How would you have escaped from the Battle of Dunkirk, if you had to?



  • If you were in the Battle of Dunkirk in WW2, how would you (seriously or humorously) escape Dunkirk if you had to - by air/land/sea and why?


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Swam



  • Like most of the chaps, evacuated on ships, to avoid capture.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    In practical terms, the three options given – by air/land/sea – actually boil down to one option: by sea.  Escaping Dunkirk by land implies going through the German lines which surrounded the Dunkirk pocket.  Perhaps possible at night, but very risky.  Escaping Dunkirk by air implies either using an aircraft that’s already on the ground (and I don’t think the BEF had any on the ground at Dunkirk) or landing one in the area.  In turn, “landing one in the area” can mean four things.  It can mean landing on an actual runway.  I don’t think there were any in the Dunkirk pocket.  It can mean landing on an improvised runway (like a paved street) using a STOL (short take-off and landing aircraft) like the German Fieseler Storch , the way Hanna Reitsch did in Berlin in late April 1945.  I don’t know if the RAF had any such aircraft in its inventory at the time.  It can mean trying to land a wheeled aircraft on a sandy beach.  I’m pretty sure that would result in a nose-over and crash.  Or it can mean landing a seaplane offshore.  That option does actually sound practical, but I’m not aware of the British doing it at Dunkirk – perhaps because they had no suitable seaplanes, or perhaps because seaplanes are slow and clumsy flying machines compared to ground-based fighters and thus would have been easy targets for the Luftwaffe.

    It should also be noted that the “how would you escape?” concept seems to imply that the hypothetical soldier in question is free to choose what he’d do in that situation.  He’s not.  He’s operating under orders.  Leaving a battlefield on your own initiative in the middle of a battle is called desertion – more specifically, desertion in the face of the enemy – and in principle that’s an offense punishable by summary execution by your own side.  Stalin said during WWII that it took a very brave man to be a coward in the Red Army, and the French Army in WWI was said to have shot a number of its own soldiers “pour encourager les autres” (to encourage the others).  In WWII, just after the Royal Navy’s final battle with the Bismarck, a British sailor named Joe Brooks who was aboard the Dorsetshire (which was rescuing survivors) saw an armless German sailor in the water; he climbed over the ship’s side to try to get a line around the man, but was unsuccessful in rescuing him; when he got back aboard, the Dorsetshire’s captain threw him in the brig for leaving the ship without authorization.


  • 2017 '16

    Well keeping with the times of everyone is offended by everything, I’m offended by this post… “If you were at Dunkirk, how would you escape?”… Well that’s a loaded question… he’s just assuming we’re all Allied soldiers… what if someone reading this would be a German soldier… he doesn’t need to escape, he’s winning! Its offensive he’s automatically assuming we’re all retreating soldiers… some of us readers would be winning.

    [/sarcasm off]  😛


  • 2017 '16 '15

    @KL70:

    If you were in the Battle of Dunkirk in WW2, how would you (seriously or humorously) escape Dunkirk  if you had to - by air/land/sea and why?


  • 2017 '16

    @Wolfshanze:

    Well keeping with the times of everyone is offended by everything…
    [/[b]sarcasm off] 😛


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    I’d use this of course…;)


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Der:

    I’d use this of course…;)

    Looks to me like a first-class war-winning device, probably designed under some obscure code-name by the British Admiralty’s Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development.  It’s not by accident that Britannia has traditionally ruled the waves.  Germany, in contrast with Britain, was a land power rather than a sea power, and at the time of Dunkirk could only call upon the weapon illustrated below, which is constructed of similar strategic materials but which lacked adequate buoyancy to have made a successful Sea Lion operation possible.

    Tricycle.jpg


  • 2017 '16

    @CWO:

    Looks to me like a first-class war-winning device, probably designed under some obscure code-name by the British Admiralty’s Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. It’s not by accident that Britannia has traditionally ruled the waves. Germany, in contrast with Britain, was a land power rather than a sea power, and at the time of Dunkirk could only call upon the weapon illustrated below, which is constructed of similar strategic materials but which lacked adequate buoyancy to have made a successful Sea Lion operation possible.

    You obviously failed to count on German ingenuity… I’m sure they could have used arm-floaties while peddling this device across the Channel while pursuing the British.

    What is even more interesting, is that two people on this forum clicked on your picture to study it in greater detail.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    What is even more interesting, is that two people on this forum clicked on your picture to study it in greater detail.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I was one of them.  I wanted to make sure it expanded properly when clicked.


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    @CWO:

    In the interests of full disclosure, I was one of them.  I wanted to make sure it expanded properly when clicked.

    I just clicked on it to see if it said “Krupp Manufacturing” on the tire…


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    You obviously failed to count on German ingenuity… I’m sure they could have used arm-floaties while peddling this device across the Channel while pursuing the British.

    Actually, I’ve just done a little extra research in the question of arm-floaties and it looks like this is another area where Goering can shoulder some blame for being counter-productive to the German war effort.  It’s already well-known that Goering wanted the Luftwaffe rather than the panzers to have the honour of finishing off the BEF at Dunkirk, and it’s also well-known that Goering – whose policy as boss of the Luftwaffe was that everything which flew in the German armed forces should be under his jurisdiction – hampered the Kriegsmarine in its efforts to develop a naval aviation service and an aircraft carrier force.  What isn’t as well known is that Goering had a similar policy towards arm-floaties: his view was that arms floaties were sufficiently similar to zeppelins – both in terms of their underlying technology and their general shape – to justify placing Germany’s new Bureau of Arm Buoyancy Devices (Armschwimmfahigkeitgeratsamt) under the control of the Luftwaffe rather than the Army.  Guderian strongly opposed this idea; he personally told Hitler that Goering was full of hot air and that his claims were inflated, but Hitler sided with Goering, who in turn made sure that the manufacturing output of arm floaties remained low and that virtually none of the completed units reached the Army.  Had Hitler instead sided with Guderian during that fateful conversation, a German invasion of Britain might well have succeded.

    Floatie and Zeppelin.jpg


  • 2017 '16

    Ummm… :?

    ok, you win… 😮

    @CWO:

    placing Germany’s new Bureau of Arm Buoyancy Devices (Armschwimmfahigkeitgeratsamt) under the control of the Luftwaffe rather than the Army.

    Amazing research, btw… Armschwimmfahigkeitgeratsamt…

    @CWO:

    Guderian strongly opposed this idea; he personally told Hitler that Goering was full of hot air and that his claims were inflated

    See pic, below
              V
              V

    Reference.png


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    Amazing research, btw… Armschwimmfahigkeitgeratsamt…

    One of my favourite non-invented German words is the term that Germany used in WWI to designate tanks: Schutzengrabenvernichtungspanzerkampfwagen, or, roughly, “trench-destroying armoured fighting car.”  German tanks of WWI were physically as cumbersome as that term, so in preparation for WWII Germany devised more practical tanks and a more practical designation (“Panzer”).  Unfortunately for Germany, the American, British and Russian words for this type of weapon – “tank” – consists of only one syllable, whereas “Panzer” has two syllables, so the US, UK and USSR armoured forces in principle had a 50% advantage over the German armoured forces in speed of pronunciation.  On the other hand, the French word “char” only consists of one syllable too, so in principle the French and German armoured forces should have fought each other to a draw in May-June 1940…so clearly this theory doesn’t hold up in reality as well as it ought to on paper.



  • @CWO:

    @Wolfshanze:

    Amazing research, btw… Armschwimmfahigkeitgeratsamt…

    One of my favourite non-invented German words is the term that Germany used in WWI to designate tanks: Schutzengrabenvernichtungspanzerkampfwagen, or, roughly, “trench-destroying armoured fighting car.”  German tanks of WWI were physically as cumbersome as that term, so in preparation for WWII Germany devised more practical tanks and a more practical designation (“Panzer”).  Unfortunately for Germany, the American, British and Russian words for this type of weapon – “tank” – consists of only one syllable, whereas “Panzer” has two syllables, so the US, UK and USSR armoured forces in principle had a 50% advantage over the German armoured forces in speed of pronunciation.  On the other hand, the French word “char” only consists of one syllable too, so in principle the French and German armoured forces should have fought each other to a draw in May-June 1940…so clearly this theory doesn’t hold up in reality as well as it ought to on paper.

    ROFLOL :lol: :lol: :lol:


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