Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Bruce Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 99th Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Wellington Rifles (GO 71/30)
  • 101st Field Battery (Self-Propelled), RCA
    Award to The Assiniboia Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • 118th Medium Battery, RCA
    Awards to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, CEF (GO 110/29) and The Manitoba Mounted Rifles (GO 5/31)
  • 202nd Field Battery, RCA
    Award to The Yorkton Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • Victoria Rifles of Canada
    Awards to the 24th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF (GO 110/29) and The Victoria Rifles of Canada (GO 110/29)
  • The Winnipeg Grenadiers
    Awards to the 78th Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF (GO 110/29) and The Winnipeg Grenadiers (GO 110/29)

Disbanded Units

  • 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion, CEF
    Award to the 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion, CEF (GO 123/29)
  • 16th/17th (Reserve) Medium Battery, RCA
    Award to The Kenora Light Infantry (GO 71/30)
  • 107th Canadian Pioneer Battalion, CEF
    Award to the 107th Canadian Pioneer Battalion, CEF (GO 123/29)
  • The Manitoba Regiment
    Award to The Manitoba Regiment (GO 123/29)
  • McGill University Contingent (148th Bn., C.E.F.), The Canadian Officers' Training Corps
    Award to the McGill University Contingent (148th Bn., C.E.F.), The Canadian Officers' Training Corps (GO 136/32)
  • The Middlesex and Huron Regiment
    Awards to The Middlesex Light Infantry (GO 71/30) and The Huron Regiment (GO 71/30)
  • The North Alberta Regiment
    Awards to the 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF (GO 110/29) and The North Alberta Regiment (GO 110/29)
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