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Your Questions About Nine West Commander

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Sharon Your Questions About Nine West Commander

Sharon asks…

I miss the West Wing, anyone gotten into another show like that since it’s gone off?

I love the West Wing. It’s the only television show that I’ve ever been able to get into. I’m OK with it being off the air, but I can’t find another show that I really like. Any die-hard West Wing fans out there found another show that can compare??

Please only answer if you have an answer, don’t do the “I don’t know but tell me if you find out” type answers.

Thank you!

lizzyrose cropped Your Questions About Nine West Commander

Our pick of the answers:

The West Wing set such a high standard, especially the first three seasons. I don’t know that you ever had a show that was written so intelligently, had such amazing production values, and gave us such great characters.
Maybe it was lightining in a bottle. Certainly Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip misses the mark (hard to have that great Aaron Sorkin dialogue about a Saturday Night Live show).

I haven’t found a true replacement, but here are a few shows that you might want to take a look at:
Politics – Commander in Chief. Compared to the West Wing, it falls short, but to be fair it was well acted, and it is a fine show about politics and government. A much better show was “The New Labour”, which was a 2 part miniseries about the Labour party in England. Its not available on DVD yet, but worth taking a look.

Political intrigue – the New version of Battlestar Galactica on Sci Fi. Yes, I had my doubts about this series – the original with Lorne Greene was cheesy, but this is a very well written and plotted show. Watch it from the beginning and see the story unfold. The politics are very well done.

The Sopranos and Deadwood – 2 HBO series that are very well done. Yes they are extremely violent, but its great dialogue.

24 and Lost – shows that have great production value. First season of Lost is very good, and 24 unfolds very well.

And another selection out of Left Field – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This is the most complex of all the series, with very large story arcs allowed to take their time to develop. It values subtext as much as action.

I’m anxious to see other suggestions – I miss the West Wing very much.

Mandy Your Questions About Nine West Commander

Mandy asks…

how is the Raid at Dieppe a Defining Moment in Canada’s History?

lizzyrose cropped Your Questions About Nine West Commander

Our pick of the answers:

The Canadians in the centre suffered greatly, at least in part due to the inexperience of Roberts, who unwisely committed the reserve force to the main beaches. Poor small unit leadership has also been blamed for failures once men went ashore.

The landing at Puys by the Royal Regiment of Canada was delayed and the potential advantages of surprise and darkness were lost. The well-placed German forces held the Canadians that did land on the beach with little difficulty. 225 men were killed, 264 surrendered and 33 made it back to England. The beach was defended by just 60 Germans, who at no time felt the need to reinforce their position. Several platoons of the Black Watch were also employed at Blue Beach; some of their casualties were suffered in a grenade-priming accident on the transport ships during the channel crossing.

On the other side of the town at Pourville the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada made it ashore with few losses. The Saskatchewan advance on Dieppe was soon halted while the Camerons were halted just short of their objective. Both regiments suffered more as they withdrew; the bravery of the landing craft crew allowed 341 men to embark but increasing pressure meant that the rest were left to surrender. Another 141 had died.

The main attack was at three points: the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (Calgary Tanks) in the middle with the Essex Scottish to the east and The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry to the west. Attacking thirty minutes after the flanking assaults and onto a steep pebble beach all the groups were met with intense fire. The eastern assault was held at the beach. The western assault gained a hold in a shore-front casino but few soldiers made it across the road and they were soon held. The tanks arrived a little late to discover their landing point was difficult. Twenty-nine tanks disembarked but only fifteen managed to climb the beach and cross the sea-wall onto the esplanade under unrelenting fire. However, they were completely stopped by anti-tank blocks, were immobilized, or returned to the beach. The engineers whose job it was to clear such obstacles were unable to do so because of heavy fire which the tanks could not suppress. Back on the beach, the tanks provided fire support as they could and covered the retreat.

The supporting naval bombardment was supplied by destroyers, which did not have sufficient weight of broadside or range to destroy the German strongpoints without themselves coming under heavy fire. They were also not able to communicate directly with the those on shore to make their bombardment effective.

The debacle was compounded when, acting on fragmentary messages, the reserve were committed to the Dieppe beach at around 07.00. The 584 men of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal took fire all the way to the beach and on it. Only 125 made it back to England. The other part of the reserve comprised 369 men of No.40 Commando Royal Marines, (their first engagement and at this time termed ‘A’ Commando Royal Marines), who were ordered to White Beach. The first of their craft landed under withering machine gun fire and their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph “Tiger” Phillips, donned white gloves to semaphore away the following craft, being hit and killed in the process. All but one saw the signal and complied, though several craft were already hit. None ashore achieved more than a matter of yards.

At 10:50 a general order to retreat was issued.

Heavy losses
Casualty figures vary: according to one source, of 6,090 men, 1,027 were killed and 2,340 captured. The Official History of the Canadian Army: Six Years of War (Vol 1 2nd ed) gives the figures of 907 Canadians being killed (including while in captivity) while about 2,210 Canadians out of the 4,963 that were sent made it back to England (it must be noted that nearly 1,000 of these never landed). (The Canadian source took mainly into account Canadian losses) The total number of fatal and non-fatal casualties, some of whom were evacuated off the beach, is given as 3,367. Overhead the Allied air forces lost 119 aircraft while the Luftwaffe lost just 46. The German commanders were impressed by the bravery displayed but condemned the attack, as it “mocked all rules of military strategy and logic.”

POW policies
It transpired that a senior Canadian officer, Brigadier William Southam, had brought ashore his copy of the assault plan, which was a secret document. Though he attempted to bury it under the pebbles at the time of the surrender, Southam’s action was spotted and the plan retrieved by the Germans. The plan (later criticized for its size and needless complexity) contained orders to shackle prisoners. In addition there were reports of German POWs’ bodies washing ashore with their hands tied. When this was brought to Hitler’s attention he ordered the shackling of Canadian prisoners, which led to a reciprocating order by Churchill for German prisoners in Canada. Both orders quickly lost momentum in prison camps till being abandoned after intercession by the Swiss. It is however, believed to have contributed to Hitler’s decision to issue his Commando Order later that year.

Second Front
There have been various attempts to re-evaluate the raid against larger objectives. Picknet, Prince & Prior (“Friendly Fire” 2005) describe the raid’s origins arising from fundamental disagreements between the Allies over strategy. Russia was demanding a second front be opened immediately, to relieve the pressure on them of German attack. They suspected the West of being quite happy to see the Communist and Nazi destroy each other. Roosevelt in reality was eager to accommodate Stalin, and also motivated by domestic politics. Left-wingers were following the Soviet line, former anti-war Isolationists were asking pointedly why Japan was not to be dealt with first, and the Press were impatient for action either way. Without consulting his other ally he therefore promised to Molotov during meetings in Washington May/June 1942, that he was prepared to hazard up to 120,000 men that year to help relieve pressure on the Russian front (knowing well that they could not and would not be American forces, still organizing and building up).

Churchill was aghast. While he fully appreciated the need to keep Russia in the war and America focused on the European theatre, and therefore saw the political logic for a show of force, understandably he balked at a full-scale strategic commitment uncertain of success. One Gallipoli in a lifetime was quite enough. Playing for time, he agreed to countersign their Washington Communique promising a second front in 1942, on the understanding it was to be “misinformation”. The raid became the British response to this American and Russian fait accompli, a counterpart, unasked for “compromise”. No evidence has ever come to light to support the dark rumours the operation was deliberately sabotaged. Nevertheless its failure had a desirable effect for the British on American overconfidence. One example of this retrospective justification was the presence by 1943 of 33 divisions on the Atlantic Wall.

Lessons Learned
Some have argued that the hard lessons learned at Dieppe in 1942 were put to good use later in the war. The amphibious assaults at North Africa were only 3 months away. The more successful Normandy landings would occur later in 1944. Others still maintain amphibious assaults had already been developed in a modern sense as early as Gallipoli, and the lessons allegedly learned at Dieppe would have been made in subsequent operations such as Operation HUSKY or the landings at Salerno and Anzio.

Regardless, due to experience at Dieppe, the British developed a whole range of specialist armoured vehicles to allow their engineers to perform many if not all of their tasks under armour. These vehicles were used to great effect in the British and Canadian landing in Normandy in 1944. There were also huge improvements made in shore-to-sea communications, and many more and bigger ships available for ship-to-shore bombardment su

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