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Browned Off and Bloody-MindedThe British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945$
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Alan Allport

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300170757

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300170757.001.0001

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Strange Defeat

Strange Defeat

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 3 Strange Defeat
Source:
Browned Off and Bloody-Minded
Author(s):

Alan Allport

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300170757.003.0003

This chapter describes the British Army's disastrous campaign in France in 1940, which resulted in the deaths of 11,104 members of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Over 14,000 men were wounded; more than 41,300 would spend the rest of the war in captivity. Though the majority of troops were successfully evacuated, they left behind in France almost all of their heavy weapons and modern equipment. Of 2,794 guns that had originally been sent to the Continent, only 322 came back. All but 4,739 of 68,618 vehicles were lost. More than 70 per cent of the BEF's 109,000 tons of ammunition, and 96 per cent of its 449,000 tons of supplies and stores were abandoned. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers escaped the Germans, but as an exhausted, disarmed mob, not an army. Whole battalions, brigades, even divisions, were swallowed up in the chaos.

Keywords:   British Army, British Expeditionary Force, France, Second World War, Germans, military campaign

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