The Final 100 Days: Cambrai - October 6, 1918

The bookends of the Canadian Corps (the 1st and 4th Divisions) continued to rest and refit in anticipation of the forthcoming Cambrai campaign. 

Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions wouldn’t receive their expected relief. 2 days’ time would see them attack Cambrai, in conjunction with the 11th British Division. 

South of the city, the 3rd British Army had succeeded in capturing the Canal de L’Escaut, nullifying any attempts by German reinforcements to reach the city. Capturing the bridges would also enable the Allies to quickly exploit any opening from the capture of Cambrai. 

The use of bridges and pre-war infrastructure was a necessity for both sides, especially when on the offensive. Though engineers from both the Central Powers and Allies had the capabilities to construct new bridges, roads, and railways, their cost in time and manpower could draw vital resources away from the front line war effort. 

The topography of Northern France and Belgium made stable infrastructure a necessity for the Allies during the Last Hundred Day’s. The British capture of the Canal de L’Escaut would allow the Allies to ruthlessly pursue the retreating Germans deep into Northern France - but that would come after the fall of Cambrai.