Capturing Hill 70 tells the long-forgotten story of a spectacularly successful but shockingly costly battle that helped forge the character of the famed Canadian Corps.
In August 1917, the Canadian Corps captured Hill 70, vital terrain just north of the French town of Lens. The Canadians suffered some 5,400 casualties and in three harrowing days defeated twenty-one German counterattacks. This spectacularly successful but shockingly costly battle was as innovative as Vimy, yet few Canadians have heard of it or of subsequent attempts to capture Lens, which resulted in nearly 3,300 more casualties. Capturing Hill 70 marks the centenary of this triumph by dissecting different facets of the battle, from planning and conducting operations to long-term repercussions and commemoration. It reinstates Hill 70 to its rightful place among the pantheon of battles that forged the reputation of the famed Canadian Corps during the First World War.
Douglas E. Delaney holds the Canada Research Chair in War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. He is the author of The Soldiers’ General: Bert Hoffmeister at War, which won the 2007 C.P. Stacey Prize for Canadian Military History, and Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-1945.
Serge Marc Durflinger is a professor in the History Department at the University of Ottawa. His publications include Fighting from Home: The Second World War in Verdun, Quebec and Veterans with a Vision: Canada’s War Blinded in Peace and War.Contributors: Tim Cook, Robert Engen, Robert T. Foley, Nikolas Gardner, J.L. Granatstein, Mark Humphries, Andrew Iarocci
This book rescues an important episode in our nation’s involvement in the war from obscurity. More importantly, it shines a definitive light on why the battle for Hill 70 succeeded so well and why the fight for the city of Lens that followed went so poorly. A masterful study of strategy, tactics, and logistics. - Mark Zuehlke, author of the best-selling Canadian Battle Series
This is a meticulous work of battle history by a well-organized team of scholars. It showcases all the strengths of Canadian military history today, bringing to life a significant yet little-known battle. - Christopher Moore, author of 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal
An eye-opening account of how the Canadian Corps combined intelligence analysis, training, and logistical arrangements to overcome a strongly fortified German position near the French town of Lens in August 1917. - Roger Sarty, author of Loyal Gunners: 3rd Field Regiment (The Loyal Company) and the History of New Brunswick’s Artillery, 1893–2012
Capturing Hill 70 brings to life a significant yet hitherto neglected battle of the First World War. This meticulously researched account of the Canadian Corps’ first action under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie delineates a seminal point in the Canadian forces’ maturation on the Western Front. This volume is a model of its kind. - Robert C. Stevenson, Official Historian, Australian War Memorial, and author of The War with Germany
City of Water paints a much more comprehensive picture of the role and effects of water in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century city than other urban river histories have. - Michele Dagenais, The Canadian Historical Review
Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War is a thought provoking book worthy of attention. By casting new light on this important battle and offering new perspectives on the leadership of Arthur Currie and the operations Canadian Corps, it makes an important contribution to our understanding of an important period of Canadian military history. - Major John R. Grodzinski, Royal Military College of Canada, Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 17 No. 1, November 2016
The editors and contributors are to be congratulated on producing a stimulating and thoughtful book that is a fitting tribute to the Canadians who fought and died to capture Hill 70, and that will hopefully be a precursor for further studies of other neglected Great War battles.- Simon Innes-Robbins, Imperial War Museums, Canadian Journal of History
This new book, which chronicles the battle from its inception to its aftermath, asks two questions: Why was this small piece of ground so important, and how is it that now, a century later, almost no one remembers it? … Whatever the reason for Hill 70’s lack of recognition these days, this insightful, broad-ranging book ought to change that. It’s very hard to read it without thinking: This is an incredible story, and how is it possible I’ve never heard it until now? - David Pitt, The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)
…Hill 70 should gain the recognition it deserves as the first battle in the First World War planned, executed, and fought by Canadians…While taking nothing away from the accomplishment of Canadian arms at Vimy Ridge, Capturing Hill 70 puts these watershed 1917 battles into a detailed perspective…with the excellent collection of essays that comprise Capturing Hill 70. There is no romance here — only pragmatic efficiency in getting the job done in the Canadian way. - Chris Arnett, Ormsby Review, February 2017
…Capturing Hill 70 has provided Canadians with a multi-faceted, impressively researched, and balanced account of the bloody engagements undertaken in August 1917…[it] succeeds in elevating the engagement to its proper position, provides a comprehensive account of what happened and why, and opens many avenues for future research.- Patrick Brennan, University of Calgary, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, Vol. 17 No. 3, Winter 2016
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