Dieppe -68 years ago today

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by canuck, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Today is the anniversay of the ill-fated landings at Dieppe.

    Wikipedia devotes some space to the subject of German advance knowledge of the raid:

    Debate over German foreknowledge
    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 defences 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.[19] 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.

    I have never seen any definitive historical discussion to prove or disprove that the Germans were 'expecting' the raid. In fact, that part tends to get short attention in most accounts. Has anyone seen a serious investigaton of the German foreknowledge?
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I cannot say that I have ever read that the Germans were forwarned.

    However it makes sense to prepare defences against an invasion and laying down indication markers for distance would be normal practice.

    When The British feared an invasion, the defences were prepared and I am sure the distances would have been set for mortar and artillery fire etc.

    Just a thought.

  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I cannot say that I have ever read that the Germans were forwarned.

    However it makes sense to prepare defences against an invasion and laying down indication markers for distance would be normal practice.

    When The British feared an invasion, the defences were prepared and I am sure the distances would have been set for mortar and artillery fire etc.

    Just a thought.


    There were rumours that the Germans had prior knowledge but like you I have never seen that claim substantiated in any way. As you correctly point out, there are standard practices any defensive force will undertake as normal preparation.
  4. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    This was part of CP Stacey's report #83 on Operation Jubillee.
    "This operation was most carefully planned in advance of every detail.
    Before employment of Canadian military forces was approved by Lieutenant - General McNaughton, he had satisfied himself that the objectives were worth while and that the means available were likely to be adequate for the task in hand. Detailed planing of the operation began on the 8th May last. The planning was long and exacting, involving repeated conferences between senior officers of the three fighting services, and preparation of a very careful administrative scheme. The planning of the enterprise, so far as the Canadian military forces were concerned was directed by General Robbers, the Military Force Commander.

    The officers charged with planning the operation had at their disposal a great mass of information relating to the Dieppe area collected from many sources. The proposed operation was checked on a large-scale model of the area to be raided, and when the plans were complete a most thorough understanding had been established between the three services. etc etc"

    One can only assume that from Mountbatten to McNaughton to the planners of the operation, that each was a member of the CNIB. For non Canadian members of this forum, CNIB stands for Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

    Thanks to Ramacal for the link.www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-...-rqgmc-eng.asp
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It should also be noted that a chap called Montgomery was initially called to command this operation - he didn't like it and asked that it be cancelled owing to the fact that security had been compromised......it was - and he was then sent out to command the 8th Army at El Alamein.....on Aug 12th.

    Mountbatten was then on the Chief of Staffs committee and felt he had to DO something to promote his own new command of Joint services -so he had the Dieppe thing reactivated - so it was an ego thing - then he lied that it was a succesful operation.....then he came up with the iceberg aircraft carrier.....then he tried to fire Bill Slim...the man was a menace !

  6. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    I had heard of the rummours that the Germans knew we were coming but have never seen anything in print to support the fact. There is a book on Dieppe to do with the Mountbatten involvement refering to the fact of Unauthorised Action.
  7. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    if they knew the canadians were coming or not it would have made no difference, it was an impossible task, a WW1 style attack with added twists of impossibility
  8. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Did you mean a classic case of we the willing led by the unknowing their blunders to retrive?
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I think Whitaker is on the money with JUBILEE being a political act to silence the US and USSR who were both pressing for the opening of the Second Front. Not the nicest way to do it but there was no doubt that invading France was much easier to say than do.

    Regarding reinforcements: Whitaker quotes reports that von Rundstedt reinforced 302 Div in July and August because "the Russians were pressing strongly for a Second Front". The question is: was the whole coast reinforced, or just Dieppe? Did they have prior knowledge of a raid, or that raid?
  10. Bernhart

    Bernhart Member

    our nieghbour when I was a wee lad, was a dieppe vetern. didn't talk alot about it. He did mention he landed with every German on the beach shooting at him. hid behind a disabled tank the whole day and then running like hell for the landing craft when it was time to go. He didn't remember firng a shot all day. later served in Sicily, Italy and Northren France/ Germany/holland
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Bernhart -
    he must have served with the RCR - they were not usually found hiding and Strome Galloway would not have been impressed
  12. Bernhart

    Bernhart Member

    read Strome's book. Sounds like he was quite the character. just a note on the RCr My brother and son are both current members
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    then both are with a great regiment with a lot of history - Strome wasn't the only character - all of 1st Division in Italy were characters - especially the Seaforths ....great lads...

  14. dieppe1942

    dieppe1942 Junior Member

    There is much written about the Germans expecting the raid, the tides were quite predictable and the summer was the obvious time to go in, surely only a matter of deductions and high/low tide times would have helped the state of readiness, Operation Rutter the postponed July raid with its inevitable build-up around the sussex area was heavilly photographed by the Luftwaffe and evidence shows the maritime build-up. When Canadian troops were on board during night rehearsals it was documented that some bombing of the moored up vessels took place. the bigger picture too, esp. from the "second front now" voice (USSR) which was globally heard of, And the Germans knew only too well after the crushing defeats of the Soviets from June1941 and thru 1942 that Stalin would need the pressure taking off in order to try and stem the german advance.
  15. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Shelled with precision? One of the first tasks a defence commander will undertake is a range card which when completed will be distributed to all firing positions. If activity is spotted rather than thinking up a fire order with direction and guessing ranges a named point can be used - 'wood' - range cards will be added to by support weapon commanders the mortar commander will produce likely points, anti tank will look at the terrain and also produce a card with likely advance points and areas of 'dead ground'. If in position for time, markers could be set up - here we could set up known tide lines at given times - to indicate range. With arc markers in positions, left of arc. 3/4 left. 1/2 left and same for right. With fixed lines etc. The defence commander can using simple commands instantly concentrate fire on the threat.

    One alternative is GRIT which is used more when moving and would be a slow method when in a fixed position:

    G - Group Gun/Rifle that you wish to use to engage
    R - Range - so we have 'Gun group - 400'
    I - Indication - describe the target , 'Gun,group, 400. wood right of arc
    T -Type of fire, 'Gun group - 400 - wood - right of arc - magazine bursts - which would be the order given.


    It would be more of a surprise if there was not a defensive range card. We can use one word 'wood' to get people looking at where they are going to engage all that is needed is the commanders order for type of fire.

    Very much from lessons learned in WW1.

    Not a history type myself, surely this account of accurate and quick fire was not written up by those taking part they will have been trained in all of the above and would know that a professional enemy would have been - if not ready and waiting, the range card system would allow them to react instantly. Fire plans will have been rehearsed time and time again, maybe with a code word or a number for each plan. Commanders will have timed their command to see how long it takes to get them to the guns and start a fire plan.

    Along a given length of coastline a defence commander will place a mobile reserve, any attack on the strip will be watched and when confirmed as the main attack and not a diversionary attack the reserve will increase the 'in depth' defences at that point and to flank any break in and form a killing zone.


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