The battle of dunkirk

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The evacuation of Dunkirk is one of the most famous maneuvers in military history. It is a controversial subject that is thought to be a miracle by many people and a disaster by others. The Battle of Dunkirk began after the Phony War and lasted from May 9, 1940 to June 3, 1940. [6] On the eve of the battle, German forces began their attack. On May 14, German tanks tore through the Ardennes and began driving towards the English Channel. Despite their best efforts, British, Belgian, and French forces were unable to stop the German advance. Six days later, German forces reached the coast, effectively cutting off British supplies and retreat. On May 26, 1940, thousands of British, Belgium and French troops retreated to Dunkirk. [1] It then became clear that this battle was lost for the Allies, and as this realization ended the disaster, the miracle began. The Battle of Dunkirk, although a military failure, was an amazing feat and should be recognized as no less then miraculous ending to a battle. The evacuation of Dunkirk was possible, and happened because of the German halt, Operation Dynamo, and the unity of the Dunkirk spirit.

One of the most controversial aspects of the fighting around Dunkirk was Hitler’s “halt order”, issued on May 24, 1941.  This decision to halt the German forces right in front of the British troops gave Britain another day of hope. [3] Although the decision to stop a winning advance seems unintelligent, there are many reasons to clarify this decision. For one, Germany is not a sea nation. They have little experience in this area, and have never used naval transportation in a bigger onset. Therefore, they were unaware of how to deal with such a situation of fighting on a seaport. They saw the ocean as a wall, and never believed an operation such as Dynamo was tangible. [3] The British, being an island country, were seeing the channel as a highway, with many opportunities. When the German Panzers arrived at the river before the Dunkirk area, they were exhausted and didn’t have a sufficient amount of infantry backup. [3]Therefore, it was an acceptable military decision to halt them so they could rest and regroup. During the battle the Panzers had received much of the credit for the German advance already and considering this, the Luftwaffe, asked for permission to destroy the British and French forces on the beaches. Therefore, Hitler allowed Hermann Goering and the Luftwaffe the privilege of destroying the British and French armies on the beach. [3] As a result of this decision, the evacuation was completed with little to know time to spare. With the Germans only three miles from the harbour, the last vessel departed from the seaport, officially ending the Battle of Dunkirk.

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As the Allied troops were caught off-guard by the German advance, a retreat was made towards the beaches of Dunkirk. While Allied troops awaited their inevitable fate, preparations for the evacuation began; named Operation Dynamo, commanded by Vice-Admiral Bertram Ramsay began May 22, 1940. He called for as many naval vessels as possible as well as every ship capable of carrying 1,000 men within reach. It initially was intended to recover around 45,000 men of the British Expeditionary Force over two days. Before commencing, Ramsay anticipated the shallow water of the English Channel and on May 27 a request was ...

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