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Battle of Dieppe

Nearly 1000 Canadians Killed and 2000 Taken Prisoner at Dieppe

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Canadian Dead at the Battle of Dieppe

Canadian Dead at the Battle of Dieppe

Library and Archives Canada / C-014160

Updated: 11/10/2013

About the Battle of Dieppe

The Battle of Dieppe was a test for the full-scale invasion of western Europe. The plan was to make a frontal 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. Nearly 1000 Canadians died and nearly 2000 were taken prisoner.

Pictures of the Battle of Dieppe

Pictures of the Battle of Dieppe

War

World War II

Date of Battle of Dieppe

August 19, 1942

Location of Battle

Port of Dieppe on the coast of France

Canadian Troops at Dieppe

Approximately 5000 of 6100 troops involved at the Battle of Dieppe were Canadians including:

  • Royal Regiment of Canada
  • Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
  • South Saskatchewan Regiment
  • Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada
  • Essex Scottish Regiment
  • Les Fusiliers Mont Royal
  • Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
  • Calgary Regiment
  • The Toronto Scottish Regiment

Summary of the Battle of Dieppe

  • Four flank attacks were planned for just before dawn, with the main frontal assault on the town of Dieppe a half hour later. Surprise was key to the plan.
  • Landing ships and escorts on the east met a small German convoy. The resulting battle alerted the Germans, eliminating the element of surprise.
  • The Royal Regiment of Canada landed late on Puys beach on the east, and the Germans were ready. Over 500 men were killed or taken prisoner and the Canadians were forced to surrender.
  • On the west at Pourville, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders initially met only light resistance, but heavy fighting developed as they pushed toward the town of Dieppe. The Canadians could not reach their target, Most of the South Saskatchewans and Cameron Highlanders were successfully evacuated, but the rearguard did not make it out.
  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Essex Scottish Regiment landed on the main Dieppe beach and were met with German machine-gun fire. Shingles on the beach broke tank treads. All entrances to Dieppe were blocked by concrete barriers, trapping any tanks that made it that far.
  • An inaccurate message led the headquarters ship to assume the Essex Scottish Regiment was making headway, and the reserve battalion Les Fusiliers Mont Royal was sent in. They too were pinned on the beach.
  • A general withdrawal order was given at 11 am.

Canadian Casualties at the Battle of Dieppe

  • The RCAF lost 13 aircraft and 10 pilots; RAF lost 106 planes and 81 airmen - the highest single day total of World War II
  • 3,367 casualties - including 1,946 taken prisoner and 907 Canadians killed

Canadian Honours at the Battle of Dieppe

Two Canadians earned the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Dieppe:

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