The British are selfish for leaving the French at Dunkirk

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syscom3

Pacific Historian
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Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
On another website, a reader posted the following. Can any of you Brits confirm it? Supposedly it was on Aug 2 or Aug 3.

If it is true, this French officer needs to be b***chslapped.

"Earlier this evening on UKTV History appeared the acclaimed TV series Century of Warfare narrated by Lawrence Oliver. The episode concentrated on the evacuations at Dunkirk in 1940.

All was going well until during an interview retired French officer Phillipe l'Laire accused the British of being SELFISH BACKSTABBERS for evacuating Dunkirk and leaving the French to their fate at the hand of the Nazis."
 
Is this old guy serious? The largest army in Europe (aside from Russia) folds faster than a house of cards, and he blames the British for pulling out their expeditionary force before they're annihilated? He's gotta be joking...right?
 
Yep, the French had no real right to be taken off the beaches and yet they still were. In the end the British troops were more valuable than the French troops (who had shown their worth in the Battle for France - although some of the Free French division did alright after D-day) in the defense of the UK...
 
Ultimately though, I think part of the reason for the Fall of France and its Defeat was that it contributed so many resources to the Magniot Line that would otherwise have been able to be used to fight Germany on its own terms. The French were caught off-guard when the Germans swung through Poland, Belgium and the Lower Countries as they were expecting Germany to invade on the German/French border. Thus it was this crucial lack that the French seemed to be preparing for WW1 and the wrong sort of adversary. If it had been Stalin and the Russians, the Magniot Line may have been effective and caused ultra-heavy casualities, but as it is the German Commanders looked at their map and saw a way to avoid that massive defensive line. I think the British may have played a big part in creating the situation of the Phoney War where Germany and Hitler were still deciding what they wanted to do and how to accomplish it. It could be that the British presence played a part in delaying the total collapse of France quicker, also there was the fact that Vichy France signed a treaty with Germany very quickly. I think there was already some negotiation going on behind the scenes already and it was only a matter of time before something became of it. One of the biggest things that changed after the Fall of France and Dunkirk, in the Eastern Desert was the issue of Mobility. There we start to see the taking of the fight to the enemy through the LRDG or Long Range Desert Group which acted as a form of hit and run sabotuers of the Allies, striking at key targets and pinning down some German forces and providing information on others. I think the Fall of France proved to the British High Command why the old tactics would not work. Also the Commandos in Europe and the American versions were a reaction to this new type of warfare as I see it. I also thought that the Fall of France demonstrated once and for all to the British High Command that they must support their infantry, tanks and trucks from the air, or see them knocked out. At the very least in the Desert we at least see the beginnings of Close Air Support for tanks and troops. Therefore Dunkirk was the medicine that the Allied planners needed to take to see that the old WW1 style of battle would not work. The Soviets though were using adapted WW1 style battle tactics by throwing masses of infantry and tanks against the Germans in a fairly unequal fight and winning, but for the Allies I think this plan would have led to a situation where Germany would win the whole of Europe and be able to keep it as a WW1 Commander would have flung his troops against the Atlantic Wall. Therefore, Dunkirk it was also necessary for the British to salvage what they could so they could use that to regenerate what was left of their shattered army.
 
The French also called the British cowards at Dunkirk. The French only embarked the British ships because they thought the Royal Navy would drop them further down the coast to continue the fight. That's what they claim anyway.

The BEF consisted of 350,000 people from all service arms, against a might a 3.3 million Wehrmacht soldiers. Britain was a supporting arm, and that was always the case. Shame on the French for trying to lean on the weakest arm, when they were the body and strongest section of defence.

Let's not forget too, that the people holding the defensive perimeter around Dunkirk were not French or Belgian, but the 26th Coldstream Guards. These men fought to the last moment when the boats began to depart.

The RAF also lost half it's bomber strength, and many fighters defending France. Heavy losses were again encountered over the Dunkirk evacuation which, as lanc stated, took off one French/Belgian for every British Tommy taken home.
 
syscom3 said:
On another website, a reader posted the following. Can any of you Brits confirm it? Supposedly it was on Aug 2 or Aug 3.

If it is true, this French officer needs to be b***chslapped.

"Earlier this evening on UKTV History appeared the acclaimed TV series Century of Warfare narrated by Lawrence Oliver. The episode concentrated on the evacuations at Dunkirk in 1940.

All was going well until during an interview retired French officer Phillipe l'Laire accused the British of being SELFISH BACKSTABBERS for evacuating Dunkirk and leaving the French to their fate at the hand of the Nazis."

"Cranky old man" syndrome. Add a dash of alzheimers to it and you get some old bozo spouting off about just about anything that comes to mind.

Probably yelling at the kids on the lawn too.
 
To a point perhaps, but it's more likely deep rooted hatred for the British, and he's probably always felt that way.

Not quite the same thing, but there are Canadian Army veterans of the Dieppe raid of '42 who blame the entire fiasco on the Navy. That's garbage of course. The raid was doomed from the start. It was poorly planned, hastily put together, and had no real chance of success.

My point is there are survivors who to this day hold on to their own twisted versions of history. Be they French, Canadian, British, American, German, Russian, or what have you.
 
It wasn't just the feeling of that one person though, it's a belief amongst many French people. They feel betrayed by Great Britain for leaving them to defend their own nation.
 
Well, sometimes feelings do become a part of the national psyche. It happens here in Canada all the time, usually directed at the US. Someone called it "group think". It becomes part of the culture, as wrong as it is.
 
If I remember correctly there's an interview in the World at War series of some ex-French officers calling the British cowards. An unbias opinion - obviously.

I like your signature, Wayne, no idea why though. :lol:
 
How long did it take Britain to replenish the weapons lost at Dunkirk?

I think plenty of Rifles, MG's and mortars could have been replaced within a couple of months.
 
Rifles were not a problem, as a lot of soldiers brought their rifles home with them. The light arms were replaced with ease, leaving them behind was not a problem at all. The armour and motor transport were harder to replace, but the hardest things to replace were the destroyers and planes lost protecting the evacuation.

However, within months Great Britain and her Empire were pouring tanks, planes and guns off the production lines. Enough to conduct effective war in North Africa and feel safe in our home island.
 
I don't know how production was, but aircraft production was churning out up to 1,000 planes a week at it's peak.
 

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