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Dieppe Raid 1942
I have just read the recent exchange on the now somewhat obscure Dieppe Raid
of World War II on the northern coast of France and have several questions to
raise. The person signing as "Sinclair" with an e-mail from France states
that the Dieppe Raid was a great failure but that now there is a myth that
the raid saved thousands of British and Canadian lives. And Sinclair adds
just how much he\she admired those "ancient combatants."
What responsible historian says the raid was to save lives? Was the Dieppe
Raid a failure but the similar prior St. Lazaire Raid a success because fewer
lives were lost? Was the D-day invasion of Normandy a failure because even
more lives were lost? Does anyone seriously believe that Churchill,
Montgomery, and company believed they were piercing Hitler's Festung Europa
and beginning the liberation of France and the rest of Europe with the Dieppe
Raid? Before labeling a mission a failure, should not one ask himself what
exactly the mission was? Does not the term "raid" give cause for pause?
I trust this is not a touch of Gallic Schadenfreude, of pointing out that
Britons and Canadians could fail in Northern France in World War II just like
Yes, there were almost a thousand Canadians killed, but also another 2,000
captured by the Germans. Mention is made of the Fusiliers Mont Royal but how
many French Canadians actually participated in World War II? Isn't there a
dirty little secret that French Canadians so resisted fighting for the
liberation of France or anybody else that the Canadian government gave up on
trying to draft them?
The great wartime leader of Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, was in
charge at the time of the Dieppe Raid. Later in his six-volume history of
World War II, he wrote that the Raid "did something to take the weight off
Russia." By raids such as St. Lazaire and Dieppe, Hitler was induced to
reinforce his northern and western coasts at the expense of his effort on the
Eastern Front against the Russians. But Churchill explained that the Raid was
really a "not unfruitful reconnaissance-in-force." Finally, he revealed the
real reason for the Dieppe Raid in stating that "until an operation on that
scale was undertaken, no responsible general would take the responsibility of
planning for the main invasion."
P.S. The translation of "ancien combatant" from the French is not "ancient
combatant" but "former combatant." Even that is too literal. The accurate
translation is "military veteran" or "war veteran" or just plain "veteran."