Operation Jubilee

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Operation Jubilee
Part of: Second World War , Western Front
Destroyed landing craft, Churchill tanks and dead Canadian soldiers on Dieppe Beach
Destroyed landing craft, Churchill tanks and dead Canadian soldiers on Dieppe Beach
date August 19, 1942
place Dieppe (France)
output Wehrmacht victory
Parties to the conflict

Canada 1921Canada Canada United Kingdom United States Exile Poland Free France
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
United States 48United States 
Poland 1928Second Polish Republic 
Free FranceFree France 

German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) German Empire


Louis Mountbatten (Commander in Chief)

Gerd von Rundstedt (Commander in Chief West)

Troop strength
about 6,100 soldiers about 1,500 soldiers

1,179 dead
2,190 prisoners of war
119 aircraft

311 dead, 280 wounded
74 aircraft

Operation Jubilee was a landing operation carried out on August 19, 1942 by the Western Allies - mainly Canadian troops - against the port of Dieppe in German-occupied northern France during World War II . 237 ships and 7,500 Canadian, US, British, Polish and French soldiers were involved. The aim of the attack was to briefly take possession of the city of Dieppe, which should have been evacuated after a few hours. In addition, the reaction of the German leadership to the failure of the radar system installed there was to be tested, as well as whether a second suspected radar system was operational. The operation was canceled with high Allied losses of up to 70% of the armed forces deployed. In the English-speaking world, the attack is also known as the Dieppe Raid .

Attack preparation

German soldiers at Dieppe

The advance against Dieppe was largely initiated by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten , chief of Combined Operations . The attack was originally scheduled to take place in July 1942 and was code-named Operation Rutter . The main aim was to test the possibility of holding a port on the occupied mainland for a short period of time. In addition, intelligence information should be collected and the behavior of the German occupiers analyzed. Mostly Canadian soldiers were selected for the attack, who were to return to combat after a long period of time.

Operation Rutter was approved in May 1942. The main attack was to be carried out on Dieppe Beach. With the support of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy , British paratroopers and the Canadian 2nd Division should primarily occupy the area. However, bad weather prevented the company, so Rutter was canceled on July 7th.

After the attack on Dieppe could not be carried out at that time, and even General Montgomery wanted to postpone such an operation indefinitely, Mountbatten worked out plans for a new advance. The attack was now called Operation Jubilee . Although he did not receive the necessary support from higher-level authorities, Mountbatten did not abandon his plan and began preparing for the attack in mid-July 1942. It was later assumed by the Allies that the German secret service had detailed information about the attack at that time, which had supplied agents operating in the UK. Allegedly, on the basis of these reports , Hitler is said to have relocated battle-tested units of the Wehrmacht to northern France. Further evidence supported the suspicion of an imminent landing, such as suspicious British shipping traffic along the canal. The German military also held simulation games in Angers on August 17 regarding an Allied attack on Dieppe. The presumption that the Germans were informed about the impending attack could not be confirmed to this day.

For Jubilee , the 2nd Canadian Division was again selected under the direction of Major General JH Roberts . After landing at Pourville and Puys , they were to carry out a frontal attack on Dieppe. Defense positions in the west at Varengeville-sur-Mer and Quiberville as well as in the east at Berneval should be switched off beforehand by commando units . Ground support was to be provided by 30 Churchill battle tanks . From the seaside, 252 British ships provided fire protection, and the RAF and the 8th US Air Force raised 74 aircraft squadrons. A total of 6100 Allied soldiers - including 5000 Canadians - were to be dropped off on the coast.

On the German side, the 302nd Infantry Division , especially the 571 Infantry Regiment with around 1,500 soldiers, was ready to defend the section.


Burning British landing craft on Dieppe Beach

On the evening of August 18, 1942, about 240 ships left several English canal ports. The first incident occurred when a ship transporting the 3rd Command Troop encountered a German convoy in the early morning of August 19. This could be wiped out quickly, but it alerted the coastal defense beforehand. After the incident, the units were dispersed, which is why only 18 commandos reached the coast at Berneval, where they were able to overwhelm the teams of some defensive positions. Although they were unable to blow up the facilities, they held the positions for an hour and a half. The soldiers of the 4th Command under Lord Lovat landed in full at Varengeville, where they destroyed the coastal battery and embarked again.

The alerted German units of Infantry Regiment 571 of the 302nd Infantry Division under Lieutenant Colonel Hermann Bartelt had meanwhile positioned themselves on the endangered stretch of coast. A Canadian regiment landed after 5:00 a.m. - later than expected and thus no longer under cover of darkness - at Puys, where it was immediately taken under fire. Within an hour, 225 out of 600 Canadian soldiers fell; 264 were captured and only 33 were able to return to England. At 4:50 a.m., the South Saskatchewan and Cameron Highlanders had landed at Pourville. They too could not achieve their goals due to strong German resistance and had to withdraw.

Wounded Canadian soldiers in front of a destroyed Churchill tank

At 5:20 a.m., Royal Hamilton and Essex Scottish soldiers landed on Dieppe Beach, where they were immediately exposed to heavy machine gun fire. The Churchill tanks provided for support were dropped too late and got stuck in locks; they were largely destroyed. Due to disrupted communications, the Allied leadership was not informed of what was happening in the landing zones and decided to drop further units. The reinforcement troops were unable to change the already hopeless situation on the beach.

At 10:50 a.m. the Allied leadership gave the order to withdraw. Until then, it had lost 4,359 men, including 1,179 dead and 2,190 prisoners. The British RAF and the Canadian RCAF lost 119 aircraft, mostly Spitfires ; The German Luftflotte 3 lost 74 aircraft on August 19, 1942 (including 50 total losses): 5 reconnaissance aircraft, 29 fighters and 40 bombers. The Luftwaffe lost 109 men, including 25 wounded and 37 missing. The Wehrmacht had at least 311 dead and 280 wounded to mourn.


In Great Britain, after the defeat, the realization solidified that the second front demanded by Stalin in Western Europe could not be established in 1942. The Dieppe attack also provided important information for the later Operation Overlord .

Overall, it became apparent that the German troops reacted very quickly and were able to organize a strong and consistent counter-defense that the Allied attackers were not yet able to cope with. The German propaganda exaggerating the extent of the fighting and the number of troops involved, however dramatic and described the Allied advance into the German newsreel as the long-awaited large-scale invasion attempt to establish a second front (# 628).; but it violated any military logic and served purely political purposes.

Military cemetery

War Cemetery Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery

The Wehrmacht laid out a cemetery for the fallen soldiers. This is now called Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery . The graves were laid out in rows according to the German pattern, with gravestones back to back - unusual for Allied military cemeteries.


On September 1, 1944, the Canadian 2nd Infantry Division marched into Dieppe without a fight (this time by land); the Wehrmacht had withdrawn the day before. Bernard Montgomery had made sure (order of August 20, 1944) that this very division took Dieppe. The first Allied supply ships landed in the port of Dieppe on September 7th.

Web links

Commons : Operation Jubilee  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Max Harper Gow / Louis Jebb: Lord Lovat . Obituary in The Independent , March 20, 1995, accessed March 4, 2020
  2. ^ Federal Archives / Military Archives Freiburg, Lists RL 2 / III
  3. http://ca.france.fr: Dieppe Memorial , Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery Details
  4. ^ A b The Victory Campaign. In: Official History of the Canadian Army. P. 300 , accessed January 12, 2016 .
  5. Terry Copp: Return to Dieppe: September 1944 . In: Canadian Military History . tape 1 , no. 1,2 , 1992, pp. 71-78 ( scholars.wlu.ca [accessed January 12, 2016]).