The almost complete lack of British casualties in the action against the French warships at Oran makes it pretty clear that the French seamen must have refused to serve the guns, or at any rate did so without much enthusiasm…. In spite of the to-do in the papers about “French fleet out of action”, etc., etc., it appears from the list of ships actually given that about half the French navy is not accounted for, and no doubt more than half the submarines. But how many have actually fallen into German or Italian hands, and how many are still on the oceans, there is nothing in the papers to show…… The frightful outburst of fury by the German radio (if rightly reported, actually calling on the English people to hang Churchill in Trafalgar Square) shows how right it was to make this move.
 On 3 July, the Royal Navy under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir John Somerville attacked French warships at Oran and Mers el-Kébir, in Algeria. Among the French ships sunk or damaged were the battleships Provence and Bretagne and the fast battle-cruiser Dunkerque; 1,300 French seamen were killed. Several ships, including the battle-cruiser Strasbourg and the aircraft carrier Commandant Teste, escaped to Toulon. French ships at Portsmouth and Plymouth were also seized, including 2 battleships, 2 cruisers, 8 destroyers, some 200 small craft, and a number of submarines. Crews had the option of joining the Allies or being repatriated. Peter Davison