Battle of Cambrai (1918)
The Battle of Cambrai, 1918 (also known as the Second Battle of Cambrai) was a battle between troops of the British First, Third and Fourth Armies and German Empire forces during the Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War. The battle took place in and around the French city of Cambrai, between 8 and 10 October 1918. The battle incorporated many of the newer tactics of 1918, in particular tanks, meaning that the attack was an overwhelming success with light casualties in an extremely short amount of time.
There were three German lines, spanning some 7,000 yd (6,400 m); held by the 20th Landwehr and the 54th Reserve divisions, supported by no more than 150 guns. The weak defense was due to the Allied general offensive across the Western Front, and specifically in this sector, the rapid approach of the Canadian Corps, who had overwhelmed much stronger defenses in the previous days. The German defenders were unprepared for the bombardment by 324 tanks, closely supported by infantry and aircraft.
On 8 October, the 2nd Canadian Division entered Cambrai and encountered sporadic and light resistance. However, they rapidly pressed northward, leaving the "mopping up" of the town to the 3rd Canadian Division following close behind. When the 3rd entered the town on 10 October, they found it deserted. Fewer than 20 casualties had been taken.
Although the capture of Cambrai was achieved significantly sooner than expected, German resistance northeast of the town stiffened, slowing the advance and forcing the Canadian Corps to dig in.
- Keegan (UK ed), p 396
- Christie, p 125
- Keegan (UK ed), p 397
- Brown, Angus (2006). In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps; Canada's First World War 1914–1918. Ottawa: Magic Light Publishing. ISBN 1-894673-24-7.
- Berton, Pierre (2001). Marching as to War: Canada's Turbulent Years, 1899–1953. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. ISBN 0-385-25725-2.
- Keegan, John (1999). The First World War (UK ed.). London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6645-1.
- Christie, Norm (1997). For King and Empire: The Canadian at Cambrai, September–October 1918. Nepean, Ontario: CEF Books.
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