The Dieppe Raid

Review By Martin Koenigsberg

John Grehan and Alexander Nicoll are both authors with experience in 19th and 20th Century topics, and even they have trouble fully explaining what the Allies meant to do at Dieppe. Too small for an invasion- too large for a raid- the event was a costly loss for the Allies- the brunt falling on the Canadians who lost heavily. This is a photographic tour of the events – from training to the somber shots as the German gloat over burned gear lost on the beach. We get batches of pics then prose, then pics again. The tick -tock runs into somewhat predictable issues- things that would be rectified for D-Day two years later. But the authors show it was not actually intended as an Invasion trial, so that theory is punctured. It did on the other hand expose how far away the Allies were from being able to dominate a littoral in 1942.
The authors do discuss all the parts of the battle – from the Naval, to the landing forces, to the air force (primarily RAF at this point of the war)- and we see that it was only at sea that the Royal Navy was able to hold it’s own Aside from some workmanlike successes on the flanks of Operation Jubilee, the land force got soundly defeated. The RAF did not degrade the Luftwaffe in the air battle either. The big lesson for me was that the British high Command was hoping for some sort of success -made mistakes- and then the landing force paid for them dearly .Two years later, they made much more effort to ensure their return to France. It is a sad tale- but worth telling in pictures.
There are few adult themes, but a lot of pictures of wounded men and cadavers, so maybe best for the Junior Reader over 13/14 years . For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, its bit of an mixed purse. The Gamer gets a good idea of the beaches, for scenario and Terrain development- as well as the flank battles. The Modeler gets a tonne of pics of the battle and the aftermath for build and especially diorama ideas. Those rusting Churchill tanks in the shale of the beach can be a great build. The Military Enthusiast gets a short history and a torrent of images that tell the story even more effectively. For the general reader, I see this a a great way to absorb the story. It’s a strong project- with a ready audience.


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