Dieppe question - tank recovery?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Chris C, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Someone asked this on another forum and I didn't know the answer.

    Supposing the Dieppe raid had been a massive success and the force was able to withdraw without being under any fire, was there a plan to recover the Churchills used in the operation?
    Dave55 likes this.
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    What would be a massive success?,the operation was not planned to be anything but an excursion into Europe with withdrawal planned on the same day.There was no plan to remain as a bridgehead.

    Not an operation which was conducive to the withdrawal of equipment such as tank or any similar vehicles...all such equipment would not be planned for recovery under any circumstances.
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  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    It was intended to test the ability to seize a port as would be needed for Sledgehammer. Presumably if this had been achieved it would have been possible to reembark any tanks still running
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Sledgehammer was the US operation framed for an invasion of Europe in 1942 which was completely out of the question at the time of the Dieppe raid. Dieppe was a Combined Operations raid to which many of the British military leadership had reservations.

    What did WSC think of "Sledgehammer"...he made serious objections against its deployment in notes to Washington on two occasions,one on 8 July when he declared "Britain will not support Sledgehammer" Then on 14 July 1942.his note recorded "I am most anxious for you to know where I stand myself at the present time.I have found no one who regards "Sledgehammer" as possible.I should like you to do Torch as soon as possible and we in concert with the Russians should try for "Jupiter."Meanwhile all preparations for Roundup in 1943 should proceed at full blast,thus holding the maximum enemy forces opposite England"

    Marshall thought otherwise from a point that as chief of the US Army,there was no enemy and no military problem that could not be overcome by determination,energy and if necessary by force.On the other hand British experience of the war so far believed that the Wehrmacht could not be defeated as easily and simply as Marshall supposed.This led to a potential breakdown in the Atlantic Alliance with the possibility of the US withdrawing from the European war and concentrating on the war in the Pacific and Britain making out the best it could with US assistance in the war against Germany.The alliance survived and FDR wrote to WSC "I cannot help feeling that the past week represented a turning point in the whole war and that now we are on our way shoulder to shoulder"

    Dieppe was also an operation to placate Stalin for a show of strength in response to a plea for opening up the western front

    The conclusion was that it proved that a port could not be taken in conjunction for an invasion of Europe was made in the post assessment of the raid when people like WSC were attempting to justify the raid in good light. "My impression of Jubilee is that the results fully justified the heavy cost.The large scale air battle alone justified the raid"Hence the thinking of an alternative method of establishing an invasion force on the shores of Europe without using an established port was recognised by the military planners.

    Attempts to hold on to the port of Dieppe would have resulted in greater casualties and materiel losses than already suffered.In the circumstances there was no possibility in recovering tanks etc from a location where there would have been inadequate air cover and an uphill task to maintain a bridgehead against enemy forces freely available from occupied territory.
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  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    That may all well be but I was wondering if the contingency was considered in the plans. As in, if the town was taken, what was the evacuation plan?
  6. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Robin Neillands in his book on Dieppe states the plan was for the tanks to be re-embarked from the main beach after the raid. Mark Tonner in The Churchill Tank and the Canadian Armoured Corps has training pictures that show tanks being loaded and unloaded on beaches as part of the training for Rutter, later the Dieppe Raid. I'll see if I can find other mentions in some other Dieppe titles I have.
    Chris C likes this.
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I don't know why I didn't think to check Tonner's book! I was thinking operationally.

    The second photograph on page 40 does look like a Churchill being driven onto a landing craft from a beach. I mean, it's either driving on board with the turret backwards, or backing off - and the latter seems unlikely.
  8. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Here's a link to The Calgary Tanks at Dieppe by Hugh Henry in Canadian Military History:


    See pages 62-3
    p 68
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  9. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Like so many other aspects of the Dieppe raid, that re-embarkation plan was badly flawed from the start.

    Dieppe 30.jpg dieppe-beach-1-copy1.jpg

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