Amphibious Raids: An Historical Imperative For Today's Marines AUTHOR Major James N. Mattis, USMC CSC 1985 SUBJECT AREA History EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TITLE: AMPHIBIOUS RAIDS: AN HISTORICAL IMPERATIVE FOR TODAY'S MARINES I. Purpose: To demonstrate the necessity for maintaining our amphibious capability in general, and our raid capability specificially, if the Marine Corps is to provide its most valuable contribution to national defenses. II. Problem: In the wider scenario of conventional war in Europe, our assets dedicated to non-amphibious capabilities (e.g. maritime prepositioned brigades, mechanized units, etc.), will draw down on our amphibious capability. To understand the need for amphibious forces at a high state of readiness for immediate employment in NATO's area, one need only refer to the British experience, early World War II, when success or failure of local British initiatives depended on forces similar to today's Marine Corps. III. Data: If general war comes to Europe, it will be initiated by the Soviets for purposes of extending their hegemony. The Soviet attack will make every effort to make rapid gains and thus confront the NATO countries with a fait accompli to prevent their resort to nuclear weapons. A well constituted amphibious raid force could vastly complicate this equation because it would draw off many times its own strength as the enemy attempted to defend along its vulnerable coasts. The historical example illustrated by British attacks on German occupied Europe in 1942 make this capa- bility obvious. The two major raids on St. Nazaire and Dieppe demonstrate the right way and the wrong way to carry out this type mission. IV. Conclusions: The Marine Corps must remain oriented to the amphibious mission. Its capacity to conduct the full range of amphibious operations must not be diminished by accepting additional missions, inappropriate equipment, etc. No support we might provide to NATO's defense is more valuable than tying down large numbers of Soviet troops along coasts removed from the central objective of their attack. V. Recommendations: That the Marine Corps use the historical basis of World War II to prepare for future amphibious opera- tions in Europe. While techniques and equipment have changed, we must remain wedded to our most effective form of combat, that of forcible entry from the sea. AMPHIBIOUS RAIDS: AN HISTORICAL IMPERATIVE FOR TODAY'S MARINES Outline THESIS: The Marine Corps of 1985 needs only to study Britain's 1942 response to the Germans' occupation of Europe to discern that the Corps' greatest contribution to NATO's defense today lies within its traditional amphibious calling. I. St. Nazaire Raid A. Military Situation 1. Worldwide 2. Atlantic Ocean area a. Impact of Tirpitz b. Importance of port B. Formulation of Raid 1. Concept 2. Raid Force Composition 3. Training C. Description of Raid 1. Approach 2. Attack 3. Withdrawal D. Analysis 1. Accomplishments 2. Impact of Specific Factors a. Reaction of Germans b. Effect of Air Support II. Dieppe Raid A. Military Situation 1. Worldwide 2. Pressure for Second Front a. American b. Russian B. Choice of Dieppe 1. Proximity to England 2. Lightly held C. Formulation of Raid 1. Operation "Ripper" a. Concept b. Cancellation 2. Operation "Jubilee" a. Changes to "Ripper" plan b. Raid force composition c. Training D. Description of Raid 1. Approach 2. Attack 3. Withdrawal E. Analysis 1. Accomplishments 2. Impact of Specific Factors a. Reaction of Germans b. Effect of Fire Support III. Comparison of Raids A. Similarities 1. British initiative 2. Maintenance of Surprise 3. German Reaction B. Differences 1. Difference in Military Aim 2. Training/Composition of Raid Force AMPHIBIOUS RAIDS: AN HISTORICAL IMPERATIVE FOR TODAY'S MARINES At a time when the American people are demonstrating their belief in the traditional need for a strong national defense, it is well that we in the Corps remind ourselves that it hasn't always been so. Only a few short years ago, after the Vietnam debacle, the need for any amphibious capability was questioned by many Americans, notably some highly placed, vocal critics, in and out of government. Conversely, today we are living in the "Halycon Days," as our expanded budgets provide equipment and capabilities we could only dream about years ago. Prepositioned equipment, additional mechanized vehicles, integration into NATO's command structure--all these show how widely the Marines' role has been accepted, and even expanded, beyond the forcible entry capability (the prepositioned equipment must be "married up" with airlifted troops in a benign environment where ship offload facilities and airports are available). But as the political winds blow more favorably for us in the budget process, it is essential that we do not permit outselves to be led astray from our primarily amphibious mission. Historical examples give credibility to this position, as the Marine Corps contributes its best when it performs in the amphibious role. NATO today is primarily focused on deterrance of the Soviet Union's expanionist designs. A continental power with virtually no sea lanes of communication (SLOC's) to the main theaters in Europe, the Soviet Union can advance into NATO countries from Norway to Turkey without exposing itself to interdiction at sea. Barring an unforeseen, revolutionary change in political orientation in the West, NATO will be on the defensive initially in any future conflict with the Soviets. The strategic initiative thus will undoubtedly rest with the Soviet empire's forces, and we can realistically assume some gains on their part in territory seized and demo- cratic peoples subjugated. The response of the majority of the people in the conquered territories can be assumed in advance to be contrary to the designs of the Soviets. The practical men in the Kremlin will not, I assume, push us so far as to incite a nuclear exchange. However, depending on the political will of the NATO countries, Russia will conduct a limited objective attack designed to militarily change the balance of power in Europe, and thus the world, at a time when their political philosophy and economy are no longer capable of creating favorable conditions for the success of their ideology. In today's fast paced world, our response to such a situation will be largely dictated by our military capability at the time war is initiated. If the Soviets are allowed to consolidate any gain unimpeded by us, our status vis-a-vis the rest of the world will be undermined, with the resultant threat to democracies worldwide. The United States, by dint of its economic and mili- tary power coupled with its leadership of the democratic world, will play the critical role in any NATO response to Soviet aggression. Our response must take a form that will restrain further Soviet advances, give hope to subjugated peoples, and support our ground forces' (U.S. and other NATO armies) attempts to regain the initiative and reverse the Soviets' successes. The Marine Corps, as a naval force, can figure largely into any such equation. This can be demonstrated by a review of the situation that arose as a result of Hitler's seizure of Europe during 1939-42. The Allies (primarily British), response to that situation, in which the British fought for time and attempted to keep the Germans off balance in conquered Europe, provides a similar circumstance which demonstrates the utility of amphibious forces. One aspect of history is the timeless relation we have to our surroundings. While there are many differences in the world of 1985 when compared to the world of 1940, certain aspects of history will obviously recur should the Russians repeat the German occupation of Europe, or some part of it. Faced with such a threat, I believe the Marine Corps must remember its naval character and concentrate its efforts on the amphibious capability, if necessary to the exclusion of other missions the present national mood might wish to assign us. The examples provided by the British can accurately portray the direction the Marine Corps should follow in preparation for conventional war in Europe, and amply demon- strate the consequences should we not maintain our amphibious skills at such a high level that we are ready at all times to conduct those amphibious operations our political leaders may call for. This paper assesses two amphibious raids conducted by the British early in World War II. The raids are viewed from the perspective of their purpose, their execution, and their effect. I chose the raids of 1942 on St. Nazaire and Dieppe, France from among the many raids conducted because, unlike the others which had propaganda or tactical significance only, these two possessed strategic importance.1 They used land, sea, and air forces such as are available to today's Marine Corps, and had far reaching consequences. My report presents both raids in a similar manner, although the convoluted decision making process that prefaced the raid on Dieppe is addressed at greater length than is the straightforward process that preceded the decision to raid St. Nazaire. While comparisons between two raids so dissimilar in many aspects presented some difficulties, I have attempted to do so through the methodology described above. By the study of these two key raids, a student of amphibious warfare can identify the critical planning and execution aspects inherent in raids, and thus identify the utility of such attacks. Last, I compare the two raids, and generally address the usefulness of Marine forces today in similar assignments should the need arise. Saint Nazaire Sometimes referred to as the "greatest raid of all," the St. Nazaire raid stood out as a lone British strategic success at a time when any reversal of Axis designs was desperately needed.2 By March, 1942 the British faced a worsening situation. The 1940 fall of France to Hitler's armies had led to the evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk. Behind them now was the Battle of Britain when the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) had fought off the German Luft- waffe. But the British continued to fight on alone, the effect of America's entry into the war just four months earlier not yet measurably felt. Singapore, the Pacific bastion, fell to the Japanese in February, 1942. In North Africa, Rommel's leadership resulted in British defeats, and earned him Churchill's praise "across the havoc of war."3 On the Eastern Front, German troops were entrenched deep in Soviet territory, and the Russian army braced itself for Hitler's spring offensive. The Atlantic, with its critical supply lines to England and Russia, grew in importance to the Allies. Allied ship- ping, critical to Britain's survival, was taking some of its heaviest losses of the war in January and February, 1942, as German submarines cast a shadow of doubt over Britain's ability to continue to resist. To complicate the Atlantic situation, an additional threat existed: Germany's remaining battleship, Tirpitz, was now ready for sea. The possibility that she might break out into the Atlantic (like her sister ship Bismarck had done), had a riveting effect on the Allied leadership. Churchill stated that "the whole strategy of the war turns at this period on this ship, which is holding four times the number of British capital ships paralyzed, to say nothing of the two new American battleships.... "4 Even with hindsight, this cannot be considered an exaggera- tion, since on one occasion when Tirpitz put to sea, an Allied, Russian-bound convoy had been ordered to disperse to save itself. Although Tirpitz had returned to port without contacting the convoy, the scattered ships, without escorts, were easy prey for German submarines and aircraft: twenty-three of the thirty-four ships in the convoy were sunk. As the British examined the problem posed by Tirpitz, their attention was drawn to the German occupied, French port town of St. Nazaire. It contained the enormous Nor- mandie drydock, originally built for the French oceanliner of the same name. St. Nazaire had been the battle-damaged Bismarck's destination when the British fleet had finally caught and sunk her. Its drydock was the only one along the Atlantic coast capable of accommodating the large German battleships. The drydock thus assumed strategic importance. The British believed the dock's destruction would deter the German high command from ordering the newly commissioned Tirpitz to sea, because such destruction meant there would be no facility on the Atlantic coast to repair any battle damage Tirpitz might sustain.5 The British resolved to destroy the dock. While nearly two dozen additional tasks would eventually be assigned to the raid force, its primary mission would remain the incapacitation of the dock. The potential for failure in an attack of a defended port five miles up a river estuary after a long sea voyage through German observed waters was obvious, but other methods of accomplishing the mission (air and sea bombardment) were ruled out as unfeas- ible. Planning for the operation was thus assigned to Lord Mountbatten's Combined Operations staff. Utilizing bomber forces for distraction of German defenders, swift motor launches to carry the commandos, and an explosives laden destroyer to ram the dock's gates, the raid was planned in great detail. The men utilized for the raid force were drawn from the commandos of the Special Service Brigade. The commandos were born largely of Churchill's desire to remain on the offensive, albeit a limited offensive, after the fall of France. They were lightly equipped, and primarily organized and trained for raids on Nazi occupied Europe.6 Maintained at a high state of readiness, these troops required minimal special training for the raid. This was extremely fortunate as only six weeks elapsed between the time when the commandos were alerted and the date when the raid was executed. Utilizing selected men with special knowledge of demolitions, they were trained in British dockyards by experts who knew the critical parts of drydock mechanisms. Voluminous intell- igence reports aided the detailed planning. Specific demoli- tion charges were fashioned in England, tailored to certain pieces of equipment that were to be destroyed at St. Nazaire. Extensive crosstraining was conducted at night as the twelve to fifteen man teams rehearsed their own and other teams' missions.* On 18 March 1942, these men were told what they *This account of the preparations for the raid, and the conduct of the raid itself, is drawn largely from Christopher Buckley's, Norway, The Commandos, Dieppe (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1977), pp. 203-225, and C. E. Lucas Phillips, The Greatest Raid of All (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1960), entire book. were training to do although they were not told their actual destination until they were underway a week later. They numbered one hundred sixty-six men in the fighting teams which would provide protection for the ninety-one men in the demolitions teams.7 A total of three hundred forty-five naval personnel crewed the destroyer and eighteen motor launches.8 The carrying capacity of the latter had greatly limited the number of commandos on the raid, and resulted in no option for the raid force to constitute an effective reserve.9 Utilizing radio silence, deception (German flags, recognition signals, etc.), and the distracting air attack (diminutive in the instance, and may have even worked against the raid force), the force sailed four hundred miles through the Bay of Biscay, penetrated five miles up the Loire River estuary after dark, and was identified by the Germans as hostile only six minutes prior to the destroyer's ramming of the drydock. Commandos from the destroyer debarked rapidly and put the essential pumping equipment out of commission, and destroyed the winding house as well, leaving the gates to the dock inoperable. When the destroyer blew up the next day, the gates too were destroyed for the duration of the war. The Germans' rapid reaction prevented the commandos from accomplishing some of their ancillary missions and cost them heavy casualties, including over two hundred killed, wounded, or captured.10 Naval losses were high as well, and all of the wooden motor launches were lost during the raid, or were so badly damaged that they were sunk shortly after their rendezvous with British destroyers in the morning off the French coast. The German high command's failure to anticipate the British action was a key factor in the raid's success. By failing to anticipate a repeat of the World War I Zeebrugge- Ostend raid* (as well as by their inability to recognize the importance the British would assign to the dock's destruc- tion), they were left vulnerable. Only the outstanding reaction of the German troops prevented both further de- struction to the port (i.e. submarine pens were untouched), and the coordinated execution of the raiders' withdrawal plan. The "brilliant and audacious raid" was a costly success.11 Churchill described it as "...a deed of glory intimately involved with high strategy."12 Characterized by a sound plan, operational security, and the use of troops skilled in amphibious raids, St. Nazaire is a model for those who would plan future raids. *The Zeebrugge-Ostende raid in April, 1918 was the successful blocking of port canals through which German submarines transited to the North Sea. See Captain Alfred F. B. Carpenter's, The Blocking of Zeebrugge (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922). DIEPPE The worldwide situation facing the British worsened in the months following the successful raid on St. Nazaire. In India, the government had imprisoned Gandhi in reaction to the sabotage of their war efforts there. Tobruk in North Africa fell to Rommel in June, 1942. This defeat resulted in yet another newly assigned general, Montgomery, to command of the British 8th Army, entrenched at El Alamein. The island fortress of Malta in the Mediterranean was under constant German air attack, and convoy resupply was exceedingly costly. In Russia, the German Army was fifty miles from Moscow, and was advancing toward the Caspian Sea in the south. Due to excessive losses, the North Atlantic resupply convoys to Russia had been suspended in July, 1942. Stalin was call- ing for a second front, specifically a British-American landing on the continent of Europe. This second front, Stalin believed, would force Germany to redirect a major portion of their combat power away from the eastern front and his hard- pressed army. The United States, too, pressed for the opening of a second front during 1942, much to the dismay of the British.13 While the British were able to persuade the Americans to lower their goals and accept a landing in North Africa in lieu of a landing in Europe, it was an uneasy compromise. Churchill faced an even more difficult experience when he attempted to convince the Russians of the value of such an idea. Churchill flew to Moscow in August, 1942 in an attempt to convince Stalin that a 1942 cross-channel invasion was militarily impossible. Churchill was convinced that "a premature invasion would end in ... [an] open-ended massacre."14 Planning for the raid on Dieppe began in April, 1942 following the successful destruction of St. Nazaire's facilities.15 Urged on by the Americans who had bombed Tokyo only four months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the British planned a raid which they thought would be massive enough to draw off German divisions from the Russian front. The British believed the operation would also prove to their U.S. ally that Britain was serious about rapidly bringing the war cross-channel to Europe. Concomi- tantly, however, the British wished to avoid the disaster they felt awaited a major, cross-channel invasion during 1942. Churchill was also aware of additional information which gave added impetus to the raid: British intelligence had discovered that Stalin had investigated German peace offers.* As the British had no desire to lose Russia as a *Even a year later (June, 1943), the Russian foreign minister journeyed behind German lines to discuss peace terms with Hitler's emissaries. See William Stevenson, A Man Called Intrepid (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), p. 381. war-time ally, a prompt raid would be the British bid to appease Stalin on the subject of a second front. Thus on the horns of a dilemma, and against their own military analysis, the British alerted the Canadian Army in England to Operation "Rutter." The choice of Dieppe as the site for a raid was influenced by several factors. A primary consideration was its location on the coast within range of R.A.F. airfields in England. The British believed that German occupied ports were vulnerable to raids as a result of St. Nazaire, and the German garrisoning of Dieppe by what were believed to be second rate troops made it a logical choice. The conven- tional wisdom at the time also assumed that the eventual cross-channel invasion would require a landing in a port area for logistical reasons. Dieppe, a port town, could be used to test the theory of how to seize such a port. The lessons learned at Dieppe would then be applied to the planning of the eventual cross-channel invasion. The Canadian Army had rushed to England's defense early in the war, but it had chafed for two years in England without firing a shot. Their defensive training, befitting a force preparing to repel German invaders, did not satisfy their desire for action, and their officers were concerned that if they did not see action soon, there might be a breakdown in discipline.16 On 13 May, 1942, the plan was approved by the British Chiefs of Staff. It called for a Canadian division to land frontally and seize the port and town area while paratroopers knocked out coast defense guns on the flanks. The Canadians were to remove the German invasion barges in the harbor; destroy the coastal defences, the airfield, the radar installations and other military facilities; and return with documents and prisoners from the German headquarters.17 The troops were not adequately trained for amphibious operations, and their first rehearsal on 11-12 June made it clear they were not ready. The operation, then scheduled for 20-21 June, was delayed and a second rehearsal was conducted on 22-24 June with better results. The troops were fully briefed after their embarkation on 2 July. The date for the raid was set as 4 July. Unfortunately, weather caused a postponement, which eventually resulted in the cancellation of the raid and the debarkation of the troops. The troops were dispersed to their various camps, however on 20 July, the plan was resurrected by the Chiefs of Staff and assigned a new code name, "Jubilee." "Jubilee" involved some changes in concept from "Rutter," in addition to some changes which were incor- porated in the techniques for carrying out the raid. The flanking coast artillery positions would be silenced by shipborne commandos instead of the paratroopers whose drop was dependent on optimum wind conditions along the coast. No heavy air bombardment would occur due to the impossibility of precision bombing at night which might cause heavy French civilian losses.18 The provision of only six small destroyers for naval gunfire support meant that the frontal landings across three and one-half miles of beach would be made without any substantive naval fire support. The upshot of all this was that the raid would rely on surprise and the fighting power of the ground troops, with little or no fire support to add to the shock action of the raid itself. Landed by two hundred fifty-two ships and landing craft, the 6100 men of the raid force would be preceded ashore only by an unsubstantial, five minute preparatory fire by the destroyers.19 The raid force sailed after dark on 18 August. The commando raids on the flanks were scheduled to go in at 0430, 19 August, the beginning of morning nautical twilight (BMNT). The Germans were unaware of the British approach until 0347 when a small German convoy blundered into the British ships. The ensuing fight was indecisive, but it caused a thirty minute delay in the landing. The commandos effectively destroyed the coastal artillery they had been ordered to silence, but the German defenders were fully alerted when the main landings commenced thirty minutes after BMNT. Confusion, which was a problem specifically among the men piloting the landing craft, caused additional delays, and as a result, they landed their troops well after sunrise and frequently in the wrong position. Although some of the troops pressed nearly two miles inland, others never made it to the beaches as heavy fire drove their landing craft off. The majority who were landed were pinned down on the beaches by fire from the dominating cliffs or encountered very difficult fighting in the town and port area. As British aircraft strafed the enemy in uncoordinated attacks, the Canadians became hopelessly bogged down. All twenty- seven of the Canadian tanks were lost. The withdrawal plan was implemented, but it failed in more cases than it worked as the German defenders put up a tough fight, virtually unhampered by any British fire other than that which the raid force could muster on the ground. The Royal Navy lost a destroyer and many landing craft, and only the R.A.F.'s maintenance of air superiority prevented worse losses. Of 6100 men in the raid force, 3648 became casualties or were taken prisoner by the Germans. With the exception of some information gained about the German radars, none of the raid's tactical objectives were achieved.20 However, if one were to accept Churchill's definition of the raid as a necessary "reconnaissance in force," or preface, to the eventual cross-channel invasion, some successes can be noted.21 The lessons learned were invaluable, he stated, and ensured that future assaults on the German defended coast would be more successful. The need for adequate numbers of landing craft, the requirement for air bombardment and naval gunfire support, and the necessity for using only "trained and organized amphibious formations" were all adequately demonstrated to the Allied high command.22 The criticality of timing, and the need to land somewhere other than a German defended port were lessons reflected in the Normandy landings nearly two years later. Skeptics feel that such lessons were available without the experience of Dieppe (i.e. Gallipoli in World War I provided some of the same lessons). To grant the thesis that it was a successful reconnaissance does not conceal the fact that Dieppe was a failure as a raid. It may have had the strategic effect of taking some of "the weight off Russia" as Churchill claimed, but a successful raid could have done so at least as effectively as an unsuccessful raid.23 The American and Russian pressure for a second front may have declined for a short time, but the British felt their concerns about a premature invasion were justified by the shocking results of the raid. The Germans also learned some lessons from the Dieppe raid. Hitler was aware that "...a major landing in the west could precipitate a real crisis" for his far flung armies.24 The plan to build defenses at enormous cost all along the coast of Europe was given a sense of urgency as a result. However, the raid also built his confidence in the German Army's ability to repel any future invasion attempts.25 Comparison Both St. Nazaire and Dieppe were fought while Germany was on the strategic offensive and the British were on the strategic defensive. On the tactical level, both battles were initiated by British offensive forces operating out of England on naval vessels against German defenders in ports. Thus the tactical initiative in both cases lay with the British without regard to Germany's strategic dominance of the time. This seizure of the initiative was largely dependent on the British forces' maintenance of surprise in both operations, and it is to their professional credit that surprise was sufficiently maintained. The purposes of the raids were markedly different. St. Nazaire's raid had a strategic purpose, which directly translated into tactical missions that were straightforward and capable of being fulfilled by a bold force with an audacious plan. Dieppe lacked such a clear aim. One cannot help but see in its failure the inner doubts of the British Chiefs of Staff who felt there was no chance of success in a 1942 cross-channel operation of such magnitude. Forced to conduct the raid for political reasons, they failed to give it a clear aim or the necessary support. The British "demon- stration of sincerity" (which the raid was designed to provide) was for grand strategy reasons, and Churchill, on the horns of a dilemma, advocated the raid for those reasons only. Lessons learned (if they were not known already), were a by-product of the failure, and do not take the place of a clearly stated objective born of rational military require- ments. The specific choice of Dieppe as the objective area was followed by the selection of those objectives which were in the neighborhood. The objectives thus were mere after- thoughts. As the political, or grand strategic, mandate evolved into a military operation, it could not rival the aim of a plan born of a true military requirement (e.g. St. Nazaire). Regardless of the process which led to the selection of the objective areas, only a sound plan executed by trained troops could provide for the raids' successes. In reference to the troops used, a stark contrast can be noted between the two raids. The use of commandos in the attack on St. Nazaire reflected sound military judgment. Their aptitude, their level of training, and their equipment all reflected their proven usefulness for such operations. Trained to the degree that each man had a thorough knowledge of his own task as well as the tasks of the men around him, the commandos were well suited for the mission. The commandos functioned well at Dieppe also, knocking out the flanking coastal batteries. Thus their proper training, etc., may be assumed to have played a role in their effectiveness. While the amount of time to prepare for the operations was about the same in each case (eventually longer for Dieppe due to postponement, cancellation, etc.), the Canadians' training was focused primarily on landing practices. After two years of training to repel German invaders, they were assigned a mission entirely different, and one for which they were not sufficiently prepared. In both raids the lack of air support was obvious. At St. Nazaire, the R.A.F. was to conduct a bombing raid which would direct the German defenders' attention to the sky vice to the estuary. However, due to cloud cover over the port and the R.A.F.'s failure to brief their aircrews concerning the operation going on below, the bombers dropped only a few bombs. This served only to heighten the Germans' alert status. At Dieppe, an objective chosen largely because it lay within support range of the British airfields in England, a political decision prevented air bombardment. The fear of French civilian casualties deleted fire support from the plan, and resulted in the raid force's vulnerability during the critical landing period, and during the initial phases of combat ashore as well. Thus the desire to reduce non- combatant casualties greatly diminished the raid's opportunity for success, and contributed to an unknown degree to the heavy casualties of the raid force. Without fire support, the lesson of Gallipoli was relearned at enormous cost. Operational security met different levels of achievement in the raids. The force bound for St. Nazaire was told their objective only after they were embarked. A similar scenario was used for the Canadians who were briefed only after they embarked for "Rutter." That operation's cancellation and the subsequent debarkation of the raid force should have necessi- tated an entirely new plan/objective area. The political urgency left no time for such a change, however, and the German convoy's stumbling upon the British shipping less than an hour prior to landing, while an unfortunate occurrence, amply demonstrates that the raid was a surprise to the Germans. At St. Nazaire as well as at Dieppe, the German sailors and soldiers reacted with their customary vigor in combat- ing the raid forces. They reacted well to the shock of both raids, and directed such effective fire on the attackers that in both cases, the raid forces suffered severe losses. The German's ability to respond rapidly (in some cases in ad-hoc groupings), against constituted raid forces thus characterized both battles. This made it obvious that against such an enemy as the Germans, only missions which can speedily be accomplished will be accomplished at all. As a result of this, the last phase of an amphibious raid, the withdrawal, was most marked by widespread failure as the German defenses coalesced during both raids. It should be noted that although favored by conducting the raid entirely after dark, the St. Nazaire raiders had only a limited opportunity to withdraw anyway; they had conducted the raid in a sacrificial destroyer and aboard wooden motor launches. The opportunity for them to withdraw on wooden launches down a five mile gauntlet, the defended estuary, whose guns were now manned by fully alerted troops, was probably academic at best. These two raids were clearly far reaching in their effects. Both raids vividly demonstrate the initiative which lies with the attacker who chooses the time and place of battle. These raids also show the necessity for sound planning, effective support, and trained troops to take advantage of that initiative once ashore. At Dieppe, the British concept of (a) using a fine fighting force, but one that was ill-prepared for such a mission, and (b) failing to provide the necessary fire support, was discredited. St. Nazaire's success is a valid measure for future amphibious raids, including those conducted by Marines today or in the future. It would be a delusion if we were to assume that a Russian attack on NATO today would not meet with a certain amount of success. The Soviets could realistically expect to have the initiative in the opening days of any war, and would attack only where the chances were most promising for rapid gains. Such success would, of course, cause some enemy units to be diverted to rear area population control, providing for the imposition of Soviet control over occupied areas, and other elements would be charged with maintaining the lengthening supply lines. This would draw men off from the fighting front. Also, as quickly as any Soviet success uncovered coastlines, a greater vulnerability would begin to surface. The NATO allies would not have the time to create amphibious raiding forces on a large scale such as was the British experience in World War II. But if already constituted, trained, and equipped at the outset, such forces could draw off enormous quantities of men and material from the Soviet main effort. More than having to establish control over subjugated civilians and main supply routes, the defense of coastlines against naval raiding forces would be a vastly more difficult task. The Marine Corps, capable of conducting a broad spectrum of amphibious operations from company to division size with a supporting air component, would draw off many times its own number of enemy because it would have the tactical initiative to determine where and when it would strike. The U.S. Army and NATO do not need a few more regiments, mechanized, artillery, or other, from our Corps when our offensive capability could have such a disproportionate effect on diluting the enemy's efforts. Soviet successes will present us with opportunities if we are ready at the outset to conduct raids. As Churchill noted after Dieppe, large formations of amphibious troops were necessary, and I believe that this esoteric form of combat must remain our hallmark. If an urgent need or a unique opportunity presents itself, we must be fully capable of providing this service to NATO. We must be able to provide a success like St. Nazaire, and not a failure like Dieppe. We cannot be everything to everybody, even when provided with larger budgets, and we must maintain a clear resolve to provide the best deterrance and combat capability possible. This lies in our amphibious forcible entry capa- bility. The Russians must see that a capable amphibious force lies waiting to violently turn any success they might achieve into a larger vulnerability. This is a lesson the British applied during the darkest hours of World War II. Should the Soviets impose their rule on any members of the NATO alliance, our forcible entry capability will be the greatest contribution we can make. FOOTNOTES 1Christopher Buckley, Norway, the Commandos, Dieppe (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1977), p. 229. 2C. E. Lucas Phillips, The Greatest Raid of All (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960), pp. 10-12. 3Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War: The Hinge of Fate (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), p. 67. 4Ibid., p. 112. 5C. E. Lucas Phillips, p. 12. 6Christopher Buckley, p. 161. 7C. E. Lucas Phillips, p. 90. 8Ibid., p. 90. 9Christopher Buckley, p. 208. 10Ibid., p. 223. 11Winston S. Churchill, p. 509. 12Ibid., p. 121. 13Ibid., p. 432-447. 14William Stevenson, A Man Called Intrepid (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), p. 374. 15Winston S. Churchill, p. 509. 16Terence Robertson, Dieppe: The Shame and the Glory (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1962), p. 31. 17Christopher Buckley, p. 230. 18Terence Robertson, pp. 92-94. 19Christopher Buckley, p. 233, and Terence Robertson, p. 93. 20James Leasor, Green Beach (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1975), p. 255. 21Winston Churchill, p. 511. 22Ibid., p. 511. 23Ibid., p. 511. 24David Irving, Hitler's War (New York: The Viking Press, 1977), p. 428. 25Ibid, p. 626. BIBLIOGRAPHY Buckley, Christopher. Norway, The Commandos, Dieppe. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1977. Carpenter, Alfred F. B., Captain, V.C., R.N. The Blocking of Zeebrugge. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922. Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War: The Hinge of Fate. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950. Irving, David. Hitler's War. New York: The Viking Press, 1977. Leasor, James. Green Beach. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1975. Phillips, C. E. Lucas. The Greatest Raid of All. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960. Robertson, Terence. Dieppe: The Shame and the Glory. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962. Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid. New York: Har- court Brace Jovanovich, 1976. Thompson, R. W. At Whatever Cost: The Story of the Dieppe Raid. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1956. Webb, Daniel J., Lt.Col., U.S. Army. "The Dieppe Raid--An Act of Diplomacy. Military Review, 60 (May, 1980), 31-37.
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