In May 1940, the small British Expeditionary Force was sent to help the Belgian and French hold back the advancing German army. Ill-equipped and under-trained, they nevertheless fought hard for three weeks, from the German invasion of France on the 10th of May to the rescue of the last British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. Remarkably, they conducted successful fighting withdrawal in the face of a formidable foe. Five VC’s were awarded to the BEF for the campaign.
Drawing on previously unpublished and rare material, Julian Thompson recreates the action, from the misunderstandings between the British and French generals, Which resonates to this day, to the experiences of the ordinary soldier on the front line. Unlike many other authors on the subject he gives full weight to the fighting inland as the BEF found itself in mortal danger thanks to the collapse of the Belgian army on one flank and the failure of the French on the other, and corrects popular myths about the evacuation.
Drawing on his own military experience to analyse the campaign, in Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory Julian Thompson has written both a masterly work of military history and a gripping story of British heroism.
Has many strengths. The most obvious of which is that it is written by a distinguished former soldier…this is a good book – decent and true.’ Laurence Rees