Dieppe and D-Day Essay

Dieppe and D-Day Essay

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely." (Henry Ford) This is exactly what the Allies did in World War Two. After the disastrous Dieppe Raid came the success of D-Day. The Dieppe Raid and D-Day were significant to Canada. Canadians made large contributions on August 19, 1942 and June 6, 1944. Due to the Dieppe Raid not going as planned, D-day was pushed back one year. Many lessons were learned at Dieppe that allowed for D-Day to be accomplished.

The Dieppe Raid was a trial invasion and a cover to persuade the Germans that any other invasion would take place here. There were 6000 men, mostly Canadian, and about 240 ships. The troops were going to land on seven beaches. The Allies plan was to seize the port, causing the German defenses to panic, and then withdraw. But problems started occurring early on. Most of the attacks were late, which led to the lack of surprise. A little before the attack was planned to take occur smoke screens were placed to protect the troops coming in. But the Germans realized what was going on, and were prepared for when they arrived. When the Regiment of Canada was 2 kilometers from its destination; the sun was rising, they were behind schedule and their presence was detected. Once the Canadians arrived on the shore, there was not much they could do. Dead and wounded soldiers piled up on the beach. Some reached the seawall, but after a few hours they were made prisoners. Out of the 556 men and officers of the Royal Regiment of Canada, over 200 lost their lives in action and 264 were captured. The gun-boat heading for Berneval unexpectedly came across five armed German vessels. After fierce fighting the gun-boat was left destroyed, and the 20 landing craft left unprotected. It was impossible for the German defence to have not heard the gunfire, the attack now lacked surprise. When the men arrived, they were annihilated. The South Saskatchewan Regiment was headed towards Pourville, about four kilometres west of Dieppe. They were almost on schedule and more importantly the Germans weren’t expecting them. Unfortunately the landing craft had drifted and most of the soldiers found themselves in the wrong positions. Most of the commanders and soldiers were dead, therefore not much information was being sent back about the battles. At 9 O’clock, after four hours since the attack, it became clear what was going on. A withdrawal was ordered, and by early afternoon those who survived were being taken back to Britain. Out of the 6000 men that had participated in the raid 4 384 were either killed, wounded or captured. Many lessons were learned on this day. The Allies learned they must bomb the enemy defense line before the troops arrive, so they have a larger chance of success. This was something they choose not to do in Dieppe. The tanks that have been loaded for the attack were of little use. The shingle on the beach made movement of the tanks very difficult. Also many tanks were destroyed by the German anti-tank fire. The Allies realized they had to improve their equipment if they wanted success. Dieppe was very well protected by the Germans, which made it harder for the Allies. A lesson learned would be not to underestimate your enemy. It was imperative that the Allies improve communications between all sectors. Even though Dieppe was a major failure the Allies learned a lot about what they had to improve, so they can be successful next time. “That for every life lost at Dieppe, ten were saved at D-Day.” (Louis Mountbatten)

D-Day, also known as Operation Overload, was an Ally plan to transport an army from England to France, defeat German Coastal defenses and go on to liberate Western Europe. There were a total of 3 million men transported by 6000 ships, and 11 000 fighter planes. One of the reasons why this mission succeeded was because the Germans weren’t expecting it. The Allies did a good job making the Germans think they would attack at Calais. This was the shortest distance to get to France from England. To make Germans think Calais was their target, the Allies staged a deception strategy called Operation Fortitude. Dummy airfields and planes, inflatable tanks, false radio messages, and fake fleets made Germans convinced that they would attack there. But little did they know what was about to come. Just after midnight on June 6, the airborne assaults began. The paratroopers and gliders had a difficult task. There were high winds and the pilots had a hard job, which caused the paratroopers to land off target. But they fought hard and kept the German lines occupied. There were 5 beaches where the landings were going to take place. The US was invading Utah and Omaha, Gold and Sword beaches were taken by the British and Canada was in charge of Juno Beach. Around 6am the invasion fleets were at their destinations. German defenses at Utah were weak and by 7:30am the Utah defenders had surrendered. Omaha was much more difficult for the Americans; there were more obstacles to overcome. The weather conditions weren’t in their favour, and the beach was heavily defended. Also most of their amphibious equipment had sunk. This led to 2000 causalities. Fortunately, the Americans still managed to meet the objective. On Gold beach, the British were left with light causalities. By nighttime 25 000 men had landed on the beach. Gold and Omaha beaches were where the artificial harbours were going to be built. This helped with the delivery of troops and supplies. Sword beach had fewer German defenders than expected, but only half the tanks landed safely. The Canadians on Juno beach had a tough time, there were 1 200 causalities. Also, a lot of their land craft and tanks sank. But by evening they made the most progress inland. In morning all kinds of vehicles were arriving to strengthen the Allies forces. The Germans were fighting on three fronts and had shortage of soldiers, equipment, airplanes, and fuel. The Allies planned to link up the five beached to establish a “bridgehead.” This would help them capture Caen and Cherbourg. In the first week after D-Day 330 000 men and 50 000 vehicles had arrived. By the end of June, more than 500 000 men landed, 148 000 vehicles and 570 000 tons of supplies. But the battle was not over yet, day by day more cities were being liberated from Nazi Regime. Finally on August 25 Allied troops entered Paris, and France was liberated. Operation Overload had reached one of its objectives. The events in Operation Overload went in the Allies favour. Due to the success of the Canadians at Juno beach, it was decided they would liberate the Netherlands. Country by country was liberated and by May 8, 1945 Germany had surrendered.

The Dieppe Raid and D-Day were important events for Canada. Canadians played a large role during both invasions. Dieppe was the first time Canada fought against the Nazis on land. The battle of Dieppe was a defining moment in Canadian history because it affected future battles. It also demonstrated Canada’s devotion to war. Not to mention it was one of the biggest mission failures. In Dieppe out of the 6000 men, 5000 were Canadian. Unfortunately most of them died, and Canada was at a loss. However two Canadians were recognized with the Victoria Cross for their actions at Dieppe. On June 6th the Canadian forces, alongside the British and American forces, were part of the greatest invasion in history. In the attack on Juno beach Canada surpassed all the objectives. Taking Juno Beach was not an easy task but through hard work and dedication the Canadian invaders managed to defeat the German defenses. Canadian forces also played a large role in the battles to come after D-Day. The success of the Allies depended on the success of Canada.They instilled pride in the nation and had shown the power of Canada, as a great military power and as an ally. From D-Day to the end of the war Canadian troops fought as equals to the British and Americans. The Canadians were so successful that they were chosen to liberate the Netherlands. After the battles Canada became more involved with Europe and the US. If the Canadian soldiers weren’t as brave and courageous as they were, who knows what the outcome of D-Day would have been. D-Day ended World War II, it also changed many countries including Canada. Dieppe changed the way D-Day was planned and executed. That is why Dieppe and D-Day will always be significant to Canada.

Dieppe and D-Day were demonstrations of what to do and not to do during invasions. Canada played a large role in both attacks. These two battles changed Canada, and her future. Thanks to the contributions of Canadians, Germany was defeated. It was hard to get there but it was finally done. Many Canadians were killed fighting for their countries and that should be recognized. Not only is Canada a part of these battles, but these battles are a part of Canada.

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