The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

29 July
Comments Off on DUNKIRK – THE BATTLE OF THE PERIMETER

DUNKIRK – THE BATTLE OF THE PERIMETER

One thing not included in Dunkirk was the fact that an Anglo French rearguard held back German forces for long enough to ensure the evacuation from the beaches could take place at all. It meant that the retreat was not a rout. As the Duke of Wellington is alleged to have once said. “Any fool can win a battle but the best generals know when to retreat and when they do it they do it damned well”

Valuable time was gained from Hitler’s inexplicable ‘halt order’, which suspended the panzers’ advance for 2-3 crucial days, whilst the German tank forces were replenished. This gave the Allies the opportunity to set up strongpoints in key towns and villages such as Lille, La Bassée, St Venant, Festubert, La Paradis, Steenbecque, Hazebrouck, Cassel, Wormhout, Bergues, Ypres, Noordschote, Dixmuide, Veurne and Nieuwpoort. These strongpoints were manned by experienced troops of the British 2nd division and a variety of scratch units. For the most part, their orders were simple: ‘Fight to the last man and the last round’. The heroic sacrifice of these rearguard units and of the French 1st Army at Lille, allowed the bulk of the BEF and two French divisions to escape up the rapidly-shrinking corridor to Dunkirk

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