Bulgaria Surrenders: The Final 100 Days - September 29, 1918

A monumental day for the Allies, both on the Western Front and around the world.

After 4 years, Bulgaria surrendered to the Allies. Weeks of bitter fighting had drained Bulgarian Forces, and on September 29th, they signed the Treaty of Salonica. Treaty terms dictated the size of Bulgaria’s military, their borders, and ordered the immediate evacuation of Bulgarian occupied Greek and Serbian territories.

Though one of the Central Powers had fallen, three remained - Germany, Turkey, and Austria-Hungary continued the fight; and would do so bitterly. The strength of the Central Powers was diminished, but not destroyed. 

The strength of the German Army was made clear to Canadian forces. Although the operations in Arras had garnered some success, it was clear that each day provided diminishing returns for the Canadian Corps. 

Throwing more men into the meat grinder not only sapped strength from the Corps, but drained morale as well; as Lieutenant Joseph Sproston of the 10th Battalion said, “... This isn’t war, it’s murder. It’s just pure bloody murder.” 

Following an impressive creeping barrage, the 12th Brigade punched a hole in the imposing Marcoing Line, and captured the small village of Sancourt. 

A stone’s throw away, the 56th and 116th Battalions moved on St. Olle. Here they encountered problems; German machine gun positions raked the open ground, cutting down the exposed men like wheat in a field. In spite of mounting casualties, the A and B companies of the 116th pushed through, and captured over 100 German prisoners and 15 machine guns. 

To the left of these operations, the 7th Brigade faced even stiffer opposition. As they advanced towards Cambrai, they at first met no enemy fire. Only when elements of the Brigade came across low-laying barbed wire did the Germans reveal themselves, setting up a machine gun crossfire similar to that at St. Olle. 

The units forming the 7th Brigade (in particular, the 42nd and 49th Battalions, the RCR, and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) jumped shell-hole to shell-hole, advancing forward past the German positions. Their objective, the town of Tilloy, would fall the following day. 

Though minor gains had been achieved, many questioned whether or not it had been worth the cost in blood. Like the Australian Corps, the Canadians bolt was nearly shot - though they would be called upon time and time again to finish the fight. Tomorrow’s action would be no different, as the Canadian Corps continued their march to Cambrai.