Category Wartime attacks

A new weapon of war arrives

It was in the First World War on Friday 15th September 1916 at Flers Courcelette in France that tanks were used for the first time in battle.  Around 50 of these fearsome-looking weapons had been developed.  The tanks travelled slowly on caterpillar tracks over wheels in a way based on American farming tractors and their […]

Friday 13th and a new ocean liner arrives in the USA

The RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner, and briefly the world’s biggest ship, had been launched by the Cunard Line in 1906 – a time of fierce competition for the North Atlantic trade. On Sunday 8th September 1907 a crowd claimed to be of some 200,000 people had gathered to see her depart on her […]

D-Day and Pegasus Bridge

One of the great films of my time is the 1955 story of ‘The Dam Busters’ – a British 2nd World War film that starred Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd. The film recreates the true story of 1943 when the RAF’s 617 Squadron attacked 3 German dams with Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb.  What is rarely […]

Evacuate and fight another day

On Monday 27th May 1940 – the first full day of the evacuation – one cruiser, eight destroyers, and 26 other craft were active and Admiralty officers combed nearby boatyards seeking small craft that could ferry personnel from the beaches out to larger craft in the harbour. In this same day the Luftwaffe heavily bombed […]

The Challenge begins

On Saturday 25th May 1940, the Luftwaffe focused their attention on Allied pockets holding out at Calais, Lille, and Amiens.  They did not attack Dunkirk. Calais was held by the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and surrendered on Sunday 26th May.  On that same Sunday 26th May 1940, at 15:30, Hitler ordered the Panzer groups to continue […]

The Dunkirk attack begins

On Friday 24th May 1940 Hitler paid a visit to Army Group A headquarters and endorsed the order of the previous day. The German forces had captured the port of Boulogne and had now surrounded Calais. The engineers of the 2nd Panzer Division had built five bridges over the Canal Line and only one British […]

The Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk 1940

The Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk in the 2nd World War is also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk.  Over the next few days I want to tell you the story. Our story begins on Thursday 23rd May 1940 when the German Field Marshal Karl Rundstedt ordered his Panzer units to halt, concerned about the […]