A Forgotten Campaign
The British Armed Forces in France 1940 -- from Dunkirk to the Armistice
Author : Paul Fantom
Not yet published - in Spring 2021 list
General - Pages : 208 | Images : 37 b/w photos, 1 b/w cartoon, 1 map
Paperback - ISBN : 9781914059018 | Helion Book Code : HEL1295
Conducted between 27 May and 4 June 1940, Operation Dynamo was the evacuation from Dunkirk of most of the British Expeditionary Force cut off and surrounded during Fall Gelb – phase one of Germany’s invasion of France. Despite the impression that British forces had no further presence there until D-Day, this was not the case.
From 5 to 18 June 1940, during Fall Rot – phase two of the campaign, several British and Empire infantry and armoured formations and an RAF contingent fought on in France. Two further British and Empire divisions were despatched to be part of a ‘Second BEF’ but the blitzkrieg advance of the German panzers and mechanised infantry proved unstoppable. Operation Cycle was a further evacuation from Le Havre, though the attempted rescue of the 51st Highland Division from St Valery-en-Caux ended in its surrender. Nevertheless, a rear-guard campaign allowed remaining troops to be evacuated from several ports during Operation Aerial.
This book examines an important yet considerably under-appreciated aspect of British participation in the Battle of France. It describes the many desperate struggles against German forces that were overwhelmingly superior in numbers, equipment and flexibility and tactics on the battlefield, by improvised British formations, often of rear echelon and territorial troops. Usually short of arms and ammunition, equipment and organisation, they never lacked courage and determination. This story has been largely overlooked but it deserves to be told and for full acknowledgement to be given to the heroism and the sacrifices made by those who were there.