Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Not fair.

British troops were sacrificed to protect the beaches, the RAF was so weakened protecting the beaches that it nearly lost us the Battle of Britain.

PLUS, over 100,000 french troops were evacuated, most of whom were immediately re-patriated on the Atlantic coast, just in time to surrender. So of 300,000 troops saved, the sacrifice by troops of all armies and the RAF to protect 1/3 of that effort was wasted.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 at 09:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was little else the BEF could do but get out it.

The positioning of the BEF in Gamelin's deployment put them between the French Seventh Army to the north and Blanchard's First Army to the south so when the armies retreated it left the French Seventh facing elements of von Kuchler's 18th Army and and French First facing the 6th Army of von Reichenau with the BEF effectively squeezed out of the battle until the final days when elements of the BEF held the line from Nieuport to Bergues along the Bergues-Furnas canal.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 at 11:56:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it didn't help that Gamelin's conduct of the war was idiotic. He was effectively in overall command of the allies at this point, including BEF.

He holed himself up in a moated chateau far from the front with only one telephone line and no radio communication. When the german axis breakout happened at Sedan, he withdrew as much of his army as possible towards the defence of Paris, effectively abandoning northern France.

But yes, the BEF were left with little choice to get out while they still could

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2019 at 01:23:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In The Second World War (1949), Winston Churchill described the Allied defence of Lille as a "splendid contribution", which delayed the German advance for four days and allowed the escape of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.[7] William L. Shirer wrote in 1969 that the "gallant" defence of Lille "helped the beleaguered Anglo-French forces around the port to hold out for an additional two to three days and thus save at least 100,000 more troops".[1] Alistair Horrne wrote in 1982 that the French defence of Lille enabled the BEF and the rest of the First Army to retreat into the Dunkirk perimeter and in 2013, Douglas Fermer wrote that the Battle of Lille diverted about seven German divisions during the evacuation of Dunkirk.
See also: Siege of Lille
The desperate resistance of Allied forces, especially the French 12th Motorised Infantry Division from the Fort des Dunes, had bought time for the evacuation of the bulk of the troops. The Wehrmacht captured some 35,000 soldiers, almost all of them French. These men had protected the evacuation until the last moment and were unable to embark. 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. See also: Retreat to Dunkirk

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 2nd, 2019 at 12:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the more informed commentary! I think some of us were reacting more to the use of Dunkirk in the Brexiteer rhetoric of today rather than the military reality of yesteryear...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2019 at 08:10:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series