Dunkirk and France 1940 Campaign Books

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Hawaiimike1

    Hawaiimike1 Member

    Sorry, on the last blog, missed out, between 13th/18th Hussars and prior "put in the first counter attack at 18.00 hrs" prior to
  2. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Couple of new 1940 books on the horizon

    The Royal Navy at Dunkirk: Commanding Officers' Accounts of British Warships in Action During Operation Dynamo
    By Martin Mace

    Mar 2017 Frontline 256 pp


    Battle for the Escaut: The Dunkirk Campaign 1940
    By Jerry Murland

    Nov 2016 Pen & Sword 176 pp

    Drew5233 likes this.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Well found - I've been waiting for Jerry's Battlefield Guide on the Escaut :)
  4. HHEGibbs

    HHEGibbs Royal Sigs

    I've walked the banks of the Escaut many times having read 10th Inf Bgd war diaries and the regimental histories. I've also spoken at length with one of the veterans who was a lieutenant in the DCLI and, as a rearguard, was one of the last to pull out from the positions on the canal. I am looking forward to reading this new account of the action with interest, and hope to get a wider overview of proceedings. Any excuse to go back there is welcome. It is such a calm and tranquil place now that it is hard to imagine the events of May 1940.
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  5. Kandahar

    Kandahar Member

    This one seems to have escaped notice but despite the price is worth looking at for it's analysis of the BEF's weaknesses in depth.

    'The British Expeditionary Force 1939-40' by Edward Smalley
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  7. HHEGibbs

    HHEGibbs Royal Sigs

    Going back to the Escaut in October and taking my teenage daughters to show them the old battlefields. No doubt they will moan - until they stand on the very spot where I am sure (or as sure as you can be when relying on archival research and veterans memories) that their great grandfather's RSigs squadron took a hit from a German artillery shell and sustained wounds from which he later died! It would have been nice to have Jerry Murland's book for the photos but that will be another visit. Will visit Sjt Harold Gibbs' grave too - always a moving experience.
  8. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    This is disinformation:
    The fact that the British Expeditionary Force was evacuated from Dunkirk in May-June 1940 has achieved the status of a legend. Whilst the part played by the 'Little Ships' in that 'miracle' is equally well known, the role of the Royal Navy's warships - the destroyers, minesweepers and personnel ships - is often overlooked. Indeed, more than 300,000 troops out of a total of 338,226, were evacuated from the harbour at Dunkirk in these vessels. In the weeks after Operation Dynamo, the Admiralty issued an order requiring the Commanding Officers of those British warships involved to submit a report detailing their actions. Described in their own words, with the events still fresh in their minds, the result is a vivid record of the chaos, improvisation, skill and bravery that all combined to rescue the basis of an army that helped carry Britain through the dark months and years that followed. It is a record that forms the basis of this book.

    The personnel ships mentioned above were merchant ships, manned by civilians. In all the Merchant Navy evacuated just over 91,000 troops from Dunkirk. They went on to save about 240,000 people from other parts of France, about 140,000 of these being British servicemen.
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  9. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Some more 1940 books and one 1939 one from Pen & Sword


    May 2017


    May 2017


    Aug 2017

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  10. The_Turn

    The_Turn Member

    Thanks for the heads-up, Drew:

    Written as a dramatised documentary, very much inspired by Das Boot:


    Three civilian rivermen are asked to deliver a boat downriver for undisclosed Admiralty use and are offered 28-days work for the Royal Navy, but the task becomes an epic adventure into the horrifying flaming, pulsating heart of a major battle to rescue troops from the beaches at Dunkirk.

    The true story of Tigris One at Dunkirk.
    Recce_Mitch and Drew5233 like this.
  11. HHEGibbs

    HHEGibbs Royal Sigs

    Bit late in the day but there are a couple of other books that you may be interested in:-

    A Cornish Hotchpotch by Major General David Tyacke
    Lt Tyacke, as he was then, was serving with 2 DCLI (10th Inf Bgd) in the fighting withdrawal. This is a collection of his memoirs, latterly as Governor of Singapore. The first part is about his service in the BEF and withdrawal to Dunkirk. A fascinating chap who I had the rare pleasure of taking out to a pub lunch. What vivid crisp memories he had and recalls many incidents not published in any other history. It was he who unlocked the secret to my own grandfather's injusry and later death on 27th May 1940. An interesting read.

    Five Days to Live by Robin Medley
    Robin Medley was a 2nd Lt in 2 Beds&Herts (10th Inf Bgd) and likewise gives a vivid personal account of the Phoney War and then the action of May/June 1940. I also had the pleasure of meeting him and accompanied him on his guided tour for Royal Anglian vets around the Belgian battlefields of 1940. A very interesting tour in itself, presided over by a very prickly and formal Brigadier. The book is an absorbing personal account.

    Cap Badge by Robin Medley
    Similar to Cap badge as above but covers the period 1939-47 for the Beds & Herts Regiment.

    Dunkirk; Old Men Remember by Cmdr SA Nettle
    Not read yet but a small paperback collection of veteran accounts of the evacuation from Dunkirk and some recall the earlier events leading up to their time on the beaches.

    Finally there are some books published in Belgium about the war

    La Belgique en Guerre; Hier et Aujourd’hui. Published by Editions Krigjer
    No 2 Bruxelles. - P Taghon & JL Roba. Also volumes on Dinant and Charleroi
    In French but some good photos of the towns as they were then.

    Hope this adds to the treasure trove already compiled.
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  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Many thanks - I've just ordered A Cornish Hotchpotch. I already have the other English books :)
  13. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    here is a rather interesting book on this period, written by a member of the 18th Division in 1941.
    It is a little bit too propaganda for some, but has some interesting stories and pictures of the fighting all the way through France and Belgium.
    My interest was for the descriptions of the fighting around Ypres between 26-29th of May.

    does anyone have an English translation? its a devil to even read to put into google translate!!

    Attached Files:

  14. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Coming in May 2017
    Air Battle for Dunkirk 26 May - 3 June 1940
    Norman Franks
    Grubb Street
    ISBN 9781910690475
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    That must be another edition as I've had a copy of that for a few years.
  16. LondonNik

    LondonNik Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  17. Strawberry5

    Strawberry5 Member

    I’ve spent the last couple of evenings having a very enjoyable trawl through the pages of this thread. I’ve been ‘collecting’ books on Dunkirk (and other campaigns, ahem) for the last thirty odds years – my wife greets each new purchase with “what do you want another…” (this may be familiar to some of you).

    Inevitably I’ve spotted titles here that were new to me and essential purchases have just been made (I used to enjoy rummaging in second-hand book shops but Abebooks has made life easier!)

    I’m not sure whether Drew5233 ever did get a copy of Return via Dunkirk, or the follow up ‘Battle Dress’ but, if not, do dive in- I promise it’s worth it (the other three books by Gun Buster I find less enjoyable; as the war unfolds his cynicism, refreshingly absent from his early works, comes more and more to the surface.)

    I note that a couple of people have commended ‘With Pennants Flying’ – couple of good chapters on events in 1940. If armour is an interest then I would point you in the direction of Rude Mechanicals’ by A.J.Smithers. Covers tank maturity in WWII with some interesting stuff on 1940 in there.

    Anyway, long may this forum theme last!


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  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Andrew :)
  19. Strawberry5

    Strawberry5 Member

    You're welcome!

    This thread has been running through my head all day - somewhere along the line I note you've picked up a copy of Army Battlefield Guide: Belgium and Northern France by Richard Holmes - other books of his that cover the 1940 period (to a greater or lesser extent) are War Walks, War Walks 2 and Fatal Avenue: all worth a read, possibly from the library in the first instance.

    His 'Riding the Retreat', covering the British withdrawal from Mons in 1914, is an excellent read on a 'general interest in matters military basis'.

    Reading through these threads you appear to fall into the category of ‘book junkie’ for which there is no known cure (not that I’d want one).


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  20. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

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