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Operation Catapult, Mers-el-Kebir - July, 1940


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#1 ravelleman

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 08:02 PM

Hi, new member here. I'll give you a little background before I go further. I'm a secondary school (high school) student in Ireland, taking history for my Leaving Certificate (Ireland's equivilent to the A levels). Before my final exams next year I have to complete a reasonably detailed research project on a historical figure or incident of my own choice. The project counts for about 20% of my overall grade. I have to source information, determine my own thesis and write about the incident in relation to it. It's actually quite easy to achieve full marks if one goes about it properly.

Now, I was thinking of writing my project on Operation Catapult - the destruction of the French fleet by the Royal Navy in Mers el Kebir after the surrender of France. My thesis will be that this incident was just as important as the Battle of Britain in regard to the survival of Britain before America's entry into the war, if not more so.

It is my understanding that the German Navy couldn't possibly have rivalled the Royal Navy on it's own at this time. If the German's were to have launched Operation Sealion it is quite likely that the invasion would have been successful while the Royal Navy was in such a dominant position over the German Navy. If the German's were to invade Britain and be successful they would need to acquire more ships for their navy. The perfect source of these ships was from the newly surrendered French Navy. The Royal Navy would have been able to defend Britain better than the RAF in the event of a full seaborn attack. So it is my thought that the destruction of these ships, in part, saved Britain during WW2.

My question is, does anyone know of any books or other reasonably detailed sources of information about the battle? Would contacting the Imperial War Museum about any primary sources they might have get me very far? Does my arguement seem even reasonable to you?

Thanks for reading this far,
Richard graemlins/bb.gif

#2 TheRedBaron

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:01 AM

Where abouts in Ireland are you Richard? Im in Dublin!

I may have a few bits that mey help. Contacting the IWM will certainly give you a list of what they have to offer with regards to primary source material but to view them you would need to visit the IWM's reading room. If you do intend to visit the UK for research then the PRO may well be a better source.
"Watch that Fu*ker, he'll 'ave someones eye out!" King Harold at Hastings 1066.

#3 Ali Morshead

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 10:18 AM

Too many bloody Irish here,

Dont be afraid to try some politically incorrect work such as W.S.Churchill's works.

They do provide a background to the thought processes at the time.

Also, put yourself in the Brits boots of 1940, not 2005. They had a lot of problems and cleaning up the French Fleet took a problem away.

I also think the French Fleet was more of a threat in the Med, in conjunction with the Regia Marina, than with the Kriegsmarine.

The Brits had this tactic well worked out by 1940, the Danish Fleet got hit in 1803 & 1809 while Neutral for fear of them joining Napoleon.
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#4 TheRedBaron

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 03:38 PM

Yer, well I aint Irish...

So there... tongue.gif
"Watch that Fu*ker, he'll 'ave someones eye out!" King Harold at Hastings 1066.

#5 Ali Morshead

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 05:20 AM

Even worse, someone who has made a choice about living there!
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#6 steo

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 01:58 PM

hi i'm doing the special research topic as well, i'm having a hard time lookin for books which books did you use?

#7 mikebatzel

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 03:56 PM

Hope this helps a bit.
Amazon.co.uk: Mers-el-Kebir : Books

You won't get a response from the original poster as he hasn't been logged in since 2005.
Please give the Combined Fleet the chance to bloom as flowers of death. This is the navy’s earnest request. RADM Tasuku Nakazawa prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf
It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on U.S. soil. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz




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