Dunkirk

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Ezboard

Dunkirk

Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002 13:12

Marcus Wendel
Administrator
(6/2/00 10:28:00 am)
Reply Dunkirk
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There is a lot of commemoration of the "miracle at Dunkirk" (Dunkrik Remembered), but why did the germans allow the brittish troops to escape?
And what would have happened if all those british troops had been taken prisoner by the germans?

What are your thoughts on the subject?

/Marcus

Richard Murphy
Unregistered User
(6/2/00 6:55:17 pm)
Reply Very little different from what actually occured!
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Marcus,
Dunkirk, in fact the whole French campaign, was an absolute disaster for the British (Not to mention the French, Belgians and Dutch!), but the evacuation from Dunkirk was one of those rare examples of a populous joining together (However briefly.) in the cause of the common good.
Even if the Germans had managed to force the surrender of the forces around the port (Which is not very likely, the terrain around that area does not lend itself to armoured operations and the infantry divisions were still moving up.) they were still confronted by the same problem, they still didn't have the means to launch a major amphibious operation across the Channel. The lack of any Kreigsmarine activity during "Dynamo" is proof of that.
Had they wanted to go on to conquer England (A prospect that no-one seems to have been keen on.), their best chance was during the immediate aftermath of the evacuation (IE early June), but the rest of France had to be conquered first, which, naturally, pulled units away from the Channel coast and caused extra wear, tear and casualties, forcing them to wait until mid-August before serious operations against the RAF could begin.
The Germans could have flooded the skies for the initial crossing, but maintaining that superiority would have been almost impossible unless the first landings caused such a panic as to render a co-ordinated defence impossible, which was not likely to happen.

Regards

RFM

Marcus Wendel
Administrator
(6/2/00 10:16:25 pm)
Reply Re: Very little different from what actually occured!
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I agree with you that the germans could not have invaded the UK, but loosing all those soldiers would have been a severe blow the nation and a lot more people would probably consider a peace-deal with the germans.

/Marcus

Goggi
Registered User
(9/7/00 3:05:17 am)
Reply Dunkirk
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Hitler was an admirer of the English Army from his time on the Western Front in WW I. He also admired the English Empire which he wanted to guarantee and support by the German might. His intentions in Dunkirk were, therefore, to spare the admired English Army the complete annilation and influence the English peace forces in Parliament in his effort to make peace. His peace offer in his big speech in the Kroll Oper 1940 was, therefore, genuine and honest. In the back of his mind was, of course, his plan against Russia, and for this he needed Peace and quietness in his back and on the flanks. This was the sole reason why he permitted the escape of about 300,000 English troops from the beaches in Dunkirk. This was certainly one of his most stupid blunders in his life! Unfortunately at this time the little Caesar in Rome developed also some plans to conquer the world which were spelling a hell of a lot of troubles for Germany!

Gary Komar
Registered User
(9/12/00 7:36:28 pm)
Reply Re: Dunkirk
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Popular literature provides a number of reasons for the halt before Dunkirk on May 24, 1940:
- Hitler stopped the advance supposedly at the urging of Goring who wanted the honor of destroying the pocket with his Luftwaffe.
- Rundstedt and others believed the area was too marshy for a renewed tank thrust. Hitler's trench experiences in WW I reinforced the need to halt. And when Hitler visited Rundstedt's HQ at Charleville (near Sedan) on May 24, Rundstedt expressed his reservations to Hitler about pressing the attack home.
- Hitler did not want his tanks bogged down and was anxious to conserve them for the next phase of the French campaign.
- Hitler was "frightened by his own success," according to the Chief of the German General Staff, Franz Halder, "he is afraid to take any chance and so would rather pull the reins on us."

These reasons have been debated as to fact and degree of importance. The truth may include some or all of them.

Certainly bad weather, poor visibility, and the Royal Air Force hampered the Luftwaffe's efforts. And no one expected the armada of little boats from England to come to the rescue of the British and French troops..

Halting the panzers made sense if the Germans believed the surrounded Allied soldiers were beaten anyway and Dunkirk would be no more than a mop-up operation.

Gary Komar

Goggi
Registered User
(9/13/00 5:52:11 am)
Reply Dunkirk
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It is certainly correct that Goering boasted that the Luftwaffe could handle all. It is also correct that there were dicussions about the suitability of use of tanks in this area, but you have to talk to participants about their impressions of the situation. The crews of tanks and guns were watching thru their gun sights the English boarding the ships and they were even forbidden to fire on the embarking enemy! It would have been a heyday for the German heavy artillery, just the right distance for the 150 mm howitzer, but no firing! The division of my father was there and he left us a series of photographs which were never published which show the extent of the English defeat. The division of my uncle was also there and he told me, how they were grinding their teeth watching the English almost leisurely departing, unhindered and some waving, because they knew that they were watched by the Germans and no firing was occuring. There is a lot of smoke screen about Dunkirk set up by the English to prove English bravery against all odds, but it was just one of Hitler's gamble to let the English escape which I consider one of his major blunders.

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