Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Battle of Amiens

Gordon Flowerdew, VC.
courtesy Barney Flowerdew
In his novel “Kanata”, historian Don Gillmore’s character Michael Mountain Horse is in France with the Canadian army. In 1918 he is transferred to the Royal Canadian Dragoons because he can ride. He listens to two of his comrades who are arguing over Flowerdew’s charge earlier that year. Victory or defeat? The Canadians were annihilated, but the Germans retreated.
On August 8th, 1918, Mountain Horse plunges into battle along with the Dragoons, the Strathconas, and the Fort Garrys. They are part of a cast of tens of thousands: French, Brits, Aussies, and Canadians, all buttressed by tanks, taking part in the Battle of Amiens. They were within five miles of Moreuil where Gordon Flowerdew and many of his men had galloped to their deaths just four month before. At Amiens many of the cavalrymen perished in yet another mounted charge. A bleak victory, but an important one, to be sure. As German General Ludendorff said later, it was the "black day of the German Army in the history of this war".

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