BATTLE OF AMIENS
AUGUST 8TH to 25TH
0N July 6th, the Canadian
Corps was warned to relieve the 17th Corps in the line and on July 15th,
the day that the Germans launched two more powerful attacks against the
French, the relief had been completed, with the 2nd, 1st and 4th Divisions
in the line from Telegraph Hill to Oppy and the 3rd Division, under the
6th Corps, in the Neuville Vitasse area.
News filtered through that
the Germans were repulsed with heavy losses east of Rheims in the direction
of Chalons, but had succeeded in crossing the Marne south-west of Rheims
towards Epernay and then, right on the heels of this news came the sudden
crushing counter-blow of Gen. Foch to electrically charge the air with
a bristling offensive spirit and new hope instead of the passive, even
if determined attitude that had at best these last few months meant "sticking
it out" until more American help came.
Between Chateau Thierry and
Soissons had come the first great counter-stroke on the western side of
the long salient the Germans had driven toward Rheims - and Paris - and
then, starting on July 20th had come a four-mile push in six days against
the eastern side of the salient - days which dramatically changed the whole
fortunes of war and had a significance far beyond what the map could show.
Some of that significance was more apparent when on July 26th came news
that 35 German divisions within the dangerously-narrowed salient, to save
themselves from complete envelopment, if not annihilation, began a general
but orderly retreat. Once more the Marne had interposed.
But with all his troubles
in the south, the enemy had reserves enough to move three fresh divisions
in to face Vimy, where almost incessant activity of the Canadians in the
line puzzled the Germans into expecting an attack. But for all this activity
there was time for Canadians to reflect that if war could be lovely at
all then it must be at its peak of loveliness in July in France, over which
hung a lazy summer haze. A green carpet of grass and foliage covered the
most recent scars of war on Vimy and patches of it relieved the brick-colored
landscape that stretched over the plain away on to Douai. By ...