Dunkirk, The Real Story in Photographs

This is a story told in photographs and they form an outstanding selection, but there is also some excellent text, concise, and well-researched. – With the advent of a new film about Dunkirk, this is a good opportunity to produce an accurately researched account in print, with lavish illustration – Most Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Dunkirk, The Real Story in Photographs
FILE: R2552
AUTHOR: Tim Lynch
PUBLISHER: The History Press
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES:  96
PRICE: £15.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Blitz Krieg, BEF, Ardennes invasion, fighting withdrawal, 
WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War.

ISBN: 978-0-7509-8273-3

IMAGE: B2552.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yaza3bet
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This is a story told in photographs and they form an 
outstanding selection, but there is also some excellent text, 
concise, and well-researched.  - With the advent of a new film about 
Dunkirk, this is a good opportunity to produce an accurately 
researched account in print, with lavish illustration  – Most Highly 
Recommended.

Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk is a 
controversial event that inspires claims of victory and counter 
claims of defeat, with a general agreement that it was a miracle. 
These three positions simply do not do justice to the men and women 
who turned impending disaster into a great opportunity that allowed 
Britain to fight on and be there at the defeat of Germany and her 
Axis Partners. This photographic presentation goes a long way to 
telling the real story and it is an incredible story.

As with most wars, the careful planned outcomes are most frequently 
overtaken by events. When Baron von Luck entered Calais with the 
forward reconnaissance units of the 21st Panzers it must have looked 
to all Germans as 'mission accomplished'. The BEF was bottled up in 
a shrinking pocket backing onto Dunkirk, together with remnants of 
the French Army. All over bar the shouting. As many invaders before, 
the Germans grossly underestimated the ingenuity of the British and 
a determination to resist the aggressor to the end.

The basic facts were that some 900 vessels rescued over 300,000 
British and French soldiers from under the noses of the Germans. To 
give this evacuation the time needed, a courageous rearguard of 
40,000 soldiers gave their lives or their freedom. The only event to 
come close was when a Royal Navy commander used his initiative during 
the Napoleonic Wars and extracted Generalleutnant Graf von Hohenlau 
and his Division from the Baltic coast under the noses of the French, 
again using time bought by a courageous Prussian rearguard that 
fought to the last man. Beyond the bare facts, there is the usual fog 
of legend and myth that surrounds any great feat of arms.

The photographs and cartoons provide a real flavour to the 
desperation, courage, endurance, ingenuity, professionalism, 
fortitude, bloodymindedness and Britishness. One cartoon perhaps sums 
it all up by showing the BEF not as the British Expeditionary Force 
but as Bravery, Endurance, Fortitude.

What is not shown is the contribution the RAF made, largely out of 
sight of the soldiers awaiting evacuation, taking on some impossible 
odds as they intercepted German aircraft heading to bomb and machine-
gun the soldiers on the beaches and the ships attempting to evacuate 
them. Also not shown, because it is something that even the few rare 
photographs cannot show, are the amateur efforts that blended into 
the very professional and innovative evacuation under Royal Navy 
control.

When people began to learn something of the plight of the BEF, they 
stepped forward without being asked and many showed bloody 
persistence in the face of those who wanted organise only official 
military personnel. Pleasure craft were requisitioned along the East 
and South coasts and they had to be taken to the Chanel Ports to 
take part in the evacuation. There were also fishing boats and 
sailing barges and an odd job selection of other craft, including a 
strong contribution from the RNLI's lifeboats. The RN intended to 
crew them with their sailors but civilians insisted on taking their 
own vessels to the assembly ports and then insisted on sailing into 
harms way. Many did not return but their contribution was vital. It 
also extended to service personnel. Chris Dreyer was skipper of the 
experimental MTB 102. This Vosper craft, with its Italian aircraft 
engines, was the fastest vessel in the Royal Navy and had been used 
to develop the tactics that were to be so effectively employed by 
Coastal Forces throughout the war. Dreyer had heard some of the 
stories circulating and decided, without orders, to sail across to 
Dunkirk and see what help he could offer. When he arrived he made 
himself useful and MTB 102 withstood heavy attack, surviving one 
Stuka bomb that exploded three foot from her transom. She then 
became very important, taking aboard Adm Wake-Walker the senior RN 
officer commanding at Dunkirk who had to leave HMS Keith, the third 
destroyer bombed from under him. MTB 102 then became the Flagship at 
Dunkirk proudly flying the Admiral's Flag, hastily made by painting 
a red cross on a large tea towel.

There were also other uninvited participants who heard the news and 
sailed to Dunkirk of their own volition. In most cases we will never 
know all their names. The Fleet Air Arm also joined in, again 
apparently without orders and including aircraft assigned to 
training duties. Apparently this involved the Blackburn Skua 
aircraft. This machine was one of the first metal monoplanes to join 
the FAA. Its sister, the Roc, was designed as a fighter, but only 
had four machine guns in a power turret behind the pilot, making it 
a slow and useless machine. The Skua was intended as a dive bomber 
but its four wing mounted machine guns and higher speed made it a 
remarkably effective fighter. A Skua was to shoot down the first 
German aircraft of WWII and Skuas over Dunkirk accounted for several 
German aircraft.