Friday, July 21, 2017

Dunkirk

British troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation.
(Source)
In May of 1940 the German Wehrmacht stood just outside the channel port of Dunkirk. 400,000 men were trapped, there was no way out. What the Germans had tried to do in four years from 1914 to 1918, and failed to do, had now been done in just a few short weeks. The French and British armies on the Continent were defeated. All that remained was for the Germans to mop up resistance.

Hitler halted the panzer divisions to let Hermann Göring's Luftwaffe finish the job.

They failed and what followed, while a defeat, was turned into a victory five years later. Had the British Expeditionary Force not escaped from Dunkirk, odds are that there would have been no D-Day invasion in June of 1944.

Would the Germans have won the war? Maybe. But for the bravery exhibited on those Channel beaches and in the waters off those beaches and in the skies above, it's a distinct possibility that much of Western Europe would now be under German rule.

Or perhaps Russian. We shall never know. Dunkirk will stand forever for what it was, a shining example of bravery, perseverance, and a refusal to surrender.

Going to the movies later today.



AAR to follow...



32 comments:

  1. Generally not a fan of "War Movies", but this is one I want to see.

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  2. But...But...But.....
    There aren't enough women and Blacks in leading roles!
    The "Stupid" is strong out there.

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    1. Oh yes it is. USA Today the paper not qualified to line the bottom of a parrot's cage. (I suppose it would work for the Norwegian Blue, beautiful plumage...)

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    2. To be fair, the reviewer that everyone's busy pasting wrote "the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way." In no way is this an actual endorsement of that view, and it's not a value judgment, either. He didn't say it rubbed HIM the wrong way. For all we know, he thinks the idea's as dumb as we think it is.

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    3. Well, it either did rub him the wrong way, or he felt compelled to speak to that part of the readership to score a point, since he went out of his way to say that. Either way, he doesn't garner much sympathy in this quarter.

      /
      L.J.

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    4. I see your point a bear, but to write about a thing gives it life. The idea that history rubs some people the wrong way is appalling. Bloody snowflakes.

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  3. I assume you're going to see "Dunkirk". If so, give us an update. I want to see it but haven't convinced The Missus to go. I'll probably end up seeing it on DVD. You steered me very well on "Fury".

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    1. Most definitely going to see Dunkirk, rest assured, you'll get the report, right here on our show...

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  4. These movies appeal to a certain breed of cat. Like me. Hard to get the ladies going. I usually feel bad that my situation seems to have been so "easy" compared to what these heroes went through. I am humbled every time I see something about WWII (or Korea, for that matter).

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    1. I dunno Dave, seems to me that having to fight the Commies and Washington at the same time is pretty damned heroic.

      At least it is to me.

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    1. I knew that. (At least I think I knew that...)

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  6. Operation Dynamo: Brexit One.

    Were it not for the Paris Cabs, the French would have capitulated with a breakthrough at the Marne, and there would have been no need for a BEF evacuation a quarter-century later.

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    1. Interesting observation. Nothing seems to happen in history which doesn't echo down to the present.

      Santayana would be pleased.

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  7. So many what ifs.

    The German troops were at the end of their supply chain, had been pushing hard, were low on bullets and beans and needed to reorganize, but they wanted to go to the coast. Could they have taken Dunkirk and the encircled troops in that state? Maybe, maybe not.

    Maybe Hitler thought they would surrender? Why spend good troops when the French Surrender Monkey can do it for you? Fat Boy's planes were just meant to wear the English and French forces down.

    And no-one on either side, except for some bright boys somewhere in the bowels of England's GHQ, thought you could evacuate a whole army using private boats. Pshaw. That the escape did happen is truly a miracle of the English Spirit (which seems to be missing these days.)

    Looking forward to your review.

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  8. Here is a story to go with---

    http://www.christies.com/spitfire/interactive/index.html

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    1. I recall reading about that restoration, that's a very nice presentation, thanks for the link.

      The Spitfire has a large role in the film.

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  9. Just for grins, and because was a licensed gun dealer for almost 20 years, and because I love yaking about stuff like this---

    I own a U.S. M-1917 Rife (made by Eddystone) that has the vestiges of a 3-inch band of red paint around the muzzle end of the front handguard.

    U.S. M-1917--
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1917_Enfield

    British Pattern 1914--
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_1914_Enfield

    Click on the photos in the articles. See the distinct differences in the two rifles? Yeah, that's what the Brits said too. Parts commonality of the two rifles is 60%. Nearly 200,000 M-1917 rifles served with the British Home Guard during WWII. What ever to do to tell them apart? I say old chap, paint the blood front end of the yank rifles red! So, now you know.

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    1. Nice story, the two rifles are very similar.

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    2. Right. That would be 'bloody front end' as in Brit explicative.

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  10. I have just returned from seeing Dunkirk. Very well done, and yes the Germans did sink The Maid of Kent, a hospital ship, at Dunkirk. The Spitfire has a lot of ammo, doesn't it?

    Al_in_Ottawa

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    1. As to the Spitfire's onboard ammunition supply, I wasn't counting but yes, seemed to be too much.

      But it didn't detract from the movie, and only guys like us notice that kind of thing.

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  11. I have not seen it yet, myself. Does the LANCASTRIA sink on screen? Three to Five thousand died when she was sunk at St. Nazire during the Dunkirk evacuation. ( Operation Areil ) I eagerly await your review!

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    1. Nope. The Dunkirk evacuation was finished two weeks before RMS Lancastria was sunk and St Nazaire is closer to Spain then it is to Dover. After Dunkirk, evacuations were carried out from the Atlantic ports that the Germans had not reached. My grand dad's buddy was with the Canadian 1st Division in Brest, he had quite a few stories to tell.

      Al_in_Ottawa

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    2. Scott - Al's answer is better than any I could give you.

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    3. Al - Thanks for that bit of detail.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)