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Outline of Operation Jubilee: The Raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1939 - 1942' started by Mahross, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    At 0445 on 19 August 1942, the first forces landed on the French coast at Berneval approximately six miles from Dieppe. This was the first wave of a raid in force on the French town of Dieppe. As the Operational Orders for Jubilee states the purpose of the operation was:

    ‘Operation Jubilee is a raid on Jubilee with limited military and air objectives, embracing the destruction of local defences, power stations, harbour installations, rolling stock, etc., in Jubilee, the capture of prisoners, the destruction of an eardrum near the town and the capture and removal of German invasion barges and other craft in the harbour’.[ii]



    Operation Jubilee was the culmination of two years of raiding by the COHQ and was largest attempted to date. The major part of the raiding force was comprised of troops from the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The British provided additional troops in the form of No. 3 and 4 Commando from the Army and ‘A’ Commando from the RM. There were also small detachments of French and US personnel, the most prominent of which were the fifty US Rangers attached to Lieutenant Colonel The Lord Lovat’s 4 Commando. The military forces involved in the operation came under the ground force commander Major General J H Roberts, the GOC of the 2nd Canadian Division. Roberts was a curious choice for such a prestigious and difficult mission, as he had not actually seen battlefield command in the war and therefore, like most of his soldiers were untrained and untested in combat.



    The RAF supplied substantial forces in the ‘support’ of Jubilee. In total sixty-one fighter squadrons were involved as well as nine further squadrons in various other roles.[iii] As will be discussed in a further chapter this force was inadequate to meet the needs of the operation and was actually there for another reasons that will become apparent. The air commander on the day was Air vice Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, a man who would go on and command the Allied air forces during Operation Overlord.



    The Navy, whose military head, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, was deeply suspicious of such operations, only provided paltry forces for the support of the operations. The heaviest ships involved in the operation were destroyers of which eight were used. In total, there were two hundred thirty seven vessels in various roles for the operation.[iv] All of these ships came under the command of Captain J Hughes Hallett.



    The operation began, as it was to go on. No. 3 Commando, the first unit to land, at Berneval came under intense fire and of their twenty-three landing craft, only six made it to shore. Most of these men themselves became casualties, but despite this, the commando managed to keep the battery quite though they did not actually take it out as the plan called for.



    The next units to land were the Royal Regiment of Canada and the Black Watch of Canada. Of the approximately five hundred men who landed, only six returned unscathed. The reason for this was that they landed fifteen minutes behind schedule and eight after the Germans had sounded the alarm.



    Next to come was the frontal assault on Dieppe itself, White and Red beaches. This was led Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, White beach, and the Essex Scottish, Red beach. Initially things looked good for the unit as fighter-bombers had attacked German position and the defenders appeared dazed. This eventually passed and the defenders started pouring machine gun and mortar fire into the area. As Lieutenant Fred Woodcock of the Royal Hamilton’s, who was caught in a landing craft that was filled with Bangalore torpedoes and hit by a mortar bomb, comments he could ‘...only remember the sound, because I was blinded. The boat filled with water and I was soon up to my neck.’[v]



    The assault on Dieppe was supposed to be supported by twenty-nine[vi] Churchill MkIII tanks from Calgary Tank Regiment[vii]. However, from the start of the operation things deteriorated. The LCT’s were fifteen minutes late arriving at the beaches and as has been commented this had ‘…unfortunate results for the general fortunes of the operation on the main beaches.’[viii] Eventually all of the tanks were destroyed and by all accounts only three make it onto the esplanade.[ix]


    At 0630, approximately an hour and half after the main landing, Major-General Roberts decided that the situation was ready to land his floating reserve. This consisted on the Fusiliers Mont Royal. Roberts gives his reasons as follows:

    “About one hour after touch down, information received indicated that "Red" Beach was sufficiently cleared to permit the landing of the floating reserve.”[x]

    In this decision Roberts was wrong as Red Beach had not been cleared and was not ready, the RHLI were pinned against the beach wall. In addition, the FMR were landed at the wrong place.



    The RM ‘A’ Commando had initially been intended to land in the harbour and cut out enemy craft. It was soon found that this was not possible. Therefore, they became part of the floating reserve. At 0800, Roberts, having been deceived by intelligence again, decided to commit them to White beach to force a breakthrough. This necessitated a quick rethink on the way into the beach and as Lieutenant M. Buist, RN comments it soon became clear that this was to be a ‘…sea parallel of the Charge of the Light Brigade.’[xi] The commando came under a hail of artillery fire and its intended effect became negligible.



    The next attack was at Green beach by the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada on the inner western flank. Initially there was success but eventually things started to go wrong. It was intended for the SSR to land at zero hour, 0450, and the QOCHC to land an hour and a half later and pass through them capture the high ground and proceed to Dieppe. The SSR quickly entered Pourville and became involved in fire fights with groups of Germans. The SSR attempted to subdue them with fire from the supporting destroyers and 3-inch mortars, but to no avail and they became bogged down. The QOCHC then landed at 0520 and were to link up with the tanks of the Calgary and capture a nearby airfield. This proved fruitless as the tanks were destroyed mostly on the beaches. By this time, everything was going wrong and both regiments attempted form a cordon until ordered to withdrawal.



    The furthest unit to the west, 4 Commando, landed at 0454 and their objectives was to take out the German battery at Vasterival. This was Operation Cauldron and was the only successful operation during the raid. As an official report comments this operation was ‘…a model of bold action and successful synchronization.’[xii] Its success will be covered later.



    By 0930, it became clear to everyone that the operation was a failure and landing craft started taking the wounded off the beach. At the same time both the Military Commander, Roberts, and the Naval Force Commander, Hughes-Hallet, contended that withdrawal was necessary and that it should begin at 1100.[xiii] By 1250, all troops that could be evacuated had been removed from the beaches. Thus ended one of the bloodiest days in Commonwealth military history. The casualty rate for the ground force reached almost sixty percent. As one historian has commented, it was a cruel fate for a country, Canada, who had waited:

    ‘…over two and a half years for combat and be killed, maimed, or captured within a single morning one of the undeniable tragedies of the Second World War’[xiv]


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All times given are in British Summer Time. In the German War Diaries, all times were given in Continental time, which is one hour ahead.

    [ii] Quoted in Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 83 ‘Preliminary Report on Operation “Jubilee” (The Raid on Dieppe), 19 Aug 42’ 19 Sept 1942, p. A-1. From here on this report will be referred to as CMHQ No. 83. The reoccurrence of the word Jubilee is in reference to Dieppe and was used in an attempt to keep the target from German agents. However, in an accident of war on the final page of the Operational Orders the map reference for the target, Dieppe, was given, so much for protecting the target.

    [iii] Terraine J (1997) The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945, p. 560. Though the Official History quotes fifty six squadrons of fighter: Richards D and Saunders H St G (1953) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 Volume 2: The Fight Avails, p. 143

    [iv] Roskill D.S.C Captain S W (1956) History of the Second World War: The War at Sea Volume II, p. 243

    [v] Quoted in Atkin R (1980) Dieppe 1942: The Jubilee Disaster, p. 153

    [vi] Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Section Report No. 108 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Part II: The Execution of the Operation. Section 2: The Attack on the Main Beaches.’ 17 Dec 43 Amended on 12 Jul 1950. Paragraph 137 From here on CMHQ 108

    [vii] This unit was official known in the Canadian organisation as the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment)

    [viii] CMHQ 108 Op Cit, Paragraph 80.

    [ix] See CMHQ 108 Op Cit Paragraph 84-88

    [x] CMHQ 108 Op Cit Para 142

    [xi] Quoted in CMHQ 108 Op Cit Para 174

    [xii] Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 101 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Part II: The Execution of the Operation. Section 1: General Outline and Flank Attacks.’ 11 Aug 1943 p. 21. From here on CMHQ 101

    [xiii] CMHQ 108 Op Cit, Paragraphs 225-230

    [xiv] Loring Villa B (1994) Unauthorised Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid. p. 2
     
  2. figjam

    figjam Member

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    thanks for the info mate, i had only heard a little bit about it. I want to get some books on this operation now!
     
  3. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    If you want a list of books to read on the subject just let me know as i have a whole bibliographys worth.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    Which would you recommend as the best one as an introduction, Mahross ?

    ( Speaking as one who has never fully understood this battle.... [​IMG] )
     
  5. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    If you can get hold of it try Ronald Atkin Dieppe: The Jubilee Disaster. It is the best outline of the operation.

    For the debates surrounding the operation trying Brian Loring Villa - Unauthorise Action. He is damming of Mountbattens role in the whole affair, but is the best intro.
     
  6. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    My two cents...

    If you want a more 'hands-on' appraisal of the operation, then try to get hold of 'March Past' by Lord Lovat. It deals with his actions at Dieppe and his views on why the operation failed. Including the War Corespondent that likened Lovats force to a Highland Warband on the prowl burning and destroying everything they met!

    There is also a very good article in an old War Monthly that gives a good synopsis of the action.
     
  7. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Or there is my essay on it... ;) :D
     
  8. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    For those of you interested here is a list of the sources that i consulted while preparing my work, which is still in-progress. This is not complete as there a few more works which i have yet to get.

    Bibliography:

    Primary Sources:

    Canadian Army Headquarters Historical Section Report No. 10 ‘Operation “Jubilee”, The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Information from German War Diaries’

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 83 ‘Preliminary Report on Operation “Jubilee” (The Raid on Dieppe), 19 Aug 42’ 19 Sept 1942

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 89 ‘The Operation at Dieppe, 19 Aug 42: Personal Stories of Participants.’ 31 Dec 1942

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 90 ‘The Operation at Dieppe, 19 Aug 42: Further Personal Stories of Participants.’ 18 Feb 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 93 ‘Combined Operations Training, 1st Canadian Corps’ 29 Apr 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 98 ‘Article Dealing with the Operation at Dieppe, 19 Aug 42’ 15 Jul 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 100 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42 Part I: The Preliminaries of the Operation’ 16 Jul 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 101 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Part II: The Execution of the Operation. Section 1: General Outline and Flank Attacks.’ 11 Aug 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Section Report No. 108 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Part II: The Execution of the Operation.
    Section 2: The Attack on the Main Beaches.’ 17 Dec 1943 Amended on 12 Jul 1950

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 109 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Part III: Some Special Aspects.’ 14 Dec 1943

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officer Report No. 116 ‘Operation "Jubilee" the Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Additional Information from German Sources’ 10 May 1944

    Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Officers Report No. 142 ‘Operation "Jubilee": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. Further New Information.’ 18 Jul 1945

    Notes from the Theatres of War No.11 ‘Destruction of a German Battery by No.4 Commando during the Dieppe Raid’, HMSO, 1943

    Official Works:

    Butler J R M (Ed.) (1964) History of the Second World War: Grand Strategy Volume III Part II, HMSO, London

    Hinsley F H (Ed.) (1983) History of the Second World War: British Intelligence in the Second World War Volume 2, HMSO, London

    Richards D and Saunders H St G (1953) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 Volume 2: The Fight Avails, HMSO, London

    Roskill D.S.C Captain S W (1956) History of the Second World War: The War at Sea Volume II, HMSO, London

    Secondary Sources:

    Books:

    Atkin R (1980) Dieppe 1942: The Jubilee Disaster, Macmillan, London

    Bartlett M L Lieutenant Colonel USMC (Retired) (Ed.) (1983) Assault From The Sea: Essays on the History of Amphibious Warfare, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis

    Bond B and Taylor M (Eds.) (2001) The Battle for France and Flanders Sixty Years On, Leo & Cooper, London

    D’Este C (1994) Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign, Penguin Press, London

    Fowler W (2003) The Commandos at Dieppe: Rehearsal for D-Day, Harper Collins, London

    Gooderson I (1998) Air Power at the Battlefront: Allied Close Air Support 1943-45, Frank Cass, London

    Keegan J (1992) Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris, Pimlico, London

    Loring Villa B (1994) Unauthorised Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid, Oxford University Press, London

    Murray W (1999) War in the Air 1914-45, Cassell, London

    Neillands R (2002) The Battle of Normandy 1944, Weidenfield and Nicholson, London

    Shirer W (1991) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Arrow Books, London

    Terraine J (1997) The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945, Wordsworth, London

    Thompson J (2000) The Royal Marines: From Sea Soldiers to a Special Force, Sedgewick & Jackson, London
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Opposing the RAF on 19 August 1941 were JG2 and and JG26 with a combined total of 190 FW 190 A-2 and A-3s and 16 Me 109s (mostly G-1s and a few 109Fs). KG2, KG45 and KG77 had 107 bombers between them, 59 of which were Do 217s, the remainder being Ju 88s, and He 111s.

    http://www.fourthfightergroup.com/eagles/dieppe.html

    The RAF flew 2,955 operational sorties on 19 August 1941, losing 97 planes and 62 aircrew to enemy action. The Germans admitted to 48 aircraft lost in action, about half of what the RAF pilots claimed.

    ----------


    BTW, was there other "lessons learned" except for the "don´t attack a defended coastal harbour city"??
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    *Bump*

    BTW, was there other "lessons learned" except for the "don´t attack a defended coastal harbour city" that were used for the Overlord??
     
  11. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Well for starters, the experience of the Churchills on the beach led to the creation of Hobarts 'Funnies'.

    Also I dont think a Canadian unit was ever equipped with Churchills after Dieppe...
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    Wasn't it also reinforced that air superiority would be needed ?
     
  13. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    But one of the misinformed lessons of the op was the need for the mulberry's but in fact the order to dvelop these were put in several months before Rutter, the genesis of jubilee.

    As for aerial operations over dieppe they were the case of the RAF seeking to bring the Luftwaffe to battle. Leigh Mallory and his staff saw the raid, and that is what they saw it as not an invasion attempt, as one large intruder operation in an attempt to wear down the opposition. while the RAF suffered heavily they could afford to where as the losses incurred on the germans could not be.

    As for lessons learned for armour. Yes many lessons went on to the formations of 79 Armoured Div. one of the many problems for the churchills was the fact that the shingle beach tended to break off the tracks. the churchill didn'y fair to badly. one on the tanks went up and down the promenade for an hour trying to find an exit into the town. all the time it was firing its gun. it was mainly the effects of the beach that disabled the tanks not german fire.
     
  14. Deep Web Diver

    Deep Web Diver Member

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    World War II magazine has an interesting article posted online about an RAF radar expert who accompanied the South Saskatchewan Regiment's Company A on its unsuccessful attempt to capture the Freya radar station on the cliff between Dieppe and Pourville.

    [ 11. October 2004, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: Deep Web Diver ]
     
  15. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    DWD - Thanks for that. The story of this operation is summed up in James Leasors book 'Green Beach'
     
  16. Deep Web Diver

    Deep Web Diver Member

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    You're welcome Mahross. Thank you for your article and bibliography on Operation Jubilee.

    [ 11. October 2004, 07:34 AM: Message edited by: Deep Web Diver ]
     
  17. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Mahross,

    Went through some boxes of books that I had deemed MIA. Also found this book Dieppe, 19 August by Eric Maguire, Jonathan Cape, 1963.

    Also inculded is a very small Bibliography:

    The Watery Maze - Bernard Fergusson

    Clash By Night - Derek Mills-Roberts

    Whatever Men Dare (Regimental History of the Cameron Highlanders of Canada) - R.W. Queens-Hughes

    Storm From The Sea - Peter Young
     
  18. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    Stevin - Great books. I wouldn't mind getting hold of a copy of Mills-Roberts book as he took part in 4 Commando raid on the Hess Battery, the only true success of the entire operation. Thanks for listing it i can search for it now.
     
  19. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Another book which I haven't read (but I have read books by this pair, which I do recommend);

    Dieppe - Denis and Shelagh Whitaker, McGraw-Hill, 1992

    I have read Tug Of War, about the battle for Antwerp and the Scheldt, and Rhineland, about, as the title suggests the battle for the Rhineland.

    Oh, and Bookfinder.com has some copies of the Mills-Roberts book.
     
  20. Sinclair

    Sinclair Member

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    As a Canadian, I'd say there's way too much emphasis on Dieppe, and less on the successful Canadian fighting at Juno or in the Scheldt. It's as though some sort of victim-complex has been developed.

    As a Canadian of Dutch heritage (2nd generation, which mixes with the 3rd-generation German to make me, I dunno, 2.5th generation) I can safely say that Canadian troops are more celebrated in Holland than in France, probably more in both places than in Canada.

    I'm no expert, but isn't the "rehearsal-for-D-Day" argument sort of a hindsight attempt to make it seem like less of an abject waste? I would think that the huge numbers of landings made in the Pacific would have shown the character of beach landings.

    An added thing: Dieppe was made even nastier by the fact that it was a pebble beach, crappy terrain because it fragments really easily, making anything from gunfire to explosions even less fun.
     

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