Dünkirchen 1940: The German View of Dunkirk

Wednesday 28th September 2022

St John’s Place, Lower Road, Bemerton, SP2 9NP


‘Dünkirchen 1940’ cuts through Churchillian rhetoric, to account for the miracle of Dunkirk through German eyes. Hitler’s generals thought Dunkirk an untidy battle with an unsatisfactory outcome, an awkward signpost on the road to Paris and beyond. Bob Kershaw reveals it was this inherent German misunderstanding of the significance of the battle and the numerous German strategic and tactical miscalculations that turned the tide of the war. This was not merely a miracle of little ships. The German failure to rush the beaches after the surrender of Belgium was one crucial mistake. So too was the Luftwaffe’s failure to seriously dent the Royal Navy’s carrying capacity. Another key error was the withdrawal of two-thirds of the surrounding force at just the wrong moment, allowing the core fighting strength of the BEF to escape.

Robert Kershaw also re-evaluates Hitler’s infamous Panzer Halt Order. For too long this has been considered the only German error in the campaign and the one that allowed Allied forces to escape. In reality, as this ground-breaking new history conclusively proves, the single serious panzer assault was already bogged down amid canals and waterways.

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A graduate of Reading University, Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1973. He served numerous regimental appointments until selected to command the 10th Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He attended German Staff College, spending a further two years with the Bundeswehr as an infantry, airborne and arctic warfare instructor. He speaks fluent German and has extensive experience with NATO and multinational operations. His active service included several tours in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War and Bosnia. His final army appointment was with the Intelligence Division at Headquarters NATO in Brussels, Belgium. On leaving the British Army in 2006, he became a full-time author of military history as well as a consultant military analyst. He has been interviewed for numerous TV documentaries and has written frequent magazine and newspaper articles for publications including The Times, The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph. Two of his books have been serialised in the Daily Mail and Daily Express.