Amiens: August 8, 1918
The Black Day of the German Army

Canadian Forces Advancing Before Amiens, August 1918

After the German High Command had expended all their manpower reserves in their five offensives, General Haig ordered a new offensive in the old Somme sector to begin on August 8, 1918. Canadian and Australians would serve as "shock troops" for the British 4th Army. In a major reversal of past trends, where soldiers had courageously fought for a few yards with incredible numbers of casualties, the Allied assault troops smashed right through the German lines. Part of the success was due to the "swarm" of 456 tanks bearing down on the German lines, in place of the usual "softening up" preliminary bombardment. Part of the success was due to the element of surprise itself - The extraordinary care that that been taken to move troops and artillery at night had paid off. And part was due to the arrival of the Canadians and Australians -- "matchless attacking troops" who had "surged irresistibly over the enemy's forward divisions."

Of 8,800 casualties in the British Fourth Army, Canadians accounted for 3,868 -- including 1,036 killed. The Germans, however, had nearly 28,000 casualties including 15,000 men taken prisoner. Ludendorff was stunned. He later would describe 8 August as "the black day of the German Army in the history of the war."

Learn more about the battle at:

Battle of Amiens and General Currie

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Copyright © 2001 Joyce M. Kennedy
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