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Canmoore
29 Oct 07,, 03:05
I was reading in the paper today, about the Dieppe Raids..and how according to a retired officer of the day. Was actually meant to test German Radar. A Radar specialist was brought along, who was to be shot if it looked like he would be captured..

This is very interesting, Id like to hear what OOE has to say about this. hear is the article



Not their finest hour

James Leasor's passing in Wiltshire, England, at age 83, went largely unnoticed, as did his shocking book on the real reason for the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in August 1942.

His 1975 book, Green Beach, revealed for the first time that the raid was really a feint and the real purpose was to examine German radar and communications landlines.

He quoted Lt.-Col. Cecil Merritt, a Victoria Cross recipient, as confirming his assertion.

Merritt served with the South Saskatchewan Regiment and one of his patrols -- 14 men in all -- was charged with protecting the radar expert, but also to kill him if he was in danger of falling into enemy hands.

My immediate reaction was that this was pretty far-fetched. So I decided to phone the organ grinder. I phoned my old friend "Cece" Merritt in Vancouver and he confirmed every word of Leasor's claims.

James Leasor was no stranger to war. He was in the water for six hours when his troop ship was split in half by an enemy attack. He was hurled through the air and wounded by a Japanese shell while leading a patrol into a supposedly deserted village in Burma.

After the war, Leasor was Lord Beaverbrook's Man Friday and, perhaps, because of the Canadian connection, he was kind enough to take my phone call.

I told him of my conversation with Merritt and asked him what, if any, official reaction had been.

His reply: "None!"

He told me that even the name of the radar specialist was still clouded in secrecy and that the military fell back on the Official Secrets Act. All he was ever able to find out was that the man was an RAF signals sergeant.

Leasor could not find out if he was killed, wounded, taken prisoner or if he was still alive in England.

The Dieppe Raid -- "Operation Jubilee" -- was not one of Lord Louis Mountbatten's or Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's finest nine hours.

CHECK LANDLINES

If all they wanted to accomplish was to check the state of the landlines, why didn't they just set a dinghy load of commandos ashore with the radar expert under cover of darkness?

More than 6,000 troops -- 4,963 of them Canadians -- participated in the raid on a heavily defended coastal port. There was no covering aerial bombardment and no covering artillery fire from ships or landing craft.

When the nine-hour debacle was over there were 3,367 men on the beach, dead or captured, and 2,752 were Canadians.

clackers
15 Nov 07,, 12:07
Dieppe had lots of objectives, Canmoore, not one.

You can read about the radar one in this extract from Louis Brown's A Radar History of World War II here:

A Radar History of World War II ... - Google Book Search (http://tinyurl.com/2kuveo)

Brown does name the specialist as Jack Nissenthal, but doesn't think a great deal of his mission's importance ...

Canmoore
15 Nov 07,, 13:02
What were the other objectives?

clackers
15 Nov 07,, 14:15
It was one of several operations that year ... one genuinely targetted a radar station at Bruneval, another the only big French drydock, at St Nazaire ...

This review of the Osprey book about the Dieppe raid speculates about its strategic objectives, and doesn't even mention radar:

Amazon.ca: Dieppe 1942: Prelude to D-Day: Books: Ken Ford,Howard Gerrard (http://www.amazon.ca/Dieppe-1942-Prelude-Ken-Ford/dp/1841766240)

A conspiracy theory on a TV docco I once saw maintained that Churchill almost wanted something to go wrong, to put off the United States trying to make Overlord happen in 1942 ("Sledgehammer") ... if true, that was terrible for the Canadians who none the wiser fought bravely (two Victoria Crosses given afterwards) ...

Big K
15 Nov 07,, 14:55
[QUOTE=clackers;427032]A conspiracy theory on a TV docco I once saw maintained that Churchill almost wanted something to go wrong, to put off the United States trying to make Overlord happen in 1942 ("Sledgehammer") ... QUOTE]

hmmmm......why not?....

Officer of Engineers
15 Nov 07,, 15:31
What were the other objectives?A simple look at the attack plan would've told you the main OPOBJs - to destroy the gun emplacements.

clackers
15 Nov 07,, 22:07
[QUOTE=clackers;427032]A conspiracy theory on a TV docco I once saw maintained that Churchill almost wanted something to go wrong, to put off the United States trying to make Overlord happen in 1942 ("Sledgehammer") ... QUOTE]

hmmmm......why not?....

Just seems a bit ruthless if it's true, Big K ... that you'd need to sacrifice a unit of Canadian volunteers rather than sort it out in a Joint Chief of Staffs meeting ...

I notice that Wikipedia (for all that's worth!!!) quotes a book about this too:


There have been various attempts to re-evaluate the raid against larger objectives. Picknet, Prince & Prior ("Friendly Fire" 2005) describe the raid's origins arising from fundamental disagreements between the Allies over strategy. Russia was demanding a second front be opened immediately, to relieve the pressure on them of German attack. They suspected the West of being quite happy to see the Communists and Nazis destroy each other. Roosevelt in reality was eager to accommodate Stalin, and also motivated by domestic politics. Left-wingers were following the Soviet line, former anti-war Isolationists were asking pointedly why Japan was not to be dealt with first, and the Press were impatient for action either way. Without consulting his other ally he therefore promised to Molotov during meetings in Washington May/June 1942, that he was prepared to hazard up to 120,000 men that year to help relieve pressure on the Russian front (knowing well that they could not and would not be American forces, still organizing and building up).

Churchill was aghast. While he fully appreciated the need to keep Russia in the war and America focused on the European theatre, and therefore saw the political logic for a show of force, understandably he balked at a full-scale strategic commitment uncertain of success. One Gallipoli in a lifetime was quite enough (a First World War debacle in which Churchill had himself played a role). Playing for time, he agreed to countersign their Washington Communique promising a second front in 1942, on the understanding it was to be "misinformation". The raid became the British response to this American and Russian fait accompli, a counterpart, unasked for "compromise". No evidence has ever come to light to support the dark rumours the operation was deliberately sabotaged. Nevertheless its failure had a desirable effect for the British on American overconfidence.

Canmoore
16 Nov 07,, 00:38
A simple look at the attack plan would've told you the main OPOBJs - to destroy the gun emplacements.

Without air or naval support? seams more like a suicide mission to me.

Officer of Engineers
16 Nov 07,, 05:36
You're looking at this from hindsight. Look at it from their lack of knowledge about air and naval superiority. While they did not have superiority, they at least had parity and they thought it enough.

Canmoore
16 Nov 07,, 21:35
You're looking at this from hindsight. Look at it from their lack of knowledge about air and naval superiority. While they did not have superiority, they at least had parity and they thought it enough.

So do you think that Dieppe influenced the world on how to go about planning an assault of the same scale?

Officer of Engineers
16 Nov 07,, 22:33
I don't know about the world (the USMC was doing very well in the Pacific) but it certainly affected how JUNO, GOLD, and SWORD were performed.