'Hell has many different names': The raids on St. Nazaire and Dieppe, 1942.
Everyone's War, 16.
The fall of France in June 1940 transformed Britain's strategic situation. It meant that amphibious operations, a form of warfare that had received very little priority to date, would become increasingly important. Such operations provided the only means of returning Allied armies to mainland Europe. As a result the British adopted two parallel and complementary approaches to amphibious warfare. In the long run the most important of these was the development of the equipment and techniques that would be required to conduct major landings against sophisticated opposition in Europe. The culmination of this remarkable process was seen on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944 when over two thousand landing ships and landing craft, supported by seven battleships, 23 cruisers, 80 fleet destroyers and hundreds of smaller naval vessels, successfully landed 132,200 Allied troops by sea despite intense German opposition. The other approach, most evident in the period up to and including 1942, was the conduct of a series of amphibious raids designed to exploit Allied sea control by attacking enemy troops and installations along their long seaboard. Such activity was designed to harass the enemy and to force them to divert troops to defend the coast and also to boost morale at home and abroad at a time when little seemed to be going right for the Allies. It was also hoped that experience during raids would allow the British to test equipment and techniques that were novel and, as yet, unproven in battle. The same, of course, initially applied to most of the troops that would be employed in such raids.
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