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 Post subject: Churchill's darkest decision
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:34 pm 
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Another cool documentary, this one on the attack on the French fleet at Mers el Kebir.



In his own way, Churchill was flippin' crazy when you think about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Churchill's darkest decision
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:09 am 
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I realize this is sacrilegious ... had to do it.

Haven't seen it.

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 Post subject: Re: Churchill's darkest decision
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:03 pm 
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The French signed a treaty agreeing NOT to surrender unless it was agreed by both themselves and the British. Pétain broke that treaty when he signed the 22 June 1940 armistice. De Gaulle, who had escaped to London was actively opposed to the French armistice and the formation of Vichy France. An ultimatum was already given to the Vichy Admiral 3 July 1940:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Fran ... rench_Navy
Quote:
On 3 July 1940, Admiral Marcel-Bruno Gensoul was provided an ultimatum by the British:

It is impossible for us, your comrades up to now, to allow your fine ships to fall into the power of the German enemy. We are determined to fight on until the end, and if we win, as we think we shall, we shall never forget that France was our Ally, that our interests are the same as hers, and that our common enemy is Germany. Should we conquer we solemnly declare that we shall restore the greatness and territory of France. For this purpose we must make sure that the best ships of the French Navy are not used against us by the common foe. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government have instructed me to demand that the French Fleet now at Mers el Kebir and Oran shall act in accordance with one of the following alternatives;

(a) Sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.

(b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.

If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.

(c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans lest they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West Indies – Martinique for instance – where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.

If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours.

Finally, failing the above, I have the orders from His Majesty's Government to use whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German hands.[28]


The ships that were destroyed were more "Vichy" than they were "French" from my perspective. They had refused to comply with the British ultimatum and demonstrate their allegiance to the allied cause.

The blame for the French loss of life is, it seems, more on the shoulders of Admiral Gensoul than Churchill or anyone else. His orders apparently allowed him to agree to intern the ships in the West Indies, but he opted not to do so.

Quote:
Gensoul's orders allowed him to accept internment in the West Indies,[29] but after a discussion lasting ten hours, he rejected all offers, and British warships commanded by Admiral James Somerville attacked French ships at Mers El Kébir in Algeria, sinking or crippling three battleships.[15] Because the Vichy government only said that there had been no alternatives offered, the attack caused great bitterness in France, particularly in the Navy (over 1,000 French sailors were killed), and helped to reinforce the ancient stereotype of perfide Albion. Such actions discouraged many French soldiers from joining the Free French forces.[16]

Despite this, some French warships and sailors did remain on the Allied side or join the FNFL later, such as the mine-laying submarine Rubis, whose crew voted almost unanimously to fight alongside Britain,[30] the destroyer Le Triomphant, and the then-largest submarine in the world, the Surcouf. The first loss of the FNFL occurred on 7 November 1940, when the patrol boat Poulmic struck a mine in the English Channel.[31]

Most ships that had remained on the Vichy side and were not scuttled with the main French fleet in Toulon, mostly those in the colonies that had remained loyal to Vichy until the end of the regime through the Case Anton Axis invasion and occupation of the 'zone libre and Tunisia, changed sides then.

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 Post subject: Re: Churchill's darkest decision
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:30 am 
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Terrible slaughter. You can see the guilt on the face of that gunner from Hood decades later. Even so, Churchill's concern was valid. Evidently the Hood gunner must have been transferred before...well..you know.

Look at the salvo landing in the water at 2:13. The shells have virtually the same separation as when they left the turret. Of course, they missed the target but it just shows you the level of precision of the guns and the powder.

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 Post subject: Re: Churchill's darkest decision
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:47 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
The ships that were destroyed were more "Vichy" than they were "French" from my perspective.


It's pretty sad to hear the French sailors being happy the British had turned up and were eager to back to killin' Nazis.

Only for their twat of an admiral Gensoul to decide to feel his Gallic pride had been impugned.

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