Monday, 22 May 2017

French fleet at Toulon, France potential threat for England and USA according to the Dutch newspaper Dagblad van het Oosten dated 21 April 1942


An item referred to the correspondent at Berlin, Germany reporting that the latest development in Vichy, France upset the British and US cabinets especially considering the French fleet. Many believed that the French navy would not fire if a British warship intended to seize one of more ships of a convoy escorted by the French. Others feared for an armed conflict between the British and French naval forces if the British blockading policy was continued. The conflict would be impossible to handle by the British Royal Navy already overloaded with tasks. The French fleet lying at Toulon, France was for London a big issue. It consisted pf the battle cruisers Dunkerque and Strasbourg, 4heavy cruisers, probably 3 light cruisers, 19 large destroyers and probably 15 submarines.(1)

1. On 3 July 1940 attacked the Royal British Navy the French fleet lying at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria despite there was no conflict between the two countries. France signed an armistice with Germany and England wanted to prevent that the French navy was added to the Germany. The result was 1.297 French sailors killed and 1 battleship destroyed and 2 others heavily damaged just like 3 destroyers an one destroyer grounded. The French battleship Lorraine and 4 cruisers at Alexandria, Egypt were on 7 July ordered to be dismantled and stay there during the war. The ships lying at Toulon were scuttled by their own crews when on 27 November 1942 German forces attempted to capture these.