Miracle at Dunkirk

May 26 to June 4, 1940


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The Battle of Dunkirk took place in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War between the Allies and Nazi Germany. As part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940.

Source: Wikipedia - Battle of Dunkirk

Books on Dunkirk


Dunkirk

Joshua Levine

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The Miracle of Dunkirk

Walter Lord

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Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

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Dunkirk

Diane Andrasik

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God’s Hand: Saved the Allied Forces at Dunkirk

The evacuation of the British and French forces from Dunkirk is called a miracle for good reason. The miracle involved an unusual change in weather that helped to stop the German advance, protect the troops on the beaches from air attack and that facilitated the embarkation by boats.

Jesus to his disciples refers to his control of weather:
Luke 8:24-25
They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?"

God in the book of Job states that he will intervene with weather during a time of war.
Job 38:22-30
"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle"

John Gill’s bible commentary notes on these verses:
Job 38:23
Which I have reserved against the time of trouble for the punishment or affliction of men; and is explained as follows, against the day of battle and war?
As his artillery and ammunition to light his enemies with. Of hail we have instances in Scripture, as employed against the Egyptians and Canaanites, Exodus 9:25 & Joshua 10:11 ; and of a reserve of it in the purposes of God, and in prophecy against the day of battle with antichrist, Revelation 16:21

The Influence of Weather



The influence of the weather patterns around Dunkirk are explained in great detail in a superior work Battling the Elements written by Harold A. Winters with Gerald E. Galloway Jr., William J. Reynolds, and David W. Rhyne. For a review of the work see: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/battling-elements

According to Winters and his co-authors Dunkirk and the surrounding area does have both fair and stormy weather. Fast east moving wave cyclones often bring stormy weather but air masses from the Azores can linger over the area and divert storms creating conditions of lingering fair weather. The odds of fair weather begin to decrease in the spring from a high of 40% in April to 30 percent chance in late May, and is even less common during early June.
english channel On the twenty-third of May, German tanks were only 10 miles from Dunkirk when they stopped for three days. A halt that has yet to be fully explained although the most popular theory is this involved a battle between Hitler’s generals and Hitler on who really was in charge.

The terrain and weather may also have influenced or decided the question for the Germans. On May 26-27 a large cyclone moved over the Flanders saturating the areas and rendering the flat and swampy area even more unfavorable for tanks. Adolf Hitler decided to remove the tanks and finish the allied forces through air attacks.

In support of Hitler’s reluctance to have tanks in the area of the flanders (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/5902668/Dunkirk-a-miracle-of-war.html):

When Kleist met Hitler on the airfield at Cambrai a few days later, he had the courage to remark that a great opportunity had been lost at Dunkirk. Hitler replied: "That may be so. But I did not want to send the tanks into the Flanders marshes and the British won't come back in this war."

The rain also hampered the embarkation in the harbor and to make matters worse a storm was headed for the English Channel. However by May 28th the Atlantic storm had shifted course and the lingering effects of the storm created a low ceiling which greatly hampered German air attacks through May 30.

Although beach evacuation was difficult due to the lingering effects of the storm the channel began to calm with low surf and an intermittent breeze carried streams of smoke from the burning port over the beaches providing further concealment. When the skies did clear at times the German air force was able to launch devastating attacks on the harbor.

By June 1st the bulk of the troops had been evacuated and the weather was beginning to change to the German’s favor -- the last troops were evacuated on June 4th.

Winters and his coauthors summarize the remarkable events that occurred at Dunkirk:
"One can correctly conclude that regardless of atmospheric conditions an evacuation would have occurred at Dunkirk. But what other types of weather might have existed in late spring in Flanders and how might they have affected the withdrawal? Two weather patterns are statistically most likely for this coast during late May. The first is a progression of wave cyclones, each bringing stormy weather and followed by strong northwest winds prolonging rough seas, making embarkation from the moles much more difficult and departure directly from the beach nearly impossible. The second is a more assertive dominance of air masses from the Azores high, a process that would bring fair weather at a time of year when days are the longest. This type of weather, with its clear skies and long daylight hours, would have been ideal for repeated attacks by the Luftwaffe."

National Day of Prayer


King George Is it just a coincidence that the weather changed in favor of the evacuation during the time King George 6th called for a national day of prayer and millions of people went to pray for mercy and deliverance?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/dunkirk_spinning_01.shtml#seven

The following morning, as the first elements of the BEF to be evacuated boarded destroyers in Dunkirk, a great service was held in Westminster Abbey, as the focal point for the much heralded Day of National Prayer. In the presence of the king and the prime minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury called on the help of the Almighty to save the British army, sentiments which were echoed in thousands of churches throughout Britain.

Winston Churchill would refer to the evacuation as a miracle of deliverance in an address on June 4th. On June 9th Psalm 124 would be sung in British churches.



For more resources on evidence for the existence of a merciful God see: It is our sincerest hope that you will learn more about the battle of Dunkirk and about the possibility of a miracle occurring there. If God exists and he did intervene then God can also intervene for you if you will turn to him, and seek him.