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According to the BBC (Dunkirk facts & figures), 68,111 British soldiers were killed or captured at Dunkirk. Noticed a typo? Another Luftwaffe raid, on the night of 28–29 May, was illuminated by flares as well as the light from burning vehicles. 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. The Dunkirk Memorial is located in the British War Graves section of the Dunkirk town cemetery. 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). 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. This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 11:42. [45] Although the French Army fought on, German troops entered Paris on 14 June. [49] The medal was initially awarded only to the French defenders of Dunkirk, but in 1970 the qualification was expanded to include British forces who served in the Dunkirk sector and their rescue forces, including the civilians who volunteered to man the "little ships".[50]. The British 44th Division in particular had to abandon many guns and lorries, losing almost all of them between Poperinge and the Mont. 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’. Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring asked for the chance to destroy the forces in Dunkirk. according to our records, dunkirk is located in chautauqua county, new york. Armed merchant cruiser, Orama, torpedoed and sunk; no casualties. Von Rundstedt advised him the infantry should attack the British forces at Arras, where the British had proved capable of significant action, while Kleist's armour held the line west and south of Dunkirk to pounce on the Allied forces retreating before Army Group B. Hitler, who was familiar with Flanders' marshes from the First World War, agreed. Gort had foreseen the order and preliminary plans were already in hand. 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? Directive No. 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. The British were surprised by the Belgian capitulation, despite King Leopold warning them in advance. Contrary to popular belief, what became known as the "Halt Order" did not originate with Adolf Hitler. It seems to be an untenable situation sure to result in thousands upon thousands of Allied casualties. The British troops returned to the line and the German assault was beaten back. Many were killed in heavy bombing raids in the early 1940s. This allows you a level of flexibility in the search terms. The myth of Dunkirk—and especially of the fleet of small civilian boats that supposedly rescued the British Army—undoubtedly stiffened British resistance. In one of the most debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance on Dunkirk. The Blitz (September 7, 1940–May 11, 1941), bombing campaign undertaken by Nazi Germany against Britain during World War II. The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. 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. 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. [17], Whatever the reasons for Hitler's decision, the Germans confidently believed the Allied troops were doomed. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the operation. Eighteen RAF bombers found the Germans while they were still assembling and scattered them with an accurate bombing run. [37], The morning of 1 June was clear—good flying weather, in contrast to the bad weather that had hindered air operations on 30 and 31 May (there were only two-and-a-half good flying days in the whole operation.) Army equipment available at home was only just sufficient to equip two divisions. For eight months planes of the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities. Returning to Dover". 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. It provided a great boost to British morale, but left the remaining French to stand alone against a renewed German assault southwards. 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. Dunkirk is a small town on the coast of France that was the scene of a massive military campaign during World War II. Of these some 215,000 were British and 123,000 were French, of whom 102,250 escaped in British ships. The term "Dunkirk Spirit" refers to the solidarity of the British people in times of adversity. [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. 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. 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 the 3rd of June, approximately 600 German aircraft carried out the first attacks against Paris and the airfields around the capital. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called 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 fields that allow you to enter text manually have an option called ‘Match this search term exactly’. On the 3rd of June, approximately 600 German aircraft carried out the first attacks against Paris and the airfields around the … [15], Hitler did not rescind the Halt Order until the evening of 26 May. 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, … 1.5K views [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. Salmaggi, Cesare and Alfredo Pallavisini. [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. Documenting the reality of those shell-shocked survivors is what London’s Imperial War Museum had in mind when it recorded interviews of scores of veterans in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Allied forces' destruction was thus initially assigned to the air force while the German infantry organised in Army Group B. [20], Gort had sent Lieutenant General Ronald Adam, commanding III Corps, ahead to build the defensive perimeter around Dunkirk. 4 507 casualties . All heavy equipment was abandoned and left in France, including over 2,000 pieces of artillery and 85,000 motor vehicles. June 1940. 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. After the Phoney War, the Battle of France began in earnest on 10 May 1940. As a WWII historian, I’ve found those tapes – many free to stream– substantiate the film’s depictions of anguish. 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. It seems to be an untenable situation sure to result in thousands upon thousands of Allied casualties. For eight months planes of the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on London and other strategic cities. Frequent bombing on the British stronghold with it’s airfield, naval base, hospitals and infantry forces caused casualties to soldiers and civilians and lasted throughout the War. Civilian casualties numbered in excess of 900. There were heavy casualties during the retreat and the days at Dunkirk, but the British army survived. 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. Dunkirk, a new action film by director Christopher Nolan, depicts the events from land, sea and air and has revived awe for the plucky courage of those involved. The casualty rate was quite high. At 10:20 on 4 June, the Germans hoisted the swastika over the docks from which so many British and French troops had escaped. Without the amazing efforts of the civilian flotilla the British Army would have been decimated. 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.". We have 67 New York Counties listed in our archive. [28], The German 6. Without the amazing efforts of the civilian flotilla the British Army would have been decimated. 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. Your troops are entirely surrounded—stop fighting! Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the rescue. 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 Dakota War accounted for its fair share of the top fights in terms of white soldier and civilian casualties. They read, in English and French: "British soldiers! Documenting the reality of those shell-shocked survivors is what London’s Imperial War Museum had in mind when it recorded interviews of scores of veterans in the 1990s and early 2000s. 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. The three days thus gained gave a vital breathing space to the Royal Navy to arrange the evacuation of the British and Allied troops. That number may seem high but over 300,000 were evacuated. 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. 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. [19][20][21], On 27 May, the British fought back to the Dunkirk perimeter line. 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. The missing dead of the BEF are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. 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. I regret that 125 civilians were killed and 81 wounded in this operation. We have 67 New York Counties listed in our archive. 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". MacDonald wrote in 1986 that the British losses were 177 aircraft and German losses 240. The Miracle of Dunkirk. The Battle of Dunkirk was an important battle that took place in Dunkirk, France, during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. The British Expeditionary Force alone lost some 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign. On 2 June (the day the last of the British units embarked onto the ships),[Notes 1] the French began to fall back slowly, and by 3 June the Germans were about 2 miles (3.2 km) from Dunkirk. All of our results are sorted by Relevance. Winston Churchill Called the Evacuation a ‘Miracle’ in his Famous ‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’ … By 26 May, the BEF and the French 1st Army were bottled up in a corridor to the sea, about 60 miles (97 km) deep and 15 miles (24 km) wide. 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. Allied troops, mostly British, wade out to a fleet of military and civilian ships waiting to transport the men to England from Dunkirk. 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. About 338,000 men were rescued in about 11 days. Enduring concentrated German artillery fire and Luftwaffe strafing and bombs, the outnumbered French stood their ground. That number may seem high but over 300,000 were evacuated. The evidence of God's intervention was clear for those who wished to see it; papers had written of calm seas and the high mist which interfered with the accuracy of German bombers. The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. They said the fate of the great Allied army bottled up in Flanders is sealed." 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]. 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. Operation Dynamo: Things you need to know about the Dunkirk Evacuation. American journalist William Shirer reported on 25 May, "German military circles here tonight put it flatly. The Blitz (September 7, 1940–May 11, 1941), bombing campaign undertaken by Nazi Germany against Britain during World War II. [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. [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. 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. These men had protected the evacuation until the last moment and were unable to embark. The loss of materiel on the beaches was enormous. A marble memorial was established at Dunkirk (Dunkerque), it translates in English as: "To the glorious memory of the pilots, mariners, and soldiers of the French and Allied armi… [33], The defence of the Dunkirk perimeter held throughout 29–30 May, with the Allies falling back by degrees. 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. The August 23, 1862, Dakota attack on New Ulm, Minn., inflicted 105 white casualties, and the subsequent fight at Birch Coulee on September 2–3 tallied 91 soldier and civilian casualties. 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 Guards restored order by shooting some of the fleeing troops and turning others around at bayonet point. The offensive came to be called the … [20][39], The last of the British Army left on 3 June, and at 10:50, Tennant signalled Ramsay to say "Operation completed. [47], A marble memorial to the battle stands at Dunkirk. [42], The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. 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 – 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) The civilian rescue at Dunkirk exacted many costs of many kinds, including of course bombing and strafing of the little boats as they were loaded to capacity with soldiers who had waited hours in water up to their necks. General Fedor von Bock's Army Group B was to the east, and General Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group A to the west. Panzerdivision could probably have destroyed the 44th Division at Poperinge on 29 May, thereby cutting off the 3rd and 50th Divisions as well. 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. On 31 May, the Germans nearly broke through at Nieuport. [29], Gort had ordered Lieutenant General Adam, commanding III Corps, and French General Fagalde to prepare a perimeter defence of Dunkirk. 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