Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for August 19th!
The Dieppe Raid was a Second World War Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe, France. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at this battle and the terrible toll it took on the Canadians at war.
The Battle of Dieppe was a test. A test that went terribly wrong.
The allied forces were preparing for a the full-scale invasion of western Europe. The plan was to make a forward assault on the town of Dieppe, across the English Channel on the coast of France. The raid on Dieppe would give the Allies a chance to test techniques and equipment for landing troops from the sea. The Battle of Dieppe was a disaster for the Canadians.
The raid took place on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 a.m. and by 10:50 a.m. the Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat. Over 5,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by a Canadian Armoured regiment and a strong force of Royal Navy and smaller Royal Air Force landing contingents.
Of the nearly 5,000-strong Canadian contingent, 3,367 were killed, wounded or taken prisoner, an extraordinary casualty rate of 68%. The 1,000 British Commandos lost 247 men. The Royal Navy lost one destroyer and 33 landing craft, suffering 550 dead and wounded. The RAF lost 106 aircraft to the 48 lost by the Luftwaffe. The German Army had 591 casualties.
While the Canadian contingent fought bravely in the face of a gritty enemy, it was ultimately situations outside their control which sealed their fate. Despite concerns of the inexperienced Canadian regiments that were engaged in battle, scholars have noted that even seasoned professionals would have been hard-pressed under the bad conditions. The commanding officers who designed the raid on Dieppe had not envisioned such losses. This was the first attempt by the Western Allies on a German-held port city. As a result, planning from the highest ranks in preparation for the raid was minimal. Critical errors were made which resulted in scores of Allied (mainly Canadian) deaths.
The Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery is located approximately five kilometres south of Dieppe and is visited annually by Canadians during Remembrance day.
And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada.