Synopses & Reviews
During the desperate days of May 1940 that ended with the fall of France, the 3rd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment was sent to Calais in support of 30th Infantry Brigade, where it played a vital role in the week-long defense of Calais. In helping to stem the inexorable advance by German panzers, the battalion was uniquely praised by Churchill for giving the BEF much-needed extra time for the crucial evacuation from Dunkirk's beaches to be effected.
Reformed and refitted by the spring of 1941, 3 RTR returned to Europe to fight the panzers once again, this time in the ill-fated Greek campaign, where it became the only RTR unit to see combat. The battalion fought a costly withdrawal action against the Germans, losing its entire complement of tanks, but still inflicting casualties on the enemy during the retreat.
The surviving officers and men of 3 RTR embarked for Egypt at the end of April, where they came under the command of General Montgomery. 3 RTR fought again in all the main North Africa desert battles, including the major turning point engagements at Alam Halfa and El Alamein. Moving back to northwest Europe to join the invasion in June 1944, 3 RTR was in the thick of all the desperate battles in Normandy after its arrival on 17 June.