Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Done: "Rangers at Dieppe" by Jim Defelice

Done: Rangers at Dieppe, The first combat action of U.S. Army Rangers in World War II by Jim Defelice, 2009, 9780425225691 (paper).

This showed up after our library system conversion. I must have placed a hold a while ago, suspended the hold, and the system conversion released the hold.

A book with a narrow topic. Plenty has been written about the disastrous Dieppe raid in 1942. The Canadians and British mounted a large raid on the coastal French town as a moral builder and dress rehearsal of sorts for future invasion of France. U.S. Rangers were still a new unit. Rangers were training under the guidance of British Commandos in Scotland and several were sent to join the invasion force for experience.

Records are scarce. The Rangers were spread out among several units and battle histories do not give the full story of who went where and when on the day of battle. DeFelice was able to speak with only a couple living Rangers as he worked on the book. DeFelice organizes the book around those Rangers who came ashore - several landing craft never made it to shore - and some of the upper level failures and actions that helped cause a disastrous raid.

I like how DeFelice points out the upper level errors. Rushed planning. Pushing military action for morale and propaganda. Dissent over poor planning was shut down or ignored. The mission was way too ambitious with a tight timeline that could not be met.

30 pages of sources and notes, I like that. A lot. A quicker read and an interesting story about a rarely told story.

Notes: I typed this up 1-17-16 but read it in December so I am back dating.

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