The Dieppe raid was an attack planned by the Allies as a way to relieve the soviets by opening a second front. The Germans had broken their non-aggression pact with the Russians and were already at the border of Moscow (Christie pg1). This event is seen by many as an act of desperation and “decisions made in desperation are rarely good ones” (Christie pg1). The Dieppe Raid is known as Canadas darkest day of World War Two for a reason. It is filled with blood, death, and devastation. The Dieppe raid was a complete failure due to its unrealistic plan, lack of preparation, and horrible execution.
Because of the poor planning for Dieppe the whole operation started to crumble. When the plan for Dieppe was created it was originally called “Operation Rutter” (Christie pg6). This plan would include heavy bombing and guns to take down defences on the beach, glider troops and paratrooper to take down gunmen, and then tanks would go through the town, claim their ground and finally retreat back to the ships (Christie, pg6). The plan had been rehearsed and was ready to go, now they just had to wait for the right time. This time never came; the weather did not permit them to follow through with the plan therefore it was cancelled (Christie pg7). The original problem still remained, the Russians were still under attack and needed relief. They decided the re-launch operation Rutter, but they renamed it to “Operation Jubilee” (Christie pg7). Many changes were made to the original plan and this is where things started to go downhill. During the transfer from Rutter to Jubilee the heavy bombers were taken out of the plan, the ships sent to take care of the ports attack line were eliminated, and the paratroopers and gilders were gone as well (Christie pg8). You might ask yourself, “what will replace these missing elements?”. The answer is nothing, nothing was put in place to reinforce the attack. They hoped that the element of surprise and ground coverage would be enough to throw the Germans off, they were very wrong (Christie pg8). The plan for Dieppe was split up into five attacks that worked from the outside inward. The first four attacks all happened simultaneously at night and the final one occurred at the main point, Dieppe, half an hour later (Christie pg9). All of the attacks were named along the beach. The first four attacks consisted of the yellow beach, orange beach, blue beach, and the green beach. These attacks were called the “flank attacks” because they were surrounding the main attacks at Dieppe (Christie pg9). Another issue with Operation Jubilee was that it depended on the success of these flank attacks (Christie pg31). Many of the objectives for each beach were completely out of reach for the amount of ammunition and soldiers at each beach. So much was expected of each attack but they never planned for if they failed. The main problem was that if one of the flank attacks failed the whole plan would fall (Christie pg31). Along with the flank attacks the operation also relied on timing. If everything was not on schedule then the whole plan was doomed. The four flank attacks all had to happen at the same time, therefore all of the transporting ships had to arrive at the same time. If one of them was late then the attack at Dieppe would be affected, for the objectives that needed to be completed for Dieppe’s success would not be (Christie pg31). The tanks that were being used in many of the battles must also arrive on time to be able to advance. They were needed to take down the German defences, for example, the Germans put up cement blocks to guard the roads and the tanks were the only thing that could take them out (Christie pg9).
Although many mistakes were made throughout Dieppe there was one that would cost them everything. While preparing the Allies tremendously underestimated the Germans. They believed that since the beach of Dieppe was further south and less defended that excessive offense was unnecessary (Christie pg5). With this assumption, they were lacking important necessities. The soldiers sent into battle were inexperienced. Although they were trained for three months before hand, they still did not have the skill set required to complete the job (Christie pg7). They tried to make up for the lack of experience by sending more soldiers but this still wasn’t enough to defeat the Nazis. Instead they just sent more men to their impending death. With these soldiers of coarse came weapons. The Allies came prepared with 6,070 soldiers including machine gunners, engineers, and tanks crews (Christie pg9). Even though they were given this large amount of munitions, just like the soldiers there were not enough. On top of this the weapons they were supplied with were out of date. The true setback was how “un-advanced” the tanks were compared to the Germans. Some of them sunk from landing in too deep water and some of the ones that made it slipped on the stone of the beach. Others were immobilized from the rocks getting stuck (Christie pg22). Overall the amount of artillery and soldiers provided was not enough to will the battle of Dieppe. Before the battles, rehearsals took place to make sure everything would go according to plan. The first run through was a mess; soldiers landed on the wrong beach, some were late and others got lost (Brewster pg12). If this were to happen during the real event the Allies would have been defeated within hours. Now the second rehearsal was more put together but troops were still late which could mean life or death (Brewster pg12). The fact that these rehearsals were not executed to the best of their ability should have been a sign not to go through with the attack.
All of these things played crucial roles for the failure of Dieppe but absolutely everything fell apart during the attempted execution. As said before the separate battles were all named for where they were on the beach; yellow beach, orange beach, blue beach, green beach, and the red and white beach which are the main attacks at Dieppe (Brewster pg15). The whole plan of Dieppe relied on the element surprise but this was lost when the No.3 Commando attacking yellow beach ran into a German convoy (Christie pg12). This caused the ships transporting troops and munitions to scatter leading some to arrive late or not at all (Christie pg12). “The Germans outnumbered the Commandos about 4 to 1” (Christie pg12). When the run in with the convoy occurred the defences on shore were alerted and flares were set off, the surprise tactic had officially been lost (Brewster pg17). The attack at yellow beach was supposed to destroy the gun lines but because of the extreme shortage of men this was accomplished (Christie pg10). Over at orange beach, the only successful attack took place. The ships landed on time and the assault of the batteries on the coast was completed (Christie pg10). Although these two attacks were not the most important they were supposed to “lighten the load” for the attacks at the blue and green beach. Because the yellow beach attack failed there were even more Germans defending blue beach than anticipated. Just like in the rehearsals The Royal Regiment of Canada, who were attacking blue beach, were 30 minutes late (Christie pg14). They landed while the main attack at Dieppe was happening and soldiers were taken out before they had a chance to move (Christie pg14).