Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

But IOTL over 70% of the troops evacuated from Dunkirk (240,000) did so via the Eastern Mole. So whilst they are prime targets they work alot better than wading out from the beach.

And since the LW and artillery failed to put the East mole out of action, forcing them to target both would make them even less effective.

But there's the issue of having to defend more space, and whilst we know now that artillery or the Luftwaffe was unable to destroy the East Mole, they didn't at the time and it was more a case of "All its going to take is one well placed bomb or shell."
 
They had their priorities right when designing it, that's for sure. Putting reliability and ease-of-maintenance at the top of the list is always a good start. A tank, no matter how good the gun, or how thick the armour, is useless if it's stuck in a depot.
Or stuck in the field not starting in the morning
 
But IOTL over 70% of the troops evacuated from Dunkirk (240,000) did so via the Eastern Mole. So whilst they are prime targets they work alot better than wading out from the beach.

And since the LW and artillery failed to put the East mole out of action, forcing them to target both would make them even less effective.
True. An extra day or two would also help, they'd have a chance to start using them before they get ruined.
 
But there's the issue of having to defend more space, and whilst we know now that artillery or the Luftwaffe was unable to destroy the East Mole, they didn't at the time and it was more a case of "All its going to take is one well placed bomb or shell."
True but the British have the luxury of a (little) more time to think. And the mass bombing of Dunkirk might be delayed a day or so if Calais is defended better. So a better organised evacuation with a day of so extra respite before the bombers arrive and not concentrated almost entirely on the East side of Dunkirk might allow more men and more equipment to escape.
 
True but the British have the luxury of a (little) more time to think. And the mass bombing of Dunkirk might be delayed a day or so if Calais is defended better. So a better organised evacuation with a day of so extra respite before the bombers arrive and not concentrated almost entirely on the East side of Dunkirk might allow more men and more equipment to escape.

Indeed, its really a race against the clock, and the odd delay here and there of even a few hours, could mean the difference between more men getting out. The Germans have suffered a far more bloody and costly victory ITTL and looking back with the hindsight we have and as Allen's pointed out there's so many obvious flaws and mistakes made by the WAllies that to us are painfully obvious and a case of "How the hell did they let this happen/do this/that?" and ITTL, the WAllies are still making those same mistakes for the most part, with the odd change here and there which can set off a butterfly here or there. Napoleon said to not ask him for time, but these victories at Arras, the stronger performance by Anglo-French units at points and places are doing just that, they're buying vital time.
 
True but the British have the luxury of a (little) more time to think. And the mass bombing of Dunkirk might be delayed a day or so if Calais is defended better. So a better organised evacuation with a day of so extra respite before the bombers arrive and not concentrated almost entirely on the East side of Dunkirk might allow more men and more equipment to escape.
Also and apologies to the OP but if Calais can be held and made part of the evacuation perimeter (collapsing sack!) then given its superior harbour and berths etc and more easily defended by fighter command flying from the UK it might prove to allow a faster evacuation with ships literally coming alongside the docks in a far more conventional fashion and troops trooping up gangplanks etc than using the 'mole' at Dunkirk.
 
Also and apologies to the OP but if Calais can be held and made part of the evacuation perimeter (collapsing sack!) then given its superior harbour and berths etc and more easily defended by fighter command flying from the UK it might prove to allow a faster evacuation with ships literally coming alongside the docks in a far more conventional fashion and troops trooping up gangplanks etc than using the 'mole' at Dunkirk.
Germans were pretty effective in making all the Channel ports unusable through mass bombing raids - at least for the duration of the evacuation. You'd need a much better performance by the RAF to keep any of the ports open for longer than a day or two more.
 
Germans were pretty effective in making all the Channel ports unusable through mass bombing raids - at least for the duration of the evacuation. You'd need a much better performance by the RAF to keep any of the ports open for longer than a day or two more.
Yes but Calais was closed because there was Panzers in it not because it was bombed ;)

Dunkirk was equally as bombed but remained open because there was not Panzers in it.
 
Yes but Calais was closed because there was Panzers in it not because it was bombed ;)

Dunkirk was equally as bombed but remained open because there was not Panzers in it.

Well Calais hasn't fallen (yet) and even if the Anglo-French forces are pushed into two separate pockets, one on Calais, the other on Dunkirk, as long as its servicable and ships can get in and out, then Calais should be used.
 
Germans were pretty effective in making all the Channel ports unusable through mass bombing raids - at least for the duration of the evacuation. You'd need a much better performance by the RAF to keep any of the ports open for longer than a day or two more.
It's actually pretty hard to close a port with 1940's levels of bombing.
The only really good way is to sink a ship or two in the clear channels.
 
I look at that, and then I look at the M7 Priest:



That not going to help an awful lot. Take a look at the plans:

You can probably only drop the height of the hull a couple of inches due to the height of the radial engine. Now if you could get the US army looking at V engines in 1940, it's possible the M3 and M4 could be lower and longer, due to the damn things not being so tall.
You can have a low hull with the radial
1610545296876.png

and that's with the torsion bars taking up a few inches along the floor on the M18, and Ninja'd I see
 
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Emphasis on ports - Dunkirk port facilities were closed by bombing from the 27 May IOTL
Knock the power out and the derricks and loading cranes stop working. Also, if you paste the ports then the dock workers stay home in their cellars, and whilst the average Tommy is good at many things, they might not be good at loading ships.
 
Emphasis on ports - Dunkirk port facilities were closed by bombing from the 27 May IOTL
Fair enough

In all seriousness though it does appear that Calais was the better port between the two and geographically better positioned for an evacuation

It was being stood up before the Battle as the BEFs main supply port and continental depot.

And it would take a great deal of bombing to stop a ship from being able to come along side a quay - I am trying to find a diagram / map of both ports in 1940 to compare but I seem to recall that Calais was much larger in terms of capacity and utility having been the main link between England and France for so long.

But so far my google fu is weak

Interesting POD - Operation Dynamo is centred on Calais and not Dunkirk!
 
Fair enough

In all seriousness though it does appear that Calais was the better port between the two and geographically better positioned for an evacuation

It was being stood up before the Battle as the BEFs main supply port and continental depot.

And it would take a great deal of bombing to stop a ship from being able to come along side a quay - I am trying to find a diagram / map of both ports in 1940 to compare but I seem to recall that Calais was much larger in terms of capacity and utility having been the main link between England and France for so long.

But so far my google fu is weak

Interesting POD - Operation Dynamo is centred on Calais and not Dunkirk!
Calais instead of Dunkirk crossed my mind too. i think it was just too far for the BEF to retreat to before the Panzers arrived. Also Dunkirk is easier to defend with water obstacles.

Map of Dunkirk 1940 - I'll try and find Calais

Boulogne 1910
Calais 1953
 
1610550139317.png
1610550283012.png

Hull cropped,
1610550319687.png

Standard M4 Sherman for cpmparrisom.
Here is a pictures of a Sherman with the lowered hull. by my estimation that is at least 6" reduction in hight. Tactically vey useful, less weight and lower CoG are a bonus.
 
Wow, some of you guys are really hung up on evacuating out of Calais. Sure, it's a possibility but I wouldn't call it that likely. Just a few more days out of Dunkirk will make all the difference in the world compared to OTL, regardless of if the BEF has a second port to load from.
 

Moglwi

Monthly Donor
Can any one explain why tanks in WW2 seem to be front wheel drive? I would have thought rear drivers would gave made mor sense
 
Although Boulogne has fallen and Calais appears to be considered indefensible as part of the evacuation perimeter, with the extra days provided by the successes at Arras and around Calais, would it be possible to hold the Dunkirk perimeter such that the Eastern and Western Moles can be maintained for evacuation? This would have a massive impact on the ability of larger ships to load men and equipment. This relies on the potential of the moles being recognised before the bulk of the troops are located on the Eastern beaches.
There's worked up infantry tanks in Calais, and this time they're on the defensive. 'Indefensible' is a matter of opinion, at least for a time.

Problem with the Moles is they are a prime target for the LW and artillery
With Calais still in Allied hands, the ships can use Route Z, which means the air-defense perimeter is much shorter, so the LW will have fewer chances to bomb them anyway.

But there's the issue of having to defend more space, and whilst we know now that artillery or the Luftwaffe was unable to destroy the East Mole, they didn't at the time and it was more a case of "All its going to take is one well placed bomb or shell."
Calais is far more defensible here. OTL tanks in Calais belonged to 3rd RTR, which had 21 light tanks and 27 cruisers. Here it's 8th RTR that's there, and they're equipped with Light tanks and Infantry tanks (mixed A11 and A12). It'll make Calais a tough nut to crack.

Germans were pretty effective in making all the Channel ports unusable through mass bombing raids - at least for the duration of the evacuation. You'd need a much better performance by the RAF to keep any of the ports open for longer than a day or two more.
The RAF have a markedly narrower perimeter to maintain here, so the LW won't have as easy a time penetrating.

Wow, some of you guys are really hung up on evacuating out of Calais. Sure, it's a possibility but I wouldn't call it that likely. Just a few more days out of Dunkirk will make all the difference in the world compared to OTL, regardless of if the BEF has a second port to load from.

It's not evacuating from Calais that's the big question it's holding it. Holding Calais means the ships to Dunkirk can use the much shorter Route Z, which will save a nor insignificant amount of time, and is a significantly shorter perimeter for the RAF to defend, making it harder for the LW to penetrate. It not only means a faster, more comprehensive evacuation, it also means fewer ships destroyed or damaged.
 
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Can any one explain why tanks in WW2 seem to be front wheel drive? I would have thought rear drivers would gave made mor sense
It depends from tank to tank, but the usual answer I've seen is a matter of balance. Gear boxes are heavy, as are engines. Putting all that weight at the back end of the tank without a counter-balance of armour at the front like a modern tank (and many British ones) results in an unbalanced vehicle with resulting handling issues.
There's also the matter of accessibility for maintenance. The American tanks were rightly praised for how easily the working parts of the engine and drive could be accessed, aided by being able to get at them from front and rear.

Pretty sure there's a video or two from The Tank Museum that goes into much better detail about it than I can, but that's about the gist of it.
 
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