The children have had a very busy day today that started with a visit to Arras, which has caves under the Town Hall. The caves date back to 12th Century and have been used for many things, including storage fo merchants and a refuge Thor the local people during The War. Our tour was interesting and we will be adding pictures tonight.
We visited Wellington Quarry which was used to create tunnels to hide soldiers during preparation for the Battle Of Arras. The tunnels were created by Miners from New zealand. The tunnels were all named after New Zealand cities. The tunnels helped the allies attack the Germans with the element of surprise. We stood in the tunnels that the soldiers went out from to fight. British soldiers lived in Wellington Quarry for 8 days before the battle. It was very moving to stand in a place where many soldiers stood ready to fight. We thought about the many soldiers who died.
We visited Vimy Ridge, where there is a memorial to Canadian Soldiers who died in the battle. Vimy was significant because of the tactics in battle that were used. Many had died at the Somme previously and we found out that the Canadians used tunnels to protect soldiers from fence my fire and ensure they could rehearse battle plans before the fight. All soldiers knew the plan and all of them were given maps. The only secret was the date. Heavy guns were targeted by the allies and machine gun fire was used randomly to stop the Germans responding.
The Canadians and allies used a rolling barrage, ensuring that the artillery from their own army bombarded the Germans in front of them as they advanced. The Germans fired artillery over the top of the advancing Canadians, thus causing little damage.
The Germans were pounded by artillery fire for a week before the battle and this was called the week of misery. The commander of the Canadians ensured the Germans were defeated because off careful planning that has influenced military planning to the present day.
We had an amazing day and we will be going on a night hike soon. Please check back for pictures later. We would love comments.