August 8, 1918 is simultaneously referred to as “the Black Day of the German Army” and the first of Canada’s Hundred Days.
The Germans were not expecting the Canadians to attack. Following the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge, the German army had been keeping a close eye on Canadian troop movements; they knew that the presence of the Canadians was often a sign of an impending attack. To lull the Germans in Amiens into a false sense of security, half of the Canadian Corps was sent to Ypres. A few hours later they were snuck back into Amiens.
On the first day of the Battle of Amiens the Canadians advanced thirteen kilometers. It was a feat that marked the end of four years of static trench warfare. The attack completely shattered German morale and led the commander of the German army, General Erich Ludendorff, to tell the Kaiser that he had no choice but to sue for peace.
Our country’s victory came at a steep cost; The Canadian Corps suffered nearly 4000 casualties on August 8, 1918 and endured another 45,000 during the three months that elapsed before the war ended.
Photo: Tanks advancing down Amiens-Roye Road. Battle of Amiens. August, 1918. (Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada)