DISASTER for CANADIANS at DIEPPE! Betrayed by a Crossword Puzzle, Ninnies, and the BBC :::: 70 Years Ago in Canadian History!!
Well-trained fighting men.
Newest and the best contemporary military technology on land, sea, or in the air.
Eager, fearless, and courageous Canadians, British, and American Infantry.
Hasty, cavalier plan of attack with unrealistic objectives (capture the port and hold it for two tides, gather intelligence from prisoners and captured material, lure the Luftwaffe into open battle, and steal German encryption equipment for Allied code-breakers) .
Imminent disaster for all involved.
AUGUST 19, 1942…all of Europe was under Nazi domination.
Ignoring that sobering point that should have been reflected upon…the Raid on the French coastal town of Dieppe began in earnest, at 5am…as 6,000 men storm the six beaches of Dieppe.
While Churchill and Admiral Mountbatten presumptuously oversaw and authorized the raid, months before General Montgomery had been firmly against raiding the French sea port, or any French sea port. He predicted disaster. However, and unfortunately for Canada, Montgomery was now in North Africa heading up the desert campaign…so cooler heads would not prevail in this August of '42, as the Canadian government and the Chiefs of Staff concurred with Churchill and Mountbatten to authorize the suicidal raid that consisted mostly of Canadians.
Since June, months before the ill-fated raid, the BBC had been warning the occupied French coastal towns to evacuate because war was coming to the neighbourhood. Typical misguided leftist sympathies. And what was the actual effect of these dire BBC radio warnings? Did the French citizens leave?
But the Germans listened and dug in even deeper and reinforced the entire French coast against such an attack!
Good one, BBC!
Air recon units of the Nazi Luftwaffe confirmed a build up of Allied military activity along the Southern English coast, while simultaneously French double-agents warned of a British interest in Dieppe.
And to add a final stupidity to the mix, those emasculated Canadian and British military personnel ninnies that planned the Dieppe Raid felt they should play nice, avoid civilian losses, and not anger the traitorous collaborating Vichy government by letting the beach area reap the whirlwind.
So the trusting Canadians were expected to make a full frontal assault on those fortified beaches of Dieppe without prior air and naval bombardment of the port city's defences!
THAT was never done before. Ever.
You always bomb the hell out of the landing point.
How do you spell die, as one of the Canadian soldiers from the 2nd Canadian Infantry noted while enroute to his demise at Dieppe?
"Why look the first three letters of Dieppe are D-I-E …" he noted ominously.
Two days before the raid, on August 17, former footballer turned high school teacher, Leonard Dawe compiled the Daily Telegraph crossword with the clue "French port". The answer appeared in the English newspaper the following day. The answer was Dieppe!
Was Dawe passing intelligence on to the enemy?
The War Office called up the Scot, Lord Tweedsmuir, who was then assisting the Canadian Army as a senior intelligence officer. Dawe needed to be investigated. Tweedsmuir called upon MI5, the counter-intelligence and security agency of Great Britain.
After an immediate and intense inquiry of Dawe, at his home, it was determined the crossword containing the solution, was a complete fluke, a MERE coincidence!
Dawe was cleared of any suspicion.
Fast forward to 1944, one month before D-Day.Another crossword coincidence authored by Dawe appears in the Telegraph. This time there are multiple references to Operation Overlord, or D-Day, the Allied invasion of North Eastern Europe. Heck, even Overlord appeared in the crossword on May 27! Previous Dawe crosswords had contained, Juno, Gold, Sword and Omaha which were all code names for beaches assigned to various Allied forces. Juno was the beach assigned to the Canadian attack force. This was too much. MI5 was again called in to investigate the crossword compiler, Dawe.
In the end it is again concluded that relevant invasion terms that appear in Dawe's Telegraph crossword were an explainable coincidence.
However, the general public didn't find out the "rest of the story" until 1958 when Dawe appeared in a BBC TV interview. At the time, during the war, Dawe would encourage his school kids to come into his study and help him fill in the blank crossword puzzles. They provided the solution word. Then Dawe would create the clues for their chosen words.
In the end, the British teenagers were getting the code words from Canadian and American soldiers who were billeted close to Dawe's school.
When the Dieppe Raid was over at 10:50 am that morning, 3,367 Canadians were dead, wounded or captured! The Canadians had landed on the beach only to be pinned down, and trapped on that beach by the high sea wall and the German machine guns.
The British suffered 934 dead, wounded, or captured.
The Germans were unimpressed with the raid.
General Conrad Haase described the Dieppe Raid as "incomprehensible". How could a single division be expected to overrun a German regiment that was heavily fortified in its surroundings and supported in that position by heavy artillery.
The Churchill tanks although a new and fresh British design were "easy to fought", "poor and obsolete".
German Field Marshall Von Rundstedt noted the Allies would not have another Dieppe because "it has gained that experience dearly."
…and notably, from Wikipedia,
ALLIED ANAYSIS of the DIEPPE RAIDTHE LESSONS LEARNED AT DIEPPE essentially became the textbook of “what not to do” in future amphibious operations, and laid the framework for the Normandy landings two years later.
Most notably, Dieppe highlighted:
2. the need for a sustained element of surprise;
3. the need for proper intelligence concerning enemy fortifications;
4. the avoidance of a direct frontal attack on a defended port city; and,
5. the need for proper re-embarkation craft.
As a consequence of the lessons learned at Dieppe, the British developed a whole range of specialist armoured vehicles which allowed their engineers to perform many of their tasks protected by armour, most famously Hobart's Funnies. The operation showed major deficiencies in RAF ground support techniques, and this led to the creation of a fully integrated Tactical Air Force to support major ground offensives.
Another effect of the raid was change in the Allies' previously held belief that seizure of a major port would be essential in the creation of a second front. Their revised view was that the amount of damage that would be done to a port by the necessary bombardment to take it, would almost certainly render it useless as a port afterwards. As a result, the decision was taken to construct prefabricated harbours, codenamed "Mulberry", and tow them to lightly defended beaches as part of a large-scale invasion.