chapter  4
9 Pages

Dunkirk to Bordeaux, 4–15 June

The Dunkirk evacuation operation was formally terminated at 1030 on 4 June 1940. On the same day, there began the evacuation of Allied troops, undefeated but strategically out of place, from northern Norway; as at Dunkirk, French troops provided the rear-guard which covered the final embarkation but on this occasion no one was left behind. Within 24 hours, the German Army in France began the next phase of its offensive, to break through the Somme-Aisne line. By 7 June, the defences were sufficiently dented for the British Foreign Office and the Admiralty to begin contemplation of the aftermath of a complete military defeat and the withdrawal of France from the war – the unthinkable was happening and, as far as the British government was concerned, the unacceptable had to be prevented. Local cooperation, not high-level coordination, marked the retreats, evacuations and naval support of the next two weeks.