Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Thread: Battle of Dunkirk

  1. #1
    Account Inactive

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Germanic
    State
    Teutonic Order Teutonic Order
    Gender
    Politics
    GPWW
    Posts
    1,630
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    4
    Thanked in
    4 Posts

    Battle of Dunkirk

    Due to the ongoing mythology on this board about Hitler's supposed "Halt Order" a brief look at the Battle of Dunkirk.

    The Battle of Dunkirk was a battle in the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. As part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940.

    After the Phoney War, the Battle of France began in earnest on 10 May 1940. To the east, the German Army Group B invaded and subdued the Netherlands and advanced westward through Belgium. In response, the Supreme Allied Commander—French General Maurice Gamelin—initiated "Plan D" which relied heavily on the Maginot Line fortifications. Gamelin committed the forces under his command, three mechanised armies, the French First and Seventh and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to the River Dyle. On 14 May, German Army Group A burst through the Ardennes and advanced rapidly to the west toward Sedan, then turned northward to the English Channel, in what Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein called the "Sickle Cut" (known as "Plan Yellow" or the Manstein Plan), effectively flanking the Allied forces.[3]

    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 British Expeditionary Force (BEF) near Armentières, the French 1st Army, and the Belgian Army further to the north from the majority of French troops south of the German penetration. After reaching the Channel, the Germans swung north along the coast, threatening to capture the ports and trap the British and French forces before they could evacuate to Britain.

    In one of the most widely-debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance on Dunkirk. Contrary to popular belief, what became known as "the Halt Order" did not originate with Adolf Hitler. 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 break. Hitler sanctioned the order on 24 May with the support of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW).

    The army were to halt for three days, giving the Allies time to organise an evacuation and build a defensive line. Despite the Allies' gloomy estimates of the situation, with Britain discussing a conditional surrender to Germany, in the end over 330,000 Allied troops were rescued.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dunkirk
    So much to the mythology around the "Halt Order" .

    On 10 May 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain. By 26 May, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French First Army were bottled up in a corridor to the sea, about 60 mi (97 km) deep and 15–25 mi (24–40 km) wide. Most of the British were still around Lille, over 40 mi (64 km) from Dunkirk, and the French still further south. Two massive German armies flanked them: General Fedor von Bock's Army Group B was to the east, and General Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group A to the west. (Both these officers were later promoted to Field Marshal.)

    On 24 May, Hitler had visited General von Rundstedt's headquarters at Charleville. 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 in order to pounce on the Allied forces retreating before Army Group B.[1] This order allowed the Germans to consolidate their gains and prepare for a southward advance against the remaining French forces. The terrain around Dunkirk was considered unsuitable for armour,[8] so the Allied forces' destruction was initially assigned to the Luftwaffe and the German infantry organised in Army Group B. Von Rundstedt later called this "one of the great turning points of the war."[9]

    The true reason for Hitler's decision to halt the German armour on 24 May is a matter of debate. One theory is that Von Rundstedt and Hitler agreed to conserve the armour for Fall Rot, an operation to the south.[8][10] Another theory—which has recently been disputed—was that Hitler was still trying to establish diplomatic peace with Britain before Operation Barbarossa. Brian Bond stated:

    Few historians now accept the view that Hitler's behaviour was influenced by the desire to let the British off lightly in hope that they would then accept a compromise peace. Directive No. 13, issued by the Supreme Headquarters on 24 May called specifically for the annihilation of the French, English and Belgian forces in the pocket, while the Luftwaffe was ordered to prevent the escape of the English forces across the channel.

    .


    "Fight back to the west"

    On 26 May, Anthony Eden—the Secretary of State for war—told General Gort that he might need to "fight back to the west", and ordered him to prepare plans for the evacuation. Gort had foreseen the order and preliminary plans were already in hand. The first such plan, for a defence along the Lys Canal, could not be carried out because of German advances on 26 May, with 2nd Division and 50th Division pinned down, and 1st, 5th and 48th Divisions under heavy attack. 2nd Division took heavy casualties trying to keep a corridor open, being reduced to a brigade strength, but they succeeded; 1st, 3rd, 4th and 42nd Division escaped along the corridor that day, as did about one-third of the French 1st Army. As the Allies fell back, they disabled their artillery and vehicles and destroyed their stores.

    On 27 May, the British fought back to the Dunkirk perimeter line.
    Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe dropped bombs and leaflets on the Allied armies. The leaflets showed a map of the situation. They read, in English and French: "British soldiers! Look at the map: it gives your true situation! Your troops are entirely surrounded – stop fighting! Put down your arms!"[16] The Allied soldiers mostly used these as toilet paper.[17] To the land- and air-minded Nazis, the sea seemed an impassable barrier,[18] so they really did think the Allies were surrounded; but the British saw the sea as a route to safety.

    As well as the Luftwaffe's bombs, German heavy artillery (which had just come within range) also fired high-explosive shells into Dunkirk. By this time, the town contained the bodies of over 1,000 civilian casualties.[14] This bombardment continued until the evacuation was over.

    The Battle of Wytschaete


    Gort had sent General Adam ahead to build the defensive perimeter around Dunkirk, and General Brooke was to conduct a holding action with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 50th Divisions along the Ypres-Comines canal as far as Yser while the rest of the BEF fell back.[19] The Battle of Wytschaete was the toughest action that Brooke faced in this role.[20]

    On 26 May, the Germans made probing attacks and reconnaissance in force against the British position.[21] At dawn on 27 May, they launched a full-scale attack with three divisions south of Ypres.[21] A confused battle followed, where because of forested or urban terrain, visibility was low, and because the British at that time used no radios below battalion level[21] and the telephone wires were cut, communications were poor. The Germans used infiltration tactics to get among the British,[21] who were beaten back.

    The heaviest fighting was in the 5th Division's sector. Still on 27 May, Brooke ordered Major-General Montgomery[Notes 1] to extend his 3rd Division's line to the left, thereby freeing 10th and 11th Brigades of 4th Division to join the 5th Division at Messines Ridge.[22] 10th Brigade arrived first, to find the enemy had advanced so far they were closing on the British field artillery.[23] Between them, 10th and 11th Brigades cleared the ridge of Germans, and by 28 May they were securely dug in east of Wytschaete.[23]

    That day, Brooke ordered a counterattack to be spearheaded by two battalions, the 3rd Grenadier Guards and the 2nd North Staffordshires.[23] The North Staffords advanced as far as the Kortekeer River,[24] while the Grenadiers reached the canal itself,[24] but could not hold it. The counterattack did successfully disrupt the Germans,[24] holding them back a little longer while the BEF retreated.


    Action at Poperinge

    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. Most of the main roads in the area converged on that bridge.[25] On 27 May, the Luftwaffe bombed the resulting traffic jam thoroughly for two hours, destroying or immobilising about 80% of the vehicles.[26] Another Luftwaffe raid—on the night of 28/29 May—was illuminated by flares as well as the light from burning vehicles.[27] The 44th Division in particular had to abandon many guns and lorries, losing almost all of them between Poperinge and the Mont.[28]

    The German 6. Panzerdivision could probably have destroyed the 44th Division at Poperinge on 29 May, thereby cutting off 3rd Division and 50th Division as well. Thompson calls it "astonishing" that they did not,[29] but they were distracted by investing the nearby town of Cassel.

    Belgian surrender

    Gort had ordered Sir Ronald Adam, 3rd Corps Commander, and French General Falgade, to prepare a perimeter defence of Dunkirk. The perimeter was semicircular, with French troops manning the western sector and British troops the eastern. It ran from Nieuport in the east via Furnes, Bulskamp and Bergues to Gravelines in the west. The line was as strong as it could be made under the circumstances, but on 28 May the Belgian army, largely outnumbered by the attacking German troops, abandoned by the Belgian government but still under the direct command of King Leopold who had refused to abandon his troops and the Belgian refugees inside the little enclave of what remained of unoccupied Belgium, surrendered, leaving a 20 mi (32 km) gap on Gort's eastern flank between the British and the sea. The British learned of the Belgian capitulation on 29 May although they had been warned by King Leopold in advance.[30]

    His Majesty King George VI sent Gort a telegram that read:

    "All your countrymen have been following with pride and admiration the courageous resistance of the British Expeditionary Force during the continuing fighting of the last fortnight. Faced by circumstances outside their control in a position of extreme difficulty, they are displaying a gallantry which has never been surpassed in the annals of the British Army. The hearts of everyone of us at home are with you and your magnificent troops in this hour of peril."[30]

    Gort sent the battle-worn 3rd, 4th and 50th Divisions into the line to fill the space the Belgians had held

    Lord Gort, commander in chief of the BEF

    Defence of the perimeter

    While they were still moving into position, they ran headlong into the German 256th Division who were trying to flank Gort. Armoured cars of the 12th Lancers stopped the Germans at Nieuport itself. A confused battle raged all along the perimeter throughout 28 May. Command control on the British side disintegrated, and the perimeter was driven slowly inwards toward Dunkirk.[31]

    Meanwhile, Erwin Rommel had surrounded five divisions of the French 1st Army near Lille. Though completely cut off, the French fought on for four days under General Molinié, thereby keeping seven German divisions from the assault on Dunkirk and saving an estimated 100,000 Allied troops.[31]

    The defence of the perimeter held throughout 29–30 May, with the British falling back by degrees. On 31 May, the Germans nearly punched through at Nieuport, and the situation grew so desperate that two British battalion commanders had to personally man a Bren gun, with one Colonel firing and the other loading.[32] A few hours later, the 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards rushed to reinforce the line near Furnes, where the British troops had been routed. The 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards restored order by shooting some of the fleeing troops, and turning others around at bayonet point.[32] The British troops returned to the line, and the German assault was beaten back.

    In the afternoon of the same day, the Germans breached the perimeter near the canal at Bulskamp but the boggy ground on the far side of the canal, with sporadic fire from the Durham Light Infantry, halted them. As night fell, the Germans massed for another attack at Nieuport. Eighteen RAF bombers found the Germans while they were still assembling, and scattered them with an accurate bombing run.

    Retreat to Dunkirk


    Also on 31 May, General Von Kuechler assumed command of all the German forces at Dunkirk. His plan was simple: he would launch an all-out attack across the whole front at 11:00 on 1 June. Strangely, Von Kuechler ignored a radio intercept telling him the British were abandoning the eastern end of the line to fall back to Dunkirk itself.[34]

    1 June dawned fine and bright – good flying weather, in contrast to the bad weather that had hindered airborne operations on 30 and 31 May. (There were only two and a half good flying days in the whole operation.)[35] Although Churchill had promised the French that the British would cover their escape, on the ground it was the French who held the line while the last remaining British were evacuated. Despite concentrated artillery fire and Luftwaffe strafing and bombs, the French stood their ground. On 2 June (the day the last of the British units embarked onto the ships),[Notes 2] the French began to fall back slowly, and by 3 June the Germans were two miles from Dunkirk.[37] The night of 3 June was the last night of evacuations. At 10:20 on 4 June, the Germans hoisted the swastika over the docks from which so many British and French troops had escaped under their noses

    Evacuation


    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).[39] Liddell Hart says British Fighter Command lost 106 aircraft dogfighting over Dunkirk, and the Luftwaffe lost about 135 – some of which were shot down by the French Navy and the Royal Navy;[37] but MacDonald says the British lost 177 aircraft and the Germans lost 240.[35]

    The docks at Dunkirk were too badly damaged to be used,[14] 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.[35]

    The last of the British Army left on 3 June, and at 10:50, Tennant signalled Ramsay to say "Operation completed. Returning to Dover."[40] 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 troops were lifted off on that last day[41] — but between 30,000 and 40,000 French soldiers were left behind and forced to surrender to the Germans
    Although the events at Dunkirk gave a great boost to British morale*, they also left the remaining French to stand alone against a renewed German assault southward. German troops entered Paris on 14 June and accepted the French surrender on 22 June.

    The Dean of St Paul's was first to call the battle the "Miracle of Dunkirk" (on 2 June).[43]

    A marble memorial to the battle stands at Dunkirk ((French) Dunkerque). It translates in English 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."

    The loss of materiel on the beaches was huge. The British Army left enough equipment behind to equip about eight to ten divisions. Left behind in France were, among huge supplies of ammunition, 880 field guns, 310 guns of large calibre, some 500 anti-aircraft guns, about 850 anti-tanks guns, 11,000 machine guns, nearly 700 tanks, 20,000 motorcycles and 45,000 motor cars and lorries.[44] 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 bus and coach models 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.

    British propaganda later exploited the successful evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, and particularly the role of the "Dunkirk little ships", very effectively. Many of the "little ships" were private vessels such as fishing boats and pleasure cruisers, but commercial vessels such as ferries also contributed to the force, including a number from as far away as the Isle of Man and Glasgow. These smaller vessels—guided by naval craft across the Channel from the Thames Estuary and from Dover—assisted in the official evacuation. Being able to reach much closer in the beachfront shallows than larger craft, the "little ships" acted as shuttles to and from the larger craft, lifting troops who were queuing in the water, many waiting shoulder-deep in water for hours. The term "Dunkirk Spirit" still refers to a popular belief in the solidarity of the British people in times of adversity
    *= The secret here: to "talk around" a startling defeat into a propaganda victory.

    Wikipedia here lays out the modernized "British view" (all stated sources are British writers, historians)---that is minus the Halt Order mythology.

    The Third Reich view is naturally different and can be obtained here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    SaxonPagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Last Online
    1 Week Ago @ 02:12 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Ancestry
    English, Anglo-Saxon
    Country
    England England
    Location
    South Coast
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Aries
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    Self Employed
    Politics
    Free Speech / Anti-EU
    Religion
    Pagan
    Posts
    5,039
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,584
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2,656
    Thanked in
    1,430 Posts
    Due to the ongoing mythology on this board about Hitler's supposed "Halt Order" a brief look at the Battle of Dunkirk.
    I'm sorry, where is all this

    -----------------------

    On a personal note, this battle has always been of interest to me because my Grandad got shot in the arm at Dunkirk.

  3. #3
    Pining for a Mythical Past
    „Friend of Germanics”
    Funding Membership Inactive
    Sehnsucht's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Last Online
    Monday, May 16th, 2016 @ 02:24 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Ancestry
    English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Yorkshire Yorkshire
    Gender
    Politics
    Nationalism, Pro Brexit
    Posts
    487
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    8
    Thanked in
    8 Posts
    Maybe MCP3 wants to prove that the halt order was not an overture to the British for diplomatic relations and peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godwinson View Post
    I'm sorry, where is all this

    -----------------------

    On a personal note, this battle has always been of interest to me because my Grandad got shot in the arm at Dunkirk.
    My great uncle was at Dunkirk, but I never heard him talk about the war. Artillery. My Nana seems to think she had a cousin who was shot by a sniper whilst on the rear guard. But I have found no proof of that yet, and she doesn't remember enough.
    Last edited by Huginn ok Muninn; Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Do not get personal here...

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Sehnsucht For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Senior Member
    hyidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Last Online
    Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 @ 10:44 AM
    Ethnicity
    British Isles
    Ancestry
    All over the British isles
    Country
    Australia Australia
    State
    Victoria Victoria
    Gender
    Age
    38
    Family
    Single adult
    Politics
    National Socialist
    Religion
    Atheist
    Posts
    1,477
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts
    This order allowed the Germans to consolidate their gains and prepare for a southward advance against the remaining French forces.
    This could explain why so many British escaped and why so many French died; but then again, the British left the French behind for the Germans to attack?

    I actually thought Hitler let the British escape but I know nothing about the battle of Dunkirk apart from the rumors, you MCP3 and Godwinson know more than I do.

  6. #5
    Anachronism
    „Friend of Germanics”
    Funding Membership Inactive
    Huginn ok Muninn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Ethnicity
    Germanic
    Ancestry
    Germany, Norway, England
    Subrace
    Nordeby
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Texas Texas
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Leo
    Family
    Single adult
    Politics
    Farther right than you.
    Posts
    3,140
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    801
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    911
    Thanked in
    451 Posts
    More than any other single operation, Dunkirk decided the war. Both sides claimed victory, but in the long term the strategic implications showed that it was a huge loss for Germany (and perhaps ultimately for us all.) Why? Because Germany needed more than victory... it needed a knock-out punch against not only the French, but the British Expeditionary Force as well. The escape from Dunkirk meant only the first part of this equation could be achieved. The idea that Hitler, Rundstedt and others at the time wholly realized this fact is doubtful, though. This force consisted of the most seasoned British units and commanders (including Bernard Montgomery), and had it been captured, one might only imagine the dismal spot this would have put Britain in. It would have been the equivalent for Britain that Stalingrad was for Germany, and while it would not have decided the matter completely, it would have considerably dampened the effort the British could have made for the rest of the war. Monty would be sitting in a POW camp instead of commanding at El Alamein, for instance, and the war may not even have gotten that far.

    We can only speculate about the possible outcomes, but it has to be remembered that the commander of the German forces in the area, Gerd von Rundstedt, had many considerations. There had been counter-attacks to deal with, and there were many French forces that would have had a chance to regroup in the south had the armor units been deployed against Dunkirk. So while the immediate capture of Dunkirk might have been achievable, we cannot know what impact that would have had upon the ensuing Battle of France. I cannot presume to think that I or anyone else would be better qualified to balance these considerations than Rundstedt, who many believe was the best Field Marshal in the German army at the time. It was his decision to stop, and only confirmed by Hitler:

    While the German troops under Rundstedt thus sought to consolidate and enlarge their bridgehead south of St Omer and, if possible, to win bridgeheads at other points on the Canal Line, there was no major attack nor any large-scale effort to break through our defence on this flank. Why was this? Partly it was due to the fact that though Arras had been evacuated the 5th Division fought a rearguard action back to the Canal Line; the high ground north of Arras to which the German Command attached such importance was not wholly and finally occupied till late in the day.[14] But Rundstedt's hesitation is more fully explained by other considerations.


    A study of the War Diaries shows that the situation as Rundstedt saw it on the evening of the 23rd may be summarised as follows:
    1. The possibility of concerted action by Allied forces in the north and French forces south of the Somme had to be reckoned with.
    2. It was of vital importance to close up the mobile formations as well as to consolidate the German northern flank. British and French attacks about Arras and Cambrai had underlined this need.
    3. The XIX Corps having so far failed to take Boulogne and Calais, and the defence of the Somme flank not yet being secure, the advanced units of Kleist and Hoth Groups should deny the Canal Line to the enemy but should not cross it.[15]
    About six o'clock on the evening of the 23rd a directive in this sense was given by Army Group A to the Fourth Army, who in turn ordered that 'in the main Hoth Group will halt tomorrow; Kleist Group will also halt, thereby clarifying the situation and closing up'.1[16]


    About eighteen hours after Rundstedt had given Kluge his directive—that is at about 11.30 on the morning of the 24th—Hitler visited Rundstedt at his headquarters. 'He agreed entirely with the view that east of Arras an attack had to be made with infantry, while the mobile forces could be halted on the line reached—Lens–Béthune–Aire–St Omer–Gravelines—in order to intercept the enemy under pressure from Army Group B. He emphasised this view by insisting that it was in any case necessary to conserve the armoured forces for future operations and that any further compression of the ring encircling the enemy could only have the highly undesirable result of restricting the activities of the Luftwaffe.'2[17]. Thus it is clear that the decision to halt the armour on the Canal Line on the 24th (taken on the day before Hitler arrived and endorsed it) was originally Rundstedt's decision. But after Hitler had left, Rundstedt issued a directive which read: 'By the Führer's orders … the general line Lens–Béthune–Aire–St Omer–Gravelines (Canal Line) will not be passed.'3[18] The armoured divisions were to close up to the canal and use the day as far as practicable for repairs and maintenance. This hold-up puzzled divisional commanders straining to get forward, and their war diaries show how disappointed they were by 'The Führer's orders' to halt. They were to quote this years later, as an instance of Hitler's interference with the conduct of the campaign—for so it must have appeared to the mat the time. 'By the Führer's orders' was all they could know of the origin of this decision; but Rundstedt and Hitler knew the true facts, and, while Hitler was only too anxious to appear as the director of operations, Rundstedt saw that if he was to get his own way when it differed from the intentions of O.K.H. he must make it appear that what he did was 'by the Führer's orders'. This and cognate questions are more fully discussed in the Supplement on the 'Planning and Conduct of the German Campaign'.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-NWE-Flanders/UK-NWE-Flanders-9.html

    The idea that Hitler decided to stop as some sort of grand chivalric gesture to Britain is ridiculous, and its origin is in the mind of English historian Liddell Hart as seen here:

    Harmon re-examined the on-going controversy concerning Hitler's order of May 24, halting for two days the German advance in the direction of Dunkirk. After the war some German officers claimed that they were "shocked" when they received the order to stop their tanks at the river Aa, which permitted the French to establish a defensive line on the west side of Dunkirk. At the time, however, Panzer General Heinz Guderian visited his leading units on the approaches to Dunkirk and concluded that General Von Rundstedt had been right to order a halt and that further tank attacks across the wet land (which had been reclaimed from the sea) would have involved a useless sacrifice of some of his best troops. In his post-war memoirs and discussions with Sir Basil Liddell Hart, Guderian tried to blame Hitler for the suspension of the advance. From his discussions with Guderian and other German generals, Liddell Hart concluded that Hitler permitted the British Army to escape on purpose, hoping that this generous act would facilitate the conclusion of peace with Britain.[3]

    A number of years ago it became clear that the order to stop the advance of the German Panzer units had been expected for some time. General Von Rundstedt finally issued that order on May 24 which Hitler simply confirmed.[4] The troops were allowed to rest and local repairs were carried out on the armored vehicles. When the offensive resumed on May 26 the German priorities had shifted and the focus of the attack was Paris and the heartland of the country where a large body of French troops remained. Dunkirk was regarded as a sideshow. German Air Force units were assigned to bombard Dunkirk, but the weather there was generally unsuitable for flying and during the nine days of the evacuation the Luftwaffe interfered with it only two-and-a-half days -- May 27, the afternoon of May 29, and on June 1.[5]
    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v02/v02p375_Lutton.html
    (This link mentions British and German war crimes, so if you cannot read it without taking offense that the tone is "anti-British" or "anti-German," just don't.)

    How many people would have bought Microsoft in 1986 if they had known what its valuation would be in 2000? A lot, most likely. Well, things were not so clear in 1986, just as it was not clear to Rundstedt how profoundly important it might have been to capture those fleeing men in 1940. He knew the Luftwaffe was going to be deployed to deter them, but could not know that weather would prevent this force from having a more meaningful effect. Rundstedt did, however, make the astute assessment that the defeat of Britain had been crucial to success in the war:

    During his captivity, he was reportedly asked by Soviet interrogators which battle he regarded as most decisive. They expected him to say "Stalingrad", but von Rundstedt replied "The Battle of Britain". Annoyed, the Soviets "put away their notebooks and left."
    http://ww2gravestone.com/general/rundstedt-karl-rudolf-gerd-von

    When taken as a whole, the operation in France and Belgium in 1940 was an utterly brilliant piece of military strategy and execution, but this one failure, allowing the BEF to escape to fight another day, is the thing that truly haunts us, since it might have shortened the war by many years and many millions of lives lost... and consequently may have prevented much enmity as well.
    [02-10, 17:07] Chlodovech: cats may have a reason for meowing too

    [02-10, 17:08] renownedwolf: same reason as the missus then.. give me stuff/affection..though she doesnt need me to let her out in the garden for a poo..

    [02-10, 17:09] Chlodovech: that's more than I can say of Thoreidar

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Germania Magna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Last Online
    Saturday, August 25th, 2012 @ 04:21 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Country
    England England
    Gender
    Religion
    reality
    Posts
    200
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3
    Thanked in
    3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Huginn ok Muninn View Post
    We can only speculate about the possible outcomes
    David Irving opines that the Germans never imagined that the British would retreat at Dunkirk. They thought that it was out of character for the British to make a tactical retreat rather than to stand and fight. He reckons that Britain would have offered Germany a conditional surrender if they had trapped 300,000 British servicemen at Dunkirk. The war would have been over. Instead Germany put Britain on the back burner and focused on France. They defeated the French but the war went on. Many lives could have been saved, British and German if Germany had prioritised Britain at Dunkirk.

    DI jokes that Dunkirk was the only time that the British ever got to the beaches before the Germans.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Germania Magna For This Useful Post:


  9. #7
    Senior Member
    Liutpold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Last Online
    Friday, August 24th, 2012 @ 12:58 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    Semnones / Fosi
    Country
    Germany Germany
    State
    Nassau Nassau
    Gender
    Politics
    Constitutional dictatorship
    Religion
    ...won't save you.
    Posts
    122
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Why did Hitler stop the tanks off Dunkirk? This is a very good question and the historical scholarship is uncertain.

    At the beginning of 1940, Hitler enforced the operational plan for the western front designed by General Erich von Manstein against concerns of the Army High Command: A surprising push of the armored divisions through the Ardennes, Luxembourg and southern Belgium to the north-west to the Channel coast near Abbeville, called sickle cut (Sichelschnitt), the exact counterpart of the Schlieffen Plan of 1905, provided the envelopment for the French army to the southwest. Manstein created the basis for the encirclement of the Allied armies, as the German tanks reached, after a successful breakthrough on 20 May 1940, the Somme estuary. But then, on 24 May, when the tank wanted swinging northeast to destroy the British and French, the commander of Army Group, Gerd von Rundstedt, ordered with Hitler's approval, a two-day stop, so called Haltebefehl (stop command).

    As before, the stop command is controversial and is considered as one of the most consequential mistakes of World War II. Some claim that the push had been stopped from Hitler's fear of an enemy attack from the southwest flank but which never took place because the French lacked the reserves, which might not believe the Germans remembered in 1914. Others say the state of the German armored units have left no other choice. About half of the tanks were damaged and at least temporarily operational.

    Hitler himself has described the "swamps of Flanders" as an inappropriate site for a tank battle, because the sudden onset of rain softened the soil but there is no evidence in the surviving records. Especially speculative remains the assumption that Hitler had wanted to save the trapped British.

    Rundstedt claimed after the war, Dunkirk should be in Hitler's view a "golden bridge" for the British, through which they could leave the European continent without a military disaster, so that an understanding with them would have been possible. But against this hypothesis is the fact that Hitler himself had ordered to destroy the British forces completely.

    More plausible is that Hitler was blinded by a flamboyant Hermann Goering's offer. One day before the stop command, the head of the German Luftwaffe had claimed that his pilots could crush the British troops; the army would then only occupy the site.

    Hitler and the Wehrmacht generals were surprised by the rapidity of the German advance. There was disagreement over how to proceed and that was another problem. While the commander of the Army, Walther von Brauchitsch, and Chief of Staff, Franz Halder, crowded into a devastating blow decision of the German Panzer troops against the Allies, Hitler used a careful tactic with other Army officers.

    In my opinion, the military layman Hitler wasn’t able to overlook the whole situation. The politician Hitler was suspicious of temporary setbacks and the human Hitler was anyway suspicious of the OKH. In addition there were squabbles of Goering against the army and the claim of the air force to play an important role in the final. I don’t think the history of origins has anything to do neither with political considerations for the United Kingdom nor wear of tanks nor the inaccessible area of the Dunkrik pocket. I would find the key to understanding rather in the misreporting of Arras and in the competitive battle of the German military commanders.

  10. #8
    Senior Member
    SaxonPagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Last Online
    1 Week Ago @ 02:12 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Ancestry
    English, Anglo-Saxon
    Country
    England England
    Location
    South Coast
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Aries
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    Self Employed
    Politics
    Free Speech / Anti-EU
    Religion
    Pagan
    Posts
    5,039
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,584
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2,656
    Thanked in
    1,430 Posts
    The BEF was not 'let off' at Dunkirk but the real myth is that everyone escaped, when in fact there were 40.000 British troops captured and around the same number of French.

    The decision to halt was probably the correct one; all the more so as Goering had convinced Hitler he could complete the job with the Luftwaffe, but in the event he was thwarted by the weather. This is something that no military strategist can reliably predict, even to this day, but it was reasonable to expect clear skies at the end of May/beginning of June.

  11. #9
    Account Inactive

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Last Online
    Thursday, February 27th, 2020 @ 08:30 AM
    Ethnicity
    Anglo-American
    Gender
    Religion
    Hitlerism
    Posts
    363
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    81
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    120
    Thanked in
    85 Posts
    According to Hermann Giesler (memoirs) and Rudolf Hess (via Eugene K. Bird), Hitler was still holding out for the prospect of peace with Britain at that stage. It was on humanitarian deliberations that he ordered a halt.
    Even if he had secured Britain, how would he have organized the defense of the island or supply them with food which was already a scarcity? There were logistics to consider and he wanted to spare the British people from suffering.
    Had he taken this course, at least more British people in the modern world would be yearning for him.

  12. #10
    Senior Member
    SaxonPagan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Last Online
    1 Week Ago @ 02:12 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Ancestry
    English, Anglo-Saxon
    Country
    England England
    Location
    South Coast
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Aries
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    Self Employed
    Politics
    Free Speech / Anti-EU
    Religion
    Pagan
    Posts
    5,039
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1,584
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2,656
    Thanked in
    1,430 Posts
    It was on humanitarian deliberations that he ordered a halt.
    Highly doubtful.

    Goering intended to 'annihilate' the BEF, which alone contradicts the above.

    The exposed troops on the beach were attacked, mainly by Stukas, so why would this have happened if humanitarianism had been the objective? Death by tank or airplane doesn't really make much difference.

    Hitler was still holding out for the prospect of peace with Britain at that stage.
    This is true but it didn't mean the cessation of hostilities. He'd have had far more chance of a peace agreement if the British Army had been destroyed.

  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SaxonPagan For This Useful Post:


Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk
    By Nachtengel in forum Film, TV, & Performing Arts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Monday, August 7th, 2017, 07:56 PM
  2. A German Soldier's Photos of the Devastation of Dunkirk
    By Nachtengel in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Saturday, November 6th, 2010, 06:24 PM
  3. Dunkirk: Are We Finally Ready to Face the Truth?
    By Nachtengel in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Sunday, June 13th, 2010, 09:59 AM
  4. Hitler's Grand Error at Dunkirk: Why?
    By Nachtengel in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:14 AM
  5. The Miracle of Dunkirk Reconsidered
    By Nachtengel in forum Modern Age & Contemporary History
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Monday, September 29th, 2008, 06:03 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •