E-Boat Attack: Dieppe

By Gino Mercuriali
 

As we approached Dieppe, we experienced an E-Boat's attack, but fortunately did not lose any personnel in our craft that I'm aware of. During the attack we had to go into evasive action to avoid the E-boat attack. The shells from their guns looked like flaming "onions"; it was a sight to behold as they appeared to be aimed to hit between the eyes. We had to evacuate our craft for another one but this was a blessing as we would otherwise be sitting ducks. We were told later that the coxswain driving the boat tried to back up and that flooded the engine, but who knows. Our evasive action threw our timing off, so we were directed to congregate with the Mother ship in the Dieppe Harbor.

This was an experience not unlike the WWI as far as the dogfights were concerned. Pilots parachuting from planes were observed many times. I could not determine who was who. Some of these planes and pilots appeared to be American.

Of course, we were within shelling distance from land. We could see the Bofors and POM-POMs being fired from the Mother Flag ship's deck and the tanks trying to make their landing in the Harbor area. Yet, we were relatively safe and not envious of the Canadian troops trying to get to shore. The Canadian tanks were disabled on the beaches and the men were in a terrible position to survive. It was truly a sad sight. On this occasion, as with later ones, my composure, I would say, was very good. I always seemed to be engaged enough that things weren't so scary when it was happening but at some time later, when recalled to mind, you are scared out of your pants. I had nightmares after returning to home.

After returning to our base in England, Sgt. Kavanaugh and myself went to a place much like our USO, I guess, and were asked the question, "what do you think of the Raid-Yank?" They didn't realize we were part of it. We never let on that we were there and wouldn't intrude on their elation for anything. In contrast, we later learned of the news about the Raid in the US newspapers and you would think it was a US operation! The British and Canadians didn't much appreciate this. Quite understandable!

The fact that many of us that were assigned to this raid did not have the opportunity to actually land, is frustrating for us. In truth, we are fortunate to come out of it unscathed.


 

Source: Email account and interview with Gino Mercuriali by Patrick O'Donnell 9/4/98.

Copyright Patrick O'Donnell 1998