The Canadian Corps’ Second Arras campaign in 1918 was its most significant operational assignment of the war. More pivotal than Vimy, Passchendaele, or Amiens, its task was to smash through a 15-kilometre fortified zone including the formidable DQ Line and then cross the Canal du Nord. In doing so, it would rupture the Western Front. The Canadian Corps commander, LGen Sir Arthur Currie, considered the Corps’ actions as ‘the hardest battle in its history.’ He thought it a greater victory than even Amiens. The Germans were well aware of the sector’s vital importance, the elite German formations that fought there deemed it momentous. Three German commanders won the rare Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest military order, for their performance at Arras 1918.
Bill Stewart earned his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2012, after a 30-year career in senior management in high tech. His research focus is on the tactics, operations, and administration of the CEF. His first book was The Embattled General: Sir Richard Turner and the First World War, his second was Canadians on the Somme: The Neglected Battle.
Recorded on Wednesday, 12 October, 2022