Battle for the Escaut 1940

The France and Flanders Campaign

Jerry Murland

 
Date Published :
March 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
Series :
Battleground Dunkirk
Illustration :
176 pages of integrated illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781473852617
Pages : 176
Dimensions : 8 X 5.5 inches
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+
In stock
$19.95

Overview
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On 10 May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), under the command of Lord Gort, moved forward from the Franco-Belgian border and took up positions along a 20-mile sector off the River Dyle, to await the arrival of the German Army Group B. Their expected stay was considerably shorter than planned as the German Army Group A pushed its way through the Ardennes and crossed the Meuse at Sedan, scattering the French before them. Little did the men of the BEF realize that the orders to retire would result in their evacuation from Dunkirk and other channel ports.

The line of the River Escaut was seen as the last real opportunity for the Allied armies to halt the advancing German Army, but the jigsaw of defense was tenuous and the allied hold on the river was undone by the weight of opposing German forces and the speed of the armored ‘Blitzkrieg’ thrust further south. As far as the BEF were concerned, the Battle for the Escaut took place on a 30-mile sector from Oudenaarde to Bléharies and involved units in a sometimes desperate defense, during which two Victoria Crosses were awarded.

This book takes the battlefield tourist from Oudenaarde to Hollain in a series of tours that retrace the footsteps of the BEF. With the help of local historians, the author has pinpointed crucial actions and answered some of the myriad questions associated with this important phase of the France and Flanders campaign of 1940.

REVIEWS
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"This is a welcome addition to Pen & Sword’s ever-expanding Battleground Series of Guide Books. Many members are of course familiar with the well-trodden Retreat to Dunkirk itineraries that conveniently run from Ypres back to Bray Dunes and on to cross-channel terminals at Calais. This useful new guide widens the readers scope and highlights some of the less well known BEF actions fought along the line of the Escaut. The standard battleground template has been enhanced by the author, the balance of maps, pictures and anecdotal accounts is above average. Certainly, worth investing in a copy if you are new to the campaign and fancy broadening your 1940 horizons."

- Despatches, Winter 2016

"This is a welcome addition to Pen & Swords ever expanding battleground series of Guide Books. This useful new guide widens the readers scope and highlights some of the less well known BEF actions fought along the lines of the Escaut. Certainly worth investing in a copy if you are new to the campaign and fancy broadening your 1940 horizons."

- Guild of Battlefield Guides

... This is a well-researched book, around a relatively little know action in the fight of France. It is well laid out and the tour descriptions are interspersed with lots of relevant historic and modern photos. The overview of the three British Corps involved in the fighting is very well done, and the Order of Battle provided for them are amongst the more comprehensive I have seen. These Orbats are especially surprising given the small size of the book, which should fit easily into most pockets on walking trousers. Murland's writing style is both pleasant and effective, making for an easy read, and he has chosen his excerpts well. The author seems to have taken an objective view of what happened, which is always good to see... ... Overall, this was an interesting little read which would make for the basis of an interesting touring break away with like-minded friends, and beer!

- Wargames Illustrated, August 2017

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