In May 1940, the small British Expeditionary Force was sent to help the Belgians and French hold back the German army.
Ill-equipped and under-trained, they fought hard for three weeks, from the German invasion of France to the rescue of the last British troops from the beaches at Dunkirk.
Remarkably, they conducted a successful fighting withdrawal in the face of a formidable foe.
Drawing on previously unpublished and rare material, Major-General Julian Thompson recreates the action from the misunderstandings between the British and French generals to the experiences of the ordinary soldier.
Unlike other books on the subject he gives full weight to the fighting inland as the BEF found itself in mortal danger thanks to the collapse of the Belgian army on one flank and the failure of the French on the other, and corrects popular myths about the evacuation. 'Has many strengths. The most obvious of which is that it is written by a distinguished former solder . . . this is a good book - decent and true' Laurence Rees, Daily Mail
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages, Illustrations, maps
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 01/05/2009
- Category: European history
- ISBN: 9780330437967
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Review by johnthefireman
An interesting book which aims to dispel the idea that the British Expeditionary Force did hardly any fighting before being evacuated at Dunkirk. Instead, the author demonstrates that they had several weeks of continuous hard fighting. The narrative is easy to read. My one complaint (as usual with this type of book) is the maps. They are good, but not every place mentioned in the text is shown, and sometimes you have to search through several different maps of different scales to find out where the action actually takes place.