by Paul Fantom
Warwick, Eng.: Helion / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2021. Pp. 222.
Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 1914059018
The BEF in the Aftermath of Dunkirk
The drama at Dunkirk (May 26- June 4) bulks so large in both popular imagination and even serious historical literature that the rest of the Battle of France through the Armistice of June 22 is often overlooked. Recently, however, scholarly attention has been throwing fresh light on British operations that followed Dunkirk, notably with Peter Whelan’s Useless Mouths: The British Army's Battles in France after Dunkirk.
Dr. Fantom’s A Forgotten Campaign adds to our understanding of British operations in France in the aftermath of Dunkirk. It’s an excellent, detailed account, explaining the operations of the six British divisions and some rear echelon formations – including some troops landed after Dunkirk – which tried to help stem the final German drive into France. There’s some heavy fighting against great odds, with some impressive rear guard actions, as the army fell back to the coast for rescue by sea, and an evacuation attempt marked by heavy losses and the capture of substantial forces.
Fantom tells this well, and helps fill an important gap in the literature on the Fall of France, though we lack an overall treatment of the campaign that includes the French, who put up an impressive, if foredoomed, fight .
A Forgotten Campaign a very good read for anyone with an interest in the war in Europe.