The 85th Battalion from Nova Scotia was a Highlander unit that had never seen combat and had not even been issued its kilts, leading to taunting by other Canadian units. It was deeply humiliating for the proud Maritimers, and to date the 85th Battalion had been a labour battalion that had spent far more time digging with shovels than practising with rifles. Now, in the desperation of the stalled attack (on Hill 145), the 85th were ordered to the front.

A bayonet charge over open ground into the mouth of the enemy guns was suicidal. Thirty seconds passed, then a minute. The officers made the gut-wrenching call and gave the order. Over the top. The Germans were initially taken by surprise since it was lunacy for any force to attack without artillery. The Highlanders pushed the pace, gobbling up the ground to close the distance. The enemy's surprised sentries snapped to the danger, Mauser rifle shots ringing out, soon to be followed by machine-gun fire. As the Highlanders charged they let out a blood-curdling battle cry, just as enemy guns began to spew a hail of bullets. Maritimers were punched down by fire, but the survivors refused to go to ground. They tore through the enemy lines on the crest of Hill 145, shooting, stabbing and clubbing the enemy to death.

Within ten mad minutes, the enemy folded in the face of the ferocious advance. The heights of Hill 145 fell to an untried battalion in the most audacious Canadian bayonet charge of the war.

(taken from the book Vimy The Battle and The Legend by Tim Cook)

Source: reddit post


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