From the get-go, the Allies knew that to put pressure on the German war machine, an invasion of northern France had to be in the stars. More importantly, any invasion of this magnitude would need a strategic port under Allied control for the amphibious landing forces to have any kind of sustainability. A plan - Operation Rutter - was devised which saw the French port city of Dieppe as its ultimate prize. Unfortunately for the Allies, the stars were misaligned on this fateful day.
Though the initial invasion date was set for July 7th, 1942, poor weather forced the plan to be scrapped. Though there were discussions as to whether or not continue with such an assault, British Vice-Admiral Mountbatten continued with the same general idea under a new codename - Operation Jubilee.
The operation was given the green light for August 19th. The invasion force was made up primarily of Canadian troops along with a smaller contingent of British soldiers and an even smaller group of Americans. The boats set sail - numbering some 237 vessels containing some 4,962 soldiers towards landing positions near Dieppe.
As luck would have it, the invasion force - hours from their intended landing spots - ran into a German convoy and essentially lost any element of surprise they were hoping for. From then on, the situation deteriorated from bad to worse.
Allied commando forces arrived before the main invasion force to enact their brand of battle. Some coastal batteries were destroyed but many of the German defenses remained in place. By this time, the Germans were all but ready for the Allies to make their way to shore along the 10-mile landing front.
Army forces waded their way onto shore only to be greeted by machine gun, sniper and cannon fire. By the time the main assault was launched, the invasion force was everywhere. The 27 tanks intended to assist the army forces were either destroyed or made irrelevant thanks to the German beach defenses. With no choice but to fight on or die, the Allies began an evacuation that only netted a fraction of the near-5,000 invasion force.
At least 3,300 Allied soldiers were not to return from Dieppe. The invasion of the northern French coast would have to wait. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com
There are a total of (13) entries in the Timeline of the Operation Jubilee: The Allied Invasion of Dieppe (August 1942). Entries are listed below by earliest date to latest date.