21 May 1940

France
  • The French destroyer L'Adroit (T23) was in company of two other destroyers when German He 111 bombers attacked. One aircraft hit her with a bomb that exploded just in front of the bridge. One third of the ship was ripped off and her commanding officer Captain Henri Dupin de Saint-Cyr beached her at Malo-les-Bains, Dunkerque, France at 0035 hours where she was on fire. As she had just been reloaded with ammunition and torpedoes for a mission on the Scheldt Estuary to the northeast, the entire crew abandoned ship, and locals of Malo-les-Bains were also evacuated. At 0230 hours the ship was destroyed by seven large explosions. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | HM]
25 May 1940

France
  • Adolf Hitler continued to hold off his tanks from engaging on an offensive even though those armored division were merely 10 miles from Dunkerque, France. At Calais, France, Heinz Guderian obediently, albeit frustratingly, ordered his tanks to halt per Hitler's orders, but the field commanders continued to push back the British and French troops. In the evening, British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort began to fall back to Dunkerque. On the same day, the French Army relieved 15 generals of their commands. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | TH]
26 May 1940

France
  • At Dunkerque, France, British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort received the formal authorization for a withdraw; Operation Dynamo, the code name of the massive evacuation, was headed by British Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler rescinded the order to halt the offensive near Dunkerque. At Calais, after a heavy aerial and field artillery bombardment, German troops crossed the canals and moved toward the Citadel; at 1600 hours, Brigadier Claude Nicholson surrendered. Elsewhere, the French 1st Army was nearly encircled by the Germans, while the Belgians was pushed back to the Leie/Lys River. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | CPC]
29 May 1940

France
  • The 393-ton former Royal Mail Steam Packet Company paddle steamer Gracie Fields, serving in the capacity of a minesweeper since 1939, was hit by a bomb on her second trip to Dunkerque, France. Eight of her crew died in the attack. The ship remained afloat and an effort to tow her back to Britain would be mounted. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | HM]
30 May 1940

France
31 May 1940

France
  • Poor weather clouded over Dunkerque, France, giving the British a chance to bring in modern destroyers into the area to assist the evacuation with less fear of German air attacks; 68,014 (45,072 from harbor and 22,942 from beaches) were rescued on this date, including British Expeditionary Force commanding general Lord Gort. French destroyer Leopart and British destroyers HMS Express, HMS Icarus, HMS Keith, and HMS Winchelsea were damaged by German aerial bombing. German torpedo boats damaged French destroyers Sirocco and Cyclone; Sirocco was finished off by German aircraft, killing 59 crew and 600 troops. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | TH]
  • Oliver Leese was evacuated from a beach near Dunkerque, France. ww2dbase [Oliver Leese | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | CPC]
1 Jun 1940

France
  • Under a heavy German air raid at Dunkerque, France, Sergeant George Benton, RAMC, was carrying wounded men on stretchers to a ship at the East Mole when a bomb blew a hole in the walkway. Unflinching, he calmly placed a stretcher over the gap and carried on with the evacuation of the wounded. ww2dbase [Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | AC]
9 Oct 1941

France
  • No. 601 Squadron RAF mounted a mission with four P-39 Airacobra aircraft, strafing German barges near Dunkerque, France. This was to be the final Airacobra mission with the RAF. ww2dbase [P-39 Airacobra | Dunkerque, Nord-Pas-de-Calais | CPC]
10 May 1945

France

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943