Previous Page  7 / 36 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 7 / 36 Next Page
Page Background

battle of arras


Monday, 9


April 1917

There were two notable successes on 9


April; firstly, the capture of all but

a very small section of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps, and secondly,

the advance along the north side of the Scarpe valley, including the

capture of the Point du Jour Ridge - the 9


(Scottish) Division’s Memorial

stands proudly on the Point du Jour Ridge.

The Germans still held the ground east of these positions but had

very little there in the way of organised defences or trench systems. This

raised the tantalising possibility of a breakthrough by cavalry in both

these areas of the battlefield and indeed three cavalry Divisions were on

standby. However, conditions south of the river proved unsuitable for

massed cavalry deployment that day as the barbed wire protecting the

third objective, the Brown Line, (sometimes referred to as the Wancourt-

Feuchy Line) remained largely uncut. By the time the cavalry was ordered

forward north of the river it was too late in the day.

Once the 9


Division had reached its final objective (the Brown

Line), shortly after midday, Lieutenant-Colonel William Denman

Croft, commanding the 11


Royal Scots, informed Brigadier-General

Francis Aylmer Maxwell (27 Brigade) that the way ahead appeared

suitable for cavalry. He also requested permission to press on rather than

wait for the 4


Division to leapfrog ahead and continue the advance

(Arras was the first time in WWI that leapfrog tactics were used). Maxwell

was tempted but decided instead to stick with the original plan which

involved a delay of two hours. If an opportunity was missed that day, it

was this decision not to push on.



Arras infantry




the assembly trenches. 9


April 1917