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on 3 May 2008
Those who read military books will know of the term 'SNAFU' and Dieppe was a mother of all SNAFUs before the term was coined.

But this should not detract from the courage and sacrifice of the grunts. All through the history of warfare it has been the PBI that has been tasked with trying to rescue success from unworkable plans. It is still happening today as the news brings us comparable stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are saddened by the deprivations and loss of our troops but I cannot imagine how the news of Dieppe was greeted with its losses of WW1 proportions.

I comes to me that it would an interesting exercise for someone to re-enact Dieppe the way it should have been - with proper bomber/gunfire support, radios etc. But then as the author said, it was an inappropriate location for an op of this nature anyway. Then again maybe it would not have been wise to attack in Normandy; it could have compromised Overlord.

As this excellent book points out the operation was not a total disaster. Some of the units were able to achieve their allotted tasks - which was news to me as most coverage focuses on the disastrous main attack. I bought it - was given it as a present - after watching the Canadian movie which naturally is all about their units.

Anyway, I found the book to be at least as good as the others I have read and there are a lot of books about Dieppe. It ought to be good what with all the information now available - or is it? Finding the facts must have been an enormous task. But the author does not try to sew it all up in a neat conclusion because as he freely admits there may never be complete answers. There is still a lot of confusion about exactly who authorised the operation. Like with anything else, success attracts limelight seekers while failures do the opposite.

So, I 'enjoyed' this book and will now buy some of his other works - likely the D-Day book, something with an altogether better outcome (even though it had its share of tragedies).

Before ending though I would have liked a bit more coverage of the RAF's contribution or lack of it. Maybe I can find another book with their role. Dieppe's success hinged on the preparation from the RN and RAF so it would have been nice to have had a comment or two from one of the flyboys. So too there is little comment from the German units. Maybe therefore the truly definitive all-encompassing book on this operation (see, there is even no agreement as to the proper term - 'raid' or 'invasion' what?) has yet to be written. I would not volunteer for the job though!

In closing, I echo other reviewers' praise for the courage, conviction and determination of the guys who were the first to return to the continent in significant numbers. We would not have the freedom we enjoy today if it was not for people like them coming all that way from Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth to defeat the Nazi Occupation of Europe.
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on 29 July 2007
The Dieppe Raid is one of World War II's most controversial military operations. In 1942, a full two years before D-Day, thousands of men, mostly Canadian troops eager for their first taste of battle, were sent across the Channel in a raid on the French port town of Dieppe. Air supremacy was not secured; the topography of the town and its surroundings - hemmed in by tall cliffs and steep beaches - meant any invasion was improbably difficult; the result was carnage, the beaches turned into killing grounds even as the men came ashore, and whole regiments literally decimated. Why was the Raid ever mounted? No-one appears to have had a clear answer, and no-one afterwards appeared to be clearly accountable, but posterity has been hard on individuals like Mountbatten, who were instrumental in its planning and the decision to go. Was the whole thing even, as has been darkly alleged, expected and even intended to fail, a cynical conspiracy to prove to the Americans, at the expense of so many Canadian lives, the impracticability of staging the Normandy landings for another two years? Now Robin Neillands goes behind the myths to tell what really happened, and why. Written in quite a dry, matter of fact way this is however an accurate account of that fateful operation in 1942...quite a depressing read as it is a factual account of what in my view is one of the worst allied disasters in ww2 and worse....it was totally avoidable!
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on 30 November 2010
An incisive book with rare insight into this demanding aspect of the 2nd World War.
Detail combined with accurate telling of events make this a very readable and absorbing publication.
Useful for the history student and those interested in major events in WW2.
It has been my honour to have known a leading member of the Dieppe raid and they are featured in the book.
The events in Dieppe taught many lessons to the allied forces that formed the basis of the Normandy invasion and the eventual defeat of Hitler and the German war machine.
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on 19 August 2009
I read the book before I went to stay near Dieppe. When I visited one of the beaches described in the book it was so accurate and the emotions were so evocative that I cried there and then.
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on 11 November 2014
I bought this book because I came across some of the beaches involved in the 1942 Dieppe raid on holiday. I could only recall sketchy details from a documentary that I saw many years ago. This book has filled the gaps for me.
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on 20 March 2014
I am a battlefield guide and this book is excellent for the Dieppe raid. It arrived on time, well pack and was what I expected. Thank you. JW
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on 5 November 2014
Good balanced account detailing the unbelievable amateurism that led to catastrophe that was Operation Jubilee
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on 31 May 2010
For a historian of Mr Neillands reputation and having read and enjoyed a number of his earlier books I was to be disappointed. I expected better when buying this book, but unfortunately it is packed full of errors, starting with misidentifing the clash between the Allied naval No5 Group and a German convoy as a clash with 'E-Boats'. An understandable error at the time, but unforgiveable to be repeated in a recently 'researched' book. The Dieppe raid clearly deserves a new book based on all available archive documents, but this is not that.
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on 28 September 2005
This is one of Robin Neillands better books,he usually writes in a dry,factual manner but seems to make Dieppe raid a very lively account.He sets out the pressures facing the Allied High Command brilliantly.The Canadian troops kicking their heels,the Soviets demanding a second front,theUS wanting to get on with it,and the British people through their trade unions and Labour MPs demanding action.He gets it wrong when he states the Soviets threatened to conclude a peace with Hitler unless the Allies initiated a second front.There is no reference to this and no other Historian has said Stalin said this.The British people were rightly suspicious of their leaders at this stage of the war.Churchill had presided over a catalouge of defeats from Dunkirk to Tobruck to Malaya,Singapore and Burma. Churchill used the same pool of discredited First World War generals and pre-war Establishment figures who came out of the woodwork to fill the highly paid positions that became available because of the war.The British High Command and Govt.were seething with intrigue and overcome with ineptness that cost thousands of unavoidable lives like the wrong equiptment such as lightly armoured tanks,no suitable anti-tank guns and bickering Generals whose caution led to major defeat like Percival in Singapore. Churchill was responsible for de-nuding the British forces of arms and equiptment by sending war materials to Russia when the reallity was the Soviets did not need it.Churchill was playing the big man.This led to a crisis of lack of air cover at Dieppe,Singapore etc. British lives were expendable to the likes of Churchill.Dieppe was Churchills attempt to wipe the slate clean for GAllipoli.
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