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

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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ing ammunition, Pte. Wegg volunteered to start them. And start them he did and daringly drove them away. Just before dusk, Lieut. Black, who had no men left, joined the armoured cars and, taking one quick dash down the Villers-Brettoneaux road, poured enfilade fire into enemy positions on both sides of the road and withdrew without suffering a single casualty.

Six Borden crews were sent in as reinforcements about 6.30 p.m. that day and as they took up positions northeast of Villers-Brettoneaux an enemy barrage came down. Expecting an enemy attack, these guns opened fire at 2,500 yards on selected enemy positions and it was later reported that this fire had broken up a large enemy concentration, apparently prepared for an attack.

The situation remained comparatively calm and uneventful until on the night of the 8th-9th the Borden, Eaton and Yukon Batteries were relieved and the next morning the armoured cars were withdrawn. On the morning of the 10th the 1st C.M.G.C. Brigade received orders to rejoin the Canadian Corps.

There was praise everywhere for the gallant Motors and they had richly earned it. Thrown into the confusion and chaos of a retreat and into a strange and unfamiliar front, over which there hung at the time the atmosphere of almost a complete rout, the Canadian machine gunners had shown remarkable steadiness and by their initiative and daring and the ubiquity of their great mobility had produced an effect upon the exultant enemy that was greatly out of proportion to their 40 guns.

The Motors paid a heavy price in a display that will always stand out as perhaps the most all-round performance of its power the machine gun was able to give on the Western Front.

In those days between March 24th and April 7th - days and nights of constant strain, with hardly a respite - the casualty summary of the Motors was as follows:
 

Killed
Wounded
Missing
Totals
Officers
Other Ranks
5
20
8
100
1
10
14
130
Totals
25
108
11
144

The total of 144 does include the casualties suffered by the British machine gunners attached to the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Batteries during the same period.

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