Sunday, July 19, 2009

Raid on Dieppe

On August 19,1942, the British mounted Operation Jubilee, a large scale raid on the port of Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, France. Some 4,900 Canadian, 1,000 British and 50 U.S. troops left five English ports in a fleet of 237 warships and landing craft. Air support was inadequate and intelligence poor, and despite some minor successes the main assault was a bloody failure, with 3,367 Canadian casualties. The Royal Navy lost a destroyer and several landing craft, and the RAF 106 aircraft to only 48 German. Although useful lessons were learnt from Dieppe, the operation's unjustifiable risks were worsened by its labyrinthine planning. Landing craft run in towards the beach (above) under cover of floating smoke dischargers.

The frontal assault was mounted by The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and The Essex Scottish, with armour from the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Tanks), supported by the Fusiliers Mont-Royal. Twelve tanks were stopped on the beach because shingle jammed their tracks, and the 15 that made their way inland were soon knocked out. Here a German infantryman picks his way among blanketed Canadian dead.

Canadian prisoners are marched through Dieppe.

Propagandists found some crumbs of comfort: No. 4 Commando, seen here after returning to Newhaven, had taken the Varengeville battery. The U.S. Ranger makes the point that this was the first time Americans had been in action on the ground in Europe during the war.

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