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Raid on Dieppe
Raid on Dieppe
by Pete Bublitz

In the early morning hours of August 19, 1942, a fleet of up to 250 ships supported by 68 R.A.F squadrons was carrying a force of 6,000-plus men across the English Channel towards the areas that surrounded the city of Dieppe, a port town located in the Pays de Caux region of northeastern France. They would be transported to their target beaches with anticipation from their superiors of accomplishing a series of damaging blows to the German fortifications in Dieppe as well as in the towns, villages, and open areas surrounding Dieppe. But as the minutes approached 0400 hours (4 a.m.), a German convoy approaching from the north would be the first blow to unravel the entire operation. Nine hours later, the convoy would return to its homeports in defeat with high casualty counts. In the years after D-Day up to the present, historians and military officials agreed that Jubilee, as the operation was codenamed, was one of the Allies' greatest military blunders of World War II. The truth is, Jubilee was turning into a blundering operation long before it was executed, due to a series of planning mistakes, miscalculations, and changes made in the weeks and months leading up to August 19.
* * *
The Players and the Stage
While the plan that revolved around the Dieppe raid was still in its early organization stages, assembling the ground forces was still being discussed in terms of which units it would consist of. After deliberation among COHQ planners head military officers, it was decided that the attack force taking part in the ground operation would be an made up of volunteers from the Canadian Army, Commando Battalions, and soldiers from select Allied forces, including the 1st U.S. Ranger Battalion, British Secret Service, and No. 10 Inter-Allied Commando. On the other side of the channel, the German troops of the 302nd Division were proceeding to build up their available reserve presence as well as defense fortification throughout the area. At the same time, numerous heavy artillery and anti-aircraft gun emplacements were set up throughout the towns and elevated areas that surrounded Dieppe, as well as Dieppe itself, to support the defense lines that overlooked the beaches along the Channel coast and ports.
* * *
The Layout of the Assault
The raid on Dieppe, during the time it was being planned, was likely COHQ’s most anticipated operation to date. This can be verified by the immense military force taking part in the attack. Men from a total of ten to twenty battalions and regiments would cross the English Channel as the ground assault force for the raid. They would be supported by both a large naval fleet and a vast number of Allied Air Force squadrons. This reconnaissance-in-force was to be undertaken for a series of purposes. This raid was intended to test numerous factors, including:
• the Allies’ ability to attack and capture a coastal port or town under enemy occupation;
* * *
The Naval Skirmish
During the daytime hours of August 18, minesweepers from the Royal Navy's 9th and 13th Minesweeping Flotillas were occupied with the task of clearing a wide path through German minefields in the English Channel. Through this opening, the naval force that set sail later on that evening would transport amphibious troops toward their targets in and around Dieppe. The ships that carried specific troops would come from five separate ports in Southern England. From the port of Newhaven came a maximum of twenty-three Group 5 LCPs from the 1st and 24th LCP Flotillas. Four of these LCPs, however, and were forced to discontinue their mission and return to their port after suffering engine malfunctions. Serving as escort craft were the steam gun boat SGB5, the motor launch ML346, and the flak landing craft LCF (L) 1.
* * *
Copyright © 2005 Pete Bublitz.

Written by Pete Bublitz.  If you have questions or comments on this article, please contact Pete Bublitz at:

Published online: 07/23/2005.
Suggested Reading

Dieppe 1942: Prelude to D-Day

Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid
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