The Battle for Ancre Heights: the struggle for Desire Trench 18 November 1916

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Map Code: Ax00182

By the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme the Allies, albeit at monumental cost, learned some lessons in how to deploy supporting artillery fire effectively. On 15 September, the Canadian advance at Courcelette was supported by a ‘creeping barrage’ enabling the advancing troops to inch forward during phased bombardments of the enemy. In a battle witnessing the first use of the tank in warfare, the Canadian 1-3 Divisions were repeatedly repulsed in attempts to take the Germans’ Regina Trench. Bloodied and battered, they were relieved by the 4th Division in October, who finally succeeded in capturing Regina on 11 November. A week later, in the final engagement of the Somme, the Canadians surged forward to capture Desire Trench. The onset of winter called a close to the battle where an advance of 6 miles (10 km) incurred 650,000 Allied casualties and lost lives.

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