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September Offensive 2

The Film


Running Time
02 min 06 s

Canadian War Records Office, Ministry of Information

Beginning on August 8, 1918, the Canadian Corps launched a series of attacks that became collectively known as “The Hundred Days,” the offensive that ended the war. Between September 2 and 4, the Corps attacked the Drocourt-Queant Line and the Buissy Switch, a massive German defence system of five interconnected trench lines that was part of the Hindenburg Line protecting the key rail and road centre of Cambrai. Using a heavy artillery barrage to cut the enemy’s barbed wire, employing tanks in large numbers, the Canadians inflicted heavy casualties on the defenders and absorbed terrible casualties themselves. The Germans soon withdrew eastward to their next defensive position.

The film clip is unusual in showing the heavy cost of these operations—dead Canadian soldiers and horses (used in large numbers in an army that, although comparatively heavily mechanized, still relied on horses to haul guns and supplies), many wounded, and the ruination war brought to homes and farms in the path of the advance.


“The Last Trip” – Horses Killed by Enemy Fire, 1914-1918 Wounded Canadian Soldiers En Route for Blighty, [ca. 1918] Wounded but Not Too Ill for a Smoke Canadian Soldiers, Frenchmen and German POWs

Other Materials

Wartime Letter from Captain Bellenden S. Hutcheson

Assault and Capture of the Drocourt-Quéant Line

Teaching Materials

The Battles: In Flanders Fields

Conscription Debate: Conscripting Dogs and Horses