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July 10 , 2010

Tragedy at Dieppe

Operation Jubilee, August 19, 1942


With its trademark "you are there" style, Mark Zuehlke's tenth Canadian Battle Series volume tells the story of the 1942 Dieppe raid. Nicknamed "The Poor Man's Monte Carlo," Dieppe had no strategic importance, but with the Soviet Union thrown on the ropes by German invasion and America having just entered the war, Britain was under intense pressure to launch a major cross-Channel attack against France.
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December 20, 1943. Two Canadian infantry battalions and a tank regiment stand poised on the outskirts of a small Italian port town. They expect to take Ortona quickly. But the German 1st Parachute Division has other ideas. For reasons unknown, Hitler has ordered Ortona held to the last man. Houses, churches and other buildings are dynamited,…

Since 1939, Canadian troops had massed in Britain and trained for the inevitable day of the mass invasion of Europe that would finally occur in 1944. But the Canadian public and many politicians were impatient to see Canadian soldiers fight sooner.

The first major rehearsal proved such a shambles the raid was pushed back to the end of July only to be cancelled by poor weather. Later, in a decision still shrouded in controversy, the operation was reborn. Dieppe however did not go smoothly.

Drawing on rare archival documents and personal interviews, Mark Zuehlke examines how the raid came to be and why it went so tragically wrong. Ultimately, Tragedy at Dieppe honors the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought and died that fateful day on the beaches of Dieppe.
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