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Dieppe Raid, 19th August, 1942

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by 17thDYRCH, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Three days to the anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

    If this topic has already been covered at length, perhaps the Mods can direct me to the thread.

    I visited Dieppe several years ago. The natural defences ensured that the attack would be doomed from the outset. Canadian and British losses were staggering.

    Question to the forum.
    Did Operation Jubilee contribute in any way to the success of Operation Overlord? Was the sacrifice of 3645 soldiers ( figure does not include airman or sailors ) either killed, wounded or captured worh it?

    Dieppe Raid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Randy -
    if anything it taught that Tanks should not be landed on pebble beaches - the whole thing had been cancelled by Monty as being unsecure- then the egotistical Mountbatten took over - and we all know the results - we then left a bunch of Churchill Tanks lying around for further study by the enemy - Monty still got the blame somehow but he had already taken over the 8th Army (12th August) by that time - miles away in the desert !

    Cheers
     
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  4. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    dbf,
    thanks for posting the previous threads.

    Randy
     
  5. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hello Randy - welcome to the Forum.

    The effect of Dieppe's chert (not pebble) beach on the Churchil tanks is frequently overstated as, of the twenty-seven that made it ashore, fifteen successfully climbed onto the promenade, only four failing to do so directly due to a build up of chert. It is a matter for conjecture what may have been the outcome had the road blocks at the town entrances been destroyed as planned.

    You asked "Did Operation Jubilee contribute in any way to the success of Operation Overlord?" Thankfully Winston Churchill realised that it did.
    Dwelling on the lessons to be learned he wrote: ‘It was a costly but not unfruitful reconnaissance in force. Tactically it was a mine of experience. It taught us to build in good time various new types of craft and appliances for later use. Team work was the secret for success. This could only be provided by trained and organized amphibious fomations. All thes lessons were taken to heart.."

    The Prime Minister, recalling an article written by Liddell Hart entitled 'We have wasted brains', went into action. It took all of Churchill's persuasive power to get a Lance Corporal in the Chipping Campden Home Guard to agree to return to the regular army. He was successful - Major General Percy Hobart returned to active duity to again take command of 79 Armoured Divisiion!

    Cheers, Gerry
     
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just a quick plug:

    After the Battle do an excellent little ish book on Dieppe with lots of most excellent pictures that are easy to find via a map provided to do 'Then and Nows'.
     
  7. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Gerry,
    Thanks for the update. Maybe, the lighter Shermans would have been more successful handing the beach area?
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's a link to the book I mentioned Randy:

    After the Battle - Online Store

    I'm pretty sure they have published some magazines to that go into more detail. I believe the company have a Canadian distribution so you don't need to order from the UK.

    Have a good look around their website-They are quality books, as I found out to my cost.
     
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    All failures can be pronounced as having a dimension of success in them by those involved and responsible for the plan and operation but it is hard to extoll the successes for us at Dieppe except that it proved beyond doubt that the Allies could not take a port successfully and use it as a bridgehead for an invasion of Europe.Cherbourg proved this to be right for the port was severely wrecked by the German garrison.It took nearly 3 months to get Cherbourg port repaired to receive Allied shipping and supplies.

    From this lesson,the plans were immediately laid down to develop and transport a mobile port facility to the intended bridgeheads.Hence the Mulberry harbour projects.

    It was also further thought that the decision not to bomb the town was an error.The reason for this was that it was thought that damaged buildings and rubble would impede the progress of tanks into the town while as it was, the town,undamaged was an advantage to the defenders.

    Additionally the task given to the Canadians to get their armour over the bridge at Pourville,throught the tank obstacles at the bottom of the hill,then up the hill into Dieppe would have been impossible on the day.Then the Canadians had the difficult task to force themselves up the narrow ravine at Puys which was well defended at its mouth.
     
  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    All failures can be pronounced as having a dimension of success in them by those involved and responsible for the plan and operation but it is hard to extoll the successes for us at Dieppe except that it proved beyond doubt that the Allies could not take a port successfully and use it as a bridgehead for an invasion of Europe.Cherbourg proved this to be right for the port was severely wrecked by the German garrison.It took nearly 3 months to get Cherbourg port repaired to receive Allied shipping and supplies.

    From this lesson,the plans were immediately laid down to develop and transport a mobile port facility to the intended bridgeheads.Hence the Mulberry harbour projects.

    It was also further thought that the decision not to bomb the town was an error.The reason for this was that it was thought that damaged buildings and rubble would impede the progress of tanks into the town while as it was, the town,undamaged was an advantage to the defenders.

    Additionally the task given to the Canadians to get their armour over the bridge at Pourville,throught the tank obstacles at the bottom of the hill,then up the hill into Dieppe would have been impossible on the day.Then the Canadians had the difficult task to force themselves up the narrow ravine at Puys which was well defended at its mouth.

    Well said Harry

    While there is no question that some important lessons were learned at Dieppe, Canadian veterans will tell you that much of the so called 'success' claimed for the raid was simply to offer some justification for the debacle. Many of those apparent lessons are so self evident that it stretches credibility to believe that the result could not have been predicted.
    Having stood on the beach at Puys it borders on being an act of insanity to have ordered that hopeless assault.
     
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  11. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    Well said Harry

    Having stood on the beach at Puys it borders on being an act of insanity to have ordered that hopeless assault.

    I'll agree with that statement, the list of errors that even laymen can spot borders on the comic.. but ends in the tragic.

    Shall we consider the list of major errors ?

    1. Parachute drop, arranged then canceled.
    2. No preliminary bombardment.
    3. Straight on frontal assault, the WW1 guys would have been proud :mad:
    I guess no one thought the majority of German troops would be organized there
    4. Poor intelligence of the area.
    5. No campaign of disinformation to distract the enemy.
    6. No control of the air.
    7. Badly deployed smoke screens.
    8. Bad communications.
    9. Bad timing for arrivals, no surprise and no dark.


    I don't think I need to continue.


    Lessons learned ? Who was the band of idiots so stupid that they
    needed this to learn from ?

    Any way, we can at least remember the brave men from the different
    units who sacrificed themselves at Dieppe:


    2nd Infantry Division

    Royal Regiment of Canada
    Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
    Essex Scottish Regiment
    Fusiliers Mont-Royal
    Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada
    South Saskatchewan Regiment
    The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
    Calgary Highlanders
    Toronto Scottish Regiment (Machine Gun)
    14th Armoured Regiment (Calgary Regiment)
    Detachment of 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
    Detachment of 4th Field Regiment
    Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

    And of course, the RAF, RN, 3 and 4 Commando including the Rangers.
    Apologies if I forgot anyone.
     
  12. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Harry, Martin14, Canuck,

    Thanks for adding to this post.
     
  13. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    quite,

    stand at Puys and even my totally non interested, 100% non military minded wife said " What **** decided to attack THIS place " !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????
     
  14. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    I had the same reaction when I was there several years ago
     
  15. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Jon,

    Puys is one of those places where you 'have to see it to believe it'. No amount of reading can prepare you for the visual impact of looking up from that beach and the 'fishbowl' effect created from the surrounding heights.

    I had the privilege of being there with a Royal Regiment veteran who was no less bitter about the event after 65 years. He remains angry over the useless waste of good men. He fired a Bren from that beach until both wounds and no ammunition incapacitated him. He is adamant that they had no chance whatsoever of getting off that beach. The pillbox in the the attached photo was one of many which could enfilade the entire beach.

    Your wife clearly saw that place in the same way everyone else has......except the planners!

    IMGP1167.jpg
    IMGP1155_edited.jpg
    IMGP1156.jpg
     
  16. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    and when I pointed out to here the enveloping cliffs had retreated considerably since 1942 so in fact it was less of a fairground duck range today than in 1942 !
     
  17. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Canuck,

    Many thanks for posting the pics.

    Randy
     
  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The photographs show the three tiers of bunkers which the defender were able to inflict murderous fire on those landing at the mouth of the ravine..Postwar,the ravine has been developed with modern housing and I would think that it would more accurate to describe it in 1942 as a gully.It may have been similar to the gully at Bruneval which has not seen the same type of development to the present day.

    The very house at the top apparently used to be owned by the Brition at one time.
     
  19. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Of the 554 Royals who landed at Puys (26 Officers & 528 ORs) only 64 (12%) returned to England and 37 of those were wounded, two of them fatally.
     
  20. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Randy having posted this question to the forum. Did Operation Jubilee contribute in any way to the success of Operation Overlord? Was the sacrifice of 3645 soldiers (figure does not include airman or sailors) either killed, wounded or captured worth it?, it called for a civilised discussion rather than castigating the decision makers and/or those who planned the operation who only had the experience of Gallipoli upon which to build. There were no text-books available, and no old hands to initiate them into experiences of the last war. A new technique had to be evolved and lessons had to be learned in the hard school of practice. It is also necessary to remember that the Allies were under intense pressure from Stalin at the time.

    Quoting Samuel Johnson: You may abuse a tragedy though you cannot write. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables."

    It is always easy for one to criticize or pass judgement from a position of hindsight - Monday morning quarterbacks as they are called in the US - especially when some of the problems encountered at Dieppe are so obvious to the layman many years later. Fortunately the Prime Minister wasted no time getting together with experts, especially Lieutenant Colonel J. Holland, Major (later Major General Sir) Millis Jefferiis, and Stuart MacCrae,to examine in detail every aspect of the raid and what could be done to ensure any future landings did not have the same disastrous outcome. Several groups to accomplish this end were created, Churchill making it abundantly clear their remit was, having examined in detail what and why happened, to come up with answers to what was necessary to minimise any future repetition.

    With the lesson learned not to attempt a landing against a port, one group’s task was to find a way how to land a large number of men and vehicles over beaches and to ensure a continuous flow of supplies thereafter. Hence came Mulberry, the floating road, and the underwater pipe line.

    Another group’s task was first to analyze why the number of casualties, especially suffered by the Canadian infantry, had been so terribly high, and then determine what were the steps necessary to be taken to lessen them in future operations. Hence came Hobart’s ‘Funnies’.

    The following from Canada’s prestigious Juno Beach Centre is relevant:

    “Dieppe was a pathetic failure. Sixty years later, it seems obvious that Jubilee was a bizarre operation with no chance of success whatsoever and likely to result in a huge number of casualties. In August 1942, British and Allied officers did not have yet the knowledge and combat experience to make a proper assessment of the risks of such an operation. This catastrophe was useful precisely in providing that knowledge which was later to make victory possible.

    The Dieppe fiasco demonstrated that it was imperative to improve communications at all levels: on the battlefield, between the HQs of each unit, between air, naval and ground forces. The idea of capturing a well-defended seaport to use as a bridgehead was dropped after August 19th,1942. In addition, the raid on Dieppe showed how important it was to use prior air bombings to destroy enemy defences as much as possible, to support assault troops with artillery fire from ships and landing crafts, to improve techniques and equipment to remove obstacles to men and tanks.

    The true meaning of the sacrifices made at Dieppe was made obvious two years after this ill-fated date, when on D-Day the Allies gained a foothold in Europe to free the continent from Nazi aggression.”

    There is no doubt in the minds of Canadians who returned to Dieppe on D-Day, but for the sacrifice of nine-hundred and seven fellow Canadians who gave their lives two years earlier, they too may well have suffered much greater casualties as did the US Forces who spurned the use of Hobart’s ‘Funnies].

    To answer your question Randy recourse to two War Cabinet records, available at the National Archives, is suggested.

    Cabinet Conclusion: Minutes and Papers: CAB 65/31/18

    Cabinet Memorandum: S.O.E. assistance to "Overlord". CAB 66/56/20

    Gerry
     

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