Another day of fine weather and Luftwaffe sent three major raids. At noon, 150 aircraft came across the Straits of Dover from Calais. Spitfires of 616 Squadron at Kenley were late getting aloft and fell prey to Messerschmitt Bf109s, as did Defiants of 264 Squadron. Coastal towns in Kent and airfields at Biggin Hill and Kenley were bombed. At 3 PM, another 170 aircraft flew up the Thames estuary. Most were turned back but six Dornier Do17s bombed RAF Debden, doing considerable damage. A raid 150 aircraft across the English Channel at 4 PM was turned back by RAF fighters and low cloud. The RAF lost 28 fighters, the Germans lost 22 bombers and 24 fighters. Portsmouth was heavily bombed.
The Luftwaffe bombed the village of Wexford on the south-east coast of Ireland, killing three women. Ireland protested to Germany over the incident.
No. 1 Fighter Squadron RCAF became the first Royal Canadian Air Force unit to engage enemy planes in battle when it encountered German bombers over southern England.
The Italian submarine Dandolo sank the British steamer Ilvington Court. Two British steamers were attacked by German torpedo bombers ten miles East of Kinnaird Head, Scotland, having detached from convoy HX-65 and heading for London. The passenger and frozen food ship Remuera was hit by aerial torpedoes and sank while the Cape York was badly damaged and sinking.
Off Madagascar, the Arado seaplane from the German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin fired on the Norwegian tanker Filefjell, carrying 10,000 tons of petrol and 500 tons of oil from the Persian Gulf to Capetown). Pinguin pulled alongside and put a prize crew aboard while Filejell’s crew was taken prisoner.
The French colony of Chad joined the Free French side and declared war on Germany and Italy.
Game day 361. Week 52. Free French Forces and Economy.
Apart from Free French forces in Britain, de Gaulle’s movement has support from several French colonies, including Chad, the latest to declare support.
For game purposes I decided that the “non-Vichy” French fleet was deployed around the colonies that had sided with the Free French when they decided to do so some weeks ago, except Chad, which has no use for ships! The fleet consisted of 3 battleships, 9 cruisers, 30 destroyers and 30 submarines. For deployment see below. (Note: I decided to deploy Vichy naval forces in a similar way, on their next turn)
As for the army, research showed that around the Mediterranean colonies there were about 150,000 men, so I extrapolated the numbers I had to the other colonies. The Free French can call on the following: Algeria 50,000, Chad 25,000, Indo-China 60,000, Morocco 55,000, French West Africa (Congo) 25,000 Syria & Lebanon 40,000.
As for the merchant fleet, the distribution was calculated with yesterday’s Vichy France allocation, and was as follows: Algiers (Algeria) 36, Mogador (Morocco) 31, Dakar (West Africa) 58, Hanoi (indo-China) 121, Iskanderum (Syria) 13, Beirut (Lebanon) 4.
I allocated the ships from the Free French fleet according to the numbers of merchant ships in each port, except submarines which are confined to the Mediterranean.
Algiers has 1 carrier, 1 battleship, 3 cruisers, 4 destroyers and 14 submarines.
Mogador has 1 cruiser, 4 destroyers and 10 submarines.
Dakar has 1 battleship, 1 cruiser and 4 destroyers.
Hanoi has 2 battleships, 4 cruisers and 14 destroyers.
Iskanderun has 2 destroyers and 14 submarines.
Beirut has 4 submarines.
As for resources, The Free French are self-sufficient, and in a small surplus, as to food, but have negligible industrial capacity. To operate the naval units and merchant ships will require imports of coal and oil. Naturally to import these resources will require the use of some of the merchant ships, but I will return to this later.
The Free French being scattered and not currently involved in conflict I have dispensed with a map.