world war ii: battle of france

3

Captain Billotte’s Wild Ride,

When one typically envisions German tanks of World War II, one typically thinks of giant steel behemoths such as the Tiger tank or perhaps the Panther tank.  However, German heavy tanks weren’t really all that common until later in the war, in fact they really weren’t all that common at all.  In the beginning of the war, German tanks were heavily outclassed by their Allied counterparts, especially by French and later Soviet heavy tanks.  During the Invasion of France, most German tanks were either Panzer I, II, or III models, the heavier Panzer IV and Panzer 38(t) not being fielded in large numbers.

Overall Allied tanks tended to have thicker armor and bigger guns. The Germans were able to defeat Allied tank forces through superior tactics and war doctrine, the radio being a more potent piece of equipment than guns and armor., something which Allied tanks woefully lacked. However there were instances when the weaknesses of German tanks became glaringly obvious.  

One such incident occurred on the 16th of May, 1940 at the village of Stonne during the invasion of France. Stonne was an important strategic point on the way to Sedan, thus over the past few days heavy fighting had occurred over the village, resulting in the town changing hands no less than seventeen times.  On the morning 16th the French conducted a counterattack against German positions with infantry attacking from the south and tanks attacking from the west.

At the head of the French tanks was Captain Pierre Billotte, in command of a Char B1-bis heavy tank nicknamed “Eure”. The Char B1-bis was one of those monster tanks that gave the German’s much grief during the invasion of France, with 60mm frontal armor, a 47mm gun mounted in the turret, and a 75mm gun mounted in the chassis, it pretty much outclassed everything the Germans had in their tank arsenal.

When facing larger Allied tanks German tanks would typically try to outmaneuver and outflank their opponents, attacking the weaker side and rear armor. However the German’s had their tanks lined up in a row along the main street of the town, and thus were trapped.  Captain Billotte and his crew charged right into the town, blasting each tank one by one as they charged down the street. The German tanks opened fire, but each and every round bounced of the B1′s thick frontal armor.  Capt. Billotte and his tanks exited the town to the east, popping two German anti tank guns on the way out. When the smoke had cleared, Capt. Billotte and his crew had destroyed two Panzer IV tanks, eleven Panzer III tanks, and two anti tank guns.  During the battle, the Char B1-bis “Eure” had sustained 140 hits.  

The German’s eventually took Stonne on May 25th, bring forth larger anti tank guns to drive off the French tanks.  Capt. Pierre Billotte was captured by the German’s, though he later escaped and served with the Free French forces throughout the remainder of the war. After the war he became Assistant Chief of Staff of The French Army, and later headed the French Military Mission to the UN.  In his post military career he served in many political positions.  He passed away in 1992.  

4

HISTORY MEME → [5/10] Moments: Dunkirk evacuation

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940, during World War II. The operation was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his We shall fight on the beaches speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”.

After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, France and the British Empire declared war on Germany and imposed an economic blockade. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to aid in the defence of France. After the Phoney War, Germany invaded Belgium and the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, and three of their Panzer corps attacked France through the Ardennes and rapidly drove to the English Channel. By 21 May, the German forces had trapped the BEF, the remains of the Belgian forces, and three French armies in an area along the northern coast of France. Commander of the BEF, General Viscount Gort, immediately saw that evacuation across the Channel was the best course of action and began planning a withdrawal to Dunkirk, the closest location with good port facilities. On 22 May 1940, a halt order was issued by the German High Command, with Adolf Hitler’s approval. The burden of preventing the evacuation was left to the Luftwaffe, who faced opposition from the Royal Air Force, until the order was rescinded on 26 May. This gave the trapped Allied forces time to construct defensive works on the ground and pull back large numbers of troops toward Dunkirk, to fight the Battle of Dunkirk. From 28–31 May 1940, in the Siege of Lille, the remaining 40,000 men of the once-formidable French First Army fought a delaying action against seven German divisions, including three armoured divisions.

On the first day of the evacuation, only 7,669 men were evacuated, but by the end of the eighth day, a total of 338,226 soldiers had been rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats. Many of the troops were able to embark from the harbour’s protective mole onto 39 British destroyers and other large ships, while others had to wade out from the beaches, waiting for hours in the shoulder-deep water. Some were ferried from the beaches to the larger ships by what came to be known as the little ships of Dunkirk, a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and lifeboats called into service for the emergency. The BEF lost 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign and had to abandon nearly all of their tanks, vehicles, and other equipment.

In his speech to the House of Commons on 4 June, Churchill reminded the country that “we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.

Dunkirk (2017) Review

You can practically see it from here… Home

Dunkirk is the latest film by critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan (his 10th feature length so far) and is about the infamous retreat by British troops out of France. Focusing on four separate stories during the retreat (all of which obviously link), it highlights the grim, hopeless feeling of war, as well as the strength and courage by the British during their lowest point of World War II. With strong performances by big names like Tom Hardy, Kenneth Bragnagh, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance, smaller names such as Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, and Bobby Lockwood, as well as brilliant acting from debutantes Fionn Whitehead (a terrific performance which should be seeing him more roles in the future) and Harry Styles (yes, the singer), and an incredible film score by Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk depicts the retreat brutally honest and quite emotionally haunting but ends up being, possibly, the best film of the year.

Before I go on about the performances, cinematography and score, I want to first mention how Nolan has truly made something different with this film. It almost abandons the three act structure of a film, with the entire film sitting right in the middle of the usual second act (i.e. the conflict) until the end, in which a usual third act comes in. It entirely abandons the first act, with only slight exposition within the first few minutes (not even an entire scene) before it chucks us straight into the action. It also deters away from any character history or character building. The characters we are given as our leads is an unknown, young soldier (Whitehead), an old, patriotic sailor (Rylance), and a machine gun fighter (Hardy). With the exclusion of Rylance, who we are only told has a son with him and has had a son die in the war, we don’t know anything about the other characters. We don’t know if they have family, partners, what their motives are other than to fight for Britain, they are unknown. Usually these two features are key to a film’s success, but here they aren’t really needed. It can be argued that without character depth we can’t connect with the characters, but they don’t need depth in the grand scheme of things. This film seems to want to show us a depiction of war in which each soldier and citizen is equal, with the film following characters who can easily be replaced by another soldier. Hardy is the only actor playing what can be perceived as a unique hero, playing Farrier, a pilot who does a lot to “save the day” per say (is there really “saving the day” in a film about a massive defeat?). Rylance’s Mr. Dawson (how many protagonists don’t even have a first name) and Whitehead’s Tommy are just two experiences we focus on, they are really no more special than the other civilians who drove boats over to save the day (Mr. Dawson) or soldiers trapped on the beach (Tommy). It’s a risky move, but it really works in giving us a very realistic experience and lets us focus on the what is happening more than the usual cartoon Hollywood heroes (looking at you Pearl Harbour). 

The film’s plot is quite simple. An estimated 400′000 Allied soldiers (as well as an unknown amount of French soldiers who are still fighting for France) need to evacuate France due to the overpowering strength by Nazi forces. As France is slowly being lost to the Axis, the Allied soldiers are trapped on Dunkirk beach, in which they every attempt to get over is being stopped due to Nazi air strikes over the English channel. The British army, not wanting to waste too many resources as they are next in line to be directly attacked after France falls, send civilian boats and a small group of pilots to help the soldiers leave the beach. The odds are so low that at one stage Branagh’s Commander Bolton even states that rescuing only 35′000 will be a positive, with England needing as much defence as possible. We follow four main plots, a young soldier trying to be rescued, an old sailor trying to his best to rescue as many as possible, a skilled pilot looking to shoot down the Nazi aircraft, and the Navy Commander in charge of getting the soldiers off the beach.

Dunkirk relies on performances to be able to give the audience the emotional connection needed, especially since character depth is the focus. Whitehead plays a scared, young soldier who wants to get off the beach (same as everyone else really) but is consistently a moral character, along with his acquaintance Gibson (Barnard), who meet when trying to get an injured soldier on to the next vessel leaving at the start of the film. They often, for different reasons, take the moral path, acting as the level headed side of the young soldier. Styles on the other hand plays Alex, a character who has a moment in which he is willing to sacrifice an innocent man who he believes is lesser to save the majority. With a very spiteful role, he is able to be highlight the fear in his character, as well as the shame of losing a battle and letting England down which shows during the third act. His character is similar to the Murphy’s unnamed soldier (I think he said Harold was his name but it was hard to hear and the internet isn’t helping), who acts in a very questionable manner but is understandable due to the fear he has for what he has been through in Dunkirk. Rylance is incredible as Mr. Dawson, an old man trying to do his best to protect his country, with Keoghan and Lockwood providing the audience with realistic young people who are incapable of imagining the horrors they are about to witness. Branagh is at his usual brilliance with Commandor Bolton, the man in charge of getting the soldiers off the beach. There is a moment towards the end where he runs through about three emotions in a short change of time, each one as realistic and enduring as the next. Finally, Hardy plays a role which you could imagine only he could take on, acting mainly through eye reactions as his face is behind a pilot helmet/mask and his dialogue quite small (up until the end where you just want to give the guy a hug).

The movie does have little dialogue, bringing most of its emotion through the actor’s physical emotions, as well as the cinematography and film score. The former is where the film succeeds the most. Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema are both genius in their choices of shots, with the set design (by Nathan Crowley) being a perfect for the visceral scenes we witness. For example, the opening shot is so colourful and simple, five soldiers walking down a very bright street with pamphlets floating in the wind. The obvious juxtaposition of such a sweet shot is quickly broken with the discovery of the pamphlets being from the Nazis and saying that they have them surrounded, and the beauty quickly broken by gunfire and the soldiers fleeing to escape. This scene is brilliant, with Tommy making it behind French lines and basically walking straight on to the beach after that, highlighting how little space they have. From then on most of the shots are quite ugly, with a grey, dull colour grading making the beach look miserable and escape hopeless. For the rest of the movie we are delivered scene after scene in which the environment drives our emotion, whether its the threatening image of sand dunes outside of the Allied lines, or the burning of a ship due to a bombstrike at night time. 

The score is also excellent, with Zimmer once again showing his talent and making a statement that he continues to be one of the all time greats. He builds tension using highly dissonant string arrangements, building climatically and driving a sense of terror in the audience. There are moments where the score works with the cutting of shots, often given us three separate events at the same time, overloading us with tension and giving us a feeling of dread. The moments without any music are often even more tense, with the absence of sound allowing us to hear the diegetic sounds of the war going on around the protagonists.

Most of the film is very violent (although there isn’t much gore) and the moments of happiness and relief are short lived. There was a good hour of this film where it didn’t let up, only given us short moments of rest before something even worse happened. There are small victories, with a big one towards the end in which the civilian ships do return, but it doesn’t let itself become too positive or optimistic, making us feel that even though they are safe there could be more enemies just beyond their line of sight. The ending of the film is also, thankfully, not as happy and victorious as it could have been. It reminds us that the soldiers returning are still heroes and that it is a positive so many survived, especially due to the war to come, but it doesn’t forget that it was still a massive loss by the Allies and that the war isn’t over and Nazi Germany, at that point, were still winning. It is optimistic without losing the essence of realism.

I had high expectations for Dunkirk due to the director and actors featured, but it exceeded these expectations and is a hard movie to fault. It highlights the terror and hopelessness in war in a very raw and realistic sense without needing gore or horrific images of violence which many war movies utilise. It gives us a human experience without any character depth, allowing the audience to place ourselves inside the characters’ footsteps to see the horrors they are facing without the usual cliched love stories and sop-stories. Although it could be criticised by some due to the absences mentioned above, it doesn’t take away from the experience that Nolan is trying to have the audience endure. It’s a depressing, emotionally draining movie which tires the audience in the best way possible. We just want the violence to stop, but it is drawn out brilliantly, making every moment feel more hopeless than the last. It makes a strong case to be Nolan’s best film yet (and with a discography of Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Interstellar that is saying a lot) and maybe even the best war film ever (it definitely is up there with Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket). It’s a film which many might not enjoy as it isn’t fun. From a cinematic standpoint though, Dunkirk is an excellent film, with the performances, the cinematography, the direction, the production and the sound design all being nearly faultless, and it makes a strong case to be placed as the number one film of 2017.

Dunkirk gets an A+

Dunkirk's Fionn Whitehead On Intense Training: You 'Do The Physical Aspects For A Christopher Nolan Film'

Fionn Whitehead had to step away. Following an hours-long shoot of the World War II film Dunkirk, in which he plays fresh-faced private Tommy, “I had to go have food with friends and have a laugh,” says the Brit. “I had to shake off the day. Otherwise, I would have been dragged down.”


After all, the Christopher Nolan thriller retells the horrific 1940 battle in Dunkirk, France, where 400,000 Allied soldiers were trapped between the English Channel and the German army. “It was a very intense atmosphere,” he adds. “We shot in Dunkirk. The destruction was sobering.“

The 20-year-old, who went through three months of auditions before landing the role, gets into action for Us.

Us Weekly: While training, was there ever a moment where you thought you couldn’t pull off a stunt?

Fionn Whitehead: You make yourself do the physical aspects for a Christopher Nolan film! There was no excuse not to get into shape. I was surrounded by five burly stunt guys constantly telling me I could do it and forcing me through these exercises. I was extremely scrawny when I auditioned. I jogged on the beach, I swam in the sea in battle gear, which weighs about eight pounds, and I carried stretchers with a 60-pound dummy on top. I thought it was amazing.

Us: Did filming ever feel too real?

FW: There was not a lot of imagination needed because of the world Chris built and the incredible sets constructed. They did as much as possible to get as close to the real thing. But to say I’ve been through the same thing as those guys would be disrespectful. There was a food truck on set!

Us: Why is it important for audiences to see this episode in history?

FW: This is an event that we should always look back on as a point of reference. It definitely shaped the war. The spirit of Dunkirk is something everyone grew up learning about. After Dunkirk, everyone came together and it set the tone in the U.K.

Source (x)

Polish-Jewish Literature: I Had Dream by Yitzhak Katzenelson (1886 - 1944)

I had a dream,
a terrible dream:
my people was no more, my people
disappeared.
I rose screaming:
Ah! Ah!
What I have dreamed
is happening now!
Oh, God in heaven! –
Shuddering I shall cry:
what for and why
did my people die?
What for and why
in vain did it die?
Not in a war,
not in battle …
the young, the old,
and women and babies so little – –
are no more, no more:
wring your hands!
Thus I’ll cry in sorrow
both day and night:
What for, my Lord,
dear God, why?

 Yitzhak Katzenelson (1886 - 1944) - One of Poland’s Jewish poets and dramatists who wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish. Prior to World War II he wrote mostly for children. During the war he was consigned to the Warsaw Ghetto and later to the camp at Vitel in France, whence he was sent to Auschwitz where he perished.

2

The Montgomery Double,

Before the Allied invasion of Normandy there were a number of deception campaigns to convince the German High Command that the invasion would occur anywhere but Normandy.  One deception campaign involved the creation of a phantom army supposedly lead by Gen. George S. Patton.  Others were created in an attempt to fool the Germans that landings would occur in Norway.  Yet others were carried out to give the illusion that the landings would occur either on the Bay of Biscay or in Southern France near Marsailles. 

The supposed invasion of Southern France, called Operation Vendetta, involved the enlistment of a low ranking British Army officer named Lt. M. E. Clifton James.  Lt. James was originally born in Australia and served with distinction at the Battle of the Somme during World War I.  In between wars he made a living as an actor, then rejoined the British Army for World War II, were he was assigned as a pay clerk.  On his off time he used his acting talents to entertain the troops.

Lt. James was very unique in one important regard, he looked remarkably like the famed British commander Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.  Seven weeks before the D-Day landings James was recruited to play the most important role of his life, that of the Field Marshal himself.

Lt. James studied the habits and mannerisms of Montgomery, learning how to walk, talk, and behave like the Field Marshal.  He even had a prosthetic finger constructed to replace a finger he had lost during World War I.  The task of becoming Montgomery’s double was no easy task, as the two had almost opposite personalities and little in common.  Perhaps the most difficult aspect of Monty’s habits was his tee totaling, non-smoking ways, as Lt. James was a smoker who had a penchant for whiskey.  

By the time of the D-Day invasion, Clifton James was almost identical to the real Monty. He was flown to Gibraltar in Churchill’s personal plane, then flown to Algeria to take command of a supposed invasion force stationed there.  All the while, German spies tracked his progress, in particular a German employed Spanish spy named Ignacio Perez.  James made a number of public appearances in Algeria, then was secretly whisked away to Cairo, where he was given a large supply of whiskey as congratulations for a job well done.  During his five week service as Monty’s double he was also paid a Field Marshal’s salary.

Operation Vendetta was a success as the German Army redirected a few divisions of soldiers to reinforce Marseilles.  The bulk of the deception however centered on Operation Fortitude, where Patton’s phantom army had Hitler so convinced that the invasion would occur at Calais, the bulk of the German Army remained stationed at the port even after Allied Forces landed at Normandy.

By the way, Lt. Clifton James is pictured in the left photo, while the real Montgomery is pictured in the right photo.

Majster rýchlych prepadových útokov - Kurt “Panzer” Meyer.
Meyer bol nemecký dôstojník Waffen SS počas 2. svetovej vojny. Jeho najvyššia dosiahnutá hodnosť bola SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS. Zúčastnil sa mnohých významných bitiek, vrátane invázie do Francúzska, operácie Barbarossa a bitky o Normandiu. Ako veliteľ velil 14. protitankovej rote LSSAH, 15. motocyklovej rote LSSAH, 1. prieskumnému práporu LSSAH, 25. pluku pancierových granátnikov (SS Hitlerjugend) a 12. tankovej divízii SS Hitlerjugend. Bol vyznamenaný Rytierskym krížom Železného kríža s dubovými ratolesťami a mečmi. Vojnu prežil a zomrel v roku 1961 ako verný národný socialista.

The master of the fast shock attacks - Kurt “Panzer” Meyer.
Meyer was a german officer of the Waffen-SS during the WWII. His highest achieved rank was SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS. He saw action in many major battles, including the Invasion of France, Operation Barbarossa, and the Battle of Normandy. As commander He commanded the 14th Anti Tank Company LSSAH, 15th Motor Cycle Company LSSAH, 1st SS Reconnaissance Battalion LSSAH, SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25 (SS Hitlerjugend) and 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. Meyer was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. He survived the war and died in 1961 as a loyal National Socialist.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

And here’s my list of the most anticipated films of 2017! There are loads of really exciting films coming out this year, and while my most anticipated film is a no-brainer I hope you find the rest of the list interesting. 

Honourable mentions: The Handmaiden, Okja, Mute, Beauty and the Beast, Manchester by the Sea, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Moonlight, Wonder Woman, Kong: Skull Island, Baby Driver, Split, The Book of Henry and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

n.b. I’m in the UK, so several of the films I include here have already has a release in the US. We’re always playing catch-up!

1. Star Wars Episode VIII

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher

Plot: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

Why be excited? I could just write ‘because it’s Star Wars’, but since I believe in putting effort into these things I’ll try to be somewhat more articulate. I really adored The Force Awakens, and it filled me with a sense of wonder and joy I hadn’t experienced in the cinema for a long, long time. I loved the new characters it introduced (particularly Rey, Kylo and Finn) even more than the stalwarts of old, so the promise of seeing their stories continued in the next episode is thrilling in the extreme. I also happen to be a huge admirer of Rian Johnson’s work (I particularly love The Brothers Bloom), so I’m incredibly excited to see Rian’s “weird thing” (imo, the weirder the better!)

2. Silence

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Issey Ogata, Tadanobu Asano

Plot: The young Portuguese Jesuit Sebastião Rodrigues is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, a Jesuit priest in Japan named Ferreira, based on Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy.

Why be excited? I’ve long admired Scorsese and shamelessly stan his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, so am thrilled to see them collaborating on a film that tackles such an obscure and fascinating period of history. The cast is top flight, and the magnificent trailer does a fantastic job of evoking the tension of the scenario. Silence is also Scorsese’s passion project (he’s been trying to get it made since the 1980s), and suffice to say I happen to find passion positively infectious. 

3. La La Land

Director: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons

Plot: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.

Why be excited? Whiplash hit me like a ton of bricks when I caught it on blu-ray last year, and it easily has one of the best endings of any film I’ve ever scene. The quality of Chazelle’s previous offering alone would have been enough to get me hyped for this, but it’s also a musical that honours the golden age of Hollywood. That, combined with the stellar reviews, makes this unmissable for me.

4. Mother

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson

Plot: Mother concerns a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence

Why be excited? This will be Aronofsky’s first film since the batshit crazy biblical film that is Noah, and I’m fascinated to find out what the hell Mother even is (seriously - we know much more about Episode VIII than we know about this). All I know is that I will follow Aronofsky’s career for as long as he continues to make movies.

5. The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones

Plot:  A Cold War-era fairytale about a mute woman who falls for an amphibious man.

Why be excited? Much like Mother, we know very little about The Shape of Water. I’m very excited for this film for the same reason that I’m excited for Mother - I love del Toro’s work, from The Devil’s Backbone right through to Crimson Peak. Del Toro is fantastic at melding fantasy with real-world struggles (see: The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), so I’m extremely intrigued to see him returning to a theme that he’s handled with aplomb before. The delightfully surreal synopsis only compounds my excitement.

The list is continued below the cut!

Keep reading

Generalmajor Erwin Rommel, Commander of the 7th Panzer Division with Major General Victor M Fortune, Commander of the 51st Highland Division, which had just surrendered at St Valery-en-Caux, Normandy June 1940.

The 51st Division fought on in France after the main part of the BEF had been evacuated from Dunkirk on 4th June. A fierce battle developed and The 2nd and 4th Seaforth Highlanders, 4th Cameron Highlanders, 1st and 5th Gordon Highlanders and the 4th Black Watch fought determinedly at St Valéry-en-Caux until completely surrounded, out of ammunition and supplies, and were overwhelmed by Rommel and ordered to surrender on 12th June 1940. Some 10,000 were taken prisoner. These Regiments have St Valéry-en-Caux as a Battle Honour.

(Photo source - © IWM RML 342)

(Colour by Doug)

*sees Dunkirk one time*

Friend: Hey, how are you?!

Me: The Battle of Dunkirk took place in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War between the Allies and Nazi Germany. 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 to 4 June 1940.
After the Phoney War, the Battle of France began in earnest on 10 May 1940. To the east, the German Army Group B invaded the Netherlands and advanced westward. In response, the Supreme Allied Commander—French General Maurice Gamelin—initiated “Plan D” and entered Belgium to engage the Germans in the Netherlands. 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. Gamelin instead committed the forces under his command, three mechanised armies, the French First and Seventh Armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), to the River Dyle. On 14 May, German Army Group A burst through the Ardennes and advanced rapidly to the west toward Sedan, then turned northward to the English Channel, in what Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein called the “Sickle Cut” (known as “Plan Yellow” or the Manstein Plan), effectively flanking the Allied forces.[10]
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 British Expeditionary Force (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. After reaching the Channel, the German forces swung north along the coast, threatening to capture the ports and trap the British and French forces before they could evacuate to Britain.
In one of the most widely debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance on Dunkirk. Contrary to popular belief, what became known as the “Halt Order” did not originate with Adolf Hitler. Field Marshals 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. Hitler sanctioned the order on 24 May with the support of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW). The army was to halt for three days, which gave the Allies sufficient time to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. Despite the Allies’ gloomy estimates of the situation, with Britain even discussing a conditional surrender to Germany, in the end more than 330,000 Allied troops were rescued.[11]

Friend: That’s not what I asked you but, okay.

Me: The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940, during World War II. The operation was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were cut off and surrounded by the Wehrmacht (German Army) during the Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons (lower chamber of the British Parliament), newly designated British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.[5] In his We shall fight on the beaches speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”.[6] After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, France and the British Empire declared war on Germany and imposed an economic blockade. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to aid in the defence of France. After the inactive period of the “Phoney War” (October 1939-April 1940), Germany invaded first Scandinavia to the north, then after consolidation, turned west to the invasion of the Low Countries and battles for Belgium and the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, and three of their Panzer corps attacked France through the Ardennes and rapidly drove northwest to the English Channel. By 21 May, the German forces had trapped the BEF, the remains of the Belgian forces, and three French armies in an area along the northern coast of France. Commander of the BEF, General Viscount Gort, immediately saw evacuation across the Channel was the best course of action and began planning a withdrawal to Dunkirk, the closest location with good port facilities. On 22 May 1940, a halt order was issued by the German High Command, with Adolf Hitler’s approval. The burden of preventing the evacuation was left to the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) who faced opposition from the British Royal Air Force (RAF), until the order was rescinded on 26 May. This gave the trapped Allied forces time to construct defensive works and pull back large numbers of troops toward Dunkirk, to fight the Battle of Dunkirk. From 28–31 May 1940, in the Siege of Lille, the remaining 40,000 men of the once-formidable French First Army fought a delaying action against seven German divisions, including three armoured divisions. On the first day of the evacuation, only 7,669 men were evacuated, but by the end of the eighth day, 338,226 soldiers had been rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats. Many of the troops were able to embark from the harbour’s protective mole onto 39 British destroyers of the Royal Navy and other large civilian merchant ships, while others had to wade out from the beaches, waiting for hours in the shoulder-deep water. Some were ferried from the beaches to the larger ships by what came to be known as the little ships of Dunkirk, a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts, and lifeboats called into service from Britain for the emergency. The BEF lost 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign and had to abandon nearly all of their tanks, vehicles, and other valuable equipment and armaments. In his speech to the House of Commons on 4th June, Churchill reminded the country that “we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.”[7]

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