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Monday, August 22, 2011

Sinking the French Fleet at Mers el Kebir by the British

On a previous post I took the position that Menachem Begin was wrong to bomb the King David Hotel in 1946 killing 91 and strongly advocated my position. I stand by my assertion and expected a heated debate which we had. Perhaps I was overly harsh on Begin and it is always dangerous to judge historical decisions from the comfort of the future. Had I taken the other position arguing for Begin's position, I would have replied with the British sinking of the French Fleet at Mers el Kebir in 1940. The British did not want the French Fleet falling to the Germans and they attacked and in less than ten minutes, 1,297 French servicemen were dead and three battleships were sunk.

Below, in the first video, you will find a synopsis of why the French thought it was an outrage and the British thought it was necessary. The second video is in French but show the damage done and the French servicemen killed in a Pearl Harbor type of attack by the British.

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Churchill's Sinking of the French Fleet (July 3, 1940)

Scott Manning
November 29, 2006 

Discuss this article in our forums.
Winston Churchill (1940)On June 13, 1940, Winston Churchill took one of several trips to France during Hitler's Blitzkrieg. After convincing the French not to sign a separate armistice with Germany just two months prior, Churchill was now being begged to release them from the obligation. When a country loses its will to fight, there's not much you can do to inspire them to anything but quit.
That left Churchill with a loose-end on his mind: The French Fleet.

The French Fleet
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By June 10, 1940, the French Army was shattered, but the French Navy was amazingly intact. François Darlan, the Admiral of the French Fleet told Churchill point-blank that the Fleet would be sunk before it was surrendered to the Germans.
Churchill later remarked of Admiral Darlan that he had "but to sail in any one of his ships to any port outside France to become the master of all French interests beyond German control." Darlan could have become "the chief of the French Resistance with a mighty weapon in his hand." Churchill believed the Admiral could have been the "Liberator of France".
But that was not to happen. Although Admiral Darlan was strong in his commitment to prevent the Germans from seizing a single French ship, Churchill was not convinced. Losing Britian's last fighting ally in the war is one thing, but allowing that ally's fleet to fall in the hands of the Germans was something to lose sleep over.
The concern was not over the French using their fleet to assist their new conqueror. The real concern was that Germany would train their own sailors to command those ships.
Members of Britain's own navy spent time with the commanders of the French Fleet. They were convinced that the commanders were dedicated to the cause of not surrendering to the Germans.
On June 17, France pressed for peace with Germany.
Before France could officially surrender, Churchill tried to convince his War Cabinet to attack the French Fleet. The War Cabinet refused. There were several concerns on the table. For one, the attack would surely result in the loss of British troops and ships. Second, although getting beaten by Germany and showing eagerness to throw in the towel, France was still an ally.
On June 24, France and Germany signed an armistice. Part of that agreement was the French could keep their ships, but Germany would gain control over items such as passports and tickets. Hitler treaded lightly concerning the ships and did not push for full ownership. He feared such aggression would inspire the French to keep fighting.
Hitler's concerns were not known to England.
However, on July 1, Churchill was finally able to get the backing of the War Cabinet to sink the ships if they would not be surrendered.
On July 3, the British surrounded the French Fleet at the port of Mers-el-Kebir right outside Oran, Algeria. Churchill's message was clear: sail to Britain, sail to the USA, or scuttle your ships in the next six hours. At first, the French refused to speak to negotiators. Two hours later, the French showed the British an order they had received from Admiral Darlan instructing them to sail the ships to the USA if the Germans broke the armistice and demanded the ships.
British Navy surrounds French Fleet
Meanwhile, the British intercepted a message from the Vichy Government ordering French reinforcements to move urgently to Oran. Churchill was done playing games and ordered the attack to his commanders, "Settle everything before dark or you will have reinforcements to deal with."
An hour and a half later, the British Fleet attacked. In less than ten minutes, 1,297 French soldiers were dead and three battleships were sunk. One battleship and five destroyers managed to escape.

British Response
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While the French were furious over the events, the reaction in England was the exact opposite.
The day after attacking the French, Churchill went to the House of Commons to explain why he ordered the attack on the former ally. Churchill declared, "However painful, the action we have already taken should be, in itself, sufficient to dispose once and for all of the lies and Fifth Column activities that we have the slightest intention of entering into negations. We shall prosecute the war with the utmost vigour by all the means that are open to us."
For the first time since taking over as Prime Minister, Churchill received a unanimous standing ovation. Churchill had a message for the British, for Hitler, and for the world. The message was heard loud and clear.
England would not make peace with Hitler and the country was in this war for the long haul.

14 comments:

  1. Maybe Allen is right and Israel should take out the Egyptian air and armor, since it looks to be going muzzie brother.

    On the other hand they might use up most of their ammo doing so, with USA an iffy resupplier, and the task harder than anticipated. Who knows what would happen. Another oil cut off?

    It is hard to say what's best, in the real world, in other than an ideological mind game.

    Churchill did right.

    b

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  2. The second video is in French but show the damage done and the French servicemen killed in a Pearl Harbor type of attack by the British.

    Pearl Harbor type attack? July 1940?

    In the preceding month the British just managed to get 340,000 Tommies and French troops out but had to leave all their equipment behind. The Channel Islands had just fallen to the Germans, Wales was being bombed, and Hitler was already planning to invade. It was war.

    King David Hotel, 91 people (of which 54 were civilians) died so Irgun could destroy some evidence of their crimes whcih had been captured by British intelligence. No comparison.

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  3. Qadafi News

    Is it off to Zimbabwe? Off to some oasis in the desert? Off to....where? Or, try to stay put?

    b

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  4. Pearl Harbor type attack? July 1940?

    In the preceding month the British just managed to get 340,000 Tommies and French troops out but had to leave all their equipment behind.


    I was thinking more about the surprise element. You are quite correct that the context was entirely different.

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  5. Re: no comparison

    Hmm...Israel had just suffered 6,000,000 casualties (1.5 million being children), with more being murdered daily in "pacified" Poland because of pro-Arab/Muslim British polices disallowing the migration of European Jews to Israel - moreover, Israelis were being harassed and killed on their own land; and you say it was not war. You are not a serious person.


    Deuce,

    Churchill had to make many, many tough calls (Coventry comes to mind). Since Churchill lived in a time when simpletons still believed in winning wars, he did what he thought needed doing. That is what leaders do.

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  6. Kielce pogrom, 4 July 1946, Kielce, Poland

    …women and children (Jews) among the dead

    …While some victims were shot and/or bayoneted, the vast majority were killed with clubs or stones

    Roman Catholic Church refused to condemn the murders or call for a halt to continued violence

    "One might have thought that if anything could have cured Poland of its antisemitism, it was World War II. Polish Jews and Christians were bonded, as never before, by unimaginable suffering at the hands of a common foe. One might also have thought there’d have been pity for the Jewish survivors, most of whom had lost nearly everything: their homes, their youth, their hope, their entire families. Besides, there were so few of them left to hate: only 200,000 or so in a population of 20 million.

    Instead, returning Polish Jews encountered an antisemitism of terrible fury and brutality. Small wonder, then, that nearly as soon as they set foot on Polish soil, most fled all over again…

    “In the most notorious episode, 60 years ago this month, residents of Kielce, among them policemen, soldiers and boy scouts, murdered 80 Jews. “The immense courtyard was still littered with blood-stained iron pipes, stones and clubs, which had been used to crush the skulls of Jewish men and women,” the Polish-Jewish journalist Saul Shneiderman wrote the following day…”

    Across town, a Jewish woman and her child were “arrested” and shot to death while attempting escape. Their bodies were discovered in the woods, outside the town.

    T bet “54” civilians at the King David Hotel (15 of whom were Jews, I might add); I have raised her with 82 Jewish civilians in one episode in post-War Poland. Following her simplistic logic, I win. Of course, I am talking about anti, Christ-killing Jews and that might make all the difference in the world.

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  7. Zimbabwe might make an industry - their only one - of becoming the country of refuge for the world's failed tyrants, for a split of the assets, to be sure. Think of the zoo it might become over time - Saddam,
    if he'd had any sense, Qadafi, Mubarak, maybe Chavez, who knows maybe even the Kims someday, Ceacescu(sp?), the possible list goes on and on. Add your own candidate.


    b

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  8. There is no discussion with someone like Ms T. Her mind is made up. Jews killing anyone for any reason is evil.

    D brings up an episode I had not known about. Real war is hell.

    People do die.

    In the 1940's victory was NOT assured by the ALLIES.

    6 million jews were exterminated, 6 million non-jews were exterminated. 30 MILLION others also were killed in fighting across all the theaters of war.

    Starvation, rape, disease and violent actions....

    Numerous ships containing thousands of fleeing Jews before, during and after the holocaust were turned back or sunk causing the deaths of thousands more...

    The USS St Louis comes to mind...

    France (according to Bernard Lewis) had handed over great tracks of land to the Germans allowing German control of Iraq, Iran and Northern Africa. (not to mention the Vichy government)

    The innocent Arab peoples? We allies of the Nazis. LITERALLY.

    Yasser Arafat, the egyptian, his grand uncle was the Mufti of Jerusalem and spent alot of time in germany planning with Hitler's inner circle on how extend the genocide of the jews tot he middle east. (and a lot more)

    After the war? The Brits openly sided with the arabs in the argument about the division of Palestine.

    Weapons, training and strategic forts were being provided to the arabs by the brits for "opening" day of independence when the arabs and brits EXPECTED the "jewish question" to be resolved.

    That resolution was the complete and total extermination of every Jewish man, woman and child within bullet reach of the arabs.

    That being said.

    The King David Hotel is the Icon that Ms T holds up as the evilness of Israel...

    Kiss my ass

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  9. Hmm...Israel had just suffered 6,000,000 casualties (1.5 million being children), with more being murdered daily in "pacified" Poland because of pro-Arab/Muslim British polices disallowing the migration of European Jews to Israel - moreover, Israelis were being harassed and killed on their own land; and you say it was not war. You are not a serious person.

    I am writing a book about the daughter of a Jewish British meteorologist who aside from operating a weather outstation on the Isle of Wight, also operated the lighthouse there (it being the Depression) and about once a week he was tasked to direct a navigational beam hidden inside his lighthouse going "dot dot dot" for Lancasters to follow until they encountered a second beam going "dash dash dash" from another lighthouse, which told them where to drop their bombs. The Germans figured this out and raided the lighthouse complex with commandos from a sub and took the girl and her mother hostage to force Benjamin Gervasi, the father, to offset the Clarinet system from the azimuth ordered by the RAF over Teletype and remain silent about the whole thing. As Patton races across France, Lilith and Edith Gervasi are moved from one camp to another, and each one gets worse, ending with Ohrdruf Nord, a satelite of Buchenwald, where Lilith's mother dies, and Lilith herself is messed up so bad on the whipping table she can't be evacuated before the 89th Infantry Division liberates the camp. After the war she becomes the most feared huntress of renegade Nazis and plays key roles in the War of Independence, Sinai, and the 1967 war before religious conservatives in the Knesset prevail and force Major Lilith "Bravo" Gervasi to resign her commission. A Jewish Xena in other words. I'm on your side, Allen. Just not on the side of Irgun or other lunkheads.

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  10. time to reflect on T's statement here.
    in her heart of hearts i believe she realizes that the same forces that have tried to destroy
    the jews in the past and the present would have their sites on her eventually also. this statement is from her heart and is an important one.

    she also touches on an extremely important topic especially in today's reality. Women as warriors. in the past, when combat was mainly hand to hand, women were considered quite inferior due to genetics. nowadays with the technology advancements and different ways of fighting, women, if so inclined, can be as effective as their male counter parts with the occasional Xena warrior emerging. there has been some great stories of very effective female snipers.

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  11. T,
    I wish you well. George Eliot anticipated you somewhat, albeit more sedately :-)

    As to the religious powers that be in Israel, many of these gentlemen are way out of bounds. What they teach and demand has no basis in religious law or precedence. I speak from disappointment rather than rancor. With some confidence in an evolving counterattack, their days at the helm are numbered. When they attempted to discard all religious conversions that had been performed by about 99.9% of rabbis outside their little circle, they proved themselves to be nothing more than small, power hungry prima donnas. They were slapped down and this is only the beginning.

    Do not misunderstand me: I am a traditional orthodox Jew - so I'm not talking about opening Judaism to sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. But one of the most often referenced sins found in our Tanakh is mistreatment of the "stranger". "Stranger" is a misleading translation, when the Hebrew more often means "convert". You see, when people become intimately acquainted with devout Jews, they find our faith joyously fulfilling. What the so-called "Ultra-Orthodox" often advocate are relationships with converts which render the converts ever second-class citizens. This is not our way. My Hebrew name is Boaz ... taken from the Book of Ruth, of Moab. Ruth, the mother of the Jewish royal line and the messianic line, was a convert. If converts were/are good enough for my G-d, they had better be good enough for me. If not, I need to look in the mirror at the culprit rather than attempting to manipulate the clear meaning of the texts.

    Please, strike the term “Ultra-Orthodox” from you lexicon. One is orthodox or one isn’t. And by orthodox I mean a Jew who subscribes to our formative norms. These have been expressed most succinctly and compellingly by Rabbi Moses Maimonides in his “Thirteen Principles of Faith”. If one accepts these as defining the realm of Judaism, all else eventually falls into place. Meanness and hatred are not normative – joy and generosity are. Oh, and the length of a beard or the color and shape of a hat have no meaning whatsoever in Judaism, despite having some obscure meaning in 17th C. Poland.

    T, were I to be given rule of the world for a day, my desire would be for Jews to be left alone; and not just by those who wish us ill, but by those who wish us well and know what is best for us. If the world could experience such a day, I hope it would not return to the status quo ante.

    Now, I must leave to give the rabbi a ride. (Boy am I going to get a lot points for this :-D))

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  12. I have absolutely nothing against Jews. My boss is a Jewish carpenter. I don't know why allen took a dislike to me years ago, but I took a dislike to WiO with the nuke Mecca thing, which is just stupid emotionalism, not a serious solution. I also dislike the knee-jerk tendency of some people to say it's okay to do something evil because someone else is being worse. You don't target schools in Gaza. But if the Islamoids launch a missile from a school, it's no longer a school, is it? It's a missle pad. Goodbye missile pad.

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  13. Teresita said...
    I have absolutely nothing against Jews. My boss is a Jewish carpenter. I don't know why allen took a dislike to me years ago, but I took a dislike to WiO with the nuke Mecca thing, which is just stupid emotionalism, not a serious solution. I also dislike the knee-jerk tendency of some people to say it's okay to do something evil because someone else is being worse. You don't target schools in Gaza. But if the Islamoids launch a missile from a school, it's no longer a school, is it? It's a missle pad. Goodbye missile pad.


    Notice again, she imposes HER definitions on what I said.

    She is BLIND.

    I NEVER advocated the NUKING of the city

    I have made that clear.

    You distort and twist, you lie....

    Your dislike and hatred to Israel, Jews, Judaism, zionists and "zionism" has nothing to do with me.

    You express that distaste on a daily basis.

    I do not trust you.

    i could care less if you knit, write fantasy xena stories or grow a garden.

    I care about ONE aspect of you. Your hatred towards all things "jewish"

    To me? It is an irrational hatred that you show. Almost a self esteem issue you have..

    either way?

    smart and ignorant people both choose the dark side and hate Zion...

    Be honest you fit in that category.

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  14. Ms T: But if the Islamoids launch a missile from a school, it's no longer a school, is it? It's a missle pad. Goodbye missile pad.



    yawn...

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