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Dunkirk : Operation Dynamo Puzzle Logo
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When Hitler invaded the low countries on 10th May 1940, the Dutch were caught totally by surprised and off guard. Nazi 'Blitzkrieg' tactics overran these territories easily and with great speed. As the Allied armies advanced forward through Belgium to block the Nazi advance, the Nazis penetrated the Ardennes in the south.

The Allies had inadvertently sprung the trap that Hitler had laid. The Nazis swept through in the south with little opposition. After the German army broke through in the Ardennes it swept north and headed towards the coast, and in doing so trapped the Allied force.

The Allies had been outmanoeuvred by the Germans. With the French army in retreat, the British Expeditionary Force headed towards the coast and Dunkirk. 'Operation Dynamo' was the evacuation of the British and Allied troops from Dunkirk, to the safety of England some 25 miles across the English Channel.

They expected to save at least 45,000 soldiers at best, but ended up helping over 300,000 troops back to good old 'Blighty', and to fight another day. Not only was the Royal Navy involved but a flotilla of private ships, and with the RAF who threw a protective shield over the beaches to prevent air attacks on the stranded troops, the stranded troops waded out to the waiting boats and ships.

The Nazis tried, and succeeded, to sink some of the ships that were returning troops, and all was done to try and trap as much of the British army on mainland Europe as possible. It was a combined effort that saved the day, and provided a small victory from the devastation of defeat. Other evacuations along the coast brought the total of rescued troops to nearly 500,000, two thirds of the evacuated troops were British. The phoney war was over, and the Allies had just tasted real war.

By the 4th June, the German army had closed the perimeter around Dunkirk and the evacuation had to be stopped. Finally the town surrendered. On the same day Winston Churchill delivered a speech in the House of Commons with regard to Dunkirk and 'Operation Dynamo'. The moving "We shall fight them on the beaches..." speech was preparing the British people for the coming battle.

Although many troops escaped, thousands were captured and taken prisoner. But the effects of this disaster was far more reaching. With the fall of France just a matter of time, Britain would be alone.

The invasion of Britain would be next. The defeat in northern France would leave the British army short of not only men but also short of equipment. Equipment that was left on the mainland as the retreating army destroyed what it could so that it could not fall into the hands of the enemy. The RAF had lost nearly half its force in the French campaign, over 100 planes in the defence of the Dunkirk evacuation alone. Now the RAF would have to face the mighty Luftwaffe in the skies over England, with the odds stacked against them and with a depleted force, in the fight of their lives and for the survival of Britain.

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For those visitors that have entered to this site, directly to this page, we would like to inform you that this page is part of a series of pages, within a section that acts as a backdrop to 'The Puzzle' project. 'The Puzzle' is a musical project that looks at different events from the 20th-21st Century.

This section is part of the 'World War II' zone. 'A Promise Of Peace' tells the story, in chronological order, of World War II.

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