Best book on the Dieppe Raid?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Tomkil, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Tomkil

    Tomkil Junior Member

    Off to France soon via Dieppe and looking for a recommendation as to what to read about Operation Jubilee. I see Pen and Sword have got one of their Battleground Europe series due out this month but not before I travel.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
  2. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Mark Zuehlke and Robin Neillands have both written good accounts.

    Stay away from O'Keefe. Pure fiction.
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  3. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Not books, but some contemporary accounts of the Canadian experience at Dieppe (by men who took part) in the thread here;

    Colditz Canadians

    You may find some snippets of interest.

    Kind regards, always,

    canuck likes this.
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Can you point me at any slightly longer arguments against that one, please?

    Neillands's books are usually a good read.
  5. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    If there is sufficient time to order it before you go, the After the Battle magazine issue on Dieppe will give you a well researched overview. Here’s the link: Search
    canuck likes this.
  6. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Although he describes it as new information, the documentation which O'Keefe put forward was really nothing that wasn't known already. The critics felt he had sensationalized a fairly minor part of the raid and his conclusions were a stretch. I can't speak to his motives but the entire package was really a non-event and added little to a better understanding of the operation.
    The fact that 30 Commando remained offshore as a floating reserve force during the early part of the raid is further evidence that they were not the focal point of the operation. They were finally ordered ashore by Ham-Roberts under the mistaken belief that the RHLI had secured the beach. Leaving the engagement of the Commandos to the discretion of the Canadian operational commander is simply inconsistent with O'Keefe's "primary objective" argument.

    In any event, Zuehlke describes the Ultra mission as being a sensational theory with many factual and logical holes in it. He dismisses it as not being credible. Prof. Eric Grove is equally dubious of the premise put forward by O'Keefe.
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  7. Tomkil

    Tomkil Junior Member

    Thanks all for your suggestions. I need to get on it if I'm going to have the reading materials in time!
  8. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    There's a book called Green Beach, by James Leasor, which I read many years ago. It's the true story of an expert who landed with the Dieppe invasion force and had the special task of penetrating a German coastal radar station to learn its secrets. He was given his own unit of troops as protection, but they were apparently also ordered to shoot him if he looked like being captured. I can't remember any more details, but it was a good read.
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  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Dieppe: Tragedy To Triumph -1993, is also worth a read.

    Written by Denis and Shelagh Whitaker. Whitaker was a platoon Captain with the RHLI and later commanded the regiment. His first hand experience is unique and he was one of the few Canadians who penetrated inside the town. He was highly critical of the regimental leadership.
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  11. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I should read that. I have a fictional character who was an officer at Dieppe.
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  12. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Many years ago I read Dieppe: the Shame and the Glory by Terence Robertson. It came out in 1963 so I imagine that more modern books would give fuller information and have less respect for reputations, but I recall it as a good read. I also remember thinking after I read about the plan and then about its execution: "What were they thinking?"

    What indeed.
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  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I'm quite sure that I'd read over a dozen titles relating to Dieppe before I had the opportunity to visit the various landing beaches. Not one of those books adequately described the physical setting of the beach at Puys, where the Royals were decimated. Words cannot adequately describe the level of idiocy in landing those men in daylight on that tiny beach, utterly dominated by cliffs and headlands. The first sight of that beach literally took my breath away.

    Of the 554 members of the Royal Regiment of Canada who embarked on the raid, 227 died in or as a result of the raid—more deaths than any other unit involved. In addition, 136 were wounded and 264 became prisoners of war (POWs). Only 65 made it back to England.
    Chris C likes this.
  14. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Whitaker would be an ideal candidate to model that character on. He came as close as any officer that day in achieving his objectives by clearing the Casino and then penetrating the town near St. Remy church.
    His later handling of the RHLI in fierce fighting at Woensdrecht and later at Goch-Calcar, is also worthy of examination.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Yes, my guy was with the Reillys and survived to return, as Whitaker did. I found some of Whitaker's comments about his unit online and they are indeed scathing, particularly about Labatt and McLaren, the 2 i/c. I had no idea that Labatt was that bad. The one complete book I read about Dieppe (Robertson's, many years ago) said the opposite.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
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  16. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    For decades, the protection of reputations, including those of Montgomery and Mountbatten, clouded any accurate descriptions of what had truly occurred.
  17. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Attached is a review of David O'Keefe's book 'One Day in August: Ian Fleming, Enigma and the Deadly Raid on Dieppe'. My interest is in the issues is very mild, so I will not be buying the book.

    Attached Files:

  18. klambie

    klambie Senior Member

    Just FYI, it's my understanding the new UK release of O'Keefe reviewed above is an updated version of the 2013 original. He has managed to get more files declassified since, so claims to have found more to bolster his argument.
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  19. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I have just been reading some of the Zuehlke book. I am not an expert on Dieppe, but it seems very good so far. I haven't read all of the book yet but Zuehlke appears to be remarkably fair minded in his apportionment of responsibility.
  20. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Another book on the real reason for Dieppe and once more it was to capture a four-rotor Enigma machine, in the German HQ in a hotel, by 'X-Troop' of five Sudeten German Jews - which presumably is the Intelligence Assault Unit that O'Keefe refers to. Not that the reviewer acknowledges them:
    Link: Raid on Dieppe masked secret mission to steal Nazis’ Enigma machine

    Anyway the book is 'X-Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War Two' by Leah Garrett, an American university professor. No readers reviews yet on:

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