The almost complete lack of British casualties in the action against the French warships at Oran[1] 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.

[1] 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

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6 Responses to 5.7.40

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  2. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  3. It is Friday; the War Cabinet meets in a stagnant fog of pipe, cigar and cigarette smoke laced with halitosis:
    The War Cabinet had before them a Memorandum by the Chiefs of Staff (W.P. (40) 245) regarding the issue of instructions on the subject of military action in Eire Territorial Waters.

    The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs said that Mr. Walsh had some weeks ago informed Sir John Maffey that the Eire Government would turn a blind eye to any such action by our forces, provided our activities were conducted in such a way as not to excite comment.

    Meanwhile, right on cue, defiant French aircraft, seacraft and every other kind of craft are running amok.

  4. 06July1940, Berlin: Hitler’s return from the Western Front is greeted by vast enthusiastic crowds.

    The Nazis have decided that when they have conquered Britain all men aged between 17 and 45 will be deported to Germany. Himmler’s SS has also prepared a Black Book with the names of 2,820 people who are to be rounded up as dangerous subversives. They include Noel Coward, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, E. M. Forster, J. B. Priestley, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Beatrice Webb.

    The Irish writer George Bernard Shaw, who Hitler admires greatly, is absent from the list.

  5. 08July: Minister of Food requests Cabinet approve tea rationing with immediate effect. Margarine to be rationed within two weeks. http://ow.ly/28cyS

  6. Tuesday, July 9, 1940; Marshal Petain is granted powers to make and alter the constitution by vote of the French parliament. Apparently, it was nearly unanimous.

    Yesterday was more interesting, what with the sparring battleships and torpedo bombers and De Gaulle running his mouth.

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