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.
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.
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.