Recently, a dislocation-free deformation mechanism was proposed by Kiritani et al. on the basis of a series of experiments where thin foils of fee metals were deformed at very high strain rates. In the experimental study, they observed a large density of stacking fault tetrahedra but very low dislocation densities in the foils after deformation. This was interpreted as evidence for a new dislocation-free deformation mechanism, resulting in a very high vacancy production rate. In this paper we investigate this proposition using large-scale computer simulations of bulk and thin films of copper. To favour such a dislocation-free deformation mechanism, we have made dislocation nucleation very difficult by not introducing any potential dislocation sources in the initial configuration. Nevertheless, we observe the nucleation of dislocation loops, and the deformation is carried by dislocations. The dislocations are nucleated as single Shockley partials. The large stresses required before dislocations are nucleated result in a very high dislocation density, and therefore in many inelastic interactions between the dislocations. These interactions create vacancies and a very large vacancy concentration is quickly reached.