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The Retreat to Dunkirk

In September 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war. Within weeks, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had deployed to France, taking up defensive positions along the border with Belgium.

The long-awaited attack came on 10 May 1940, with a massive German offensive through neutral Holland and Belgium and into France.

Despite desperate attempts to stem the tide, German tanks broke through the Ardennes and began a charge for the French coast. Allied forces were overawed by the speed and ferocity of the advance.

Within just ten days, German panzers reached the coastline where the River Somme met the sea. The BEF and French forces in the north were cut off, and began a fighting retreat towards Dunkirk.