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Thread: Dunkirk

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    I didn't...
    Its typical Gibson. Laid on with a spade. Good film though.

  2. #17
    Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Britain expected WWI, i.e. the French to hold. Given the volatile nature of what they faced, it was actually quite spectacularly successful. They did have two advantages/luck in that the Germans were so successful they outran their supplies and the French rearguard performed magnificently, so much so that most of them were evacuated too.
    Somer facts and figures before Kato jumps in.

    Source Wiki

    "The War Office made the decision to evacuate British forces on 25 May. 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). The historian Basil Liddell Hart says British Fighter Command lost 106 aircraft dogfighting over Dunkirk, the Luftwaffe lost about 135 – some of which were shot down by the French Navy and the Royal Navy; but MacDonald says the British lost 177 aircraft and the Germans lost 240.[40][42][43]

    The docks at Dunkirk were too badly damaged to be used, but the East and West Moles (sea walls protecting the harbour entrance) were intact. Captain William Tennant—in charge of the evacuation—decided to use the beaches and the East Mole to land the ships. This highly successful idea hugely increased the number of troops that could be embarked each day, and indeed at the rescue operation's peak, on 31 May, over 68,000 men were taken off.[23][40]

    The last of the British Army left on 3 June, and at 10:50, Tennant signalled Ramsay to say "Operation completed. Returning to Dover." However, Churchill insisted on coming back for the French, so the Royal Navy returned on 4 June in an attempt to rescue as many as possible of the French rearguard. Over 26,000 French soldiers were evacuated on that last day, but between 30,000 and 40,000 more were left behind and forced to surrender to the Germans

    The loss of materiel on the beaches was huge. The British Army left enough equipment behind to equip about eight to ten divisions. Discarded in France were, among huge supplies of ammunition, 880 field guns, 310 guns of large calibre, some 500 anti-aircraft guns, about 850 anti-tank guns, 11,000 machine guns, nearly 700 tanks, 20,000 motorcycles, and 45,000 motor cars and lorries. Army equipment available at home was only just sufficient to equip two divisions. The British Army needed months to re-supply properly and some planned introductions of new equipment were halted while industrial resources concentrated on making good the losses. Officers told troops falling back from Dunkirk to burn or otherwise disable their trucks (so as not to let them benefit the advancing German forces). The shortage of army vehicles after Dunkirk was so severe that the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) was reduced to retrieving and refurbishing numbers of obsolete buses and coaches from British scrapyards to press them into use as troop transports. Some of these antique workhorses were still in use as late as the North African campaign of 1942"
    Last edited by Toby; 09 May 17, at 08:30.

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Lets be truthful here, Dunkirk was a monumental F-ck up on a biblical scale. How we pulled the evacuation off was part determination, part luck.
    All battles are 'monumental fuck-ups' especially if you are the losers. Sometimes however even the victors say the same thing, least-ways those who were actually took part do (Leyte Gulf springs to mind). The cries of 'victory' always seem come loudest from those people who are the most removed in distance (or time) from any actual fighting.
    Last edited by Monash; 09 May 17, at 14:14.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    All battles are 'monumental fuck-ups' especially if you are the losers. Sometimes however even the victors say the same thing, least-ways those who were actually took part do (Leyte Gulf springs to mind). The cries of 'victory' always seem come loudest from those people who are the most removed in distance (or time) from any actual fighting.
    Yes but some battles are bigger Fuckup than others. In terms of the size of the British army at the time, Fuck ups don't get much bigger.(enough equipment left behind to equip between 8 and 10 divs) As with all things though when people pull together anything is possible. If we hadn't got those lads off the beach's and back to blighty, Game set and match to the Krauts! and very likely no American involvement in Europe. It would have been a complete game changer. Chances are I'd be goose stepping to work
    Last edited by Toby; 09 May 17, at 14:27.

  5. #20
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Yes but some battles are bigger Fuckup than others. In terms of the size of the British army at the time, Fuck ups don't get much bigger.(enough equipment left behind to equip between 8 and 10 divs) As with all things though when people pull together anything is possible. If we hadn't got those lads off the beach's and back to blighty, Game set and match to the Krauts! and very likely no American involvement in Europe. It would have been a complete game changer. Chances are I'd be goose stepping to work
    Hmmm, not so sure I agree. WAB has had a few 'Battle of Britain' threads in its time and the general consensus is that between the RAF and the Channel a German invasion of Britain had a very limited (at best) chance of success given the relative strengths of Britain's and Germany's air and naval forces at the time.

    Firstly yes, while it was a 'gift from the gods' that GB got all 300,000 plus BEF and allied troops out from under at Dunkirk it is unlikely that the Germans would have snared all of those troops even if they had pushed harder at the time. IMO a not insignificant fraction would still have been evacuated, if only because the German' were stretched themselves given their rate of progress and the resources available to them at the time. Historical events being what they were a not insignificant % of those troops would always have been evacuated anyway. Then you can add to that the fact that Britain's industrial capacity at the time allowed it to replace most of the lost equipment in relatively short order. (If I recall correctly there's a thread here somewhere which gives figures on this point.)

    The main sticking point is always getting the Wehrmacht across the Channel, even assuming the BEF was destroyed. Germany simply didn't have the sea lift capacity it needed to do the job. Just look at the effort the Allies had to put into the job when they returned to Europe 3 years later.

  6. #21
    Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Hmmm, not so sure I agree. WAB has had a few 'Battle of Britain' threads in its time and the general consensus is that between the RAF and the Channel a German invasion of Britain had a very limited (at best) chance of success given the relative strengths of Britain's and Germany's air and naval forces at the time.

    Firstly yes, while it was a 'gift from the gods' that GB got all 300,000 plus BEF and allied troops out from under at Dunkirk it is unlikely that the Germans would have snared all of those troops even if they had pushed harder at the time. IMO a not insignificant fraction would still have been evacuated, if only because the German' were stretched themselves given their rate of progress and the resources available to them at the time. Historical events being what they were a not insignificant % of those troops would always have been evacuated anyway. Then you can add to that the fact that Britain's industrial capacity at the time allowed it to replace most of the lost equipment in relatively short order. (If I recall correctly there's a thread here somewhere which gives figures on this point.)

    The main sticking point is always getting the Wehrmacht across the Channel, even assuming the BEF was destroyed. Germany simply didn't have the sea lift capacity it needed to do the job. Just look at the effort the Allies had to put into the job when they returned to Europe 3 years later.
    If the BEF had been destroyed, there would have been strong support to sue for peace. Defeatist voices were already becoming prominent at this point. Certainly getting the army back alas minus equipment helped defeat those voices. Lord Halifax being one of the many defeatist voices. Very touch and go at that point. Certainly an amphibious invasion by Germany would have been a disaster. Which is why they tried to knock out our airforce

  7. #22
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    If the BEF had been destroyed, there would have been strong support to sue for peace. Defeatist voices were already becoming prominent at this point. Certainly getting the army back alas minus equipment helped defeat those voices. Lord Halifax being one of the many defeatist voices. Very touch and go at that point. Certainly an amphibious invasion by Germany would have been a disaster. Which is why they tried to knock out our airforce
    Possibly, but then they you still had Churchill to deal with and I don't think the word 'defeatist' was in his vocabulary. As for the airforce they tried and failed and in the time it took them to fail the BEF had already been re-equipped, not to mention the the 10s of thousands of other British troops that were completing training at the time.

    Basically it was a game of scissors, paper, rock. To invade Britain at the time Germany needed to win three out of three. Britain on the other hand only had to win one. German army trumps BEF. British Navy trumps German navy and (at best from a German perspective) the two air-forces cancel each other out due to attritional losses. (In reality British air force trumps German airforce - so Germany loses.

  8. #23
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    Churchill and the overwhelming support to continue fighting by the people. As of course they demonstrated. All was not lost as you say. But Dunkirk was a monumental fuck up in terms of being removed from the continent.
    Last edited by Toby; 09 May 17, at 17:16.

  9. #24
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    I am really looking forward to this movie. When you consider the only previously known movie which covered Dunkirk (at least in this country) was Mrs Minniver its high time this story was told.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

  10. #25
    Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    I am really looking forward to this movie. When you consider the only previously known movie which covered Dunkirk (at least in this country) was Mrs Minniver its high time this story was told.
    There was a1958 movie, a bit hammy as you'd expect. Think John Mills was init and a recent movie Atonement had sequence using it as part of the story.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    There was a1958 movie, a bit hammy as you'd expect. Think John Mills was init and a recent movie Atonement had sequence using it as part of the story.
    Oh it was a classic post WW 2 sappy movie. Still a good one.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

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