May 27 - June 4, 1940. The Dunkirk Evacuation. In May, 1940, British and French troops were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, pushed back to the English Channel by German forces. A rescue mission -- Operation Dynamo -- involved around 700 small boats, all crewed by volunteers, ferrying men to larger ships that took them across the channel. 338,000 soldiers were rescued.
In May 1940, British, French and Belgian troops were cut off on the French coast by German forces and faced death or capture. A hastily assembled fleet of 850 'little ships', code-named 'Operation Dynamo', departed from Britain (many making several return voyages) and rescued over 338,000 British and French troops. The event inspired Winston Churchill's 'We shall fight them on the beaches' speech and gave rise to the phrase 'Dunkirk Spirit' and to the Brits' reputation for turning a defeat…
During the opening weeks of Hitler's war on the Western Front, thousands of soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force and the French First Army, with their backs to the sea, were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in nine desperate days of fighting.
This Day in History: Jun 4, 1940: Dunkirk evacuation ends & Winston Churchill delivers his famous "We shall fight on the beaches" speech. http://dingeengoete.blogspot.com/2013/06/this-day-in-history-jun-4-1940-dunkirk.html