Taken in April 1917, this photograph shows Canadian machine gunners digging themselves into shell craters on Vimy Ridge in northern France.



On 12th April 1917, Canadian troops successful completed the taking of Vimy Ridge from German forces as part of the Battle of Arras during World War I. Considered almost impossible to infiltrate, Vimy Ridge was one of the key geographic features on the Western Front during the war. Linking the German defensive line running North through Belgium and past Ypres to the sea, the ridge also shielded the coalfields on the Douai plain around Lens which were crucial to the German war effort. The attack itself is commonly recognised as a defining moment in Canadian military history and is noted for the first successful use of the rolling barrage.

If you'd like to find out more about some of the key battles of the World War I, why not buy The First World War: The War to End All Wars by Peter Simkins, Geoffrey Jukes & Michael Hickey? A fully illustrated guide to fighting in all theatres of the war, this fascinating title explores the experiences of soldiers and civilians through first-hand accounts of the conflicts as they experienced them.

The original image can be viewed here.