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Battle of Cambrai (1918): Map

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For the first major tank offensive, see Battle of Cambrai


The Battle of Cambrai was a battle between troops of the British First, Third and Fourth Armies and German Empiremarker forces during the Hundred Days Offensive of World War I. The battle took place in and around the French city of Cambraimarker, between 8 October 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.

Battle

Although there were three German lines, spanning some 7,000 yards, the sector had been quiet for some time so it was lightly garrisoned: the 20th Landwehr and the 54th Reserve, supported by no more than 150 guns. The German defenders were unprepared for the "hurricane bombardment" by 324 tanks.

On October 8, 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 October 10, they found it deserted. Fewer than 20 casualties had been taken.

Aftermath

Although the capture of Cambrai was achieved significantly quicker than expected, German resistance northeast of the town stiffened, slowing the advance and forcing the Canadian Corps to dig in.

Notes

References

  • Keegan, John; The First World War, UK Ed (Pimlico edition, London, 1999)
  • In the footsteps of the Canadian Corps
  • Berton, Pierre, Marching as to war, 2001.


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