The Miracle of Dunkirk: Operation Dynamo

Posted in: World War II
Written on 23rd May 2013 11:28am

Between 27 May and early hours of 4 June 1940, over 300,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk.

The Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers who had been cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk, from the beach and harbour of Dunkirk in France.


The evacuation took place between 27 May and 4 June 1940 and was mainly conducted by the British and French armies,


Winston Churchill ordered the evacuation on 26 May. In a speech to the House of Commons, he called the Battle of Dunkirk "a colossal miltary disaster", explaining " the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and were about to perish.


The Seige of Lille (28-31 May 1940) involved the remaining 40,000 men of the French First Army delaying action against seven divisions, which were attempting to cut off and destroy the Allied armies of Dunkirk.


By the ninth day of Operation Dynamo at total of 338,226 soldiers (199,229 British and 139,997 French) had been recued by an fleet of  933 boats- including merchant marines, fishing boats, pleasure craft and Royal National Lifeboa Institution lifeboats.


On 4 June, Winstin Churchill described the rescue as a "miracle of deliverance" in his We shall fight them on the beaches speech.

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