Operation Jubilee – The ill-fated raid on Dieppe
80th Anniversary News from the Archive

August 19th, 2022 will mark the 80th Anniversary of Operation Jubilee, ever since 1942 known as the Dieppe Raid.

The first large-scale operation planned by Combined Operations under Lord Louis Mountbatten; Operation Jubilee was to be a ‘Reconnaissance in Force’. That is, unlike Operation Overlord (D-Day) two years later, the purpose wasn’t invasion and liberation. The main objective was to land a large force of troops, supported by tanks, in German-occupied Dieppe with regular & special forces landing on four other beaches West and East of the town. Once the port of Dieppe was under Allied control, it would be held for 24 hours. Then the Allied forces would re-embark and withdraw. The purpose? To gain intelligence on German Coastal defences and strength, test Allied landing craft and techniques for amphibious assault and possibly convince the Germans that a larger invasion was coming, thus taking troops away from the Eastern Front, where our Russian allies were losing ground.

Unfortunately for the Allied forces that made up the attacking force, the raid was a disaster. The element of surprise was lost when part of the Allied convoy ran into a German coastal patrol, who alerted the garrison stationed at Dieppe. There was no preliminary aerial or naval bombardment of the target areas to avoid French civilian casualties, so German defence positions remained strong, and poor reconnaissance of the beach at Dieppe failed to note that the beach is made of large ‘chert’ pebbles, which played havoc with the landing Churchill infantry tanks’ caterpillar tracks. Only one successfully managed to get off the beach.

The casualties at the end of the nine-hour battle were horrendous, particularly for the men of the Canadian 2nd Army Division which made up the largest part of the Force. Of the 4963 Canadian troops who landed across four of the designated beaches, 907 were killed and 1846 taken prisoner. Of the 2120 who returned to Britain, many were seriously wounded. For the Royal Navy, one ‘Hunt’ class destroyer was lost with four more seriously damaged, 75 personnel were killed and 269 taken prisoner. Large numbers of landing craft of all types were lost. On the West and Eastern-most beaches, the Commando forces took heavy casualties too. Of the 247 killed, 52 were British and the American 1st Ranger Battalion sent 50 men, dispersed among No.3 & 4 Commando, 13 of whom were killed or wounded. In the air above Dieppe, the single-largest air battle of the war took place between more than 70 RAF and Dominion Squadrons and the German Luftwaffe. Allied losses were 112 planes with 153 casualties, 67 killed.

To find out more about the Dieppe Raid, why not visit us at Newhaven Fort on Sunday, August 21st. As a special feature to our Showcase Sunday, a recent donation to the Fort’s collection will be making its first public appearance. Donated by the sons of the late Joe Panton, items include his war service medals, commemorative medals from anniversary occasions in the 1980s & 1990s and a model of the Tank Landing Craft (TLC) he was Motor Mechanic on for the Dieppe Raid, the Allied landings in Sicily and D-Day. You’ll also be able to find out about the surprising way in which German reinforcements arrived at Yellow beach, where No.3 Commando were making their attack during Operation Jubilee.