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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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AS the Brigade Machine Gun Companies trekked northward somewhere in the wake of their Infantry Brigades, they were perhaps not giving much thought to the larger, tactical or strategic issues of the Battles of the Somme, the desolate scenes of which they were leaving. Theirs was a vast feeling of relief at every step which took them farther away from the still-incessant roar of the much heralded and biggest British artillery effort of the war to date and lengthened the distance between them and the clinging, chalky, muddy wastes of that scene with its always-present misery and always-blasting threat of death and grievous wounds as the price of so little gain in ground.

The threat of death and wounds, of course, lay surely ahead but it would be in a different scene - in a new shuffle of the cards of fate.

The invisible cable routes of rumor-carried their usual burden of messages in their uncanny but not always accurate fashion. This time the burden of the message was that not only was the next scene to be different-it was to be refreshingly new. This time these rumors happened to be true.

As the now fully-grown Corps settled for short spells of rest in the area back of Bully Grenay and Arras, fears that this might only be a temporary halt before the march was resumed back to the torn, hated salient of miserable memories, where through weary, tense, costly months three divisions had gone through the red baptism of modern war, were set at rest.

And in the reprieve from the grisly setting of the Somme and the freshness of the new scene, drooping spirits quickly rose, there was again the rollicking song in the air and once more a buoyant sense of adventure - never far below the surface in the Canadian Corps - began to assert itself.

Vimy Ridge dominated the whole eastern side of this sector, "which had been used for some time by both sides, apparently, as a resting spot for tired, worn-out troops. When the German hordes were flung back from the very gates of Paris, Vimy Ridge was among those natural features, embodied in the plans of the German Higher Command for retreat - should it become necessary. It remained a notable, outstanding choice along the front on which the Germans finally turned at bay.

Canadians were not to be there long before the history of the dauntless attempts of the 10th French Army in 1915-16 to capture ...

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