New York Times
The war effort to date
On-the-spot with GWO
Soldiers at the front


NEWS: April 8, 1917

A heavy barrage is underway along the line near Arras, opposite the Vimy Ridge.
GWO, Neuville St. Vaast - from Special Correspndant Randolf Wilson
For several days already our artillery has been pounding the German defensive positions, restricting the enemy to their bunkers and making counter attack impossible.

The Vimy Ridge is a pivotal hinge in the German line. It is well-prepared with deep trenches and bunkers buried up to thirty feet. The eight kilometer-long hill is the main geographical landmark in this otherwise flat, surrounding area. The Germans occupy the high points of the Ridge and command a view of several thousand yards.

In some places the gap of no-manís-land between the two lines is only a few hundred feet. At points the troops of both sides can almost call out to each other.

But since the beginning of the war, fighting in the area has cost both sides dearly, with estimates of German casualties reaching 100,000!

Canadian troops stationed in the area continue to be led by General Byng. The Divisional Commanders, including General Currie of the First Division, are said to be conducting heavy training exercises in preparation for an assault on the Ridge. A surprise attack will be difficult and even the most meticulous planning will expose our troops to considerable risk.