Cassel and Hazebrouck 1940 (Paperback)
France and Flanders Campaign
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This is the first detailed account of the rearguard action that took place between 25 and 29 May 1940 at Cassel and Hazebrouck on the western perimeter of the Dunkirk Corridor. By 25 May the decision to evacuate the BEF via Dunkirk had already been taken, Lord Gort, commanding the BEF in France, had given instructions to Lieutenant General Sir Ronald Adam to relinquish his command of III Corps and prepare a perimeter of defence around Dunkirk. As part of the western defensive line of the Dunkirk Corridor, 145 Brigade were deployed to Cassel and Hazebrouck with the instructions to hold the two towns until the last man. Under the command of Brigadier Nigel Somerset, the brigade occupied Hazebrouck with the infantry of 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion and Cassel with the 4/Ox and Bucks Light infantry together with the regulars of the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. Attached to Somerset’s meagre force was a number of units that had previously been part of two of Gort’s ad hoc formations - Macforce and Woodforce, and it was with these men that the two towns were fortified against the advancing German armoured divisions.
While Hazebrouck was overwhelmed very quickly, the hilltop town of Cassel held out for much longer with German forces failing to consolidate any penetration of the perimeter. The book looks closely at the deployment of units in both towns and focuses on the individuals involved in the defence and the subsequent break-out, which ended in capture or death for so many. There are two car tours that explore the surrounding area of Cassel and the deployment of platoons within Hazebrouck. These are supplemented by two walking tours, one in Cassel itself and the second further to the west of the town around the area controlled by B and D Companies of the 2nd Gloucesters. The book is illustrated with ten maps and over 100 modern and contemporary photographs.
This is the first detailed account of the rearguard action that took place between 25 and 29 May 1940 at Cassel and Hazebrouck on the western perimeter of the Dunkirk Corridor...RECOLLECTIONS OF WWII - MEMOIRS & BOOKS WHICH SHOULD BE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF
The book is illustrated with ten maps and over 100 modern and contemporary photographs.
Read the complete review here.
I am a great fan of this Battleground series and author Jerry Murland has done a good job on this one covering an element of the fighting of the BEF in 1940. They are also a handy size to keep in the car or in a backpack when you visit the area. I will certainly take this with me next time I am in the area. For those who do want to visit the area, I would add a personal note that there is also a site from later in the war a short way west of Hazebrouck, near Morbeque, where a V1 site remains largely intact in the Foret de Huit Rues so an interesting area to tour and only a short drive from the Channel Tunnel as well.Robin Buckland - Military Model Scene
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Retreat of I Corps 1914 (Paperback)
On 23 August 1914 it was only the two divisions of General Smith-Dorrien's II Corps that were directly engaged with the German First Army along the line of the Mons-Conde Canal. As the British Expeditionary Force withdrew from Mons and bivouacked around Bavay on 25 August, Sir John French and his GHQ advisors – unsure of the condition of the routes through the Forêt de Mormal - ordered the British Expeditionary Force to continue their retirement the next day and to avoid the 35 square miles of forest roads. Consequently II Corps used the roads to the west of the Forêt de Mormal and Sir Douglas…By Jerry Murland
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