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Armoured Warfare and the Fall of France (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

WWII Tanks Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Dunkirk Military

By Anthony Tucker-Jones
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 140
ISBN: 9781848846395
Published: 27th January 2014


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At 21:00 on 9 May 1940 Codeword Danzig was issued alerting Adolf Hitler's airborne troops that they were about to spearhead an attack on Belgium and the Netherlands. The following day his blitzkrieg rolled forward striking the British Expeditionary Force and the French armies in Belgium and in northern France at Sedan.

The desperate attempts of the allied armies to stem the Nazi tide proved futile and, once their reserves had been exhausted and the remaining forces cut off, Paris lay open. By early June, it was all over - trapped British, Belgian and French troops were forced to evacuate Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne and the defeated French army agreed to an armistice leaving the country divided in two.

This dramatic story is shown in a sequence of over 150 historic photographs that Anthony Tucker-Jones he has selected for this memorable book. The images he has chosen cover every aspect of this extraordinary campaign, but his main focus is on the vital role played by the armoured fighting vehicles of both sides. The book is a graphic record of the destruction wrought by the Wehrmacht's lightning offensive through the Low Countries and France.

This entry in the Images of War series looks at the Western European campaign of 1940, which saw the Germans conquer Belgium, Holland and France and force the BEF to evacuate the Continent, leaving most of its equipment behind.

We begin with a series of chapters on the forces involved, starting with chapters of French tanks and the Maginot Line, then British tanks and finally German tanks. After that each chapter looks at part of the campaign. First comes the invasion of Belgium and Holland, then the breakthrough on the Meuse, two chapters looking at French and British counterattacks, and finishing with chapters on the evacuation from Dunkirk and the final fall of France.

I like the balance of the content here, which doesn't just focus on the British experience, but includes the entire campaign - it was nice to see a full chapter on the fall of France, which is often skipped over in English language works as it comes after the BEF had largely disappeared from the Continent...

... The chapter introductions are good, and provide a useful history of the campaign. The captions are accurate, and relate directly to the pictures. Some tell the story of the campaign, others set the scene or provide valuable context. The pictures themselves are interesting and well chosen.


Armored warfare played a vital role in Hitler's early conquests. If you're seeking a visual precis of its role in France's ignominious 1940 defeat, Pen & Sword's graphic record nicely fits the bill.


An excellent publication that covers in great detail this first campaign of World War II in the west. The pictures capture the hopelessness of the Allied cause and the many new photographs are reinforced by the eloquent text. The pictures of the AFVs from both sides make this an essential book for anyone interested in this campaign. Highly recommended.

Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association

An interesting and good value read for the historian, while the collection of archive photos give some great details and ideas for the modeller interested in this period as well.

Military Modelling

I don't have any hesitation in recommending this book. The Images of War range continues to expand, going from strength to strength. I can keep telling you these bold truths. It's up to you whether you want to put your hand in your pocket but I would if I were you.

War History Online

Another great addition to this popular series of books.

Military Machines International

About Anthony Tucker-Jones

Anthony Tucker-Jones is a prolific writer on the history of fighting vehicles and armoured warfare. He has also written extensively on military affairs and terrorism. After a career in the intelligence community, he became a freelance defence writer and military historian. His most recent books are Hitler's Great Panzer Heist, Falaise: The Flawed Victory, Stalin's Revenge: Operation Bagration and the Annihilation of Army Group Centre, Operation Dragoon: The Liberation of Southern France 1944, Armoured Warfare on the Eastern Front, Armoured Warfare in the North African Campaign, Armoured Warfare in the Battle for Normandy, The Kalashnikov in Combat and The Soviet-Afghan War.

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