Guest Author Spotlight

March 2019

In the Spotlight:  Des Dixon

Des says:
I’m an older guy who started  working at a nickel smelter at 15 and in a nickel mine as a blaster’s helper then as a Fire Ranger and a fishing guide. All these were summer jobs near my home town of Sudbuty in Northern Ontario.
I then joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and after retiring I worked doing aerial surveys as a magnetometer operator, then spent ten years as a commercial and industrial real estate agent. Oh yes, I worked for Xerox Corp. for a year and hated the atmosphere.
Now I’m learning to write short stories at The Write Practice (TWP).
This is a factual story researched by the author.

 

Contact Des Dixon at ddesmond819@gmail.com

 

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Image from The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Dieppe Raid

On August 19, 1942 – nearly two years before the famed D-Day assault helped end the horrors of World War II – one thousand Canadian soldiers met their deaths on the rocky shores of Normandy.  We’ll never know for sure, but D-Day might not have proved successful had it not been for lessons learned on the blood-stained beaches of this earlier raid. 

The operation was known as The Dieppe Raid. The purpose of the raid was to learn how to launch a successful invasion by crossing the English Channel in landing barges.

Lord Viscount Mountbatten, an uncle to Prince Phillip and husband of the present  Queen, led the operation.  He wanted it to be just an army show and refused to get the Royal Navy battleships involved.

The Canadians practiced landing their amphibious craft for months on the coast of England. The purpose of the exercise was common knowledge in the local pubs and, probably, to Nazi spies.

As the landing barges approached the beach several were sunk from gun installations on the cliffs. Despite this alarming development most of the troops made it ashore.                               Then they discovered the sandy beach they expected was ankle-deep with tennis ball-size stones. The stones disabled the tanks by jamming the treads and ripping them right off.

The troops abandoned the tanks and advanced into withering fire from Nazi gun emplacements. They were without the shield of the tanks and the raid quickly became a slaughter.

To illustrate the staggering losses at Dieppe the worst casualty rate on D Day was suffered by the Americans at Omaha beach.

Twenty-three thousand Americans landed and two thousand were killed. At Dieppe, five thousand Canadians landed and one thousand were killed, almost five times the casualty rate per thousand.

Winston Churchill, speaking of Dieppe, directed his remarks at Viscount Louis Mountbatten, “Any layperson would know enough to eliminate the guns on the cliffs overlooking the beach.”

Inexplicably, Viscount Louis Mountbatten wasn’t reprimanded, but promoted to Supreme Commander of British troops in the Far East. Perhaps to get rid of him and to not have him interfere with future invasion plans.

The Dieppe disaster was forgotten except by the wives, mothers, and Canada’s  Lord Beaverbrook. He was a powerful Canadian industrialist serving as Britain’s Minister of Aircraft Production

Beaverbrook asked Viscount Mountbatten how he felt about killing all those Canadian boys. Beaverbrook was then shunned by both Royalty and Parliament. He returned to Canada and died in 1962.

Mountbatten died in 1979 when dissidents blew up both him and his boat.  In an event of poetic justice,  his death replayed that of the Canadian troops who died in the landing barges by gunfire from the cliffs of Dieppe.

The Dieppe Raid was a tragic lesson for those who were to plan the D-Day landings two years later.

Postscript:

Strangely, some of the Americans at Omaha beach suffered a similar fate as the Canadians at Dieppe.  Their landing-barges blew off course and landed on the beach just below the heavily fortified cliffs.

Yet they succeeded in the battle because of better equipment, more manpower, and, most of all, excellent support from battleships and bombers although the casualty rate was still catastrophic.

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Previous Authors in the Spotlight:

February 2019

Jodi Elderton: http://jodielderton.com

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January 2019

Karin Weiss: https://kweisssite.wordpress.com

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December 2018

Terry Chase: http://www.drterrychase.com.

Blessed Mother Blue Sky

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November, 2018

Izzy Richards: https://izzyrichardsblog.wordpress.com

Heidi

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October, 2018

Stephanie Colbert:   https://www.stephaniecolbert.co/

Darkness in the Amazon

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