Dunkirk: May 1940


The centre of the game world is of course the Dunkirk perimeter and the Channel.

The Dunkirk perimeter established 28-29th May 1940

This is the basic perimeter, the "Corunna Line" established after the collapse of Belgium on 29th May 1940. Ferocious battles were fought around this tiny strip of land, as two German armies and two Luftwaffe Air Fleets fought to prevent the evacuation and destroy the British, French, Belgian and Polish troops within. The French hold the line from Mardyck to Bergues, the British hold the line from Bergues to Nieuport. The British, French, Dutch, and Polish Navies hold the line in the water, and the RAF and the Armee de l'Air hold the line drawn in the clouds

I have remodelled the landscape around to put in the towns of Bergues, Furnes, and Nieuport on the perimeter, and the various inland waterways. At those places British and French troops and tanks face German troops and tanks. The little ships ply between the beaches and the larger ships, and the larger ships come alongside the mole at Dunkirk..

The evacuation fleet stretches back along Route X across the Channel to Margate, Deal and Dover.

German forces gain the ports of Ostend to the East, and Calais to the west by 29th May, and Kreigsmarine E-Boats and coastal U-Boats are in the Channel with the fleet in their sights.

British Air Forces France (BAFF) 10th May - 15th June 1940. The Air Component of the BEF had substantially been evacuated by 26th Jun

British air forces consist of RAF Fighter Command based at the 11 Group fighter stations in the Home Counties, Bomber Command based at the bomber stations in East Anglia, and the Fleet Air Arm based at the Coastal Command airfields at Bircham, Detling, and Thorney. What is left of the Battle and Hurricane Squadrons of the Advanced Air Striking Force, are now based at scratch landing grounds around Troyes in Eastern France.

The bases of the Armee de l'Air in the Northern Zone, and of the Aeronavale May 1940

The French Air Forces fight on, although they have already taken a mauling. They have fighters based at the remaining airfields in north east France, and in addition MB-152s temporarily based at Lympne, along with Potez 63.11s. The Bre 693 ground attack aircraft are based at airfields in Northern and Eastern France, with the heavier bombers Amiot 354 and LeO 451, now getting in where they can. V156 dive bombers of the Aeronavale are temporarily based at Tangmere.

The Luftwaffe operations against Dunkirk May 30 1940 (from Dunkirk The Great Escape by AJ Barker)

German air forces, like their other forces are already over stretched by their massive and unbelievable success. Some fighter, destroyer and Stuka squadrons have moved into advanced bases in occupied Belgium, Holland and France, but others, including most of the bombers are still operating from airfields back across the Rhine in Germany

The shrinking perimeter 26th - 31st May

This is a single missions set-up, so the task for the British is in support of the evacuation to fly fighter patrols over the Dunkirk perimeter, intercept German bombers and other aircraft attacking the beaches, the perimeter, and the fleet, and to fly bombing missions against German troops, coastal positions, ports, airfields and towns. The French task is to support the armed camp at Dunkirk, and in particular the French troops on the Mardyck section of the perimeter with patrol, interception, and bombing missions. The German task is of course to halt the evacuation by sinking the fleet, bombing the beaches and the allied troops on the perimeter, and intercepting allied aircraft, whilst at the same time acting in support of the land forces pushing against the perimeter.

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