DIEPPE RAID: Disaster For Allies On August 19, 1942

 Bodies of allied soldiers killed at Dieppe

The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied commanders had been forced to call a retreat.

 On way to Dieppe

Possible objectives included seizing and holding a major port for a short period, both to prove it was possible and to gather intelligence from prisoners and captured materials while assessing the German responses. The Allies also wanted to destroy coastal defences, port structures and all strategic buildings. The raid could have given a morale boost to the troops, resistance and general public, while assuring the Soviet Union of the commitment of the United Kingdom and the United States.

 An abandoned scout vehicle on the beach of Dieppe

No major objectives of the raid were accomplished. A total of 3,623 of the 6,086 men (almost 60%) who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured. The air force failed to lure the Luftwaffe into open battle, losing 96 aircraft (at least 32 to flak or accidents) compared to 48 lost by the Luftwaffe, while the Royal Navy lost 33 landing craft and one destroyer. The events at Dieppe later influenced preparations for the North African (Operation Torch) and Normandy landings (Operation Overlord).

 On the beach of Dieppe, British landing vessels

 Captured Allied soldiers at Dieppe

Were the German Defenders of Dieppe Forewarned About Brit Intentions to Attack There? 

What Many Canadian Veterans of Dieppe Have Testified First-hand accounts and memoirs of many Canadian veterans who documented their experiences on the shores of Dieppe remark about the preparedness of the German defenses as if they knew of the raid ahead of time. Commanding officer Lt. Colonel Labatt testified to having seen markers used for mortar practice, which appeared to have recently been placed, on the beach.

Furthermore, upon touching down on the Dieppe shore, the landing ships were immediately shelled with the utmost precision as troops began exiting. The recent target practice and subsequent precision shelling is indicative of a well-prepared army. In another instance Major C. E. Page, while interrogating a German soldier, found out that 4 machine-gun battalions were brought in specifically in anticipation of a raid. 

However, the most compelling information supporting German foreknowledge resides with the numerous accounts of interrogated German prisoners, German captors, and French citizens who all conveyed to Canadians that the Germans had been preparing for the anticipated Allied landings for weeks. The German Army was clearly ready for an assault at its peak strength in 1942, mainly because of the high level of training for German soldiers and the large number of German military personnel still available for the defense of France during the summer. 

Historian Brian Loring Villa goes further and suggests in his book that news of the raid may have been deliberately leaked to the Germans. "Some blame the French, the guilt and the blame has been shifting around but the truth always remained hidden...The guilty never received their sentence...Who has interest for it to remain hidden? Who was responsible for the slaughter of so many young Canadian lives ?"

 Exhausted Canadians captured

Captured Canadian soldiers

 Dead bodies of allied soldiers strewn on the beach

 Dead Canadians

 Captured Germans brought to Britain

 Germans smilingly pose on a destroyed British Churchill tank


Dieppe was in many ways a victory for German propaganda. The Third Reich largely described the Dieppe raid as a military joke, noting the amount of time needed to design such an attack, combined with the incredible losses suffered by the Allies, points only to incompetence. Joseph Goebbels and the Nazis manipulated newspapers and newsreels in order to produce propaganda regarding Dieppe as a major German victory. These attempts were made to rally the public opinion of the German people despite serious internal issues as well as a great many casualties lost daily on the Eastern Front.

Canadian wounded and abandoned Churchill tanks after the raid. A landing craft is on fire in the background

On 17 August 1942, the clue "French port " appeared in the Daily Telegraph crossword (compiled by Leonard Dawe), followed by the solution "Dieppe" the next day; on 19 August, the raid on Dieppe took place. The War Office suspected that the crossword had been used to pass intelligence to the enemy and called upon Lord Tweedsmuir, then a senior intelligence officer attached to the Canadian Army, to investigate the crossword. Tweedsmuir, the son of John Buchan the author, later commented: 

"We noticed that the crossword contained the word "Dieppe", and there was an immediate and exhaustive inquiry which also involved MI5. But in the end it was concluded that it was just a remarkable coincidence—a complete fluke"

Dead soldiers and destroyed tank

 Those Canadians who were fortunate to be alive, on the way back to Britain on board a British destroyer

British commandos and American rangers share a smoke on returning

Back home safe and alive

 Unloading wounded from the destroyer "Slazak" in Portsmouth.

Albert Speer has a look at the remains of Allied war machines

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
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--Mao Zedong


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Quotes about War....

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"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


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