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No Dieppe, No Normandy?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Mussolini, May 17, 2018.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    You've really lost the thread of the conversation, haven't you?

    BTW, it was 4th and 6th Canadian Infantry Brigades, elements of 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment, five commandos, and a U.S. Ranger detachment, a bit more than an "entire brigade", but why should we drag accuracy into the discussion too?
     
  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Comparing Guadalcanal and Dieppe is not a valid comparison, for many reasons. Going back to the point of the thread, whether D-Day could have happened without Dieppe, I say Yes. I agree Willis that Dieppe was a waste of time, money, resources, and most importantly men's lives, The Western Allies didn't have anything to prove to Stalin, and that second front he had been whining about was North Africa, which tied down almost a million Axis hostiles.
     
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  3. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    I was talking about what was lost...are you slow...Richard. I am well aware of the Canadian forces that were engaged. Your point is what, other that reading wickipedia?
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Willis, I'm just disinterested in interacting with yet another cocksure internet cowboy incapable of following the thread of the conversation.
     
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  5. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Guys! Cmon, we were having a good conversation for a while, take a deep breath everyone, inhale...........exhale........
     
  6. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Welcome to the internet, JJ...where every thread gets derailed before completing its first page!
     
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  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    And entirely uninterested in facts that don't support their emotions.
     
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  8. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    I'm always amused by single-topic fanatical posters who join for that one reason.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, my friend, the Raid was inconsequential...The casualties incurred, are immaterial to the argument.

    Yes, yes, it was, especially if, as recent research suggests, the major objective was to capture a German Enigma device. A small Commando raid would have been far better suited to that purpose.

    Well, the troops were put ashore, and the Kreigsmarine was mostly kept at arms length, so the RN, in the main, succeeded in their effort.

    Again, in the main, the RAF prevented the Luftwaffe from interfering with the Raid. However, they did fail to cripple the Luftwaffe in France, as they were hoping to do.

    No argument...The objectives were worthless, and the planning & reconnaissance was poor.

    Eh? The failed to take and hold most of their objectives...How is this impressive? You seem to be blaming everyone else, but the Royal Navy does not take and hold the ground, the Royal Air Force does not take and hold the ground, taking and holding ground is the Army's bit...And they failed.

    No, my friend, the multiple cruisers were occupied elsewhere. The San Juan and two destroyers were it.

    Yes, it is...However, Guadalcanal is the only "major" amphibious assault undertaken prior to Dieppe, other than Operation Ironclad. So there is really not much to compare it with - Despite the OP's statement "I am perplexed by this as there were plenty of other Amphibious Assaults where lessons were learned and improved upon."
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My take was rather than saying the Canadians were impressive he was attempting to use sarcasm i.e. the Canadians weren't impressed with the British high command. I could be wrong though.
     
  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I would have to disagree with old poster Takao. The raid was not inconsequential. A lot of good lessons were learned. (See my previous post on this thread). These lessons made Overlord a lot easier than perhaps would have been the case had we not taken a drubbing at Dieppe. It may have saved many more lives than were lost there.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Getting back to the original question, I don't think a successful raid on Dieppe would have had much impact on German preparations or the prospects for Overlord. A totally successful Operation Jubilee would have been over in a day, with the troops withdrawn in good order. German defensive measures, governed by Fuhrer Directive 40, centered around fortification of ports designated fortresses, as well as the Channel Islands. The main threat in the Channel theater at the time was the Allies seizing a port as a base for further operations, and the temporary occupation of Dieppe would only emphasize the need to continue to focus on ports.

    Construction of major beach defenses only got underway in late 1943, with the issuance of Fuhrer Directive 51 and the appointment of Rommel to manage anti-invasion measures. Up until then the Channel coast had been one of several areas the Germans needed to concern themselves with, and of course actual landings had all been in the Mediterranean. However it was clear to all concerned that a major cross-Channel invasion could be expected in mid 1944, whatever had happened at Dieppe two years earlier.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The problem with this is that these lessons were relearned many times, and sometimes forgotten, during the time between Dieppe and Normandy. Hence, I am of the opinion that Dieppe was inconsequential.
     
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  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Your previous post in this thread was "Wisdom comes from experience. Experience comes from screwing up!" While I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiment, I am unclear from that which "lot of good lessons were learned"? Which lessons were they that "made Overlord a lot easier"?

    That an amphibious invasion required naval and air bombardment? They already knew that. Those were lessons learned at Gallipoli, drawn from observation of Japanese operations in the Chinese War, and from Japanese operations in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, as well as in exercises by the I Amphibious Corps (Provisional) in landings from Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, Onslow Beach New River, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, during the fall and winter of 1941. The Marine landings on Guadalcanal were supported by naval and air bombardment...that they were mostly unneeded is irrelevant. (See General Holland M. Smith (U.S.M.C., Ret.), The Development of Amphibious Tactics in the U.S. Navy, (U.S. Marine Corps Gazette, June 1946-February 1947 and David C. Emmel, Major, USMC, The Development of Amphibious Doctrine (MA thesis), (U.S. Army Command and Generaal Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 2011).

    That ports were the most heavily defended coastal areas and should be avoided? They already knew that, after all that is where aall nations placed their heavy coastal fortifications since just about forever. RUTTER, which was a more extensive operation than JUBILEE, originally envisaged the principal attacks on the flanks for just that reason, but JUBILEE, which was more intended as a quick smash and grab, expected surprise would be easier to achieve. Otherwise, doctrine avoided ports unless required. TORCH for example, attempted two direct port assaults, the Ranger assault on the Arzew Battery at Oran, just a few hundred yards from the port entrance and Operation RESERVIST, the direct assault on the port by the 3d Battalion, 6th AIR. The first succeeded and the second failed. However, TORCH planning was not finalized until after 5 September 1942, long after Dieppe demonstrated the risk of a direct assault on a port, so apparently the lesson may have been learned, but was ignored. (See John P. Campbell, Dieppe Revisited: A Documentary Investigation, (Frank Cass, London, 1993) and the numerous CMHQ Reports dealing with Dieppe, especially No. 153: Operation "JUBILEE": The Raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 42. New Light on Early Planning.)

    That specialty amphibious engineers were required? They already knew that. Again, the experience in exercises of the I Amphibious Corps (Provisional), during the fall and winter of 1941 led the Army to organize the first Engineer Amphibious units on 15 June 1942.

    Curiously, one of the earliest "lessons" recorded as "learned" from Dieppe would have been disastrous if adopted. That was the notion that tanks and other armored vehicles should not be landed in the assault, since the nature of beach terrain and German defenses meant they were useless. (See John P. Campbell, Dieppe Revisited: A Documentary Investigation, (Frank Cass, London, 1993), p. 222 and M. E. Orsbourn, The Shortest Gap: Story of the Armoured Engineers Vehicles of Royal Engineers, (NP, ND), pp. 5 & 10.)
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    You said it a lot more succinctly than I did.
     
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Well, learned, relearned, reinforced, whatever, the lessons were there. Apparently, they were learned since a lot of effort was spent confirming that the Normandy beaches were of the right gradient and consistency to allow tanks to cross them. The air and naval bombardment was, except for Omaha Beach, devastating to the defenders. So, except for Omaha, where the prep fires went awry, everything went our way which was due to a lot more planning and thought. I do think though that a "raid" doesn't get the planning and assets that would be allocated to an "invasion". More is at stake than the latter.
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Can anyone name any Brigade-sized effort that was "consequential?" In a war involving millions of dead... If that is the measuring stick?
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Okay...yes, the lessons were there for all to see, before and after Dieppe. So how then is it Dieppe that was so important?

    You mean the lesson learned from Dieppe that I mentioned was ignored? Then we agree. :) Seriously though, the gradient issue was something learned not from Dieppe, but from multiple experiences, including in the Pacific and Mediterranean (especially TORCH), which demonstrated that the beach gradient was very important not for tanks, but for landing craft and ships. Early designs of the LCT and LST anticipated landing them on very steep beaches. The LCT 1 and 2 were designed to land on a 1/32 slope, the LCT 3 a 1/35 slope, but the LCT 4 and after were designed for a 1/150 slope. Landing on steep beaches led to losses of craft that could be ill-afforded. Conversely, the LST was designed for a 1/50 slope, but it was limited by that to carrying a 500-ton load, 72 tons of fuel, 50 tons of water, and a full crew and troop complement. A full load of tanks would mean a 700-720 ton load, with vehicles on the main deck it would go to 850 tons or more. In that case it would have to land on a much steeper beach – 1/30 or more – or would have to unload over pontoons, Rhinos, or on a jetty or hardstand. So planners had to look for a balance, shallow enough for LCT and smaller craft, steep enough to make maximum use of the LST load capacity.

    The consistency issue was different and did apply to all vehicles, not just AFV and led to various solutions using vehicle-carried or hand-laid mats of various types.

    Um, no, the air and naval bombardment was essentially ineffective on all the beaches. The nature of the fortifications employed by the Germans for their landing craft killers made them essentially impervious to naval or air attack, except by fluke chance. The 75mm gun at La Hamel did great destruction on GOLD JIG until it was put out of action by direct assault and GOLD KING would have suffered as badly if the Osttruppen manning the defenses of the 88mm at La Cabine had not fled leading its crew to decamp as well after only a few shots. Similar happened at JUNO and GOLD, but it was the lower density of such landing craft killers and the less advantageous terrain that made them less effective, not the naval or air bombardment (the effect of the "beach-drenching" fire is debatable too, but may have had some suppressive effect not obtained at OMAHA, because the "beach drenchers" were fewer or got sunk quickly).

    BTW, operational planning for RUTTER began 14 April, so four months (127 days) before the operation was carried out. Operational planning for NEPTUNE began 25 February 1942, so just over three months (102 days) before the operation was carried out. :D
     
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  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Although the stated objective was to see if the allies could capture a port in a raid,. There were many different objectives that pulled the different stakeholders into undertaking Op Jubilee, originally planned as Op Rutter.

    At a high level Combined Operations had been given the task of raiding the coast of occupied Europe. Churchill's vision was for raids to destablise the Germans across the European coastline.Along with subversion by SOE, it was the only aggressive land strategy left to the UK after Dunkirk. It was why Combined Operations was made a separate service with moiuntbatten at the same table as the First Sea Lord, CIGS,and CAS. By 1942 there was an alternative - a second front joint operation with the US.In 1942 the Western Allies were under a lot of pressure to Do Something to take the pressure from the USSR. The Americans wanted to launch a second front in 1942 with C 10,mostly British divisions, The British did not want to lose their last Home Army or repeat Dunkirk. Op Jubilee was the minimum gesture towards a second front. But suppose the Allies had gone for broke...

    Scenario 1 -No Dieppe, but a 1942 Normandy invasion.

    This would have been mounted with the same techniques as used in Op Jubilee. Night or early morning landings attempting surprise -which would not have been achieved. There is enough shipping to land about two divisions on day one with a build up of one division per day to a maximum of ten divisions. There is no Mulberry Harbour and the assault must be made on the port of Cherbourg on the North end of Utah beach.

    The allies do not have air superiority over France. The Luftwaffe has not been worn down by the 8th AF over Germany, The Scharnhorst is in German waters while the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper are within 24 hours of the channel. The U Boat war is far from being won.

    The Germans had identified that there was a build up of shipping and that the allies were trying something.Hitler ordered the SS Corps LAH and Das Reich plus a parachute division an infantry division and a bomber group to France in 1942. The 10 Panzer Division was already there, as was the collection of improvised artillery that became the 21st Panzer Division.The Germans were able to bringing three extra divisions to Tunisia in November and 20 to Italy. A 1942 Normandy is likely to end like Dieppe.

    A failed 1942 Normandy is one scenario where the Germans might win the war.

    The biggest single lesson from Dieppe was that it was not possible to obtain tactical surprise with a large landing force on the French Coast. The commando raids before Dieppe had achieved tactical surprise. The landings in the Mediterranean were mounted at night on weakly defended beaches. Dieppe forced a 90 degree change in tactical emphasis to developing technology and tactics to assault a heavily defended position from the sea. These included the following:-
    • Dedication of a high proportion of landing craft to carry support weapons to provide firepower equivalent to the bombardment at El Alamein.
    • Armoured engineering vehicles to demolish obstacles and cross gaps
    • Armoured flame thrower vehicles to support attacks on bunkers
    • Mulberry harbour to avoid the need to assault a port.
    • Strategic air forces deployed to bomb defences.
    • Heavily rehearsed attacks by company groups of ainfantry armour and engineers to attack defensive positions
    • Artillery firing from landing craft
    Sure, with a crystal ball it is possible that allied planners might have figured this out. BUT each of the developments was at the expense of other demands for resources. E.g. landing craft for the pacific.More troops in the initial wave. There would have been lots of good reasons for doing any of these. One of the big lessons from history is that your own costly mistakes have a greater impact on planning than hypothetical risks.

    Scenario 2. Without these developments Op Overlord in 1943 or 44 would have resembled Dieppe on a much larger scale. Something like Op Husky in size, but with troops trying to sneak ashore against an un-suppressed enemy. This is close to what Churchill feared - a repeat of the first day on the Somme: 60,000 casualties of which 20,000 dead out of an assault force of C, 150,000. On that day the attack failed on 2/3 of the assault sectors. So lets imagine D Day with a complete failure on Utah ,Omaha & Sword beach and a beachhead 5 miles by 2 miles on Gold & Juno. Not looking good....
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  20. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks for the Informative response, Sheldrake!

    I guess my real question now, at this stage is...why commit so many men? Was it a Raid or an Invasion? It seemed to fail at doing both, especially if raids had been conducted successfully on a smaller-unit scale. To me, it seems like it was far too many men committed to...I'm still not really sure what the point of Dieppe was. So they wanted to relieve pressure on the Russians, but a Raid was never going to do that. Only a proper invasion, or the imminent threat of one to tie down divisions, would have done so.

    To me, there doesn't really seem to have been a goal or a purpose to Dieppe, other than perhaps some one's pet project (ala Churchill and Anzio) that failed spectacularly.
     

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