Our Inspiration for Dunkirk
July 20, 2017
The “Miracle of Dunkirk”, was an appropriate name for the battered Allied armies of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Poland, Belgium and The Netherlands. Pushed back to the shores of the Dunkirk, France, and surrounded by German forces, the Allies’ only hope was to attempt to evacuate approximately 400,000 soldiers of the beach and home to Dover, England.
The retreat was a result of a German blitzkrieg attack on the Netherlands and Belgium, that had broken through the French defenses. The majority of Britain’s army, 3 French armies and some Belgian troops were pushed towards the ocean, just 60 miles England. Instead of striking the soldiers on the beach, Hitler orders his troops to halt; a move that has never been entirely explained. In any case, the halt allowed the Allied forces to stage a hasty evacuation plan dubbed “Operation Dynamo”.
British offers originally estimated that only 45,000 men of the 400,000 could be evacuated. But the British forces used almost every sea-worthy vessel at their disposal including minesweepers, hospital carriers and naval motor boats. They also used over 700 private civilian boats; some taken and sailed by the owners, and other requisitioned without any prior contact.
Some of these craft included:
- The Royal Daffodil: A civilian ferry that evacuated 7,461 soldiers. The ship was attacked by 6 German aircraft and suffered a bomb hit that penetrated through two of her decks.
- Medway Queen: A paddle-steamer that made 7 round-trips, rescuing 7,000 men.
- The Tamzine: A 15 foot fishing boat; the smallest boat to take part in the evacuation.
In total, 338,226 soldiers were evacuated. The British Expeditionary Force lost 68,000 soldiers and abandoned almost all their vehicles, tanks and equipment. The operation was described by most as a “miracle”, and a “disaster turned into a triumph” by the British media.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was not as cheery about the incident, reminding the country that “wars are not won by evacuations”. However the incident did allow him to rally the troops with a rousing and now infamous quote:
“We shall go on to the end… we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches… we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
– Winston Churchhill – June 4th, 1940
In creating the Dunkirk map, we took inspiration from the real-life events and created a scenario in which the allied forces were forced to retreat back to the beach, while the Germans captured points throughout Dunkirk.
“Our Dunkirk map offers a unique gameplay perspective by inverting the flow of battle so it ends on the beach instead of starting there,”
– Creative Director Andrew Spearin.
We’re also very excited about the new Dunkirk movie directed by Christopher Nolan; who created some amazing films: The Dark Knight, Inception and Memento. We plan to launch the free Dunkirk update on the same day that the movie releases, with a special launch livestream Friday @ Noon EST on our Twitch channel, and a pre-show @ 11:30 AM. Please join us in celebrating the update’s release!