This Week in History
Disaster at Dieppe
For the week of Monday August 18, 2003
In the early morning hours of August 19, 1942, Canadian troops formed the majority of those preparing to embark on a raid on the French town of Dieppe. Unfortunately for these men, the raid proved to be a military tragedy.
Unfortunately, very little went according to plan. As the Allied troops approached the eastern stretch of beach, they encountered a German convoy, jeopardizing the element of surprise. The Germans were able to move in to block the main attack on Dieppe. The natural features of the beach caused problems for Allied tanks, and provided German troops with excellent protection. Other sections of the attack suffered due to bad timing and miscommunication.
Of the 5,000 Canadian men who were ashore during the raid, more than 900 were killed, more than 2,000 were injured, and close to 2,000 were taken prisoner. In the air battle, the Royal Canadian Air Force lost nine pilots and 14 aircraft.
The raid on Dieppe is still controversial; some see it as a mistake while others maintain it taught lessons important to the success of D-Day in 1944. Despite the disagreement about the raid’s purpose, the bravery shown by Canadian troops is indisputable.
The Canadian raid on Dieppe was designated an event of national historic significance in 2000.
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