... Through a German Lens, new from MMP Books
Title: Dunkirk 1940
Author: Alan Ranger
Publisher: Stratus Books/MMP
Number 3 of a new 'Camera On' series of books from MMP and coming at an ideal time to fit in with the major new feature film that has recently hit the big screen. The key to this new book is that the photos it presents are not a rehash of the many pictures we have seen many times over the years, but a collection that has come from not just the German viewpoint, but largely pictures taken by soldiers and kept in private collections over the years and hence have mostly not been published before. Not taken by propaganda photographers but by the troops who were there. They show what the German troops found waiting for them when they actually got into Dunkirk and onto the beaches, after Operation Dynamo had come to an end.
It doesn't attempt to tell the story of the events before and during the evacuation, it shows the results which the Germans found. The photos are grouped into sections starting with 'The Beaches', then moving on through 'The Docks', 'The Town', 'The Roads Leading to Dunkirk', 'The Wreckage of Crashed Aircraft' and closes with 'The Captured Rear Guard', those POWs on their way into captivity. We see boats both large and small left wrecked on the beaches and shoreline. Within the harbour, abandoned equipment and the port tugs all sitting on the bottom at their moorings. On the promenade there are huge numbers of abandoned tanks, trucks and other equipment, both British and French. It also includes the lines of trucks used to create temporary piers out into the water. Within the town of Dunkirk itself, the damage was immense, the shells of blasted and burnt out buildings make a sad sight as just how extensive it was.
Even more abandoned equipment is seen lined up in fields or along the roadsides, often including German troops examining what had been left behind, some very wrecked and some in what looks to be good condition. Then there are the wrecks of RAF aircraft lost as they tried to keep the Luftwaffe away from the beaches. Finally there are the tired and dejected faces of British and French POWs being rounded up and marched away, the ones who didn't manage to get onto the boats before the evacuation was completed, or who manned those rear-guard positions that allowed so many to get away.
With over 200 photos illustrating the aftermath of what we simply remember as 'Dunkirk' this is a marvellous collection of photos of what the German army found waiting for them when they finally reached the town and beaches. Plenty of inspiration for modellers and fascinating for anyone interested in the story if story of the BEF in France 1940. It also bodes well for the other books in the series and I am sure this series will do well for MMP Books.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.