Many of you play BFV with a real interest for WWII so I thought it would be interesting to share one real WWII story , the one of my grandfather at Dunkirk. (Obviously I'm French, sorry for my english level and mistakes).
I suppose the majority of you have seen the movie "Dunkirk" which is pretty accurate to what happened on those beaches. If not, I encourage you to watch it and read more about that chapter of WWII.
My mother's family come from Dunkirk, when I was young I used to visit my grandparents who lived in directly in front of those long endless beaches. As a kid, I was used to play in the old bunkers remaining in the dunes. We sometimes see UK coast when the weather is clear. My grandfather spent is all life living here without talking about the war. A few years ago, when he was about to die he finally revealed to his daughters what happened on those beaches and how he survived with his family, he was 16 years old.
When the allies were pushed back in the north of France by the German, the majority of civilians ended trapped in the region. Without a chance of escaping the city, my grandfather and his family stayed in Dunkirk. They witnesses the battle and the soldiers trying to escape as we can see in the movie. They lived in caves in order to survive the intense bombing and destruction of the city, 90% of the city was destroyed during the battle. When the German finally won the battle and took over the city, stopping the evacuation, between 30,000 and 40,000 soldiers were left behind and captured by the Germans. Around 16,000 French soldiers and 1,000 British soldiers died during the evacuation. My grandfather and his family survived.
As a teenager (16yo), my grandfather has been requisitioned by the German with other civilians, mostly young and old men as the other were dead soldiers or war prisoners. The German ordered them to clean the beaches and streets from the dead people and horses. My grandfather told us that the souvenir of the horrible smell was intact and present during all these years. He has been assigned to this task for weeks and weeks, then he did other stuff like digging holes, preparing sandbags, minor construction works till the liberation of the city.
During all his life, my grandfather lived in front of those beaches and every day he used to take a walk in the dune, with those memories.
On the other side of my family, my father's father became a prisoner of war, been sent in Germany and escaped to join the resistance in the Jura maquis.
Playing battlefield is fun but I really hope each of us takes some time to learn more about WW1 and WW2 in order to keep in mind how terrible this was and to avoid war at any cost. I know WW1 and WW2 might seems far away from America but nobody should never forget. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to not live in a country at war and feel really sad for all the people around the globe that experiment war in their lives.
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