Dunkirk 1940 photos some never before seen.

Discussion in '1940' started by morrisc8, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It's possible that the standard 'destruction instructions' didn't allow for an enemy capturing ordnance depots full of spares.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Germans used a lot of spares from civilian French garages to get BEF vehicles going again. A lot of BEF vehicles mechanical repairs in France during 1939/40 were done by local procurement according to (I think) Prelude to Dunkirk by Spears. When the Germans arrived they just robbed the French garages for spares.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Lots of vehicles on the beaches weren't destroyed, remember lots of them were still road worthy as they were driven into the sea to create piers. Only organised units ordered vehicles to be destroyed. I suspect squaddies in small groups didn't care for destroying a vehicle as they were either scared on the consequences of being caught doing it or to concerned with getting home.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    As far as I can understand, vehicles were disabled to prevent them being used against the BEF but there was not a policy of destroying them to prevent any further possible use. I've seen several accounts which mention that due to the need to disengage and withdraw unseen, which the BEF proved quite successful at, it was often impossible to use fire or explosives on vehicles or stores.
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I remember a neighbour who served in the RASC in Burma and took part into withdrawal from Burma in the critical period when the Japanese were driving north to India. He told me that vehicle left behind had their engines wrecked by running them with the oil system drained/sumps destroyed.I suppose that there were times when firing them would give their withdrawal position away.

    (However the destruction of Burma's oil wells was a different matter and these were destroyed by fire.The owners,Castrol Oil Company tried to sue the British Government for compensation....legal action went on as I remember to the early 1960s to no avail.)

    Regarding the Blitzkrieg booty,the Wehrmacht proved to be deficient in motorised transport throughout the war.For the Polish campaign,they depended heavily on horse drawn transport so any motorised booty was welcome for their occupation of Europe and the invasion Russia.Ultimately spares would have been a problem although there would have been those dedicated mechanical service units who would have the expertise to make and adapt spares outside the OEM.When spares become acute as with lack of fuel,mobility is threatened.

    As expected,the Germans requisitioned civilian vehicles for the war effort...saw a documentary where a family lost their pride Mercedes to the Wehrmacht...they were given a receipt for it with a promise it would be returned to them after the war...it was requisitioned at the time of the Russian invasion..as expected it was never seen again.

    I would think that it would be difficult to recover vehicles to working order after they had been immersed in what would be probably oil polluted saltwater...salt is very corrosive to any mechanical and electrical equipment and would present a challenge to recover function......saltwater corrosion soon sets in.

    As regards the BEF and RAF in France,there would be a mirror image of the UK structure established from September 1939....units such as ammunition and general supply depots and MUs were established, branching out from all the supply ports into central France chiefly above the Loire.

    There is ample evidence of those who served in these units and were able to relate their experience after being instructed to head for St Nazaire and then were involved in the loss of the Lancastria. If I remember correctly there was a large ordnance depot at Redon in Western Brittany....I'll revisit the account of how the withdrawal was managed.
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  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    It should also not be forgotten that German subsidiaries of Ford and GM were giving full co-operation to the Nazi regime. The BEF did not have a lot of Fords, although the carriers had Ford engines, but Opels shared a lot of design features with the GM UK Bedfords.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    At the moment I am reading Sean Longden's "Dunkirk. The Men they Left Behind".A most interesting account of the experiences of POWs and the Hell Marches of May-June 1940...the Dunkirk march,...the Calais march and the St Valery march.

    Most revealing is the brutality and murder which was is recorded on the journey into captivity. Apart from the well known incidents of atrocity during the Blitzkrieg which are well documented,it would appear that the perpetrators were not called to account.

    Photographs are included and some bear some resemblance to the ones included in this thread....one referenced as thought to be from Rommel's collection from the St Valery area.There is also the one which shows a RAF aircraft on fire on the ground with British soldiers adjacent to it.....from the tailplane it looks like a Hampden....get the date and it might be able to trace the loss.

    Regarding the destruction of stores,there is one showing a British soldier on the top of a stack of square petrol containers puncturing them with a pickaxe.It looks unsafe working on the top of empty containers which at that height would probably be unstable.These petrol containers, with 90 degree corners were prone to leakage and were withdrawn when the mechanical defect was officially recognised.
    Incredibledisc likes this.
  8. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Photo 1 BEF abandoned trucks. Photo 2.Bedford on the Eastern front in white camo.
    Original photos bedfords bef.jpg from my collection.
    Keith bedford snow cammo.JPG
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  9. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    one more bedford bef.jpg
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  10. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Bedfords in German use, some units had all british trucks. Some of the photos are from my book. bedford photo 42 (2) (2018_01_13 18_51_57 UTC).jpg
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  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Keith, can you make at the AOS number on the first image in post 28?
  12. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    If you click on the photo it will enlarge, might be 35 ? [ 6 AA Rgt RA ] The number is hard to make out.
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  13. jetson

    jetson Junior Member

    When my dad was recalled as a reservist in 1939, one of his first jobs was going around the country collecting miscellaneous old lorries requisitioned from transport firms. He used to say any old tat was palmed off on the army and he once was stranded on Dartmoor with an old jalopy which went u/s. Later in France, his unit received brand new Bedfords and on an admin inspection, his lads queried should they bull up the new stuff and leave the old stuff alone as time was short. Dad, knowing the army, said bull up the old hasbeens and he was right, the new Bedfords were ignored by the inspectors! He said later they wired up grenades to their truck clutch pedals in a vain attempt to thwart the enemy but the latter must have soon wised up to this game. At least, they tried.
  14. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    This is what happened to a lot of bef trucks. original photo from my collection. keith.
    photo 1a283.jpg photo 1a285.jpg
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  15. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Back to the beach. Original photo from my collection. keith.
    dunkirk tug beach 1940.jpg
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  16. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Great photo's,
    Incredible the amout of material left over there.
    Some of which was repaired and reused in other theatres throughout Europe by the germans.

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  17. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    The beach. Original photo from my collection. keith.
    Same LW officers that are in the other photo. Anyone know the name of the barge in the background, in later photos i have of it, it is sunk with just the marst sticking out of the water.
    barge name dunkirk..jpg
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  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Brilliant images posted there, Keith. The left behind kit is something we rarely think about in regards to incidents such as Dunkirk.
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  19. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

  20. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Original photo from my collection. keith. dunkirk beach and wall 1940.jpg
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