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Was Dunkirk really a battle?

Discussion in 'Battle of Dunkirk' started by dfisher, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Well that's the first i have heard about this Brian, i wasn't aware at all that the RAF fought with Spitfires at Dunkirk. :thumb:
     
  2. brianw

    brianw Member

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    The Battle of Dunkirk was little more than a month before the opening of the Battle of Britain, so there were a number of squadrons already equiped with Spitfires.

    The RAF lost some 177 aircraft during the battle, of which about 106 were from fighter command, the rest being medium bombers like the Wellington (known to its crews as the Wimpy), Beaufort and other types.

    The top scoring fighter pilots over Dunkirk were F/Lt Robert Stanford Tuck (65 sqdn) and New Zealander F/Lt Alan Deere (54 sqdn). Both were flying Mk1 Spitfires and both opened their score on 23 May. They each shot down no less that three enemy aircraft that day.
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Thanks Brian, like Stalin, i was unaware that the RAF were employed in the retreat of Dunkirk ... :der:
     
  4. brianw

    brianw Member

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    I think it's true to say that the Battle of Dunkirk and the subsequent evacuation were examples of real "Combined Operations".

    There were at least two elements of the Army; those on the beaches dealing with the logistics and medical requirements of the men awaiting evacuation and those mounting the rear-guard action and perimeter defences.

    There was the Royal Navy with their destroyers, corvettes and minesweepers evacuating the BEF initially from the port at Dunkirk until it was damaged beyond use by enemy air action, then waiting just off-shore to pick up those soldiers brought out to them and return them to the English ports then return to Dunkirk for more.
    Some of the Royal Navy ships also acted as an anti-aircraft screen. The minesweepers first had to clear routes into and away from the beaches while other RN ships had to mount an anti-submarine screen to ensure that German U-Boats were kept at bay.

    There was the Merchant Navy with some of their cargo ships and their smaller passenger vessels and paddle steamers, professional fishing boats from many south and east coast fishing communities.
    And of course the well documented "civilian navy", the little ships; many of which made more than one run to and from the evacuation beaches and some which stayed at Dunkirk ferrying soldiers from the shallows out to deeper water where the larger vessels were waiting.

    The RAF were also involved in at least two roles; high level air defence patrols by aircraft of Fighter Command against the onslaught of the Luftwaffe’s bombing and strafing raids; after all, Goering had promised Hitler that his Luftwaffe could destroy the BEF on the beaches and then there was the work of RAF Bomber Command which was mainly attacking the approaching German forces and the nearby Luftwaffe airfields in an effort to reduce the number of raids against the beaches.

    The whole of “Operation Dynamo” was co-ordinated from Dover, down in the tunnels in the white cliffs, although many other south and east coast ports were tasked with receiving the third of a million men of the BEF and those French troops who were evacuated. Thousands more men who mounted the rear-guard action were eventually taken prisoner and marched off to spend the rest of the war in German POW camps.

    Even when the troops were returned to England, the job wasn’t over, there were the immediate needs of the men which had to be met, food, clothing and medical aid, much of which fell to the civil defence services such as the WVS, Red Cross, Salvation Army and the various other medical services. And these troops had to be moved quickly out of the port areas to allow room for more arrivals; that work fell to British Railways and various local bus companies.

    So all-in-all, almost everyone had a role to play in the “Miracle of Dunkirk”.
     
  5. magnummedals

    magnummedals New Member

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    Hello

    There was not actually a battle fought in Dunkirk. There was actually a huge removal of the army from the trap.
     

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