High Costs and Critical Lessons

The raid was over by mid-day. In nine hours, 907 Canadian soldiers were killed, 2,460 were wounded, and 1,946 Canadians were taken prisoner— including more prisoners than the army lost later in 11 months during the Northwest Europe campaign of 1944-1945. In the air battle overhead, the RCAF lost 13 planes and 10 pilots, out of 106 Allied aircraft and 81 airmen lost overall.

Only British commandos, assigned to subdue coast artillery batteries, enjoyed some success. For the Canadians, the day was not without heroism. Honorary Captain J.W. Foote of the RHLI, and Lieutenant-Colonel C.C.I. Merritt of the South Saskatchewans both received the Victoria Cross; the chaplain Foote because he helped care for wounded troops and Merritt because he bravely led his men over the Pourville bridge and later commanded a rearguard that allowed some troops to escape. Both were taken prisoner.

German casualties were light, outside of 48 aircraft lost. For the Allies, the raid failed largely due to poor planning and higher leadership and bad luck. The Germans did not know of the pending raid, but they were alerted after Allied naval craft enroute to Dieppe clashed with a German convoy.

The hard lessons included avoiding further assaults on defended ports, as well as the need for better intelligence on beach conditions and German defences, better communication between personnel on and offshore, heavier naval gunfire and more bomber aircraft in support, specialized landing craft, and tanks able to overcome beach obstacles. These elements were implemented later in amphibious assaults in North Africa, Italy, and Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Other Forces

In addition to the 4,963 Canadian troops taking part in the raid, there were 1,075 British troops (52 fatalities), 50 of the 1st U.S. Ranger Battalion (one fatality) and 20 of the No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando.

Air and sea support was provided mainly by British forces. Their casualties were: Royal Navy—75 killed or died of wounds and 269 missing or prisoners, and Royal Air Force—62 fatalities.