- Apr 2019
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.
I can't really disprove an argument about logistics because I have no primary sources. Maybe if sometime there is a 1:1 simulation about this based on train tonnage and quartermasters journals, then we could see if that argument can be tested.
Also, I'm not implying what the British did somehow made the Nazis or Hitler honourable: I'm just saying that Dunkirk was a last ditch improvised evacuation, that worked better than anyone expected. It was only necessary because a of a cascading set of diplomatic and finally military disasters that led to the BEF being cornered just out of arms length of the german juggernaut. I was admonished for being off-topic, but so is the issue of dunkirk. The topic calls for a _fighting_ retreat. Show me any serious fighting in the whole dreary affair.
Also the French share equal shame with the gross ingratitude they showed during the liberation of Paris. De Gaulle's "True fighting france" had actually put its hands up after sedan.