- Battle of Hill 70
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Hill 70
partof=World War I
caption=Canadian soldiers relaxing prior to the battle
date=August 15 -
August 25, 1917
result=Marginal Allied Victory
British I Corps
strength1=4 Canadian Divisions
2 British Divisions
strength2=3 Infantry Divisions
notes=The Battle of Hill 70 was an Anglo-Canadian offensive during
World War I. It took place near the French city of Lens between 15 Augustand 25 August 1917. The assault was a diversionary tactic, intended to relieve German pressure on Lens. This goal was only partially accomplished, and the Canadians in particular suffered a large number of casualties.
Hill 70 was a terrain feature rising only fifteen feet over surrounding terrain, located north of
The attacking forces consisted of the
Canadian Corpsunder the command of General Arthur Currieand British I Corps (6th and 46th divisions), and the defending German units of the 7th and 185th Infantry Divisions as well as the 4th Guard Infantry Division.
Battle of Vimy Ridge, the attack began with a creeping barrage with the infantryadvancing close behind. By the end of the morning, the Canadians occupied the high ground overlooking Lens, with the remaining objectives in Canadian hands by the end of the next day. Having been asked to capture a much larger area, Currie recognised the importance of this one dominating feature and that German doctrine would result in immediate counter attacks. Using 'Bite and Hold' operational doctrine, the Canadians took only this feature and dug in. During the battle, the Germans counter-attacked numerous times, using mustard gas and flamethrowers. Although they were repulsed each time, the number of casualties incurred by the Canadians in doing so was high. By the end of the battle, the Canadian Corps had suffered nearly 9,200 casualties.
Several awards of the Victoria Cross were made for individual acts of heroism during the Battle of Hill 70.
*On 15-16 August 1917, a strong German counter-attack was repulsed by the
10th Battalion, CEFand Private Harry Brown, who was killed acting as a courier during this battle, was posthumously awarded the VC. In addition to the VC, three DSOs, seven MCs, nine DCMs and 60 MMs were awarded to men of the Tenth Battalion for this single action.
*Private Michael James O'Rourke, 7th Battalion, CEF, Lens, France, 15 - 17 August 1917
*Sergeant Frederick Hobson, 20th Battalion, CEF, Lens, France, 18 August 1917
*Major Okill Massey Learmonth, 2nd Battalion, CEF, Loos, France, 18 August 1917
*Warrant Officer II Class (Company Sergeant Major) Robert Hill Hanna, 29th Battalion, CEF, Lens, France, 21 August 1917
*Corporal Filip Konowal of the 47th Battalion, CEF, was the only Ukrainian ever to be awarded the VC. He received the supreme award for his actions at the Lens-Arras Road on 21 August 1917.
List of Canadian battles during World War I
* [http://www.legionmagazine.com/features/victoriacross/05-03.asp Hand-to-hand on Hill 70] (Article by Arthur Bishop in Legion Magazine)
* [http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=history/firstwar/canada/canada11 Hill 70 and Lens] (Article at Canadian Veterans Affairs)
* [http://pages.interlog.com/~fatjack/hill70.htm Hill 70 & the Lens Offensive: August & September 1917] (Article by John Stephens)
* [http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/writing/hill70.asp Canadian Great War Project on Battle for Hill 70]
* [http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/?product_id=316 Loos - Hill 70]
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