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“A detailed and fascinating account” of a little known WWII showdown in Belgium between the British Expeditionary Force and the German army (Barnsley Chronicle).
This is an important reassessment of a critical period in the British Expeditionary Force’s fight against the German armies invading France in 1940. On May 25, Lord Gort, the British commander, took the decision to move 5th Division north in order to plug a growing gap in his army’s eastern defenses. Over the next three days the division fought a little-known engagement, the Battle of the Ypres-Comines Canal, to hold the Germans at bay while the rest of the BEF retreated toward Dunkirk.
The book describes the British Army of 1940 and outlines the early stages of the campaign before explaining the context of Gort’s decision and why it was made. Then, using British and German sources, it shows how the British doggedly defended their line against heavy German attacks, and demonstrates that the Expeditionary Force was far more than the badly equipped and undertrained army many historians have represented it as. This fresh look at the campaign also casts new light on other aspects such as the impact of the Luftwaffe and the Dunkirk evacuation itself.
“This book is important for all those interested in the fighting which proceeded the general retreat to and evacuation from Dunkirk. The author has trawled numerous archival sources, which are well cited in this elegantly produced book.” —Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research