Ypres Salient Battles 1916
- Battle for Mount Sorrel, 1916
Location of the Battle of Mount Sorrel from 2nd to 14th June 1916.
The Battle for Mount Sorrel took place on the high ground of the Ypres ridge at Mount Sorrel and the double summits of Hill 61 and Hill 62 (Tor Top) which formed the 1916 British Front Line south-east of Ypres. This sector of the Line was held by three divisions of the Canadian Corps.
The main thrust of the German attack principally came from two divisions of the German XIII (Württemberger) Corps, which launched a sudden artillery bombardment, followed by an infantry attack at 13.07 hours towards this high ground on 2 June. The German Army's aim was for a limited attack to clear the British Army off this advantageous high ground, the only high ground with dominating views for observation over the German sector that it possessed at this time. In so doing the hope was also to divert British attention to this area and thereby encourage the British to move troops here at a time when the Germans knew the British Army was planning an offensive for the Somme battlefield sector further south.
The German artillery barrage at the start of the German attack and the stubborn defence by the Canadians resulted in many Canadian casualties and the high ground of the Canadian positions from Mount Sorrel to Hill 62 (Tor Top) was captured. A Canadian counter-attack on 3 June was unsuccessful and the fighting continued here for another ten days.
On 13 June the Canadians were again in possession of their old Front Line area and the German gains of 2 June had for the most part been reinstated. Some attempts by the Germans in the early hours of 14 June to make counter-attacks were not successful and the battle drew to a close. The Canadian casualties by the end of the 13 days of fighting were just under 8,500; 1,000 men were killed and another 1,900 were missing. German casualties were estimated to have been approximately 5,700.
A memorial is located on the high ground of Hill 62 where the battle took place in 1916.