The Final 100 Days: The Battle of Cambrai - October 8, 1918

In conjunction with other Commonwealth Forces, the British Expeditionary Force launched its assault on Cambrai. The Canadian Corps waited in the wings. 

Because of Cambrai’s importance as both a rail and logistical centre, the French had asked the Canadians to avoid a heavy artillery barrage focused on the city. Currie abstained from bombing the city itself, but smothered the German defences encircling the city with poison gas. 

To the south, over 21 British Divisions and a New Zealand Division attacked from Cambrai to St. Quentin along a 20 mile front. 

The Third and Fourth British Armies succeeded on advancing three miles, capturing scores of prisoners and a half dozen villages. By the end of the day, though they had been pushed back following stiff German counterattacks, they had captured 10,000 prisoners and 150 guns of varying sizes. 

The slowed progress of the Third Army had set the Canadians back a day. They would wait until tomorrow to begin their attack on Cambrai.