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Re: Dieppe Raid 1942
You wrote, "What responsible historian says the raid was to save lives? "
And "Was the Dieppe aid 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?" and "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."
Thank you for your comments. Many have tried to justify the raid on Dieppe.
I am not a historian. I think that Churchill's comments are excuses as are
Mountbattens. No one doubts that Churchill was a great and inspirational
leader during the time our island nation stood alone, France had fallen
America was, until attacked. sitting out the war. Many apologists have
spoken of many reasons why Dieppe was necessary. Comparing the percentage of
causalities at Dieppe and Overlord shows the scale of failure. What person
would label the 67% causality rate at Dieppe anything but a failure? I
cannot spell failure much louder than that.
France capitulated. Even the sacrifice of the 51st Highland Division could
not keep the French fighting. More Britons and Commonwealth sons lie in war
graves than Frenchmen. The collaborators are still a shame for France.
America lost over 300,000 of her sons.
You wrote, "The translation of "ancien combatant" from the French is not
"ancient combatant". I used that translation for alliterative purposes.
"In April 1942 General Bernard Montgomery and Admiral Louis Mountbatten
began to plan the invasion. It was originally due to take place in July but
bad weather resulted in it being postponed until August.
On 19th August 1942 a small mixed force of 5,000 Canadian and 1,000 British
troops landed at Dieppe. They immediately came under attack from German
troops led by General Kurt Zeitzler. Within a few hours 4,000 of the men
were either killed, wounded or captured.
Allied commanders later claimed that valuable military information was
gained from the Dieppe Raid. This included the need for more sophisticated
amphibious equipment and techniques. However, some historians have
questioned the purpose of the raid, claiming that this lessons learned from
the failed raid could have been predicted and the lives of brave soldiers
had been wasted for no good reason.
It was also claimed that the use of Canadian soldiers for the raid suggested
that Allied commanders saw Commonwealth troops as more expendable than those
in the British Army.
Moreover, the Dieppe raid of the summer of 1942 did not promise any easy
conquest of the beaches themselves. That raid, carried out by a strong force
of Canadians, had resulted in a high percentage of losses. From it we
learned a number of lessons that we later applied to our advantage, but the
price paid by the Canadians still rankled."
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (1948)
"The vehement German response to the assault at Dieppe, resulting in the
loss of nearly a thousand British and Canadian lives, the capture of more
than two thousand fighting men, and the destruction of better than one
hundred aircraft, weighed heavily upon American planners. If the German
response at Dieppe was any indication, an invasion of the Continent would
require more meticulous preparation and more strength than a 1943 attack
could possibly allow. Indeed, Allied planners and logisticians would have to
create, field, and supply an organization that could meet and defeat the
worst counterattack the enemy was capable of devising."
GORDON R. SULLIVAN
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff
"The disastrous Operation Jubilee was called the "rehearsal for invasion"
even before the Invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) took place in June
1944. The two operations have been aligned into a direct relationship by
command apologists incessantly for half a century, as though it had been
possible to win the war only because valuable "lessons" were learned at
Dieppe. On the eve of the Normandy invasion, the 3rd Canadian Division was
told that "the plan, the preparations, the method and technique" of their
new mission was "based on knowledge and experience bought and paid for by
the 2nd Canadian division at Dieppe." Mountbatten swore by this formula for
the rest of his life. "I do hope," he wrote in 1973, "the Dieppe boys will
have at last understood that without their valiant efforts we could never
have had Overlord."
Experimentation: Reality and the Lie
by Robert Helms
"Casualties were high. Out of 5,000 Canadians, 3,367 were casualties,
including over 1,900 prisoners-of-war. Nine hundred were dead. Worse, the
massive Allied airpower was severely mauled by the Luftwaffe. Most of the
Allied heavy equipment was left on the beach.
Later apologists for Mountbatten would characterize Dieppe as an expensive
but important lesson for the Normandy landings. By the time the North
African landings took place on November 8, 1942, new landing craft
specialized for all sorts of tasks were arriving.
Mountbatten received a lot of criticism, but the raid was seen as a
necessary learning process in order to prepare for the actual invasion. He
went on to command Allied forces in Burma.
Dieppe did convince the Germans that the Allies would attack a port in the
main invasion, and that may have helped the Normandy landings two years
later. In that landing, the Canadian 2nd Division would exact revenge on
the same German units that drove them off the beaches of Dieppe.
Nevertheless, there is hardly a book written on the Normandy Invasion that
does not give great credit to the Dieppe Raid. The plan for Overlord, the
invasion on June 6, 1944, was certainly different. It featured an assault
against open beaches rather than in front of a fortified city. Surprise and
command of the air were total that day. Most importantly, the initial
assault was overwhelming in numbers, firepower and logistics. For D-Day, it
seems Dieppe provided the chart on how NOT to do it."
Joyce M. Kennedy
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 5:09 PM
Subject: Dieppe Raid 1942
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