On the beach was a destroyer, bombed and burned. There was always the red background, the red of Dunkirk burning. There was no water to check the fires and there were no men to be spared to fight them.
The sky was full of noise - anti-aircraft shells, machine-gun fire, screams from dropping bombs, the snarl of falling planes, the angry hornet noise of dive bombers.
The beach, black with men, illumined by the fires, seemed a perfect target, but no doubt the thick clouds of smoke were a useful screen.