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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Capturing Hill 70

Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Capturing Hill 70

Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War

In August 1917, the Canadian Corps captured Hill 70, vital terrain just north of the French town of Lens. The Canadians suffered some 5,400 casualties and in three harrowing days defeated twenty-one German counterattacks. This spectacularly successful but shockingly costly battle was as innovative as Vimy, yet few Canadians have heard of it or of subsequent attempts to capture Lens, which resulted in nearly 3,300 more casualties. Capturing Hill 70 marks the centenary of this triumph by dissecting different facets of the battle, from planning and conducting operations to long-term repercussions and commemoration. It reinstates Hill 70 to its rightful place among the pantheon of battles that forged the reputation of the famed Canadian Corps during the First World War.


Table of Contents

Foreword / David Johnston

Introduction / Douglas E. Delaney

1 Higher Command: First Army and the Canadian Corps / Nikolas Gardner

2 The Corps Nervous System in Action: Commanders, Staffs, and Battle Procedure / Douglas E. Delaney

3 The Best Laid Plans: Sir Arthur Currie’s First Operations as Corps Commander / Mark Osborne Humphries

4 The Fire Plan: Gas, Guns, Machine Guns, and Mortars / Tim Cook

5 Sinews of War: Transportation and Supply / Andrew Iarocci

6 Force Preservation: Medical Services / Robert Engen

7 The Other Side of the Hill: The German Defence / Robert T. Foley

8 To Win at Any Cost: Politics and Manpower / J.L. Granatstein

9 A Battle Forgotten? Remembering Hill 70 in Its Time and Ours / Serge Marc Durflinger

Conclusion / Douglas E. Delaney and Serge Marc Durflinger

Appendix: Canadian Corps Order of Battle, August 1917

Selected Bibliography; Index

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