When the public thinks of WWII it often conjures up images of a massive Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy, with heroic troops pushing through Nazi defenses. The assault on Normandy proved that Nazi Germany was not invincible and that the Allies had a fighting chance. However, it that was not the first time American forces attacked German-occupied territory, there was another attempt two years earlier on the beaches of Dieppe France.
On August 19th, 1942 the United States along with Canada, Poland, and France launched an attack on the German-occupied beach of Dieppe, France. Upon the initial invasion of Dieppe, the Allied Forces found themselves completely outgunned by the Germans. The Allied tanks that did make it ashore found themselves unable to move through small wet rocks when they assumed the beach would be tightly-packed sand. Over 10,000 units took part in the raid, 907 were killed, 1,946 were captured and the rest forced to retreat.
It was a humiliating defeat for the Allied that proved that they were not ready. American forces invested greater resources in improving their combat technology and planning for a true assault on the Axis Powers. As Americans prepared so did Germany, knowing that they would return in greater numbers.
Allied spy planes photographed coastlines to learn which areas had less fortification. Spies turned took soil samples from the beaches to be examined in laboratories to find out which could support their vehicles. The reconnaissance and testing found a lightly fortified beach with suitable soil for heavy combat vehicles called Normandy, France. The Allies learned from their mistake and two years later they would show the Germans some true payback.