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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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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 ...

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