Dunkerque / Dunkirk

The Battle of Dunkirk was a military operation that took place in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War. The battle was fought between the Allies and Nazi Germany. As part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940.

In one of the most debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance onine. Despite the Allies' gloomy estimates of the situation, with Britain even discussing a Dunkirk. Contrary to popular belief, what became known as the "Halt Order" did not originate with Adolf Hitler. Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshals) Gerd von Rundstedt and Günther von Kluge suggested that the German forces around the Dunkirk pocket should cease their advance on the port and consolidate to avoid an Allied breakout. Hitler sanctioned the order on 24 May with the support of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht ( OKW ). The army was to halt for three days, which gave the Allies sufficient time to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive l conditional surrender to Germany, in the end more than 330,000 Allied troops were rescued.
Battle of Dunkirk
Part of the Battle of France in the Second World War
A British soldier on Dunkirk's beaches fires at strafing German aircraft [2]
Date26 May – 4 June 1940
LocationDunkirk , France
ResultAllied forces expelled from Dunkirk. Allied withdrawal to Britain.
 United Kingdom
France France
Poland Poland
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Lord Gort
France Maxime Weygand
France Georges Blanchard
France René Prioux
France JM Abrial 
Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt
Nazi Germany Ewald von Kleist(Panzergruppe von Kleist)
approx. 400,000
338,226 evacuated 
approx. 800,000
Casualties and losses
  • British
    68,111 killed, wounded or captured (~3,500 killed)
    63,879 vehicles including tanks and motorcycles
    2,472 field guns
    6 destroyers
    over 200 marine vessels
    over 100 aircraft 
  • French
    18,000 killed
    35,000 captured
    3 destroyers 
  • (Estimated)
    20,000 killed and wounded
    100 tanks
    156 aircraft 
Civilian casualties : 1,000 civilians killed during air raids

                                                     Betram Ramsay


Battle of Dunkirk, full story


Dunkerquen taistelu oli toisessa maailmansodassa Saksan ja liittoutuneiden joukkojen välinen Dunkerquen kaupungin hallinnasta käyty taistelu, joka alkoi 26. toukokuuta ja päättyi 4. kesäkuuta 1940 saksalaisten vallattua kaupungin vangiten 40 000 kaupungin puolustajaa. Taistelun aikana kaupungista evakuoitiin arviolta 338 226 sotilasta Britteinsaarille.

                                                          Senegal soldier

                                                     Royal Indian army service corps

Saksan hyökkäys Ranskaan alkoi 10. toukokuuta 1940. 20. toukokuuta he olivat edenneet Englannin kanaalille katkaisten Britannian siirtoarmeijalta yhdeyden Ranskan 1. armeijaan, joka piiritettiin Lilleen. Saksalaiset pysäyttivät joukkojensa etenemisen 24. toukokuuta, mikä antoi liittoutuneille aikaa järjestää ja evakuoida joukkonsa Dunkerqueen. Arviolta 400 000 liittoutuneiden sotilasta oli piiritettynä Dunkerqueen. Saksalaiset aloittivat hyökkäyksen Dunkerqueen 26. toukokuuta kaikilta rintamilta. Britit aloittivat samanaikaisesti Operaatio Dynamon, jossa he 11 päivän ajan evakuoivat joukkonsa englantiin. Yli 861 alusta osallistuivat evakuointiin. Näistä 243 upotettiin operaation aikana, mukaan lukien yhdeksän hävittäjää. Britit menettivät 177 lentokonetta puolustaessaan aluksia ja saksalaiset 240.

3. kesäkuuta saksalaiset olivat vain kolmen kilometrin päässä kaupungista. Seuraavana päivänä brittien evakuoitua viimeisetkin joukkonsa kaupungista saksalaiset etenivät kaupungin satamaan ja nostivat hakaristilipun kaupungin valtauksen merkiksi. Viimeiset kaupunkia puolustaneet 40 000 ranskalaissotilasta antautuivat saksalaisille. Saksalaiset saivat merkittävän sotasaaliin brittien hylättyä kaiken raskaan sotakalustonsa kuten ajoneuvot ja tykit. 

Saaliiksi saatiin 880 kenttätykkiä, 310 suuren kaliiperin tykkiä, 500 ilmatorjuntatykkiä, 850 panssarintorjuntatykkiä, 11 000 konekivääriä, noin 700 panssarivaunua, 20 000 moottoripyörää ja 45 000 moottoroitua ajoneuvoa. Dunkerquen valtauksen jälkeen saksalaiset aloittivat Fall Rotin eli operaatio Punaisen, jossa joukot etenivät Ranskan eteläosiin. Pariisi vallattiin 14. kesäkuuta. Tulitauko solmittiin 17. kesäkuuta ja Saumurissa käydyn puolustustaistelun jälkeen Ranska antautui saksalle 22. kesäkuuta 1940.

On 24 May, Hitler visited General von Rundstedt's headquarters at Charleville . The terrain around Dunkirk was thought unsuitable for armour. Von Rundstedt advised him the infantry should attack the British forces at Arras, where the British had proved capable of significant action, while Kleist's armour held the line west and south of Dunkirk to pounce on the Allied forces retreating before Army Group B. Hitler, who was familiar with Flanders' marshes from the First World War , agreed. This order allowed the Germans to consolidate their gains and prepare for a southward advance against the remaining French forces.

Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring asked for the chance to destroy the forces in Dunkirk. The Allied forces' destruction was thus initially assigned to the air force while the German infantry organised in Army Group B . Von Rundstedt later called this "one of the great turning points of the war." 

The true reason for the decision to halt the German armour on 24 May is still debated. One theory is that Von Rundstedt and Hitler agreed to conserve the armour for Fall Rot , an operation to the south. It is possible that the Luftwaffe's closer ties than the army's to the Nazi Party contributed to Hitler's approval of Göring's request. Another theory—which few historians have given credence - is that Hitler was still trying to establish diplomatic peace with Britain before Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union). Although von Rundstedt after the war stated his suspicions that Hitler wanted "to help the British", based on alleged praise of the British Empire during a visit to his headquarters, little evidence that Hitler wanted to let the Allies escape exists apart from a self-exculpatory statement by Hitler himself in 1945. 

The historian Brian Bond wrote:
Few historians now accept the view that Hitler's behaviour was influenced by the desire to let the British off lightly in [the] hope that they would then accept a compromise peace. True, in his political testament dated 26 February 1945 Hitler lamented that Churchill was "quite unable to appreciate the sporting spirit" in which he had refrained from annihilating [the] British Expeditionary Force, at Dunkirk, but this hardly squares with the contemporary record. Directive No. 13, issued by the Supreme Headquarters on 24 May called specifically for the annihilation of the French, English and Belgian forces in the pocket, while the Luftwaffe was ordered to prevent the escape of the English forces across the channel. 

Whatever the reasons for Hitler's decision, the Germans confidently believed the Allied troops were doomed. American journalist William Shirer reported on 25 May, "German military circles here tonight put it flatly. They said the fate of the great Allied army bottled up in Flanders is sealed." BEF commander Lord Gort agreed, writing to Anthony Eden , "I must not conceal from you that a great part of the BEF and its equipment will inevitably be lost in the best of circumstances". 

Hitler did not rescind the Halt Order until the evening of 26 May. The three days thus gained gave a vital breathing space to the Royal Navy to arrange the evacuation of the British and Allied troops. About 338,000 men were rescued in about 11 days. Of these some 215,000 were British and 123,000 were French, of whom 102,250 escaped in British ships


SA-pictures, 1941

After the Winter War had begun, Finland bought a total of 88 Breda guns from Italy, the last arriving during the Interim Peace in June 1940. Five of the Finnish Bredas were later lost in action during the Continuation War. In addition, the four Italian-built Jymy class motor torpedo boats operated by the Finnish Navy each had one 20 mm Breda cannon on the rear deck. The Finnish Defence Forces used the 20 ItK/35 Breda, as the gun was officially known in that service, as a training weapon for anti-aircraft crews for several decades after the end of World War II. In 1985 there were still 76 guns remaining in the inventory, but all of these were discarded later during that decade.
Talvisodan aikana Suomeen tilattiin kaikkiaan 48 kappaletta 20 mm:n Breda-tykkejä. Suomeen tykit saapuivat helmikuussa 1940, mutta rintamajoukoille niitä ei ehditty enää jakaa ennen sodan päättymistä. Myöhemmin (välirauhan ja jatkosodan aikana) aseita tilattiin lisää joitakin kymmeniä kappaleita, joista osa oli kiinteälavettisia laivoihin tapahtuvaa asennusta varten. Breda-tykkien melko suuresta lukumäärästä johtuen ne osallistuivat sangen näkyvästi sotatoimiin useilla jatkosodan rintamilla.
Sotien jälkeen Breda-tykit huollettiin ja varastoitiin. 1960-luvun alussa puolustusvoimien varastoissa tykkejä oli edelleen jäljellä 83 kappaletta ja vielä vuonna 1985 niitä oli varastoituna 76 asetta. Tämän jälkeen kymmenen näistä aseista jätettiin puolustusvoimien omiin kokoelmiin ja loput joko myytiin tai hävitettiin. 

                    Breda cannons transport and assembly to fire station and cover


                                     Information patrol coming back from front line

Military officer, patrol leader Lieutenant

Patrol leader Corporal Niemelä, and his three men, with submachine guns. One them, soldier Bird, shot 12 soviet officers in the last battle, attack to soviet command post.
 Löytynoja 1941.07.21

From Turku city's, schoolboy cannon pattery soften to motti of Hämekoski closed enemies. The battery crew is one of the schools of turku rector assembles and has only volunteers.
The Rector himself received a heroic death when this fire-leader chief was front.
Hämekoski 1941.07.18

                             Heavy cannons rollings for the front lines

                                    work duty determinate men repair the roads

                                     The organ gun, captured soviet made aa-mg


Lonely KV-2

Hello everyone
Text is a google translation

I hope the text can be read

Continuation war; period 29.6.1941

In Lapland the frontline was the German Army of Norway. Kuusamo was operated by the Finnish III Army 3 and 6 division. 
Against is soviet 14th Army, its 7 th division, light tanks and armour cars...

German Army Group Nord start attack on June 29 1941, and attacked the east with railroad and road, intention and target was Salla, and Finns troops followed they at slightly Kuusamo underside.
However, the German flash of lightning stopped immediately. Especially "Nord", who had get mostly formal than substantive training, and these German troops proved untrustworthy.

Near immediately, when attack get starts, assault also stop, and motorized SS Division return back towards in the didektion to Rovaniemi city, and telling Soviet armored troops driving them just behind
Anyway, still they can be stopped before, near to Kemijärvi.
Even the great-armed troops with armored vehicles were not immune when armor-horror hits. The comments of the Wehrmacht commanders to the Finns were far from rational or reals.  Eventually, however, Salla was conquered.

18.8.1941 Finnish battalion and cannon comppany (4x37mm new german pak) reaches Alakurtti railway and roadcross targets, and battalion attack stops.

August 21st is hard waterfall when the Alakurtti direction trundles53 tons and 3,65m high steel monster. Tank engine rumbles, tracks clattering, when tank steadily advancing firmly towards Finns.

It's disproportionate large and angular tower turns slowly, and 152mm huge cannon look at targets, cannon, who size of which has not been seen in the tank before.The Finns could not wait for this abhorrence, because of the existence of the Klim Voroshilov-2 wagon type info was thell only little warning to own troop.

The Finns had familiar others Soviet wagon types that were two meters lower and one meter narrower, and same are pz-I, II, III and IV wagons, also French wagons used by the Germans.

Along with this KV-2 giant, these seemed now like covered wheelbarrows
Military diarys have many mark who this wagon is describing, like a giant-monster, steel-house or a steel-castle. Tower and cannon together weight is over 12 tons.

Horror, fear and disbelief awakened, when men encountered a KV-2 wagon, for the first time. 
(The KV-2 tank (origin) is designed and manufactured to destroy Winter War Finnish concrete bunkers to close range. It has also been tested too 1939 christmas.

Water rainings when the recharger tossed a round to tube and 37mm pak say bang, the distance is one hundred meters. Nothing happened. The wagon did not flinch but running leisulery over cannon station, Cannon men turns the weapons around and pam, nothing, this shot was as ineffective, like first was too.

Now men unbelief turns into horror, when huge cannon shoot first time, and one man gets injured and an at gun leader have hit. The head stay intact, but the Italian helmet breaks down into three parts.

stampede spreads. 
KV-2 drive unhurried on the road, ignoring the at-guns fire, 

Tank engine roars, when KV2 drive ower to road minefield-line straight Finnish line. Men jumping and running away and off to tank front and sides, seems like rats they hiding. The battalion command post gets its own share of the tank grenades, and the commander and his offices messengers at last minute. At-cannon team's faith is fierce, they try to stop the heavy carriage with small cannons, and affect are same like spear weapons. Cannon blazing and sparks flew, but ammunitions bounce away to tank roadwheels and engine shelters, the near fights men, put pile- or trotyl charge has no chance at throwing charges, because tank guns are shooting all the time.

Red army pride does not stint or skimp any shells or heavy cannon fires steady at a steady pace and the same track still generates new losses,when tank driving on the road through the lines according to its own will. The battalion's tip function was completely messy, pecause invulnerable wagon dominate all areas, and own stations be must keep 

Although nothing could be stopped by the tank, it did not stay for a long time, but return back own side, because without the protection of the infantry, its impact on the Finns was only the weapons reach. 
The wagon turned around and walked along the road to his side.

The Finns did not trust the wagon stay away so long time. They thinks a wagon to apply for new ammunition and maybe bring infantry and other wagons with them. 
An appropriate time, when the first pioneers' first company plunged into building new minefields, which, when prepar one pioneers, was badly wounded.
After about an hour, the horrible KV colossus came back, and again alone without any kind of support in its own sides. 

The KV-2 drive the midle of road, and walking ower the two (2) minefields. The first has five (5) lines and second is seven (7) line track-mines. The mines bounced under the rollers, fire flashed, gravel spatter every side, but KV-2 no damage, or any signs. It was still moving and now the pioneers have already started to experience the frustration caused by the KV-tank.

The KV-2 shoot around and every side with its heavy cannon and both machine guns that slashed the crew of the Finnish Armor Team team and another 37mm cannon was destroyed. Finally, the tank-monster tracks found eight (8) the mine line and  followed by eight explosive blow up. This was already too much for the KV-2 wagon which stopped, but not lose fighting ability.

Tank crews was very coldblood and determined team and they continued to fight in wagon who had now stopped.
This KV-wagon stoppage was a relief for Finns. Escape and running men coming back together, and make ready to receive possible soviet infantrys attack.

Also countermeasures against the tank, are now be easier to think, thanks to better drives. But also tank had hits, either mine strikes or 37 mm cannon shells had hits to tank and get stucks to turret

The tower no longer rotates, but huge cannon still works and last shots that could not be prevented hit the other one near the remaining 37 mm at the cannon and men wounded up including the team leader.

Soon it will come dark and the machine guns of the trolley are silent, and one brave jäger will go near to tank and hit curve both machine gun pipes.

Now pioners try get trolley to blows with some molotof coctails, but the trolley did not ignite and next get the trolley men try using a smoke box, but any sucking method, or suffocating no any attempts to affect to crew perseverance.

Must be satisfied with the explosive charge placed next to the tank. As a result, three road wheels flyes away, and the tank tilts to the side so that a mighty cannon is pointing to the ground, up 10 meters away from the wagon and at 8:00 pm (20:00) we believe these huge tank is out off play, and harmless now.
In the morning, one intact at-cannon pulled off.

Still afternoon to 23rd day, tank still-alive crew shots some cannonfire, and shoot light rockets, marks like try signaled raids and send infos, and it was suspected that there was a radio in the car that is still working. For these reasons, the commander issues a command to resolve the tank-chase problem off, to agendas 

Sergeant leads and pioneers group install tank tower roof, air take valves up sides onto a 30kg trotyl charge explosives. After the explosion, the KV-2 tank tower door open only little gap, but now carriage ignits fire from the inside. 
This markeds the end of brave wagon, and the final destruction of the mighty tank. The colossus fire and flaming for little time and last to steel-chest time are over.

The fuel tank and ammunition storage explodes, the effect of which heady and narcotic sense,and rumbling volyme
The fuel tank and ammunition storage explodes, whose effect like heady or narcotic, and voice rumbling volyme, explosition and air pressure are enormous, and air pressures make feels like some try wrest and remove away clothes and supplies. 

Whole area is silent, noiseless, down, and guns are silent every side.
Here is everything left the tank, after an explosion

A ghostly silence followed when a shrunk ghost-looking giant break down in air, collapse and evaporate away like card house. Parts of the engine were found more than half kilometer away from bottom of gorge.

And small track pit, one pinewood, over 15 meter high, from 400 meters away, and only a few pieces from the crews, among ofter scrap.

In the evening, one and last 37 mm at-gun is towed other place.
The Finnish Defense had been held and the road to Alakutti was finally over...

                                            Kuvahaun tulos haulle panssarintorjujat kirja
Text has loan from this book, it's one parts to chapters and adapted