On 31 May, the Germans nearly broke through at Nieuport. The leaflets showed a map of the situation. As a WWII historian, I’ve found those tapes – many free to stream– substantiate the film’s depictions of anguish. This allows you a level of flexibility in the search terms. Being able to move closer into the beachfront shallows than larger craft, the "little ships" acted as shuttles to and from the larger ships, lifting troops who were queuing in the water, many waiting shoulder-deep in water for hours. [34], In the afternoon, the Germans breached the perimeter near the canal at Bulskamp, but the boggy ground on the far side of the canal and sporadic fire from the Durham Light Infantry halted them. The myth of Dunkirk—and especially of the fleet of small civilian boats that supposedly rescued the British Army—undoubtedly stiffened British resistance. One theory is that Von Rundstedt and Hitler agreed to conserve the armour for Fall Rot ("Case Red"), an operation to the south. The first such plan, for a defence along the Lys Canal, could not be carried out because of German advances on 26 May, with the 2nd and 50th Divisions pinned down, and the 1st, 5th and 48th Divisions under heavy attack. As the Allies fell back, they disabled their artillery and vehicles and destroyed their stores. The Miracle of Dunkirk. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 90,000 soldiers of the French army were killed in the fighting of May and June 1940. On 27 May, the Luftwaffe bombed the resulting traffic jam thoroughly for two hours, destroying or immobilising about 80 percent of the vehicles. To the east, the German Army Group B invaded the Netherlands and advanced westward. Following the events at Dunkirk, the German forces regrouped before commencing operation Fall Rot, a renewed assault southward, starting on 5 June. The battle of Wytschaete, over the border in Belgium, was the toughest action Brooke faced in this role. To the dictator the rapid movement of the Army, whose risks and prospects of success he did not understand because of his lack of military schooling, became almost sinister. BEF commander Lord Gort agreed, writing to Anthony Eden, "I must not conceal from you that a great part of the BEF and its equipment will inevitably be lost in the best of circumstances". [29], Gort had ordered Lieutenant General Adam, commanding III Corps, and French General Fagalde to prepare a perimeter defence of Dunkirk. MacDonald wrote in 1986 that the British losses were 177 aircraft and German losses 240. [17], Whatever the reasons for Hitler's decision, the Germans confidently believed the Allied troops were doomed. [36] During the night of 31 May/1 June 1940, Marcus Ervine-Andrews won the Victoria Cross in the battle when he defended 1,000 yards (910 m) of territory. But, even more, they add the dimension of time a… Another Luftwaffe raid, on the night of 28–29 May, was illuminated by flares as well as the light from burning vehicles. The losses over Dunkirk reduced the first-line strength of Fighter Command to a mere 331 Hurricanes and Spitfires, with only 36 fighters in reserve. As Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is released, a leading historian recounts the bombings and sinkings of 29 May 1940 that put the entire rescue – and the fate of 300,000 Allied troops – in peril After the Phoney War, the Battle of France began in earnest on 10 May 1940. The Dakota War accounted for its fair share of the top fights in terms of white soldier and civilian casualties. Salmaggi, Cesare and Alfredo Pallavisini. [48], A commemorative medal was established in 1960 by the French National Association of Veterans of the Fortified Sector of Flanders and Dunkirk on behalf of the town of Dunkirk. These men had protected the evacuation until the last moment and were unable to embark. This order allowed the Germans to consolidate their gains and prepare for a southward advance against the remaining French forces. His plan was simple: launch an all-out attack across the whole front at 11:00 on 1 June. §The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Victor Warrender) I regret that 125 civilians were killed and 81 wounded in this operation. The British failed to hold ground in France, and lost a great number of men and a … The Battle of Dunkirk (French: Bataille de Dunkerque) was fought in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War, between the Allies and Nazi Germany. [15], Hitler did not rescind the Halt Order until the evening of 26 May. Still on 27 May, Brooke ordered the 3rd Division commander, Major-General Bernard Montgomery, to extend his division's line to the left, thereby freeing the 10th and 11th Brigades, both of the 4th Division, to join the 5th Division at Messines Ridge. I regret that 125 civilians were killed and 81 wounded in this operation. according to our records, dunkirk is located in chautauqua county, new york. [30][31] As a constitutional monarch, Leopold's decision to surrender without consulting the Belgian government led to his condemnation by the Belgian and French Prime Ministers, Hubert Pierlot and Paul Reynaud. On 24 May, Hitler visited General von Rundstedt's headquarters at Charleville. Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}51°02′03″N 2°22′37″E / 51.0343°N 2.37682°E / 51.0343; 2.37682, 1940 battle between the Allies and Germany in France, This article is about the Second World War battle in 1940. As a WWII historian, I’ve found those tapes – many free to stream– substantiate the film’s depictions of anguish. 1,000 Dunkirk citizens died during air raids on 27 May In the early hours of 29 May the destroyer Wakeful was torpedoed and sank in 15 seconds … As Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is released, a leading historian recounts the bombings and sinkings of 29 May 1940 that put the entire rescue – and the fate of 300,000 Allied troops – in peril Lieutenant General Alan Brooke, commanding II Corps, was to conduct a holding action with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 50th Divisions along the Ypres-Comines canal as far as Yser, while the rest of the BEF fell back. Most of the main roads in the area converged on that bridge. [citation needed] The British Army needed months to re-supply properly, and some planned introductions of new equipment were halted while industrial resources concentrated on making good the losses. Of these, four killed and two wounded were civilian volunteers, and the remainder regular merchant seamen. The Battle of Dunkirk (French: Bataille de Dunkerque) was fought in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War, between the Allies and Nazi Germany. While more than 330,000 Allied troops were rescued,[9] British and French military forces nonetheless sustained heavy casualties and were forced to abandon nearly all their equipment; around 16,000 French soldiers and 1,000 British soldiers died during the evacuation. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the operation. [27], The route back from Brooke's position to Dunkirk passed through the town of Poperinge (known to most British sources as "Poperinghe"), where there was a bottleneck at a bridge over the Yser canal. The losses over Dunkirk reduced the first-line strength of Fighter Command to a mere 331 Hurricanes and Spitfires, with only 36 fighters in reserve. On May 29 the destroyer Wakeful was torpedoed and sank in 15 seconds with the loss of 600 lives. It was remembered that the Archbishop of Canterbury had announced that the Day of National Prayer might well be a turning point, and it was obvious to many that God had answered the nation's collective prayer with the 'miracle of Dunkirk'. I am sure that the House will wish me to express the deepest sympathy with the relatives of those who lost their lives or were wounded. [20][39], The last of the British Army left on 3 June, and at 10:50, Tennant signalled Ramsay to say "Operation completed. 90% of Dunkirk was destroyed during the battle.[44]. Some of these antique workhorses were still in use as late as the North African campaign of 1942.[46]. [13][15][16] The historian Brian Bond wrote: Few historians now accept the view that Hitler's behaviour was influenced by the desire to let the British off lightly in [the] hope that they would then accept a compromise peace. Those who come under the various Royal Warrants are looked after, but what about the dependants of the civilians? To view a British Army Captain's Uniform, Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment), click here. Though the number of civilian casualties is not as high as the number of military casualties, the recently revealed high number of civilian deaths does serve to enhance the weight of bereavement and trauma within the communities affected, thus leaving an even deeper mark on the already diverse memories of the conflict. Page 1 The Pictures Page 2 List of Casualties. [39][40][41], The desperate resistance of Allied forces, especially the French forces, including the French 12th Motorised Infantry Division from the Fort des Dunes, had bought time for the evacuation of the bulk of the troops. The night of 3 June was the last night of evacuations. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the rescue. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe dropped bombs and leaflets on the Allied armies. The British 44th Division in particular had to abandon many guns and lorries, losing almost all of them between Poperinge and the Mont. Between 27th May and 4th June 1940, nearly 700 ships brought over 338,000 people back to Britain, including more than 100,000 soldiers of the French Army. F rom May 26 to June 4, 1940, the evacuation of Allied troops from the French port of Dunkirk and its surrounding beaches, known as Operation Dynamo, … The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. [citation needed] Discarded in France were, among other things, huge supplies of ammunition, 880 field guns, 310 guns of large calibre, some 500 anti-aircraft guns, about 850 anti-tank guns, 11,000 machine guns, nearly 700 tanks, 20,000 motorcycles and 45,000 motor cars and lorries. This bombardment continued until the evacuation was over. About 338,000 men were rescued in about 11 days. The combined efforts of the Royal Navy, RAF and civilian ‘Little Ships’ had famously snatched a victory from the jaws of a catastrophic defeat – creating a legend, the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’. [32], While they were still moving into position, they ran headlong into the German 256th Division, who were trying to outflank Gort. At 10:20 on 4 June, the Germans hoisted the swastika over the docks from which so many British and French troops had escaped. The French inscription is translated as: "To the glorious memory of the pilots, mariners, and soldiers of the French and Allied armies who sacrificed themselves in the Battle of Dunkirk, May–June 1940.". The 2nd Division took heavy casualties trying to keep a corridor open, being reduced to brigade strength, but they succeeded; the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 42nd Divisions escaped along the corridor that day, as did about one-third of the French First Army. This was to be spearheaded by two battalions, the 3rd Grenadier Guards and 2nd North Staffordshire Regiment, both of Major-General Harold Alexander's 1st Division. The Dunkirk Memorial is located in the British War Graves section of the Dunkirk town cemetery. The same fate was reserved for the survivors of the French 12th Motorised Infantry Division (composed in particular of the French 150th Infantry Regiment); they were taken prisoner on the morning of 4 June on the beach of Malo-les-Bains. [25], The heaviest fighting was in the 5th Division's sector. [35], Also on 31 May, General Von Kuechler assumed command of all the German forces at Dunkirk. Von Rundstedt later called this "one of the great turning points of the war."[13][14][15]. Between them, the 10th and 11th Brigades cleared the ridge of Germans, and by 28 May they were securely dug in east of Wytschaete. The names of 1,000 civilians who were killed in Portsmouth during World War Two have been added to the city's war memorial. Put down your arms!" They read, in English and French: "British soldiers! Eighteen RAF bombers found the Germans while they were still assembling and scattered them with an accurate bombing run. In the nine days from 27 May – 4 June 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish, and Belgian troops, together with a small number of Dutch soldiers, aboard 861 vessels (of which 243 were sunk during the operation). Casualties - 9779 From Dunkirk - Fight to the Last Man by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore (pp 506)... (but French and German losses may include other losses from the 1940 campaigns) [according to whom?] The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. At mid-day on 27 May, they launched a full-scale attack with three divisions south of Ypres. These smaller vessels—guided by naval craft across the Channel from the Thames Estuary and from Dover—assisted in the official evacuation. Both officers were later promoted to field marshal.[8]. 1.5K views F rom May 26 to June 4, 1940, the evacuation of Allied troops from the French port of Dunkirk and its surrounding beaches, known as Operation Dynamo, … The shortage of army vehicles after Dunkirk was so severe that the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) was reduced to retrieving and refurbishing obsolete buses and coaches from British scrapyards to press them into use as troop transports. The bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe and we must now stand and watch countless thousands of the enemy get away to England right under our noses.[12]. During the Battle of Dunkirk from May 26 asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of civilians killed and wounded, respectively, in aiding the Royal Navy to remove men of the British Expeditionary Force and French Army from Dunkirk? Civilian casualties numbered in excess of 900. Strangely, Von Kuechler ignored a radio intercept telling him the British were abandoning the eastern end of the line to fall back to Dunkirk itself. Dunkirk evacuation (May 26–June 4, 1940), in World War II, the evacuation of about 198,000 soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and 140,000 French and Belgian troops from the French seaport of Dunkirk to England. The Germans captured about 40,000 French troops when Dunkirk fell; 68,111 men of the British Expeditionary Force were killed, and 1,000 Dunkirk citizens died alongside the soldiers, according to the BBC. The counterattack disrupted the Germans, holding them back a little longer while the BEF retreated. The Wehrmacht captured some 35,000 soldiers, almost all of them French. It seems to be an untenable situation sure to result in thousands upon thousands of Allied casualties. This highly successful idea hugely increased the number of troops that could be embarked each day, and on 31 May, over 68,000 men were embarked. Although von Rundstedt after the war stated his suspicions that Hitler wanted "to help the British", based on alleged praise of the British Empire during a visit to his headquarters, little evidence that Hitler wanted to let the Allies escape exists apart from a self-exculpatory statement by Hitler himself in 1945. No, they were back in the actual town of Dunkirk, holding back the Germans while the evacuation took place. [45] Although the French Army fought on, German troops entered Paris on 14 June. Early in the Second World War, in late May 1940, the Allied forces of British, French and Belgian troops were trapped by the invading German army on the coast of France and Belgium, in the area around Dunkirk. Dunkirk was the scene of the historic evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France in May and June 1940. As night fell, the Germans massed for another attack at Nieuport. Directive No. German troops entered Paris on June 14 and accepted the surrender of France on June 22. according to our records, dunkirk is located in chautauqua county, new york. Although completely cut off and heavily outnumbered, the French fought on for four days under General Molinié in the Siege of Lille (1940), thereby keeping seven German divisions from the assault on Dunkirk and saving an estimated 100,000 Allied troops. As the Allies were losing the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation to Britain of British and other Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940. Although Churchill had promised the French that the British would cover their escape, on the ground it was the French who held the line whilst the last remaining British soldiers were evacuated. That number may seem high but over 300,000 were evacuated. The Le Paradis massacre took place that day, when the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf machine-gunned 97 British and French prisoners near the La Bassée Canal. Many of them were private vessels such as fishing boats and pleasure cruisers, but commercial vessels such as ferries also contributed to the force, including a number from as far away as the Isle of Man and Glasgow. As the Allies were losing the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation to Britain of British and other Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940. There were heavy casualties during the retreat and the days at Dunkirk, but the British army survived. [22][23], Besides the Luftwaffe's bombs, German heavy artillery (which had just come within range) also fired high-explosive shells into Dunkirk. The Allied forces' destruction was thus initially assigned to the air force while the German infantry organised in Army Group B. Most of the British forces were still around Lille, over 40 miles (64 km) from Dunkirk, with the French farther south. A confused battle followed, where visibility was low because of forested or urban terrain and communications were poor because the British at that time used no radios below battalion level and the telephone wires had been cut. The Battle of Dunkirk was an important battle that took place in Dunkirk, France, during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. Dunkirk is a small town on the coast of France that was the scene of a massive military campaign during World War II. The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops during the six-week Battle of France. The Blitz (September 7, 1940–May 11, 1941), bombing campaign undertaken by Nazi Germany against Britain during World War II. By 25 June, almost 192,000 Allied personnel, 144,000 of them British, had been evacuated through various French ports. Churchill insisted on coming back for the French, and the Royal Navy returned on 4 June to rescue as many as possible of the French rearguard. For eight months planes of the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities. For eight months planes of the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities. 4 507 casualties . First of all, let me remind you of a few Dunkirk facts that have been more or less forgotten, leading to a kind of myth that the evacuation was a complete success. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called To read about the Battle of the Lys, click here. Command and control on the British side disintegrated, and the perimeter was driven slowly inwards toward Dunkirk. During “Operation Dynamo,” as the Dunkirk rescue effort was called, over 700 private boats – called the “Little Ships of Dunkirk” — sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in France. It is possible that the Luftwaffe's closer ties than the army's to the Nazi Party contributed to Hitler's approval of Göring's request. History Extra reports that the total French losses were around 290,000, compared to only 27,074 German deaths. The British prisoners were from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment, part of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division. In the nine days from 27 May to 4 June 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish, and Belgian troops, together with a small number of Dutch soldiers, aboard 861 vessels (of which 243 were sunk during the operation). [24], On 26 May, the Germans made a reconnaissance in force against the British position. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing once more the profound admiration of the Royal Navy and the Admiralty for the spirit and courage of these men. Of these some 215,000 were British and 123,000 were French, of whom 102,250 escaped in British ships. This is useful for viewing the names of Gold Star veterans by localized regions within the state. American journalist William Shirer reported on 25 May, "German military circles here tonight put it flatly. Between 27th May and 4th June 1940, nearly 700 ships brought over 338,000 people back to Britain, including more than 100,000 soldiers of the French Army. This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 11:42. Many were killed in heavy bombing raids in the early 1940s. Those interviews show that the horror stayed with many of them long after they were freed from a deathtrap between the German Army, the Luftwaffe and the sea. The British Expeditionary Force alone lost some 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign. This is useful for viewing the names of Gold Star veterans by localized regions within the state. A series of Allied counter-attacks—including the Battle of Arras—failed to sever the German spearhead, which reached the coast on 20 May, separating the BEF near Armentières, the French First Army, and the Belgian Army further to the north from the majority of French troops south of the German penetration. In “Dunkirk,” Mark Rylance plays a local sailor who was among the many civilian boats that went to Dunkirk in an attempt to help the stranded soldiers. On 2 June, the Dean of St Paul's, Walter Matthews, was the first to call the evacuation the "Miracle of Dunkirk". The combined efforts of the Royal Navy, RAF and civilian ‘Little Ships’ had famously snatched a victory from the jaws of a catastrophic defeat – creating a legend, the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’. Returning to Dover". On arrival at Dunkirk, where many civilians still remained in their homes, the Bristolian helped to get casualties to the boats until he was relieved. The day's entry concludes with the remark: "The task of Army Group A can be considered to have been completed in the main"—a view which further explains Rundstedt's reluctance to employ his armoured divisions in the final clearing-up stage of this first phase of the campaign.[11]. The Legacy of Dunkirk Dunkirk was, by conventional standards, a defeat for the Allies. As part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May–4 June 1940.. After the Phoney War, the Battle of France began in earnest on 10 May 1940. The army was to halt for three days, which gave the Allies sufficient time to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. A few hours later, the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards of the 3rd Division, rushed to reinforce the line near Furnes, where the British troops had been routed. All heavy equipment was abandoned and left in France, including over 2,000 pieces of artillery and 85,000 motor vehicles. It recalls the names of some 4,500 casualties of the British Expeditionary Force who have no known grave, as well as the men who went missing at the Battle of France, from Ypres to Abbeville. The historian and author Julian Thompson calls it "astonishing" that they did not, but they were distracted, investing the nearby town of Cassel. The design of the bronze medal included the arms of the town of Dunkirk on one side, and "Dunkerque 1940" on the reverse side. That is a question which should be addressed to the Ministry of Pensions. Generalobersten (Colonel-Generals) Gerd von Rundstedt and Günther von Kluge suggested that the German forces around the Dunkirk pocket should cease their advance on the port and consolidate to avoid an Allied breakout. On the 3rd of June, approximately 600 German aircraft carried out the first attacks against Paris and the airfields around the capital. On the 3rd of June, approximately 600 German aircraft carried out the first attacks against Paris and the airfields around the … In “Dunkirk,” Mark Rylance plays a local sailor who was among the many civilian boats that went to Dunkirk in an attempt to help the stranded soldiers. DUNKIRK Memorial (Dunkerque) (Nord France). The British troops returned to the line and the German assault was beaten back. B. H. Liddell Hart wrote that Fighter Command lost 106 aircraft over Dunkirk and the Luftwaffe lost about 135, some of which were shot down by the French Navy and the Royal Navy. Noticed a typo? Around 16,000 French soldiers and 1,000 British soldiers died during the evacuation. It seems to be an untenable situation sure to result in thousands upon thousands of Allied casualties. Many were killed in heavy bombing raids in the early 1940s. The plan relied heavily on the Maginot Line fortifications along the German–French border, but German forces had already crossed through most of the Netherlands before the French forces arrived. The Germans used infiltration tactics to get among the British, who were beaten back. After reaching the Channel, the German forces swung north along the coast, threatening to capture the ports and trap the British and French before they could evacuate to Britain. The missing dead of the BEF are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. [47], A marble memorial to the battle stands at Dunkirk. Another theory—which few historians have given credence—is that Hitler was still trying to establish diplomatic peace with Britain before Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union). To view and read about a French Military Postcard posted from Dunkirk on 24th May 1940, click here. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 90,000 soldiers of the French army were killed in the fighting of May and June 1940. By this time, over 1,000 civilians in the town had been killed. Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring asked for the chance to destroy the forces in Dunkirk. The situation grew so desperate that two British battalion commanders manned a Bren gun, with one colonel firing and the other loading. The offensive came to be called the … For details about the major evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, see, Major General Harold Alexander, commanding, sfn error: no target: CITEREFShirer1960 (, Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II, "HyperWar: The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940 [Chapter XII]", "Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews VC | Lancashire Infantry Museum", "The men who defined the 'Dunkirk spirit'. To read about the Anti-Aircraft defences, click here. [20], Gort had sent Lieutenant General Ronald Adam, commanding III Corps, ahead to build the defensive perimeter around Dunkirk. The pocket would have been closed at the coast if only our armour had not been held back. 1.5K views The BEF had, however, left behind 68,000 men, 40,000 of … 85% of stranded troops. 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Stood their ground whether everything is being done for the Allies fell back, they launched full-scale! Is being done for the chance to destroy the forces in Dunkirk being done for Allies. To our records, Dunkirk is located in chautauqua county, New York Counties listed in our.. By 25 June, almost all of them French Rundstedt 's headquarters at Charleville 290,000... Workhorses were still assembling and scattered them with an accurate bombing run boats supposedly... Civilians in the fighting of May and June 1940 unsuitable for armour commanders manned a Bren gun with! Ordered a counterattack other issues | & copy UK Parliament, the War Office made the decision to evacuate forces! A great boost to British morale, but could not hold it May the Belgian Army fighting on the War... Dunkirk facts & figures ), 68,111 British soldiers not been held back in gort eastern. Germans at Nieuport the western sector and British troops the eastern after, but left the remaining French stand...