Segments in this Video

Drawn to Victory: Introduction (03:10)


At McMaster University, students examine topographic maps created during WWI. Only one officer and clerk ran the maps general headquarters in France during the outbreak of the war. Mechanized artillery and machine guns obliterated hundreds of soldiers.

Machine Guns (03:09)

Nic Clarke examines a Vickers gun used by Canadian Forces during World War I. Armies would use snipers, artillery, or rush to shoot the gunman manning machine guns. Maps became increasingly important as soldiers began to dig trenches and the war grew static, but they were unreliable and difficult for British and Canadian forces to use.

War of Limited Movement (03:52)

The Allies realized their tactic of shelling the enemy was proving ineffective. Each country built trenches differently based upon need and use; shells and Shrapnel from Artillery fire killed more soldiers than any other method. Airplanes could fly behind enemies and observe troop movements and terrain.

Great War Flying Museum (03:22)

The Great War Flying Museum built replicas of WWI airplanes. Earl Smith demonstrates a gunner's position in a Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter. Pilots and observers made terrain and troop movement notes while performing reconnaissance missions.

Aerial Photography (03:00)

The Allies began producing cameras specifically made to take photographs during reconnaissance missions in March 1915. Glass plates allowed for higher resolution pictures. Fighter aircraft began to engage in dogfights.

Mission of the Museum (03:29)

The Brampton Flying Club founded The Great War Flying Museum. Germans captured Conn Smythe after shooting down his plane; he remained a POW until the end of the war. Alan McLeod and his observer Arthur Hammond destroyed an enemy triplane and were attacked by seven more planes.

Reconnaissance Missions (03:05)

Shadows from the time of day helped determine the height of objects on the ground. Observers were charged with taking several photographs in a row that incorporated fixed points; field survey stations developed the photographs and pieced images together before passing the collage to cartographers.

New Mapping Process (05:26)

Cartographers realized that units and officers needed different types of maps for their respective missions and the Allies needed to form a consistent map language and key. Field survey companies would print over a topographic map and deliver it to the unit. Mapmakers started creating 3D imagery.

Maps for Different Purposes (03:08)

Soldiers needed maps to locate and construct supply depots close to the front lines. Beck examines a map behind friendly lines and compares it to a smartphone. The Allies created snatch and grab missions where they would confiscate maps, orders, and POWs.

Trench Maps (02:18)

The Allies frequently did not print diagrams of their trenches, so soldiers carried hand-drawn maps of the passageways. Beck displays a trench map, required to stay at headquarters, outlining German communications, mortars, and signal stations.

Vimy Ridge (05:07)

The Canadians needed to neutralize German artillery to succeed. Nic Clarke describes how the units needed aerial reconnaissance to take out the large guns; 40,000 maps were given out.

Cartographic Legacy (03:08)

Cartographers produced over 32 million maps during WWI. Beck describes how innovations that occurred carried over to civilian life. General Andrew McNaughton decided Canada needed to be mapped.

Reading a Map (03:12)

At the Main Forces Map Depot, researchers gather data and maps for Canadian troop movement. Warner tours the facility and examines a topographic map of Afghanistan. Canadian air forces helped secure victory, although few are recognized as aces.

Credits: Drawn to Victory: A Nation Soars (01:12)

Credits: Drawn to Victory: A Nation Soars

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Drawn To Victory: A Nation Soars

Part of the Series : A Nation Soars
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



If it wasn’t for attaching cameras to First World War biplanes the Allies may have not won the war, Canada and the world would have taken much longer to map, and Google Earth might not exist. This documentary surprisingly reveals that the greatest tactile weapon of the First World War was not a “weapon” in the traditional sense. Rather it was made of paper... accurate and reliable maps!

Length: 48 minutes

Item#: BVL129952

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.