The British army is in full retreat! Save the BEF from disaster with a linked Bolt Action scenario set on the Dunkirk perimeter!
The Retreat to Dunkirk
With Boulogne fallen and Calais about to fall into German hands, the plan to sweep up to the Channel Ports and draw a line bisecting the Allied defenders had been all but an unmitigated success. However, from Von Rundstedt’s point of view, caution was vital at a time when it would have been all too easy to become caught up in the success of the operation and leave the German flanks open to exploitation.
Von Rundstedt felt that his forces were worryingly dispersed and a determined counter-attack by the Allies, even at this stage, could smash through his thin lines and reverse the fortunes of the campaign all too quickly. Whilst the British counter-attack at Arras had concerned him, his main worry was a strong French counter-attack from the south. As a result, at 1800 on 23 May, Von Rundstedt sent out orders to the German 4th Army to cease its advance.
The next day, Adolf Hitler visited Von Rundstedt’s headquarters, where he agreed with his general’s decision. Von Rundstedt was quick to disseminate this top-level backing, reinforcing his earlier decision with a further directive stating that the plan was by the Fuhrer’s orders.
With all hope for an Allied success quickly fading, Lord Gort received a telegram from British Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden:
“I have had information all of which goes to show that French offensive from Somme cannot be made in sufficient strength…Should this prove to be the case…the safety of BEF will be predominant consideration. In such conditions only course open to you may be to fight your way back to the west where all beaches and ports east of Gravelines will be used for embarkation. Navy would provide fleet of ships and small boats and RAF would give full support. As withdrawal may have to begin very early preliminary plans should be urgently prepared.”
After Churchill met with Reynaud, it was agreed that British, French, and Belgian forces would retreat to Dunkirk for evacuation to England. General Blanchard was reportedly stunned by the news as he believed the retreat to the north had been in preparation of a counter-attack. He informed Gort that his exhausted men would need to rest before falling back to take their place in the defensive lines around Dunkirk. Gort replied that if Blanchard did not move his men now, they would be left behind.
This continued breakdown in communication between French and British forces continued through the ranks down to the lowest levels. With the German army surrounding the battered units of the French, British, and Belgian armies, the Royal Navy swung into action to begin the evacuation, with the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the RAF taking to the skies overhead.
The Dunkirk Perimeter
To refight the battle of the Dunkirk Perimeter, play Scenario 7: Envelopment from the Bolt Action 2nd Edition rulebook with the following modifications:
- The German player’s force has a 50% points advantage over the British player (for example, if the British player has 1,000pts to spend, the German player will get 1,500pts.) The German force must use the 1940 – The Battle of France list on page 82 of Armies of Germany.
- The British player must use the 1940 – Fall of France list on page 66 of Armies of Great Britain.
Each surviving British unit is placed on the beach as a troop token in the Cruel Seas Scenario: Evacuate the Beach.
Join the Blitzkrieg!
Land, Sea & Air!
These fantastic bundles give you a complete Bolt Action army along with a small squadron of aircraft and a flotilla of motor torpedo boats.