Disaster at Dieppe
A raid on the German-occupied coastal town of Dieppe, Operation Jubilee was intended to demonstrate the Allies capacity to seize and hold a major port for a short while. The Canadians sent in just couldn't imagine how short their stay would be... The landing beach was a mile long, with headlands at both ends and barbed wire across its entire length. At first, enemy fire was light, letting the landing troops - Essex Scottish Regiment on Red Beach and the Hamilton Light Infantry on White Beach - make it through a first row of wire and toward the sea wall with only minor losses. But tanks from the 14th Canadian Tank Battalion had not arrived ahead of the infantry landings as planned; and once landed, they could not get any traction on the loose beach pebbles. To make things worse, the men of the Royal Regiment landing on Blue Beach near Puys arrived late. They were pinned on the beach, unable to move west and take the eastern headlands before the main assault. The Germans, now on full alert, swept the exposed Canadian forces. Control of the Casino and surrounding pillboxes seasawed back and forth but to no avail. Four hours after landing, the Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat, leaving almost 60% of the men who'd landed killed, wounded or captured! The lessons learned from this debacle were painful, but were of considerable help in preparations for the landings in Normandy, two years later.
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