(Editor’s note: Welcome to Part 2 of the Road of Battlefield V. The Road to BFV: The Allies is a 3 part historical mini-series from the Allied perspective spanning a single year from 1940 to 1941. If you want to see more of these historically based articles on videogames that are set within a historical time period, please let me know down below or on Twitter.)
( PART I: 1940.)
At the end of The Great War, Britain emerged victorious and stronger than ever before. Great Britain alongside the rest of the Triple Entente shaped the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the Treaty of Versailles.
19 years later, Germany invaded Poland in September with Britain and France declaring war on Germany. The British Army despatched the BEF to France and so began the eight-month long Phoney War.
The Phoney War was an eight-month period where there was no activity on the Western Front. While there was no military action by Britain and their allies, they began economic warfare against Nazi Germany and shutting down German U-Boat raids. The British and the French created operations designed to swiftly cripple the German war effort; these operations included opening a front in the Balkans, invading Norway to seize control of Germany’s iron ore shipments, and an offensive against the Soviet Union to cut off the oil supply to Germany. Only one of these came to fruition, the Norway Operation began in April 1940 to seize Germany’s iron ore shipments which were being shipped from the port of Narvik in the winter months.
By April 1940, things had changed drastically on the Western Front. Germany now invaded Denmark and Norway during Operation Weserübung; and Allied troops raced to Norway but the Germans already had occupied the southern regions of the country and a bitter battle occurred until June when the Allies evacuated from mainland Europe and the Norwegians surrendered at midnight on June 9th, 1940.
On May 10th, 1940, the German Army swept across the low countries after breaking out of the Ardennes Forest. In under six weeks, the German Army swept through northern France until they reached the channel ports.
Once at the Channel ports, the German Army pushed into the seaside ports of Calais and Boulogne where they were stalled by the British and French forces. Four days later, Calais had fallen to the Germans and they were now on the move towards the seaside city of Dunkirk but they were ordered to halt on the outskirts. This decision would be one of Hitler’s greatest mistakes and the greatest relief for the British as they launched Operation Dynamo to rescue the encircled Allied armies.
The British Government launched Operation Dynamo to evacuate the encircled Allied armies that were trapped at Dunkirk. On the first day alone, 28,000 men were evacuated from the shores of France while many other soldiers were stranded on the beaches. The French mounted a long defense of the city of Lille to give time for the British to evacuate from French soil, this action leered the Germans away from Dunkirk which allowed more men to evacuate, these men who defended Lille would surrender to the Germans later.
On June 4th, 1940, the British and some of the French army had been evacuated from France and returned to England. A total of 338,226 soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk and as a result, France had fallen to the Germans with the French Government surrendering at Compiègne with some of the French soldiers that were evacuated from Dunkirk being repatriated back to France to fight the Germans. The British were all alone now, anticipating an invasion from the sea. The Battle of Britain would soon begin.
1940 was Britain’s Finest hour.
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