The Final 100 Days - September 3, 1918

67 Days Until Armistice

Through a week of intense fighting, the Canadian Corps had achieved a stunning victory. The Arras campaign had been a success, though it had come at great cost. 

Consolidation of the Canadian positions was hellacious. The capture of the Drocourt-Quéant Line stood as a battle the Canadians would pay dearly for. The Germans incessantly shelled their former positions with shrapnel and poison gas, and pinned the Canadians with machine gun fire. However, the expected counter-attack never came - the Germans had been routed, and they retreated across the Canal du Nord.

Over the course of two days, the Corps suffered casualties amounting to 297 officers and 5,325 other ranks. The Arras campaign had drained the Canadians of some of their best infantry, NCO’s, and officers. Moreover, it has sapped smaller units of men who had fought together for months - in some instances, years. Private George Bell’s platoon had lost 30 men in two days of fighting in Arras. 

However, the success of the Arras campaign cannot be understated. In addition to capturing two key lines (Fresnes-Rouvroy & Drocourt-Queant) the Canadians had taken pressure off of the southern front. French and British forces pushed through, and forced the Germans to relinquish all ground captured during the Spring Offensive. 

In total, the Arras campaign had cost the Canadians nearly 11,000 casualties. In addition to the losses from the Amiens campaign, these two victories had drained nearly 25,000 of the Corps’ most experienced men. As new recruits fell into their Battalions, it was difficult to guess whether or not combat effectiveness would drop - but the battles that lay ahead would prove it hadn’t.