Abandoned equipment and boats, Dunkirk, 1940
Photograph, World War Two, North West Europe (1939-1943), 1940.
By 3 June 1940, 328,000 Allied troops had been taken off the Dunkirk beaches and shipped back to England. This was partly due to the efforts of the Royal Navy and hundreds of civilian ships that had crossed the Channel. It was also due to dogged rearguard actions at Boulogne, Calais and elsewhere, which bought time.
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) also benefited from Hitler's order on 24 May that his tanks should halt at a time when the German 1st Panzer Division was only 24 kilometres (15 miles) from Dunkirk. During the campaign, the BEF suffered 68,000 casualties. Most of its equipment, including 64,000 vehicles, 20,000 motorcycles and 2,500 guns was lost.
From a set of 20 German propaganda photographs showing the aftermath of the Dunkirk evacuation.
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National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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