The Final 100 Days - September 4, 1918

66 Days Until Armistice

The capture of the Drocourt-Quéant Line did not signal the end of operations in Arras. Although the fighting from September 1st-3rd had seen the Canadians capture two pivotal lines and over 8 kilometres of ground, they had failed to penetrate the Canal du Nord.

From its inception as a French canal system meant to service coal mining operations, the Canal had been seized by the German Army early in the First World War. Although the canal was in various stages of completion, the German Army took up positions around the canal. Fortifying their lines with concrete pillboxes, innumerable machine guns, and barbed wire, the Germans also took advantage of the near-complete system by draining the canal and flooding the surrounding land. 

By the time the Canadian Corps had arrived, very little dry land remained, save a 2,600 metre wide stretch - and the interior of the Canal itself. As the rest of the land was flooded and thus impassable, Canadian Corps commander Arthur Currie chose this as the route for his corps. Preparations for an assault were put into motion.

As the Canadians lay in wait, the German High Command sent reinforcements to the region. Over 7 Divisions were making their way into the battlefield.