Dieppe - The Shame or.....

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Bubbles_Barker, Dec 24, 2011.

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  1. the holiday.....

    OK, next Easter's annual trip to France for Bubbles' family can no longer thinly disguise a Normandy battlefield tour (hey - 6 years aint bad!). I've rented a nice gite a few miles from Dieppe and St Valery but I'm no expert on the early war years.

    I'm assuming that St Valery will be a decent visit from a 1940, 51 HD surrender viewpoint (sniff, sniff) but really it's Dieppe that I think will be the Main Effort. It has all the ingredients: Churchill tanks shot to bits on the beach, valiant Canadians, dodgy plans, even dodgier OPSEC (apparently), US Rangers (yes, that's right, US Rangers), Army Commandos (Lord Lovat of course) and never-ending accusations of incompetence and bad planning.

    Sounds just like my day job, except we don't need the Germans to **** us up.

    Anyway. My point is - is there a book to beat all books that I should read? Is it worth reading up on the RAF 'Mother of all Air Battles' beforehand? I've got the Tim Saunders 'Battleground' book on order but does anyone of you very knowledgeable types out there know exactly what I should be looking to see?

    Did we really stiff the Canucks that badly or is a bit of revisionist history in order?
  2. Without a Dieppe, you could've forgotten about an Overlord.
  3. Yes - I see that a lot in various books. But when you see the sea wall, and the pile of dead Canucks in front of it killed by an enfilading MG post some 300yds away, I do sometimes wonder whether we could have worked that out without the casualties? Hindsight I suppose.

    Hell of a way to learn lessons.
  4. Thanks for that info ...Green Beach is about to become the first book to be downloaded to my early Christmas Prezie Kindle .
  5. There's some useful stuff here on CBC:

    The Contentious Legacy of Dieppe | CBC Archives

    Canadian resentment against the perceived "sacrifice" of their troops by the British must be viewed in the light of the political pressure from Mackenzie King on Churchill to get the UK based Canadian troops into action.
  6. Nice After the Battle Magazine issue on Dieppe for comparisons
    issue 5 IIRC

  7. I have to say that it was clearly easier to have a disaster in 1942 than it is now. Or....everyone was a lot more willing to put their shoulders to the wheel - in every way.
  8. An older book is Terence Robertson's "The Shame and the Glory" that was published in the early 1960s. Although it has been ages since I've read it, I found it a fairly rounded-out account of the planning and operation itself.

    Another book to check out is Brig. Gen. Denis Whitaker DSO's "Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph". His book was interesting in that each chapter would give a general history, then it would be fleshed and coloured out by interviews Whitaker had with surviving veterans on both sides. But be advised, Whitaker came across as very bitter in his epilogue when it came to summing up his opinions on the politics of the whole raid. But since his DSO was won for his actions at Dieppe, I'd say he earned his right to be bitter.
  9. Been there a few times, a visit to Puys is recommended to appreciate just how suicidal that operation was. Standing at the waters edge looking up to the sea wall and blockhouses is shivering.
  10. Been there just the once, and wondered just who thought that sending tanks up that somewhat rocky beach would be a good idea.
  11. It's interesting (particularly the then-current reports), but I'd take almost anything broadcast by the CBC with a dumptruck full of salt, as just like the BBC, they have their own agenda to push.
  12. I picked up a copy of 'Dieppe 1942' by Whitehead /Macartney-Filgate published by Nelson. A photo history of the preparation and execution including German post event photography, very good for a bit of then and now comparison.

    We stop at the Manoir de Tessy, at Ouville la Riviere just inland from from Quiberville on Orange beach.
  13. Like everything else in the Dieppe raid, they had pre-tested the bits they could. Churchill tanks had climbed apparently identical beaches with no trouble; one of the "lessons learnt" was that the substructure of a beach affected its ability to bear vehicles - and hence the balls-of-brass beach recces later carried out on the Normandy beaches. Another lesson was the need to bring along facines, ramps and petards just in case.

    Having read a dozen books, been on a couple of excellent battlefield tours and taken part in some of the heated internet history forum debates, my own meaningless opinion is that the debacle was just a mixture of a brutal learning curve (e.g. no-one had a way of identifying, assessing or anticipating the firepower from small hidden served weapons emplacements) and plain bad luck (e.g. the loss of surprise). Many parts of the very complex and ambitious operation actually worked well, at least initially.

    One interesting point is the nationalistic mantra over the Canadians "sacrificed" at Dieppe, which obscures the far higher Canadian casualties tallies subsequently incurred during the battle in Europe....
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Try Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid [Paperback] by Brian Loring Villa

    This the case againts Moutnbatten.

    You could read the RAF officla account about how it was the mother of all airbattles. Except that the close air support wass very limited and by any ca;lculations the RAf lost the air battle.

    For the Grman vierw read "Jg 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe [Mass Market Paperback] Donald L. Caldwell" and Adolf Galland The Fiirst and the Last has some bits in as well.