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The Dunkirk Perimeter and Evacuation 1940 (Paperback)

France and Flanders Campaign

WWII WWII Battlefield Guides Battlefield Guidebooks Dunkirk Military

By Jerry Murland
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Battleground Books: WWII
Pages: 218
ISBN: 9781473852235
Published: 1st May 2019


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The book, the latest in a series of eight Battleground Europe books that deals with the BEF's campaign in France and Flanders in 1940, covers the fierce fighting around the Dunkerque Perimeter during May and June 1940 between the retreating British Expeditionary Force and its French allies and the advancing German army. It covers the area that most people in Britain associate with the fighting in France in 1940, a military disaster that could have been much worse. This grievous military setback was soon transformed into a morale boosting symbol of the resilience of the British against a Germany that had crushed so many nations in a matter of weeks.

With over 200 black and white photographs and fourteen maps, this book looks in some detail at the units deployed around Dunkerque and Nieuport and their often desperate actions to prevent the inevitable advance of German forces opposing them. The evacuation of the BEF from the beaches east of Dunkerque is covered in detail from the perspective of the Royal Navy and from the standpoint of the soldier on the beaches. Unusual for a Battleground Europe publication is the inclusion of a walk and drive around Ramsgate and Dover, covering the English end of the evacuation.

In addition to visits to the relevant cemeteries, the book includes three appendices and two car tours, one tour covering the whole of the Dunkirk perimeter and the other covering Ramsgate and Dover, although there is plenty of scope for walking in both tours. There is also a walk around De Panne, which takes the tourist along the beach that saw so much of the evacuation, and into the back areas of the town where the Germans left their mark when clearing up after the British had gone.

This series of books "Battleground" stands out to provide the reader with a text full of information to know more about the theme. The dimensions are pocket-sized, but the number of pages (in this case 218) make it full of information, photos, descriptions of events and characters, maps that make it a very useful text to take with you to the place of those feats of arms.
In this case the evacuation of Dunkerque and Operation Dynamo, thanks to the stories of the protagonists and their testimonies of which the text is full, reveal the human as well as logistic and military aspect of this war feat. It is a book that I deeply appreciated and that I recommend to all readers.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

The popular image of the tragic events at Dunkirk in 1940, is of long queues of soldiers chest deep in water, waiting for small craft to ferry them to larger vessels waiting off-shore. The evacuation marked the end of what was a military disaster. In the confusion of the moment, the last minute plan to rescue survivors of the British Expidionary Force, succeeded and over 300,000 men were evacuated. Books and films have all attempted to portray the story. In his book 'The Dunkirk Perimeter and evacuation 1940' Jerry Murland describes the ad hoc organisation on the mole and beaches,and personal stories of some of the men who were amongst last to leave the stricken city.

The story is the well supported by photographs and maps, with appendices listing large ships, those sunk, beached or abandoned together with dates. It also has a daily list the number of men rescued from both the beaches and the harbour between 26th May 4th June. A total 98,000 of the beaches and 239,446 from Dunkerque Harbour. An additional appendix gives the nationality of the ships which took part in the evacuation, which included French, Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian vessels, with the number of troops each evacuated. For family researchers and visitors to historic battle sites, the books lists the location of cemeteries and suggested walks of battle sites. 'Dunkirk Perimeter and Evacuation 1940' is part Jerry Murland's Battleground Europe Series on the France and Flanders Campaign 1940.

Richard Gough, Military Author and Historian

An excellent narrative of the actions around the Dunkirk perimeter. As is usual for this series it is supported by images, maps and the highly valued vignettes of battlefield stories. The suggested tours and walks are spot on. Recommended.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Jerry Murland

Jerry Murland is a retired headteacher who has written over twenty books and guidebooks coverering the events of the First and Second World Wars. His first book, Aristocrats Go To War, was published by Pen and Sword in 2010 and since then he has gone on the write a number of others, including the Battlelines Guidebooks to the Western Front, co-written with Jon Cooksey. He is currently writing an account of the Battle of the Ypres-Comines Canal 1940, part of eight Battleground Europe books which cover the France and Flanders campaign of 1940.

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