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Dunkirk 1940, through a German Lens – review of Camera On book

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Volume 3 of the Camera On series, by Alan Ranger, MMP Books (2017)

This book is essentially 88 pages of superb photos of the aftermath of Dunkirk, showing the scene of devastation left behind after the British and French forces had departed. The photos were taken by German troops, and the quality of the pictures is quite excellent. They are crisp, and are printed a good size – usually two photos per A4 page.
The book opens with a two-page introduction, and the proof-reader must have been on holiday because the text is full of spelling, punctuation and grammar issues that would send a teacher running for their red biro. Having said that, the sense is clear and the information is useful in setting the scene for the evacuation from Dunkirk.

The first thirty or so pages show wrecked shipping along the beach and in some of the harbour areas. These are a grim reminder of the losses before and during the evacuation. Next come ten pages showing the abandoned trucks, including those used to make the emergency jetties to enable the troops to get out to boats lying off the shallow beaches. The next twenty pages cover the damage to the town, showing the huge extent of destruction to buildings and bridges.
Page 62 marks the beginning of coverage of armour left in and around the town. There are excellent photos of an A13, light tanks, a Matilda, plus various French vehicles. The last pages in the book show fascinating pictures of wrecked aircraft and finally captured troops.
Some errors of captions are worth noting. The Flakvierling on page 75 is not from this time, as first production of this vierling configuration only started up in late 1940, and the truck on page 86 is a Canadian CMP with a No.13 cab, again very definitely not from the era of Dynamo. The last photo in the book shows a Bren Carrier, not a Universal Carrier. The Universal design began production in 1940, and some may indeed have arrived in France, but this isn’t one of them!
All in all, a very interesting and unique book on Operation Dynamo, although there is relatively little in the way of military vehicles and this book will primarily satisfy the reader who wants a broader impression of what the Germans found when they occupied the town. At £15, this book is great value for readers wanting to know about this period.

Chris Lloyd Staples

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