Eighty years on. 3rd July 1940


Operation Catapult.  At dawn, Royal Navy personnel boarded two French battleships, nine destroyers and other smaller ships at Plymouth and Portsmouth.  In all, 59 French ships in British ports were taken under British control.  Three British and one French sailor were killed.

The British Force H arrived off Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria. Vice Admiral Somerville offered the French Admiral Marcel Gensoul (a known Anglophobe, and loyal to the Vichy government) four alternatives for his fleet:

Join the Royal Navy; be interned in British ports; be decommissioned in the West Indies or USA; sink the warships in Mers-el-Kebir harbour.

Gensoul rejected all the British terms, leading to fruitless negotiations all afternoon. At 5.56 PM, British ships shelled the harbour for ten minutes. The magazine on the French battleship Bretagne was hit and exploded.  The ship sank with 977 lives lost. The battleships Provence and Dunkerque and the destroyer Mogador were damaged.  In all, 1,297 French sailors were killed and 350 wounded.

The French battleship Strasbourg, the aircraft carrier Commandant Teste and four destroyers escaped from Mers-el-Kébir following the attack and evaded the British blockade. Six French cruisers and four destroyers left Algiers and escaped to Toulon.  Similar terms were given by Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Cunnigham to French Admiral Godefroy at Alexandria, Egypt. Negotiations continued all day and the French ships were not attacked.

The Luftwaffe bombed Cardiff in South Wales.

The U.S. Congress enacted the Export Control Act, granting the president authority to restrict the export of goods that had military applications such as machine parts, munitions and tools.

Game day 307 Germany

Germany collected a total of 17 industrial resources from home and captured territories.                Taking advantage of the newly available Atlantic coast, six submarine units were deployed at Brest.

All available infantry, armoured, bomber and fighter units were re-arranged in preparation for an assault on Britain.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.  

Published by

General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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