May 10, 1940. The Germans launch an offensive into Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg. The French and British armies are caught off guard and find themselves surrounded, so they are ordered to pull back to Dunkirk. 400,000 men crowd onto the beaches and wait to be embarked back to England: Operation Dynamo begins as General Guderian’s Panzer divisions speed towards the town. As Guderian is about to launch a decisive assault on Dunkirk, he receives a direct order from Hitler to halt his advance. He will not be authorized to resume until three days later, on May 27, 1940. Taking advantage of this three-day reprieve, 224,686 British and 123,098 French have time to cross the Channel to safety in England—figures far higher than the Allies first hoped. While France is forced to sign the armistice with Germany, the British Army is saved and able to continue the struggle.