Sinking of French Fleet

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paul.mercer
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Sinking of French Fleet

Post by paul.mercer » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:35 pm

Gentlemen,
I'm sure this thread has been debated before, but I cannot find it so I will bring it up again.
In your expert opinions were the British justified in firing on the French Fleet, personally I think they were as they could not risk it being taken over by the Germans, but I am afraid I am not an expert!

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frontkampfer
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by frontkampfer » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:03 am

IMO - considering its location, I doubt that would have happened. At times, I think Churchill was his own worst enemy, and this was one of them.
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pg55555
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:24 am

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The attacks on the French Fleet (and taking over of certain units) were an unfortunate necessity as the French had already broken two solemn promises ( to NOT sign a separate peace, and to take the French Fleet fleet away from German control ).

The British couldn't allow for a third French failure.

It is a shame, but once the French allowed the French Fleet to stay in European/African ports (as opposed to sending them to a French colony in, say, the West Indies) prior to signing the treaty with Germany.

The French were in a difficult position, but by not removing the Fleet out of the immediate area they both renaged on a promise and led to future problems.

People "forget" how helpful the Vichy regime was to Germany and how little it would have taken for the fate of the French fleet to have been very different.

.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:10 am

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
In your expert opinions were the British justified in firing on the French Fleet, personally I think they were as they could not risk it being taken over by the Germans,
Yes.

And not merely to prevent it falling into the hands of the Germans. It did have far greater import, as Churchill would have recognised when he gave the orders for this operation. Most importantly at that time, it signalled Britain's determination to continue the war and not to cave in like the French had done. That would have a major impact on certain neutral countries, such as the USA and the USSR. It would also help to stall any aggressive moves the Italians were going to make such as an assault on Malta (though of course at that time it wasn't known that the Italian posture would be entirely defensive) and perhaps it should be noted here that the Italian fleet made no effort to support the French.
Being close to Spanish territory the British action would have deterred Spain from entering the war and threatening Gibraltar and the supply route to Malta. It would also help prevent any weakening of the British position in Palestine and indirectly bolster British defence of the Suez Canal; in turn reinforcing the British blockade of Italian East Africa.

So strategically it was of major importance. That Hitler and Mussolini failed to pick up on it was a major blunder on their part.
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:21 pm

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The USSR was NOT neutral in the strict sense, it had a non-aggression pact with Germany and had invaded Poland (and later the three Baltic States). There was an agreement with Germany on how Central Europe was to be divided up.

Italy was not "entirely defensive". Apart from the invasion of Albania in early 1940, they invaded France and Greece and attacked in Africa.

!

.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:42 pm

The only Italian ''aggression''' in June and early July 1940 - the specific time period here - was a token invasion of the French Riveira that failed to reach Menton, a mountain assault further north that yielded frostbite casualties through lack of proper clothing, covering only 14 days, plus some token air raids on Malta.

The Italian attacks in Africa and Greece came later.
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:17 am

.

Er ......., according to that sort of logic, Germany was likewise "entirely defensive" !

Apart from "forgetting" the war at sea (and limited air) - You are DEFINITELY forgetting the Italian attacks in East Africa and the fact that preparations for attacks in North Africa were started in June - commencing in September.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:54 am

No I'm not.

Italian attacks in East Africa, including Nasi's invasion of British Somaliland, were entirely defensive in nature, to secure the Italian borders. They failed to properly invade either Sudan (taking only the border post of Kassala) or Kenya (taking only the border settlement of Moyale and its airfield). No attempt to take Khartoum, Port Sudan, Aden, Diego Garcia, Nairobi or Mombasa. They couldn't even be bothered to occupy French Somaliland!

The invasion of Eygpt was only initiated at the repeated prompting of Mussolini, against the sound advice of Graziani, and in September advanced only sixty miles without achieving any strategic objective.

I'm sure I don't need to mention that there was no attempt to capture Malta, or to occupy Tunisia or Corsica, in June/July 1940 which the Italian fascisti were demanding when Mussolini made his declaration of war speech at the Palazzo Venezia.

Italy went to war in June 1940 and essentially did nothing.
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:31 pm

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Hilarious - attacks renamed as defence !

.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:51 am

Attack is the best form of defence is it not?

Only in the Italian case it featured just about the worst military record of any country in WW2, not the fault of its servicemen but that of its dictator.

I don't see why you should find the issue to be remotely funny. You obviously haven't been involved in a war to see the funny side. If you find the reasoned argument to be hilarious then I can only say that your cognitive ability is lacking something.
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:11 pm

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RF,

I am laughing at your claim that Italy was "purely defensive" which you have now, thankfully, abandoned.

I would point out that the poor military performance of the Italian services were also down to their senior staffs (in general) as well as the political dictatorship.

.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:37 pm

That the Italian strategic military posture in June 1940 was defensive is an empirical fact, not an opinion. Those facts are detailed in my previous post above.

It is the major reason why Italy was on the losing side in WW2.
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pg55555
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by pg55555 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:43 am

.

Unfortunately your "empirical facts" have been demonstrated to be wrong.

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RF
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by RF » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:59 am

On what evidence?
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Re: Sinking of French Fleet

Post by Byron Angel » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:47 am

..... Was the Italian invasion of Albania and Greece also defensive in nature?

B

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