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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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FOUR motor batteries of the 1st C.M.G.C. Brigade were in Divisional reserve positions on the Lens front and one was in the unit's camp at Vedrel when Ludendorff's legions launched their drive against the juncture of the British and French armies in front of Amiens on March 21st.

By the afternoon of the next day the Brigade had received orders to move to the 5th Army front. By 2.30 a.m. of April 23rd the four batteries in the line were at Vedrel and by 5.30 a.m. the entire Brigade was under way, beaded south, under command of Lieut.-Col. W.K. Walker, D.S.O., M.C., the genial giant who had, up to March 17th, been in command of the Machine Gun Squadron of the Canadian Corps Cavalry.

The cavalcade, as it left a sputtering exhaust in its wake, was composed of five batteries. "A" and "B" Batteries each had eight Vickers guns mounted on four armored cars. "C" (Bordens), "D" (Eatons) and "E" (Yukons) each had eight Vickers guns, were designated as Motor Batteries and they were transported in light box cars, from which the crews would fight as infantry machine gunners.

"The Corps Commander wishes you the best of luck and has every confidence that you will do more than well," was the message received by the Motors from Gen. Sir Arthur Currie just before they pushed off.

The eight armored cars in the long convoy chugging its way southward were the surviving veterans of many vehicular changes which had seen the motorcycle elements of the Motors discarded except as a means of officers keeping control over the widely-flung units.

Like many elements of the Cavalry, the Motors had been forced to fight as "dismounted troops," while their metallic steeds were threatened by the rust of inaction. The Somme was the first of the later battles in which the mechanized cavalry role always envisioned for the Motors had been promised. The promised "break-through" never came. The Motors were doing their barrage task at Passchendaele when they might have been tuning up for a more spectacular, more fitting task in Gen. Byng's temporarily successful thrust for ...

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Transcript Copyright © 2003 Dwight G. Mercer - Badge Images Copyright © 2003 Ray Adams
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