Dunkirk evacuation

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Soldiers being rescued from Dunkirk

The Dunkirk evacuation, also called Operation Dynamo or The Miracle of Dunkirk, was a British mission to rescue Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk France, from 26 May to 4 June 1940. Over 300,000 Allied soldiers were trapped in Dunkirk by the German Army after the Battle of Dunkirk. For some reason, the German commanders did not order an attack against the surrounded city. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill then ordered all available ships and boats to head for Dunkirk to pick up the soldiers.

Over 900 ships participated in the evacuation. Many were fishing and pleasure boats, but some larger ships also took part. Originally, the intention was to pick up 40,000 British soldiers, and it was anticipated that the Germans would try to stop them. On the first day, only 8,000 soldiers were picked up from the harbour but none from the beach. On the second day, 17,000 soldiers were evacuated, including some from the beaches. On the third day, 47,000 soldiers were successfully rescued. On the fourth day, the number was 54,000, including the first French soldiers. On the fifth and the sixth days, the evacuation reached its peak, when over 60,000 Allied soldiers escaped. On the seventh day, nearly all the British had left, but the boats continued to pick up 26,000 soldiers a day, nearly all of whom were French. Evacuation ended after nine days, when 200,000 British soldiers and 140,000 French soldiers had escaped to Britain.

The Battle of Dunkirk was a great defeat for the British and Allied forces, but most of the British Army in France and part of the French Army escaped to fight again. They lost almost all their tanks, big guns, and other heavy equipment.