The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and 4 June 1940. The operation was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, and Belgian troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France in the Second World War.

On the first day of the evacuation, only 7,669 men were evacuated, but by the end of the eighth day, a total of 338,226 soldiers (including 123,000 French soldiers) had been rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats. Many of the troops were able to embark from the harbour's protective mole onto 39 British destroyers and other large ships, while others had to wade out from the beaches, waiting for hours in the shoulder-deep water. Some were ferried from the beaches to the larger ships by the famous little ships of Dunkirk, a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and lifeboats called into service for the emergency. The British Expeditionary Force lost 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign and had to abandon nearly all of their tanks, vehicles, and other equipment. In total, more than 40,000 vehicles as well as massive amounts of other military equipment and supplies were left behind.

Literary comment[]

The Dunkirk Evacuation happened in all Harry Turtledove timelines with a Point of Divergence after 1940. It is rarely germane to any story.

Dunkirk in Joe Steele[]

In May 1940, Adolf Hitler's Germany invaded the Low Countries and then France through the Ardennes towards the English Channel, cutting off and surrounding the British and French Army soldiers at Dunkirk. By some miracle, most were evacuated across the Channel to England.[1]


  1. Joe Steele, pgs. 222-223, HC.