Useless Mouths

The British Army's Battles in France after Dunkirk May-June 1940

Peter Whelan

The supply services of the BEF of 1939 were wholly unprepared for modern warfare and paid the price by their defeat, mitigated only by the bloody-mindedness of the men.
Date Published :
February 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
5 maps & 14 b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912390908
Pages : 180
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


This books looks of the British Army’s supply service, how it developed, and how it failed - especially in the Crimea War - and how reforms in the 19th century reformed it. It examines how the lines of communication functioned during WW1 and the strains on it during the March 1918 German offensive. The focus of the book looks at the developments in the inter war years, and how it functioned during the French Campaign of May/June 1940. The role of the LOC after the German breakthrough in France has been underestimated and under reported. This part of the British Army performed well in difficult circumstances but individual efforts could not compensate for the woeful lack of organization, equipment and training, nor that few if any senior officers had either experience or training to carry out the posts they occupied. Only the fortuitous mechanization of the general transport system of the Army, not due to doctrine or foresight but a dearth of horses in the civil economy, enabled the Army to retreat faster and further than their horse bound allies - the French - and enemies - the Germans. There was bloody-mindedness on the part of the regimental officers and rank and file soldiers to do their best in difficult circumstances.

About The Author

Peter Whelan is a retired Urological surgeon who did an MA in History at Leeds University in 2009. He has always had an interest in Military History and especially how Armies organise and train for War.


"A good look at a very neglected aspect of the campaign of 1940."

- The NYMAS Review

"Whelan provides a compelling insight into the efforts of the BEF to stem the tide of war."

- War in History

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