Author Topic: Dieppe merged thread (70th Anniversary, historical debates, etc.)  (Read 45654 times)

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Offline Milnet.ca

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Re: They also wrote one about Dieppe





Posted by Brad Sallows from Burnaby BC Canada on April 26, 1999 at 17:38:00:


In Reply to: They also wrote one about Dieppe posted by Michael A. Dorosh on April 23, 1999 at 19:45:25:



I don‘t think any amphibious operation could compare to Dieppe
in terms of what was learned about assaulting a heavily fortified
shore none of the other operations went up against shoreline
fortifications of the same magnitude as those in France.  There
would not have been the same emphasis on development of specialized
armour without Dieppe the Americans, with no such experience,
almost had to be forced to employ duplex drive tanks.  Similarly,
all the initial assaults in the Mediterranean were relative cakewalks
and it was Dieppe that taught the lessons about employing and
coordinating firepower and establishing decent communications.
Imagine if, after having strolled ashore against the Italians in
Sicily and learned relatively no hard lessons, the Allies had
undertaken a 3-division by sea and 2 division by air assault
directly against a channel port in 1943, without benefit of
prolonged bombardment, specialized armour and engineers, decent
communications and air/naval fire coordination.  Does anyone think
the results would‘ve been any different than Dieppe?

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Dieppe merged thread (70th Anniversary, historical debates, etc.)
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2002, 13:46:00 »
Dieppe Cemetery amp The Vimy Memorial





Posted by Michael O‘Leary from Meaford Canada on May 28, 2000 at 13:25:52:



Earlier this month I had the opportunity to vist both Dieppe and the Vimy Monument. I have added pages to my website  http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/index.htm  displaying photographs I took at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Dieppe as well as the Vimy Memorial. Some of my observations from this visit follow:

DIEPPE

The Dieppe Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery holds over 700 graves, not all from the Dieppe raid. Some are earlier and some are later wartime casualties. When these cemeteries were established, many isolated remains were exhumed and moved to the Commission Cemeteries for control and ongoing maintenance.

The Cemetery is very simply laid out with a stone wall along the road and hedges bordering the other three sides. A small stone structure houses the visitors‘ ledger. A central stone altar rests inside the gates in the wall. A stone cross with a bronze sword on one side overlooks the rows of graves. Some or all of these items are found in each and every one of the Commission‘s Cemeteries. The white headstones lie in simple rows, either back to back in a double line, or spaced in a single line of graves to fill a minimum amount of space for the number interred. Around the edges of the Cemetery are other small groups of headstones. The Cemetery is well-tended, with close-cropped grass and flowers along the base of each row of headstones. One section was cordoned off from our wanderings among the rows, the grass had been recently reseeded.

During our visit to the Cemetery we conducted a brief ceremony to lay a wreath at the stone altar. Following this each member was left to view the Cemetery alone, during which time all signed the visitors‘ registry.

Each Canadian headstone is adorned by an engraved, stylized, maple leaf those of British soldiers have their Regimental, Corps or Service crest. Below is the soldier‘s name, rank and regiment. At the bottom of the gravestone is a simple inscription as requested by the family whenever it was possible to do so. Some headstones, too many, are simple inscribed "A Soldier of the Second World War A Canadian Regiment 19 August 1942" and "Known Unto God."

The simplicity of the monuments, the rows of white gravestones and the carefully tended gardening strikes an awe of respect into each observer. Within the boundaries of the Cemetery a quiet hush covers all, as each participant is left to his or her own thoughts of the men who died fighting to preserve the way of life our grandparents treasured and ensuring it remained for ourselves to enjoy. I would hope that if I fell in service to my country I might be laid in as peaceful a place, where sixty years later the view remains peaceful farmers‘ fields and cows still wander nearby.


VIMY

Vimy Memorial park is nearly all forested now. In 1917 it would have been denuded of trees, and precious few blades of grass would have been seen. Reforested to minimize the effects of erosion, the ground is now carpeted by a rich blanket of thick green grass. Most sections of the park are out-of-bounds to visitors and one glance, to the initiated, shows why. Other than the reforestation, the ground has not been altered since the battle. Every inch of the park still retains the shape of each shell-hole and collapsed trench-line, to the extent where no level spot can be seen on either side of the roads. This preservation extends into the fields around the monument except where they needed space to support the construction.

I have walked impact areas on Canadian bases which have seen forty or more years of artillery training, and even though Gunner‘s eyes are invariably attracted to the same targets, I have never seen an area as shattered and reshaped by high explosive as the fields around the Vimy Memorial. It is hard to imagine walking easily across them now, with a grassy surface, good footwear and no heavy pack. To consider what strength, physical and psychological, that it would have taken an infantry soldier of 1917 to cross that terrain is barely conceivable. And then to imagine four men bearing a stretcher loaded with one of their mates over it is even more incredible.

But the grounds are not restricted just because of their treacherous footing. It is estimated that there is one piece of unexploded munition in those woods for every square metre of ground. With that in mind, one understands why the grass-cutting in most of the park is executed by herds of sheep.

We walk slowly along the roads from the restored trenches to the Monument itself.  Again, we are taken by the impact of its simple design as seen from a distance.  This marks the highlight of the trip for many, for few Canadian soldiers have not read of the battle of Vimy Ridge and of the Monument itself. But to stand upon its stones is a very great thing that cannot be adequately described with mere words.

First we walked around the main pylons of the monument on its limestone base. At the foot of the solitary erect statue on the main wall of the base, a female figure representing Canada Mourning, we lay our wreath and observed a few minutes silence for the soldiers who fell fighting for this ground.

Quietly, in ones and twos, we spread out to see the many impressive details of the monument. I will not attempt to describe every aspect of the site, as I could not do it justice and some aspects such as the visages of the statues are well conveyed in available photographs. In general, the statuary represents the great loss and grief of war, this is not a monument to glorify conflict, rather it serves as a solemn reminder of the terrible things mankind has wrought upon his brother.

On the two pylons, in French and English, is the inscription: "To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada."

Around the base of the Monument are inscribed 11,825 names of Canadian soldiers who died in the First World War and have no known graves. Walking along these walls of names is utterly overwhelming, seeing each soldier so remembered for all time, his sacrifice not forgotten as long as the people of Canada visit this place and maintain this stone work of art.

The Vimy memorial is stained and shows its age. The surface, surprisingly to me, is not the smooth surface of dressed stone, but is rough in texture, deliberately prepared to be so. In retrospect this coarse finish on the stone is probably more fitting to the somber purpose of the Monument.

Any Canadian that travels to Europe should visit Vimy Ridge. They should walk these grounds and quietly thank those who sacrificed themselves in the first of two great wars of the Twentieth Century to defend and maintain the principles and tenets of western society. No photo or collection of words, no matter how nicely narrated, can replicate the power, the intensity and the impact of standing on Hill 145 and trying to visualize what powers and what love for their fellow man it must take to make men willing to achieve such a feat of arms.


Lest WeForget.






The Regimental Rogue

Offline WarmAndVertical

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What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 19:46:03 »
http://www.lewrockwell.com/ryan/ryan31.html

This is an interesting article about the fact that Canada was really a more war supporting nation than the US (esp British wars) but that that changed after Dieppe.  Some interesting ideas on what things would be like if Dieppe hadn't occurred.
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Offline wildman0101

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 20:23:15 »
dieppe happened...deal with it
every thing after the fact is just conjecture (guessing)
just ym .002 worth
lest we forget..
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Offline ronnychoi

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 20:29:18 »
Brigadier General Commack lives across from my Gramma in Manitoba. He stormed Dieppe. He is really wise.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2007, 20:49:53 »
What is a wise person for you, ronnychoi ?
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Offline ronnychoi

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2007, 20:56:58 »
Someone who has been around the world and seen many cultures.. Who has an optimistic outlook on life. You can't be wise unless you approach most all things and events with good humour.

Thats just my interpretation.
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Offline JesseWZ

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 23:19:42 »
From what I understand many valuable lessons for D-day were learned from Dieppe. Things like terrain of the landing zone, bombardment, defense emplacement softening etc. If Dieppe didn't happen its my humble opinion that Normandy would have been a tougher fight.
Just my random loose changes worth.
Edit: Grammatical Error
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Offline villecour

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2007, 23:31:19 »
You are right Jesse. lessons, very valuable ones were learnt at Dieppe and without them, things could have gone terribly bad in Normandy.

     :cdn:

Offline ParaMedTech

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2007, 00:59:16 »
There's a book floating around, written by a fellow named Christopher Chreighton (sp?).  I believe the title is "Op JB".

It presents as a factual account, but is often billed as fiction.  In it, the author claims to have worked for a very secretive relation of British SOE, and he claims that he was in fact a double agent, who was tasked to leak the plans for Dieppe to the German intelligence (anyone who's read some WWII history will be familiar with the truly crappy rep that German Int had in WWII).

The objective of the op was to allow the landing to be defeated, and thereby convince the German Command that the Atlantic Wall was sufficiently defended, and didn't need any further reinforcing.

The book then goes on to talk about a river-borne infiltration and exfiltrartion of Berlin as the Red Army closed up to the Rhine, spiriting away the German Exchequer, who had access to huge amounts of money deposited in Switzerland.

Even if it's a work of fiction, it's not a bad read.  If a true account, then a phenomenal record of some of the most daring ops conducted in WWII.

Interesting theory, anyway.

DF
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Offline ronnychoi

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007, 01:17:03 »
Yeah, I'll read it. Its hard to find good books. I personally like the books that are written in the first person about thier lives and the the things they learned.

"Eat your weakest man" by Rui Amaral was a fun read.
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Offline WarmAndVertical

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007, 05:53:51 »
I think you need to read the article to get the point.  The point is that before WW2, if you asked an American which country was more likely to go to war, the answer would be Canada.  That is a far cry from what you would hear today if you asked that question on a FoxNews e mail poll.  The fact is that Canada supported British wars in very strong numbers and and english Canadian was far more likely to join up than an American.
Just a warning, though.  The Lew Rockwell site is conservative/libertarian and very good on economic matters but it is virulently anti-neocon.
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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007, 07:34:42 »

The objective of the op was to allow the landing to be defeated, and thereby convince the German Command that the Atlantic Wall was sufficiently defended, and didn't need any further reinforcing.

DF

But the Germans did move units to the wall after Dieppe, They took units off the Eastern front.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 07:48:27 »
One of the real lessons of Dieppe is that corporate memory is a valuable resource. Much of what happened at Dieppe happened at Gallipoli during the First World War, and if those lessos had been remembered; the outcome of OP JUBILEE would have been rather different.

My opinion, anyway
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Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007, 08:04:13 »
Alternatively, one lesson from Gallipoli was the difficulty of supporting a landing force across a beach (no dock, port facilities, etc.).  One of the objectives of the Dieppe raid was to prove whether or not it was possible to capture, intact, a usuable port facility which could support a landing force.  Unfortunately, those attributes which make a port possible, such as headlands, harbour and approaches, also made it clearly defensible for the Germans and emphasized the costs of trying to plan an invasion around this support approach.  Results - improved 'across the beach' support for follow-on operations: better landing craft, purpose-built fire support ships, DUKWs in Africa and Italy; PLUTO and MULBERRY by Normandy, etc.   Who might have expected it, operational logistic planning helping to shape invasion strategy and tactics.



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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007, 09:21:46 »
Dieppe is an interesting study, made somewhat difficult in Canada due to the emotional part.

To me, the big "lesson" has to do with the conception of the plan.  While the planners were quite enthusiastic, the Navy was much more cool.  They would not risk a captial ship (cruiser or above) to support the landings due to the risk in the Channel to air attack.  This should have been a show-stopper.  Planning went ahead.  Combined Operations wanted an operation, and the Canadians were looking for a battle after two years or so of relative inactivity.  The aim of an operation shouldn't necessarily be to conduct an operation.

If an operation is not important enough for one service to commit critical resources and the higher command does not see it as important enough to countermand that decision then it should be a red flag to the planners.

There were lots of amphibious landings during the course of the war before Normandy to learn tactical lessons.  The requirement for fire support was known.  That being said, it did quash any thoughts of trying to seize a port intact.  It did cool the enthusiasm in US quarters for a 1943 invasion, and that is probably important.

Still, I believe that the AVRE was a direct result of the Dieppe raid.  The tanks did better than most think at getting ashore and off the beach.  It was the concrete barriers where the town met the esplanade that halted them.  The sappers were on foot and killed.  I believe that a Canadian engineer Captain conceived the AVRE in the weeks following the raid. 

The raid is also a good object lesson that relying on complete tactical suprise of the enemy for success is a huge gamble.  Reading the detailed plan for the attack, the Germans seem to have been assumed away.

Turning to the blog in question, I find the reasoning a bit hard to follow.  I would not ascribe Canadian sentiments towards "war" and the US in the post-war period to Dieppe.  I would venture that Canada in WWI had a strong connection to England, and this continued into WWII.  This faded over time, and there had never been a similar strong emotional connection to the US. 

Speculative history is fun, but it is a rather dubious discipline.
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Offline Echo9

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2007, 10:56:29 »
for those who are interested, there's actually a series of books entitled "What if..." that are about counterfactual histories, written by some of the world's top military historians.  Examples include Alexander being killed early on in his conquests, the greeks losing at Thermopylae, the German spring offensive of 1918 being successful, Hitler attacking the mid-east for its oil instead of Russia, Chang Kai Shek being victorious over Mao (at different times).  And then there's the American revolution, where there's about 12 different points where it would have turned out differently.

I think that the more interesting what if wrt Dieppe is what might have happened if it was successful....
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007, 11:05:24 »
I agree with Red Five. Canada has never been a hot bed of military ardour in peacetime. Look at the level of peacetime military spending compared to darn near everyone else in the period between the two world wars of the last century.

As for the planning for Dieppe, if it proved nothing else, it showed that an invasion was too important to be left to the like of Mountbatten and his staff and that a Supreme Commander with undivided authority and the complete backing of the Briitsh and American service chiefs was needed.

It is also interesting to see how Montgomery managed to hide his responsibility for the early planning for the raid.

Offline JesseWZ

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2007, 11:10:47 »
Alternate History is a personal favourite of mine. I especially enjoy Harry Turtledove. He's a little far out in some cases but his books on the US civil war are quite good.
I will be seen and not heard... I will be seen and not heard... I will be seen and not heard...

Offline DVessey

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2007, 11:24:27 »
Ditto what other people have said so far. We learned/relearned a lot of important lessons at Dieppe.

Midway through the article, the author makes the statement:
"The gradual pull-away of Canada from the U.K. orbit would have proceeded anyway, so Canadian war enthusiasm would have been slowly detached from the British Commonwealth and transferred, in part, to the United States’ battles"
Which I don't agree with at all.

Even before the war, Canada was trying to get some more independence (read: Borden signing Versailles indepedantly, Treaty of Westminister). MacKenzie even waited a week after Britain before declaring war. I don't see why we would have shifted more towards the US. We were trying to be more independent, not look for a new imperial master.

Again, my two cents.
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Offline Aerobicrunner

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2007, 11:30:11 »
 Who might have expected it, operational logistic planning helping to shape invasion strategy and tactics.
Just a slight diversion because it sure helped at Vimy Ridge.
Quote from Valour Remembered - Canada and the First World War (p11):
"Canadian commanders , however, had learned well the bitter lessons of assault by vulnerable infantry.  This time the prepartation was elaborate and the planning thorough.  Engineers dug great tunnels into the Ridge; roads and light railways were built; signals and supplies were ready.  The operation was to be supported by a large concentration of heavy guns and howitzers, and full artillery.  The men two were fully prepared.  The area was simulated behind the lines and troops practiced their roles until every man was familiar witht he ground and the tactics expected of him."


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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2007, 11:41:07 »
The raid on Dieppe was planned then cancelled after a period of time the whole thing was started up again. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Divison was added after planning was underway. Many people say it was too big for a commando raid but too small for an invasion force. At the last moment the heavy naval support of battleships and the heavy bomber raid where cancelled. It is one of the great what ifs of WW2 . What if they had held the port intacted there was no follow up troops to re-enforce the beach head . This should not take away for the bravery and fighting spirit of the troops that take part. The hand of fate was not kind to the units that saw action. It is proudly wore as a battle honour as any victory is . It is one of the many events that has shape the modern Canadian Forces and the country of Canada. Both would be poorer if it did not happen!


Just my 2 cents on the issue.
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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2007, 12:12:14 »
I was in the Honor Guard for the 30Th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. It was wonderful to see the looks of appreciation and thanks  from the towns people of Dieppe. Even though Dieppe was a disaster for the Canadians, in later years it was a godsent for the people of France
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Offline 3rd Herd

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2007, 12:41:10 »

It presents as a factual account, but is often billed as fiction.  In it, the author claims to have worked for a very secretive relation of British SOE, and he claims that he was in fact a double agent, who was tasked to leak the plans for Dieppe to the German intelligence (anyone who's read some WWII history will be familiar with the truly crappy rep that German Int had in WWII).

The objective of the op was to allow the landing to be defeated, and thereby convince the German Command that the Atlantic Wall was sufficiently defended, and didn't need any further reinforcing.


DF

Well Para Med tech here is some reading for you: London Calling North Pole by Hermann J. Giskes , It is just one of a series of works that proved beyond a wildest doubt that German intelligence had most of the resistance and SOE operations well penetrated. Also in this genre is Cookridge, E.H in Set Europe Ablaze . Yes they had the information but it is what the higher ups chose to do with it is another story. For D-day for example in  Invasion! They're Coming!: The German Account of the D-Day Landings and the 80 Days' Battle for France by Paul Carell there are several quite excellent examples of German penetration of allied plans. Keith Macksey's Partisans provides a continental view of German successes and failures. A relatively recent published book by Jean Overton Fuller, titled The German Penetration of SOE is worth the read. Interestingly though the one resistance organization the Germans did have problems with was the Communist controlled ones.

As for the Eastern Front  most anything by Glantz, Le Tessier, Belvor and Seaton can clear up the situation as all have examined this area. There is a reexamination of the wonder star of German intelligence, General Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's chief of eastern front intelligence is starting to occur now too as more archival material is seeing the light of day.

as for Dieppe there are several theories floating around around several universities as earlier stated more material is now available to examine.

Edit to add:

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,38082.0.html
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 12:44:44 by 3rd Herd »
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: What if Dieppe had never happened.
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2007, 13:10:00 »
The raid on Dieppe was planned then cancelled after a period of time the whole thing was started up again. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Divison was added after planning was underway. Many people say it was too big for a commando raid but too small for an invasion force. At the last moment the heavy naval support of battleships and the heavy bomber raid where cancelled. It is one of the great what ifs of WW2 . What if they had held the port intacted there was no follow up troops to re-enforce the beach head . This should not take away for the bravery and fighting spirit of the troops that take part. The hand of fate was not kind to the units that saw action. It is proudly wore as a battle honour as any victory is . It is one of the many events that has shape the modern Canadian Forces and the country of Canada. Both would be poorer if it did not happen!


Just my 2 cents on the issue.

There was never a follow up because Dieppe was designed as a "raid". What exactly they were raiding may be open to question; a book called "Green Beach" suggests the aim was to capture a radar station and bring parts and maybe the operators back for investigation; as stated earlier there were questions as to the utility of capturing a port to support an invasion force and so on.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.