Dieppe Raid, 19th August, 1942

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

  1. Thunderbox

    Thunderbox Member

    Britman,

    Aerial photography, thousands of Free French in Britain, the Resistance as well as pre-existing maps would provide the basics for any planning.

    I took an academic approach to this battle as well up until the time when I visited Dieppe. I would invite you to also stand on the beach at Puys and decide then if you have any more respect for the planners.


    Its easy to condemn with 70 years' hindsight; if, on the other hand, you try and wargame it with exactly the same information as was available in 1942, it all becomes a lot less certain.
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Thunderbox -
    Many of us on this forum were around when this debacle was planned and executed- we didn't have the benefits of "war games" as you call them - nor do we need 70 years old hindsight as our war games were for real and we didn't shuffle the box and start again - as at that time the only Army we had in the field and active had just finished a very long and hectic RETREAT from a place called Gazala back to El Alamein where that army pondered the future.

    Happily the very man who warned the C.o.S committee that the Dieppe thing was compromised and should be cancelled took over at 8th Army - and the rest is History
    but that History was all bad until Monty took over and Alanbrooke was strong in the C.O.S. committee until the idiot showed up.....

    So forget your war games and face reality- we had nothing but bad planning and bad leadership until then....
    Cheers
     
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Its easy to condemn with 70 years' hindsight; if, on the other hand, you try and wargame it with exactly the same information as was available in 1942, it all becomes a lot less certain.

    Ron Reynolds, who landed that morning 69 years ago with the Royals, was my source of "hindsight". Naturally, he had a very emotional reaction to the planner and leaders. That came from having two bullets removed and spending over 3 years as a POW. Also from bearing witness to the 227 men who died and 136 who were wounded from a force of 554 from the Royal Regiment of Canada. Only 65 made it back to England.
    These brave, well trained volunteers never had a chance and that did not require military genius to surmise. The blame is equally shared with Canadian officers who didn't oppose a seriously flawed plan.
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Its easy to condemn with 70 years' hindsight; if, on the other hand, you try and wargame it with exactly the same information as was available in 1942, it all becomes a lot less certain.

    Thunderbox, I understand what you are saying. Anything can look obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

    Even soldiers utilize wargames as a training and testing tool and did so back then. My next door neighbor does that very thing for the Air War College at the local base. They are not doing it for fun or recreation, but to train and prepare.
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Thunderbox/ jeff

    It may very well be that the US army played "war games" in 1942 but - as far as I recall the nearest we ever got to forecasting outcomes was with sand tables and dinky toys in what we called TEWTs - "Tactical Exercises Without Troops" then there was the running around fields with different coloured flags to represent everything we might meet in battle .... I know -I know - backward Britain but we did manage to invent Radar - Sonar - TV even - and the Jet Engine- and Torpedo's that worked-and the initial research for the Atom Bomb at Oxford's Rutherford Laboratory - perhaps that's where our money went instead of war games ...
    Cheers
     
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    One of the most important aspects in the preparation and planning of invasion or raids is intelligence no matter how it is derived.

    When the BEF withdrew from mainland Europe in the summer of 1940,there was a start made to collect intelligence from all sources.One was that the holders of any photograph taken of occupied Europe in prewar days should be handed to the military authorities for future intelligence.

    I would think that the Dieppe raid intelligence preparations would have depended on these photographs as a basis for intelligence on Dieppe plus up to date accurate intelligence from agents and local trustworthy inhabitants of the defences against a seabourn invasion together the concentration of troops in the area.(The Germans to some extent tried to eliminate this source of intelligence by a restriction of access policy to the coastal strips to outsiders up to a distance of 25/30 kms.The Allies,through the local intelligence networks countered this by the production of false passes and identities.)

    Aerial recconnaissance was vital to confirm and identify set defences but this has to be supported by ground intelligence for a raid such as sensitive as the Dieppe raid turned out to be.In hindsight it is obvious that the military planners underestimated the task at Pourville for the tank force to join up with the main force in Dieppe.At Puy there was a similar underestimation of the task to get up the gully with its mouth extremely covered by defensive fire.As I see it the gully has been much developed from 1942 and suspect is now wider from the impact of housing development.So in 1942,it must have been very difficult to proceed from its mouth.Did the planners have any information on the physical contours of these two areas?

    The other poiint about Dieppe is that it was intended as a single day operation, the thinking being that it would be a case of getting in and out quickly against a background that the defenders could easliy bring in reinforcements over terrain that posed no problems and had not been pummelled from the air.The Allied force would have been pushed back into the sea irrespective of the short term intentions,a defensive strategy that Rommel intended for Normandy of pushing the invader back into the sea before the invader could build up his bridgehead with men and material.

    Bruneval, also a small gully remains as it was, largely in 1942,with the Germans caught out as they had no time to bring in reinforcements. An operation lasting at least 12 hours is different especially if the plan is that you do intend to stay.You might also put Narvik in this category of Bruneval but on a larger scale.

    Dieppe did mean that searching questions were asked regarding the feasability of capturing a port and having that in the critical path of establishing a beachhead.Planning ahead, ensuring that no detail of of the prerequsites required for a sustained landing were left out. Better intelligence was collated on the beach defences.Soundings of beach sand and material were made in the preparation for the invasion for the suitablity of tanks to track over beaches and cross the foreshore.

    The other important aspect regarding Normandy was that the French rail system was pummelled by the RAF in preparation for the invasion and later after June 6,German reinforcements travelling north to Normandy were harassed by the French resistance groups.

    But the planning for Normandy was a great deal longer than that for Dieppe,accepting that the former was long term and the latter,very much, a short term operation.
     
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  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Thanks Tom, for the catalog(ue) of your nation's hitherto unknown resume of accomplishments.

    I was not addressing games that the public used back then, but rather events such as the gathering of German 7th Army leadership in Rennes the night of June 5th or "games" such as the Tennessee, Louisiana and Carolina Maneuvers in the US.
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jeff -
    I do realise that our meanings crossed each other but happy to have extended your knowledge on other matters

    The higher levels played war games - as such - Monty held sessions at St.Paul's school prior to D.Day in the form of "what if's" - and on one occasion as I recall - he asked your buddy - Collins - what would happen if his ship was sunk and he could no longer command his corps........His answer brought the house down...."SIR - you would find me swimming to shore..."

    as said the lower levels of the British Army only had sand tables and "TEWT'S"

    Cheers
     
  9. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Steven,

    Excellent recap of the fiasco.

    Don, welcome to the forum.
     
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    In the process of looking for something else, I rediscovered this early Canadian summary:

    CMHQ083 Preliminary Report on Operation JUBILEE

    The introduction refers to Mountbatten's influence on the report, though it's a difference of opinion over security rather than success.

    There's some good stuff on the DHH site - including fuller reports on Jubilee - if you haven't seen it before.
     
  11. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    With out this raid on Dieppe then Normandy could have been a blood bath for the Allies. So much was learnt from this raid that made the Normandy Invasion a success.
    I think that every one in London knew that this raid was going to happen and there was a strong chance that one of the Embassies in London could have tipped of the Germans, so for Normandy the people who knew about this raid was kept to a minimum until the briefings just before the Invasion.

    The need for specialised tanks was dealt with with a wide range of Hobart funnies and the Americans refused these and we can see what happened on their beaches. One of the big problems at Dieppe was getting the tanks of the beach, as there tracks got jammed with the pebbles on the beach, such a silly thing that had such an effect on the raid.

    Mulberry harbour was thought up and built so that they would have there own port from the off, right down to a pipeline to bring fuel to France from England by a pipeline.

    Now Dieppe may have been an expensive lesson but it paved the way for victory from what they learnt from it.
     
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  12. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    With out this raid on Dieppe then Normandy could have been a blood bath for the Allies. So much was learnt from this raid that made the Normandy Invasion a success.
    I think that every one in London knew that this raid was going to happen and there was a strong chance that one of the Embassies in London could have tipped of the Germans, so for Normandy the people who knew about this raid was kept to a minimum until the briefings just before the Invasion.

    The need for specialised tanks was dealt with with a wide range of Hobart funnies and the Americans refused these and we can see what happened on their beaches. One of the big problems at Dieppe was getting the tanks of the beach, as there tracks got jammed with the pebbles on the beach, such a silly thing that had such an effect on the raid.

    Mulberry harbour was thought up and built so that they would have there own port from the off, right down to a pipeline to bring fuel to France from England by a pipeline.

    Now Dieppe may have been an expensive lesson but it paved the way for victory from what they learnt from it.

    In much the same way as it could be argued that placing your hand on a hot stove will save you from horrific burns later in life!
     
  13. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    With out this raid on Dieppe then Normandy could have been a blood bath for the Allies. So much was learnt from this raid that made the Normandy Invasion a success.
    I think that every one in London knew that this raid was going to happen and there was a strong chance that one of the Embassies in London could have tipped of the Germans, so for Normandy the people who knew about this raid was kept to a minimum until the briefings just before the Invasion.

    The need for specialised tanks was dealt with with a wide range of Hobart funnies and the Americans refused these and we can see what happened on their beaches. One of the big problems at Dieppe was getting the tanks of the beach, as there tracks got jammed with the pebbles on the beach, such a silly thing that had such an effect on the raid.

    Mulberry harbour was thought up and built so that they would have there own port from the off, right down to a pipeline to bring fuel to France from England by a pipeline.

    Now Dieppe may have been an expensive lesson but it paved the way for victory from what they learnt from it.

    Tab,
    I am not sure of the spelling of your last name...does it go like this?
    M O U N T B A T T E N
    The Dieppe raid was a disaster.
    Apologies to you in advance for my sarcasm.
    Please check out an article written by Don North and posted by Jedburgh22. From a Canadian point of view, Don's recap of the fiasco is well researched and well written.
     
  14. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    With out this raid on Dieppe then Normandy could have been a blood bath for the Allies. So much was learnt from this raid that made the Normandy Invasion a success.
    I think that every one in London knew that this raid was going to happen and there was a strong chance that one of the Embassies in London could have tipped of the Germans, so for Normandy the people who knew about this raid was kept to a minimum until the briefings just before the Invasion.

    The need for specialised tanks was dealt with with a wide range of Hobart funnies and the Americans refused these and we can see what happened on their beaches. One of the big problems at Dieppe was getting the tanks of the beach, as there tracks got jammed with the pebbles on the beach, such a silly thing that had such an effect on the raid.

    Mulberry harbour was thought up and built so that they would have there own port from the off, right down to a pipeline to bring fuel to France from England by a pipeline.

    Now Dieppe may have been an expensive lesson but it paved the way for victory from what they learnt from it.


    Yeah, that's pretty much how the whitewash paints it.
    However, some of us have done some reading and know a little better
    than to meekly swallow the official line.

    Oh, and could you please explain to the forum the horrific problems that the
    US 4th Division had at Utah Beach ?
     
  15. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Well it is nice to know that the raid was a disaster and we learnt nothing from it and went ahead making the same old mistakes. I wonder why we succeeded at Normandy, I know it was because the Americans did all the planning and we had no input at all.

    Utha Beach could you tell me why the Duplex drive tanks failed to get to the beach
     
  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Most DD tanks made it ashore at Utah but in the wrong place!
     
  17. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    The Americans did not want to get their ships to near the coast so they unloaded the DD tank 12 miles out from the beach in heavy seas. They were all blown of course and when instructed to adjusted their course to get them on the right beach they got swammped and most of them sunk. A few remaining tanks ran with the waves and got ashore on the wrong beach miles away
     
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Tab -
    Should interject here with a correction to your last post - while it is true that the US 4th division landed on the wrong beaches et al - enough to have Teddy Roosevelt Jr.say that they would start the war from here- their support DD Tanks were landed from a closer distance to the wrong beaches than the ones you claim were launched at 12 miles out - as my reading of those beaches put that event on the Ohama beach- and why they had such a bad beginning as opposed to the US 4th Divisions easier stroll over their beach ..
    Cheers
     
  19. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Omaha Beach
    At Omaha Beach almost all of the tanks launched offshore were lost, contributing to the high casualty rate and sluggish advance from that beach.
    112 tanks were assigned to the first wave at Omaha Beach, with 56 tanks in each of the 741st and 743rd Tank Battalions. Each of these battalions had 32 DD and 24 other Shermans (including many Sherman bulldozers for clearing obstacles). Starting at about 0540, the 741st Tank Battalion put 29 DDs into the sea, but 27 of these sank, the remaining two made the long swim to the beach. Some of the crews of the sinking tanks managed to radio back and warn following units not to launch as far out. The remaining vehicles of the 741st Tank Battalion and all tanks of the 743rd Tank Battalion, (except for the four aboard one LCT that was hit by artillery fire just off the beach), were landed directly on the beach, starting at about 0640.
    DD Tanks were designed to operate in waves up to 1 foot (0.3 m) high; however, on D-Day the waves were up to 6 feet (2 m) high. These were much worse conditions than the tanks had been tested in and thus they were swamped. Also, the tanks of 741st Tank Battalion were launched too far out,[10] about 3 miles (4,828 m) offshore. Considering the inherent difficulty in steering a 35 ton modified tank, it is a tribute to the crews that they got as far as they did. The crews were equipped with emergency breathing apparatus capable of lasting 5 minutes, the tanks were also equipped with inflatable rafts.[11] Some sources claim that these life-saving measures were ineffective;[12] this was contradicted by the testimony of survivors.[11] Most of the crews were rescued, mainly by the landing craft of the 16th RCT (Regimental Combat Team),[13] although five crewmen are known to have died during the sinkings.[11]
    Until very recently it was believed that most of the DD Shermans of the 741st Tank Battalion were sunk almost immediately. Some stayed afloat for a matter of minutes; according to the crews one tank swam for 15 minutes, another: "We weren’t in the ocean 10 minutes when we had a problem".[11] Tanks at the other four beaches suffered no such problems. New research[by whom?] suggests that the Omaha tanks were aiming for a church steeple on the visible horizon behind the cliffs.[citation needed] In order to maintain their line of sight it is believed that the tanks had to turn progressively away from the shore to combat the waves pushing them down the beach, putting their sides virtually parallel with the shoreline. This meant that the canvas flotation devices were easily swamped. If they had kept going directly forward with the front of the tank headed straight for the beach, they may have reached it.[citation needed]
    Others believe that the error was due to the commanders aboard the ships from which the tanks were launched.[who?] They simply gave the order to launch too early, possibly to avoid getting too close to the battle themselves.[citation needed]The possibility of disembarking the tanks directly onto the beach if the sea was too rough had been discussed and agreed upon by Colonel Skaggs and Colonel Upham, (commanding officers of the 741st and 743rd battalions), before the tanks left Portland (Engl
     
  20. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Sorry double posted
     

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