The Evacuation of Dunkirk


TOWER3

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Jun 11, 2019
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This week marks the 80 year anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk, which was an important event in the history of World War 2. The evacuation occured as Nazi Germany was invading France and evacuated troops were sent to Britain. Ultimately paved the way for how the rest of World War 2 turned out. Many warships were used in the evacuation of Dunkirk.
 

Bo Bowman

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Dec 23, 2019
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I love the account of the "little ships," a very ballsy fix to a sticky problem. When they have their annual commemoration cruise from Ramsgate to Dunkirk, it's sad to see there are a few less than the year before. I'm a bit of a WW2 history nut, and concur that the rescue of an entire army to fight again was instrumental in the war's outcome. Once again, the hand of God in history. When I was a boy I had a copy of the youth version of Churchill's WWII history, and one illustration I'll never forget was a painting of the wide variety of civilian craft that came to Dunkirk.
 

TOWER3

Member
Jun 11, 2019
141
26
73
Garland, TX
I love the account of the "little ships," a very ballsy fix to a sticky problem. When they have their annual commemoration cruise from Ramsgate to Dunkirk, it's sad to see there are a few less than the year before. I'm a bit of a WW2 history nut, and concur that the rescue of an entire army to fight again was instrumental in the war's outcome. Once again, the hand of God in history. When I was a boy I had a copy of the youth version of Churchill's WWII history, and one illustration I'll never forget was a painting of the wide variety of civilian craft that came to Dunkirk.
Did the Evacuation of Dunkirk pave the way toward the eventual Allied victory in World War 2.
 

Bo Bowman

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Dec 23, 2019
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Worland, Wyoming
Our British contingent is probably better qualified to answer that, as they are (or should be) more immersed in the intricacies of pre-Pearl Harbor WW2 history than I, but I will venture to say that it's hart to fight a war without an army.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Our British contingent is probably better qualified to answer that, as they are (or should be) more immersed in the intricacies of pre-Pearl Harbor WW2 history than I, but I will venture to say that it's hart to fight a war without an army.
Well I'm glad that they did but but from a military standpoint I never understood why they let them escape back to England. They were fish in a barrle so to speak. But you have to give the sailors and people of Britain huge kudo's for pulling that rescue off. It's a good thing that the nazi's were not always the brightest bulb in the room.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Witney
I love the account of the "little ships," a very ballsy fix to a sticky problem. When they have their annual commemoration cruise from Ramsgate to Dunkirk, it's sad to see there are a few less than the year before. I'm a bit of a WW2 history nut, and concur that the rescue of an entire army to fight again was instrumental in the war's outcome. Once again, the hand of God in history. When I was a boy I had a copy of the youth version of Churchill's WWII history, and one illustration I'll never forget was a painting of the wide variety of civilian craft that came to Dunkirk.

The Fall of France was a huge disaster for the allies, but "the rescue of an entire army to fight again" was surely one of Britain's greatest naval victories.
 
Dec 27, 2017
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One reason sometimes given for the 'escape' of the BEF from Dunkirk is that Hitler was still thinking he may negotiate a peace treaty with Great Britain at that time and was treading softly. Make of that what you will.........
 
Nov 14, 2005
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You could be right about that. If you read and listen to some of his early statements he didn't want to destroy or conquer Britain. He had sort a weird admiration for England. But he did want to control it so they wouldn't stand in the way of his master plan.
 

PeterChappell

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Jun 15, 2021
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One reason sometimes given for the 'escape' of the BEF from Dunkirk is that Hitler was still thinking he may negotiate a peace treaty with Great Britain at that time and was treading softly. Make of that what you will.........
This is unlikely, since Hitler could negotiate on far better terms with most of Britain's army captured. Lord Halifax was all for asking Mussolini to negotiate and putting Malta, and other British colonies on the table, but Churchill was having none of it.

The success and speed of the Blitzkrieg was almost as much a surprise to Hitler and some of his Generals as to the allies. They didn't want to overstretch themselves whilst their flank was exposed. During this time, their horse driven supplies and foot-soldiers, composing most of the German army, were struggling to keep up with the motorised columns. Guderian, his most audacious general, certainly wanted to press on, whilst the architect of the plan, Manstein was sent of to the Eastern front. The British also launched a counter attack around Arras which made the Germans nervous, and put up a good defence in key towns across Flanders. This, together with efforts of the excellent French 1st Army, helped the bulk of the British army to escape.

Then there was Goering who convinced Hitler to 'finish off the British' with his Luftwaffe. This would have spared the armour which was still needed to invade the remaining 90% of France. In fact, it was the Luftwaffe which needed to be spared for the forthcoming Battle of Britain, and (despite substantial criticism) the RAF managed to intercept many of their sorties.

Allocating Destroyers, which evacuated the bulk of Soldiers, was tricky because they were vulnerable and needed for the convoys. Without overseas supplies Britain couldn't survive. Yes, the little ships also contributed to the evacuation, but probably more in transporting troops between the beaches and bigger ships. Most of the boats were in fact crewed by Royal Navy, ratings and experienced seamen. Very few owners sailed their own vessels. However, the role of private sailors saving the British army became something of a legend and helped lift morale.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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This is unlikely, since Hitler could negotiate on far better terms with most of Britain's army captured. Lord Halifax was all for asking Mussolini to negotiate and putting Malta, and other British colonies on the table, but Churchill was having none of it.

The success and speed of the Blitzkrieg was almost as much a surprise to Hitler and some of his Generals as to the allies. They didn't want to overstretch themselves whilst their flank was exposed. During this time, their horse driven supplies and foot-soldiers, composing most of the German army, were struggling to keep up with the motorised columns. Guderian, his most audacious general, certainly wanted to press on, whilst the architect of the plan, Manstein was sent of to the Eastern front. The British also launched a counter attack around Arras which made the Germans nervous, and put up a good defence in key towns across Flanders. This, together with efforts of the excellent French 1st Army, allowed the bulk of the British army to escape.

Then there was Goering who convinced Hitler to 'finish off the British' with his Luftwaffe. This would have spared the armour which was still needed to invade the remaining 90% of France. In fact, it was the Luftwaffe which needed to be spared for the forthcoming Battle of Britain.

Allocating Destroyers, which evacuated the bulk of Soldiers, was tricky because they were needed for the convoys. Without these Britain couldn't survive. Yes, the little ships also contributed to this, but probably more in transporting troops between the beaches and bigger ships. Most of the boats were in fact crewed by Royal Navy, ratings and experienced seamen. Very few owners sailed their own vessels. However, the role of private sailors saving the British army became something of a legend and helped lift morale.
Good post. Dunkirk has been in the news a lot lately with it's comparison to Kabul. Apples and oranges in my opinion. But one can find a few similarities if you look hard enough. One being how fast the french and afghanis collapsed. But the evacuations are a different matter. Kabul is now being called Dumkirk. Cheers.