The most impressive fighting withdrawal in history

#31
The Finnish Continuation war fallback from the Karelia Isthmus and around Lake Ladoga. Finally culminating in the battle of Tali-Ihantala. The largest land battle in the history of the nordics. The soviet assault that broke German army group center failed to break the Finns. Stalin offered peace to concentrate on the drive to Berlin and this country maintained its democracy and a free economic system.

The Finnish goverment and Mannerheim basicly tricked the Germans into signing a deal for wheat, anti-tank weapons and the support of a german tactical air detachment of Stukas. The local firesuperiority it brought enhanced by the already accurate finnish field artillery managed to make the rate of casualties unbearable for even the Red Army. Then Finland sued for peace and basicly betrayed Hitler.
 

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Jan 2015
3,363
Front Lines of the Pig War
#32
'Not sure about Dunkirk. It was disorderly, just about all equipment left behind strewn along roads, the French and the odd British unit fighting the Germans off outside Dunkirk so that British and French soldiers could escape across the channel.
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338,000 were evacuated with only 35,000 of the rearguard left behind, so the withdrawl was an impressive success considering that at the start the British expected only 30 - 50,000 might be evacuated.

The British withdrawal from the Afrika Korps in Mar/April 1940 was also impressive, they avoided any serious losses to Rommel's superior force, denied his attempt to capture Tobruk and repulsed several subsequent assaults
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#33
338,000 were evacuated with only 35,000 of the rearguard left behind, so the withdrawl was an impressive success considering that at the start the British expected only 30 - 50,000 might be evacuated.

The British withdrawal from the Afrika Korps in Mar/April 1940 was also impressive, they avoided any serious losses to Rommel's superior force, denied his attempt to capture Tobruk and repulsed several subsequent assaults
The British truly are the masters of 'losing with style'.
 
Likes: martin76
#36
338,000 were evacuated with only 35,000 of the rearguard left behind, so the withdrawl was an impressive success considering that at the start the British expected only 30 - 50,000 might be evacuated.

The British withdrawal from the Afrika Korps in Mar/April 1940 was also impressive, they avoided any serious losses to Rommel's superior force, denied his attempt to capture Tobruk and repulsed several subsequent assaults
Trying to somehow isolate Dunkirk from the wider allied reaction to Fall Gelb says a great deal about the uniquely British ways of romanticising disaster. The Dunkirk evacuation was possible only because Hitler, partly in sheer disbelief at his own success and mostly ego wanted to give an on-ramp to a negotiated settlement.

The failure to engage with the Germans during the Polish or Scandinavian campaigns let them hit France and the low countries with full force. Its like all the officers had skipped the day in cadet training when they were talking about the Schileffen plan and the general staff had amnesia. France and the BEF basicly let Germany have that with tanks and aeroplanes and the perfected breakthrough doctrine. The diplomatic game of posturing by Belgium, a state that was conceived to prevent war between the two continental giants, now paved the way for the other to attack.

All in all the disgraceful conduct of France and Britain, from the Abyssinia crisis to Munich and finally the disaster of 1940, is without a doubt a shame that should bear on the consciousness of anyone who might argue for western exceptionalism to our eastern brothers and sister [ european nations]. Every small courtesy backwards in the face of Facism was rewared with an assault on the rights and liberty of free peoples. Finland, the Baltics, Czech lands, Abyssinia, Manchuria, Albania etc. Britain and France, the so-called guaranteers of peace did everything to not have to confront facism. And then it struck them in the face with a crowbar.

EDITED FOR LANGUAGE.
 
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Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#37
All in all the disgraceful conduct of France and Britain, from the Abyssinia crisis to Munich and finally the disaster of 1940, is without a doubt a shame that should bear on the consciousness of anyone who might argue for western exceptionalism to our eastern brothers and sister [ european nations]. Every small courtesy backwards in the face of Facism was rewared with an assault on the rights and liberty of free peoples. Finland, the Baltics, Czech lands, Abyssinia, Manchuria, Albania etc. Britain and France, the so-called guaranteers of peace did everything to not have to confront facism. And then struck them in the face with a crowbar. Yes. Stand up and clap everyone.
I think you need to calm down a bit, you're being very emotional and aggressive in your language. This thread is about military withdrawals, not your opinion on the morality of Britain and France's pre-war political situations. If you want to go and rant about that, maybe start another thread?
 
#38
I think you need to calm down a bit, you're being very emotional and aggressive in your language. This thread is about military withdrawals, not your opinion on the morality of Britain and France's pre-war political situations. If you want to go and rant about that, maybe start another thread?
I made some changes to the language. Also fair enough, its not the subject of the topic.

However, I stand by my original statement: Dunkirk was no "fighting" anything. The Mannstein plan had simply worked beyond expectation and freewheeling armoured spearheads had to be told to stop. Guderian and Rommel wanted to drive on, but Hitler still thinking he had any sort of credibility in the eyes of London, thought that now was the time to shore up poker chips for the negotiation table. He though he had the 300k troops who had begun to escape in the improvised sealift as hostages and that they could escape. Had we lived in the era of satellite technology and modern signals intelligence had have know the evacuation was on.

How is sneaking away from retreat anything but an inglorious manoeuvre, in an inglorious war, produced by an inglorious idea of foreign relations. The worlds premier seapower is reduced to using pleasure boats to evacuate the worlds most professional army retreating from Silesian conscripts and Bavarian farmers.
 

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Apr 2014
390
Istanbul Turkey
#39
I made some changes to the language. Also fair enough, its not the subject of the topic.

However, I stand by my original statement: Dunkirk was no "fighting" anything. The Mannstein plan had simply worked beyond expectation and freewheeling armored spearheads had to be told to stop. Guderian and Rommel wanted to drive on, but Hitler still thinking he had any sort of credibility in the eyes of London, thought that now was the time to shore up poker chips for the negotiation table. He though he had the 300k troops who had begun to escape in the improvised sealift as hostages and theat they could escape. Had we lived in the era of satellite technology and modern signals intelligence hed have know the evacuation was on.

How is sneaking away from retreat anything but an inglorious manoeuvre, in an inglorious war, produced by an inglorious idea of foreign relations.

Hitler was not thinking planning any grand gesture of letting British Army retreat so he could win hewarts of British to love him and Nazi philosophy so there could be peace. All those vague claims he made on Army Group A field HQ on 24 May 1940 (he visited Army Group HQ AFTER Army Group Commander General Von Rundstedt made Halt Order with support of Panzer Group Commander General Von Kleist on their own same morning. Since they were leading and commanding the armies and campaign they saw that they extended too far after two weeks of constant advace , panzer divisions needed a rest and resupply and replacements since combat attrition and mechanical breakdowns took out most of armored vehicles in panzer units. That was when Hitler learned Halt Order and supported field commanders rather than OKW staff officers in Berlin whom he distrusted due to domestic party politics) were later twisted by later German and Nazi biased historians that Hitler had been so humanatarian and peaceful , did not wish war , he won the war anyway etc...

Frankly evacuating their army (only field army British had back then) so they could fight on and return back is much better and honorable than trying to capture a city because it has Stalins name (Stalingrad) and hold its ruins rather meanwhile waitng an entire army than focusing campaign goals two years later in Caucausian Campaign in 1942.

If there was signals intelligence back then (Germans reading Royal Navy wireless partially but relations between German Navy , Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe was quite bad , coordination between armed forces of Germany-except close tactical air support of army-was terrible) as for sattalite technology if that existed back then maybe neither Pearl Harbor attaack would not be a smashing sucess nor Battle of Midway would be a decisive US victory , nor could Allies catch Germans suprised in D-Day.....If only....if only. But then there was no sattalitte technology in 1940'ies..there is that. (and intelligence process in among varios departments of German Armed Forces high Command was quite bad even if they had perfect intelligence) That is the historical fact. Not what if counter fact gaming.
 
Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
#40
"How is sneaking away from retreat anything but an inglorious manoeuvre"

That is just laughable, glory had nothing to do with the matter, the Germans had won the battle for France and all the British had left to do was to withdraw as many of their men as they could, to prevent them from being captured and to have an army to be able to fight in the future. Neither diplomacy nor war has anything to do with "glory", it is always the matter of making the best of the situation in the circumstances in which those who are negotiating or fighting find themselves.