In World War II, a disastrous Allied attack August 1942 on the German-held seaport on the English Channel about 305 km/190 mi northwest of Paris. The limited-objective raid was partly designed to obtain practical experience of amphibious landing techniques and German defences, but mostly to placate the Soviet leader Stalin, who was agitating for a second front in Europe. The raid was a dismal failure which cost the Allies heavily in casualties and strained relations between Canada and Britain for some time, although a number of valuable lessons about landing on hostile beaches were learned and applied in the D-Day landings 1944.
Landing attempt Some 5,000 Canadian troops and 1,000 commandos took part in the landings 18–19 August. Eight beaches were targeted, four being used to land commandos to deal with flanking coastal defence batteries and four for the main assault parties in Dieppe itself. Apart from the commando landing on the right flank, which silenced the German coastal battery, the remainder of the operation was a failure. The Germans were in a well-defended position which was difficult to reach and were fully alert, so that the troops and tanks were scarcely able to gain a foothold. By 9 a.m. it was clear that the operation had failed and withdrawal was ordered, but it took three hours to remove the last of the survivors.
Casualties The Canadians lost 215 officers and 3,164 troops, the commandos 24 officers and 223 troops, the Royal Navy 81 officers, 469 sailors, and 34 ships, and the RAF lost 107 aircraft. In contrast, the Germans lost only 345 soldiers.