INTRODUCTIONHILL 7015 - 25 August 1917
CONTEXTCURRIETHE BATTLETHE RESULTSNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCETHE HILL 70 MEMORIAL PROJECTQUESTIONS
HILL 70HILL 70
CONTEXT OPERATIONAL LVLBetween the success of VIMY (Battle of Arras) and the insanity of PASSCHENDAELE (3rd Battle of Ypres). Morale is still high.New Canadian Corps Commander (Go Canada!). Field Marshal Haig insists on a breakthrough at Ypres commencing July 1917; needs a diversion at LENS.
Hill 70 From Vimy
Vimy From Hill 70
CONTEXT - TACTICAL LVLBritish had fought and withdrew in Sept 1915.Germans not inclined to leaveimportant rail junctions and coal still available. LENS was a built up area now laying in ruins. Really difficult going through the formerly built up areasrubble, cellars, sophisticated trench networks.
FIRST BATTLE of LOOS-1915NOTE: Coal Lift TowersKipling Loses His Son
LT GEN SIR ARTHUR CURRIEHILL 70
HIS TRAITSMeticulous plannerExcellent tacticianStudied results of 1916 misery on the SOMMEApplied lessons learnedInnovativeNot well-loved by troopsValued the troopsCourage to challenge his superiors
MORE CLEVER THAN MOST
Corps Commanders RecceCurrie did his own recce.A frontal assault on LENS was foolish.Currie regarded control of either Hill 70 or Sallaumines Hill as tactically more important than control of the city of LensCurrie persuaded General Henry Horne, British First Army Commander, to take Hill 70, not the city of Lens, the main objective of the limited offensive. Currie believed that the advantageous observational position of Hill 70 would permit well directed artillery to effectively deal with the expected counterattacks.
THE BATTLEHILL 70
MARCHIN IN-STRAGGLIN OUT
THE BATTLE - MISSIONTermed a small operation of World War I between the Canadian Corps and five divisions of the German Sixth Army, the mission of First Canadian Corps:To conduct a diversionary attack on LENS in order to FIX the German Sixth Army so that it cannot participate in the 3rd Battle of YPRES
THE BATTLE COMMANDERS INTENTThe Canadian Corps will execute a limited operation to quickly occupy the high ground at Hill 70, establish defensive positions, and utilizing combined small arms and artillery fire, repel German counterattacks to inflict as many casualties as possible.The defence against the expected German counter attacks termed killing by artillery.Currie pay the price of victory with shells not human sacrifice
THE BATTLE CONCEPT of OPSTHREE DIVISIONS UP. ONE IN RESERVE.4TH DIVISION FEINT IN SOUTH. 1ST AND 2ND ATTACK NORTH AND CENTRE.FOUR BRIGADES ATTACK. 10 BATTALIONS ASSAULT.BATTALIONS LEAPFROG TO GREEN LINE.MACHINE GUN STRONGPOINTS. 1 MG/25 INFANTEERS.OBSERVATION FORWARD. REDUNDANT COMMS TO THE GUNS.EVERYONE DIG LIKE HELL. PROTECTED RESUPPLY TRENCHES.REPEL COUNTER-ATTACKS - KILLING BY ARTILLERY.
Machine Gun StrongpointsLewis and Vickers - 240
THE BATTLE INNOVATIONSEMPHASIS ON COUNTER BATTERY FIRE EARLYIMPROVED ROLLING ARTILLERY BARRAGEGASOLINE SMOKE SCREENAIR AND ARTILLERY OBSERVERS CONNECTED TO GUNS BY WIRELESS
THE BATTLE - PREPARATIONSRoads, Rails and TramwaysLogistics resupply and main armaments repairRehearsals - troops were rotated through the reserve area to conduct training and rehearsals in preparation for the assaultProtected tunnels forward names inscribedRaids, bombardment and gas attacksspecial companies of the artillery and RE augmented the regular level of harassment by firing/releasing a total of 3,500 chlorine gas drums and 900 gas shells into Lensartillery neutralized 40 out of an estimated 102 enemy batteries in the area
THE BATTLE-PREPARED FOR GAS
THE BATTLE JUMPING OFF4:25 AM, 15 August. Royal Engineers fired drums of burning oil into the suburb of Cite St. Elisabeth and at other selected targets in order to supplement the rolling artillery barrage and build up a smoke-screenRight flank, the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 4th Canadian Division executed the diversionary operation, drawing German retaliatory fire away from the main operation. Fake tanks in deception plan.
THE BATTLE RESULTS 15/18 AugBLUE Line taken within 20 minutesGREEN Line taken within 2 hours less Chalk QuarryGermans began using their immediate reserves to mount local counterattacksOver the following three days, the Germans executed no less than 21 counterattacks against Canadian positionsall repulsedThe Germans also began to use poison gas in earnest, including the blistering agent sulphur mustard.
THE BATTLE RESULTS 21-25 Aug2nd and 4th Canadian Divisions attack LENS directly on 21 August. Keep 6th Army fixed.The initial attack proved to be a miserable failure with the majority of the attackers being killed, wounded or taken prisonerFinally took Green Crassier and all other 21 Aug objectives by 25 Aug.
21 25 AUGUST 1917
THE BATTLE THE GLORYSix Victoria Crosses (only 4 at Vimy)In 10th Battalion (Calgary Highlanders) alone:1 x VC (Pte Harry Brown)3 x DSOs10 x MCs60 x MMs (a Canadian record)
Hill 70 Victoria CrossesPte Michael James ORourke (7th Bn)Pte Harry Brown (10th Bn)Sgt Frederick Hobson (20th Bn)Maj Okill Massey Learmonth (2nd Bn)CSM Robert Hill Hanna (29th Bn)Cpl Filip Konowal (47th Bn)
THE BATTLE THE SACRIFICEApproximately 9,200 Canadian casualties3,150 killed6,050 wounded, missing, capturedCompared to Vimy - 11,297 Canadian casualtiesCurrie a great and wonderful victory.Haig one of the finest minor operations of the war.
NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCEHILL 70
JAM Just Another Memorial?Hill 70 was:A Canadian victory top to bottom;Hard won with 6 VCs;A step from Colony to Country;A seat at Versailles.Currie considered for promotion to Field Marshal.Respect for Canadian military capability reinforced in spades (pun intended).Hill 70 Memorial Project Team will provide what the Government missed in 1922.
THE HILL 70 MEMORIAL PROJECTHILL 70
Project ObjectiveThe objective of this project is to erect a suitable memorial to the soldiers of the Canadian Corps on Hill 70 in time for the 100th anniversary of this historic and significant victory.Pomp and circumstance memorial to be dedicated in the presence of 100 man guard and bands. Guests warmly invited.
PROJECT TEAMDIRECTOR MARK HUTCHINGSARCHITECTS - TIM MURRAY, SARAH MURRAYPROJECT MANAGERS- DOUG GREEN, WARREN EVERETTMEDIA RELATIONS- BILL NEILLFUNDRAISER- ROB BAXTERHISTORIAN- MIKE MCNORGANCEREMONIAL JOHN RODERICKEDUCATORS - JOHN SCOTT COWAN, SUSAN EVERETTENGINEER - DON KENNEDYENGINEERING MANAGEMENT WSP London and ParisLAWYER- ED BRADLEY QC, CROWN ATTORNEY
Hill 70 Memorial Site
Aerial View Memorial Site
Monument Design Concept
MORE THAN A MONUMENTA BOOKMINTED COIN SERIESSTAMPVC PARK WALL OF PARTICIPATING UNITS AND BRANCHESLEGACY BURSARIESWEBSITELINK HILL 70 TO THE MAPLE LEAF MEMORIAL TRAIL?
PROJECT SCHEDULE2014 - OPEN CRA CHARITY, INVESTMENT ACCOUNT, ETC2013-2014 - GAIN FRENCH GOVERNEMTN SUPPORT (proceeding well)2013-2014 - GAIN CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SUPPORT (proceeding well)MAY 2014 SELECT/ACQUIRE EXACT SITE (awaiting MOU from City of LOOS)JUNE 2014 PROVIDE LANDSCAPE and MONUMENT DESIGN FINAL (proceeding well) 2014 2015 - ENGR TESTS ( agreement with WSP proceeding well)2014 2017 - COORD WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES (roger, so far)2016- BUILD MONUMENTAPRIL 2017- OPENING CEREMONIES2017 - HANDOVER TO CWGC or APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT MINISTRY
QUESTIONS?HILL 7015 - 25 August 1917
CWGC CEMETERY LOOS200 meters from the Memorial Plaza
HILL 70 15 to 18 August 1917
there was a tremendous victory for the Canadian army in the first world war when it captured Hill 70 at Loos in 1917. More VCs were won there than at Vimy, and for the first time it was an entirely Canadian Operation. Yet there is no monument whatever to the men who made such a remarkable sacrifice for Canada.
We will be asking for all units which perpetuate a CEF BN which was part of the Corps will be asked to contribute funds to pay for a laser cut granite cap badge of the unit to be mounted in one of the walls of the monument. If you would also like to send men to participate in the 100 man guard of honour or part or all of your excellent band for the opening ceremony we would be delighted. The opening is currently being planned for Saturday 8 April 2017 ( one day before the Vimy ceremony so we can participate as part of the build up to the main national event there, and so all the troops, visitors, and VIPs will already be on site).
We are now about to formally brief the MVA, MND, and Min of Heritage. Many of their staff are already aware, as are the CDS, the VCDS., and the Comd CA
******NEW TECHNOLOGY TO AVAOID MUD, ENHANCE VISIBILITYEASE COMMUNICATIONSOBSERVE THE ENEMY
**WATER COOLED mgEARLY GAS MASK*******