Vimy Ridge and Arras


In April 1917, Allied guns pounded German positions near Arras with almost three million shells. During the early stages of the succeeding offensive, British and Canadian troops achieved unprecedented advances, capturing a huge swathe of enemy territory, including the famous Vimy Ridge. After the initial shock, however, the Germans quickly recovered to employ inspired battlefield tactics that crushed all hope of breakthrough, despite the injection of Australian military flair.

The ultimate cost in human life was immense, with an average daily casualty rate 40 per cent greater than the Somme and almost double that of Passchendaele – making it hour for hour the most treacherous British offensive of the First World War. It stands alone as an example of missed opportunity, wasted lives, defective leadership and poor communication. Yet the determination and doggedness shown by the troops on both sides was breathtaking.

In this major new account, Peter Barton showcases over 50 rediscovered British and German panoramic photographs of the battlegrounds. Taken at huge personal risk by specialist photographers, they reveal what no other photographs can – the view beyond the trench parapet – and a view not seen for over 90 years. Also included are many unpublished testimonies, letters, and memoirs, with stunning mapping, plans and diagrams throughout.


"A must for Vimy scholars."

About the Authors

Jeremy Banning

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Jeremy Banning

Jeremy Banning has been researcher on four of Peter Barton's publications. His specialist work benefits film companies, authors, industrial clients and individuals. He also regularly acts as a battlefield tour guide.