Disaster Looms at Dunkirk

During the middle of May, 1940, Allied forces - including French soldiers and the British Expeditionary Force - were in serious trouble.  German troops had overrun Belgium and were on their way to northern France.

Hundreds of thousands of men were forced into a small area along the northern French coast, at Dunkirk.  The Battle of France would soon be over, and it appeared that Britain, as well, would endure a catastrophic defeat.

Then Britain launched "Operation Dynamo," an event which Churchill called a "miracle of deliverance." Using every available ship, where no vessel was too small, the country rescued stranded French and British troops. 

Although not all the stranded men were rescued, by the time the last boat left Dunkirk harbor a fleet of 860 boats had saved 338,226 soldiers, consisting of:

  • 198,229 British; and
  • 139,997 French

Had these men not been saved to fight another day, the war could have had a different outcome. As the BBC notes, in its introduction to its Dunkirk Evacuation Collection:

It is determined that Dunkirk was the most dangerous chapter in the war and there could have been a dramatically different outcome if the Panzers had advanced.

Media Credits

Historical footage, online courtesy BBC.


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"Disaster Looms at Dunkirk" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jul 17, 2018.
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