France was in its death agonies. The Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, General Gamelin, had been dismissed. General Maxime Weygand, fresh from Syria, had been appointed in his place. Meanwhile, nothing could stop the pell-mell advance of the Wehrmacht. The RAF Advanced Air Striking Force, consisting mainly of Fairey Battles, along with a number of Blenheims, had been decimated as they were committed to the bombing of bridges which the retreating armies had failed to blow up. Several squadrons of Hurricanes were operating as cover for the BEF, and had been holding their own in the air, but so continuously that their losses too were now very serious.

Still, the BEF was managing to retreat along with substantial French forces to Dunkirk. On 24th May, the evacuation from France began with 1,000 men being picked up at Boulogne. That same day, the British Government began planning the evacuation from Dunkirk. The early estimates were that we would be unlikely to get more than 30 to 40 thousand troops safely away. This, out of a total of over 300,000 troops in all. By the evening of 26th May, the order for Operation Dynamo to commence had been given, and on 27th May, the first evacuation from Dunkirk took place. The following day, the Belgian army surrendered.