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German tanks sent to africa


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#26 MARNE

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 06:25 AM

Originally posted by chromeboomerang:
Anyone have addittional data? Ship losses for either side?

http://www.ibiblio.o...eria/index.html

General Patton impatiently awaited a launch to the beach. He had planned to be ashore by 0800 but was delayed when a major naval battle developed. About 0700 a French cruiser, seven destroyers, and two submarines had sortied out of the harbor at Casablanca, and French aircraft drove American spotting planes away from the landing beaches. A few minutes later the Jean Bart began firing on the Augusta and the Brooklyn. U.S. Navy planes soon drove off most enemy aircraft, but the naval battle raged. For over four hours American cruisers and destroyers swerved and darted in tight patterns to avoid torpedoes and bracketing salvos while returning fire. By 1130 the French ships were driven off, and Patton's landing craft could be lowered over the side.

4 hours seems a good long battle.

I don't know too much of the naval battle that developed but, I don't know what the French Navy thought they could have accomplished. The U.S. 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions were already ashore and well established by 0800. Fort Blondin had been silenced by the 30th Infantry which had been firing on the invasion fleet but, it fell very quickly.

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#27 chromeboomerang

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 08:12 AM

Indeed, but fighting men will fight. Just curious about this little known naval aspect of WW2.

The French navy apparrently put up much more of a fight than did the army.

http://www.daileyint...war/seawar5.htm

About this time we received word that the French Army did not wish to fight. The Navy however was a different story and at 11:00, the Brooklyn, Augusta, two other cans (if it has not come up before, destroyers were also "tin cans" usually shortened to "cans") and the Edison, lit into a French cruiser and two destroyers.

This evening about 8:00, three ships were torpedoed: Hewes, a transport, sunk; and the Winooski, a tanker, and the Hambleton, a 4-stack destroyer, damaged. They certainly caught us with our pants down and in a very cocky mood.

two of the transports were torpedoed not more than 300 or 400 yards from us. General Quarters sounded and we got underway immediately. (More on this later; we left Edison men aboard that tanker in our hurried departure.) Before we could get very far another transport was hit, right under my eyes. It quivered, shook, and nearly capsized. Within 10 or 15 seconds men were climbing down the sides into the water. One ship burned all night and sank about 3:00 this morning. (Would be the 13th.)


It would appear that the torpedo did the only significant damage from the French side.

#28 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 07:31 PM

The French Navy ships involved in the naval action off Casablanca on 8 Nov 42 were:

DD (leaders) 5 x 5.5" 4 TT
Milan Beached after gunfire damage
Albatros Disabled by aircraft from USS Ranger

DD 4x5.1" 6 TT
l'Alcyon Survived undamaged
Brestois Sunk in harbor by aircraft after retiring due to damage from gunfire.
Boulonnais Sunk by gunfire USS Brooklyn
Fougueux Sunk by gunfire USS Tuscaloosa
Frondeur Sunk in harbor by aircraft after retiring due to damage from gunfire.
Tempete Not engaged remained in harbor

CL 8x6" 12 TT
Primauguet Badly damaged by gunfire USS Brooklyn and Tuscaloosa beached.

Large patrol ship 3x5.5"
la Grandiere Damaged by gunfire

PC 3x3.9"
la Gracieuse Survived undamaged
Commandant Delage Survived undamaged

Submarines
Orecide Sunk in harbor
la Psyche Sunk in harbor
Amphitrite Sunk in harbor
le Tonnant Escaped interned Cadiz
Ophee Undamaged surrendered
Meduse Sunk 9 Nov42 off Casablanca by aircraft
Amazone Escaped to Dakar
Antiope Escaped to Dakar

The Meduse and Amazone were the only two to engage the US fleet off Casablanca. Both launched several torpedo attacks without success.

All of the DD and the Primauget except Tempete engaged the US fleet without any notable successes. The three patrol craft were briefly engaged outside Casablanca when they sortied later in the day in an attempt to rescue survivors from the various sunken surface units that had engaged earlier.
There was one additional unidentified submarine present that escaped the action.
In addition, the Jean Bart also engaged the US fleet but was unable to proceed from harbor under her own power and remained at her berth throughout the action.
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#29 chromeboomerang

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 08:02 PM

"The Meduse and Amazone were the only two to engage the US fleet off Casablanca. Both launched several torpedo attacks without success."


Hmmm, where did the torpedoes come from that sunk the ships listed above?

#30 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 08:21 PM

On the three ships you list:

USS Joseph Hewes AP-50 sunk off Fedhala by U-173

SS Winooski and DD 455 HAmbelton were also torpedoed by U-173 in essentially the same attack but survived .

The two merchants were two of the most exposed to such attack in the Fedhala landing transport anchorage which is why they were the ones hit.
Of the 29 Allied ships sunk during the Torch landings virtually all were by either Luftwaffe bombing attack or U-boat attack. There were three sunk by gunfire from French shore batteries that were used to make forced landings in various harbors ahead of the main landings, the Allies attempting to make a Coup de Main.

#31 chromeboomerang

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 08:43 PM

Well then, The French navy sucked at operation Torch it would seem.

#32 Ali Morshead

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 07:25 AM

Yeah, they should have been ready for their Neutrality to be broken!!!
Whe're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ - 6 Australian Infantry Div, Bardia January 1941

#33 chromeboomerang

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 09:30 PM

Which raises the question, did the germans tip em off? or was it complete surprise?

#34 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:18 PM

Basically, the French were ambivelant about whether to resist an invasion or just allow it to happen. The Vichy government in France wanted to make at least a show of resistance to appease the Germans. The local leaders were split between loyality to France and the obvious inability to do anything of value in resisting.
Negotiations between the US and French leaders in North Africa went on almost up to the landings. Complicating this were the various French personalities like Admiral Darlan, General Giraud, General De Gaulle, and Bethouart among others int he French hierarchary who all had their personal agendas of aggrandizement and self-interest. Some played both sides. Others simply negotiated for as much power as they could grab. None it seems had the best interests of either France or the Allies in mind.

#35 chromeboomerang

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:42 PM

Which is a sort of cousin to the subject of how the axis would attack it, & subsequently occupy it. Italians wanted a big piece of things, Vichy had to be sort of dealt with, & as to whom would control the ports was a prob betwen Italians & Germans. In short a mess.

#36 Ali Morshead

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:59 PM

The Germans, being well organised, started their plans to occupy the French part of Vichy in June 1942. I'm unsure if they had a plan to occupy NW Africa except for the Tunis area which the Italians coveted.
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#37 chromeboomerang

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 06:09 AM

Hitler discussed using Spain as a launch off point to Morrocco with Franco.

#38 Onthefield

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 05:52 PM

Spain would actually make more sense but that would draw a neutral nation into the conflict instead of using one of the already Axis powers (Italy) to launch from.
Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it- Sun Tzu

#39 chromeboomerang

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 12:52 AM

Which again highlites the problem, Spain wanted a piece as well. Spain, Germany, Italy, & Vichy all wanting a piece, & wanting to partake in control of said area.

#40 TA152

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:36 AM

Did'nt the Royal Navy attack the French navy at some point early in the war because they did not want the French ships to fall into German hands ?

I read this caused alot of bad feelings towards the allies and the Royal Navy because many French sailors were killed.
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#41 chromeboomerang

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 04:26 AM

Yep.

#42 John Dudek

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:19 PM

Did'nt the Royal Navy attack the French navy at some point early in the war because they did not want the French ships to fall into German hands ?

I read this caused alot of bad feelings towards the allies and the Royal Navy because many French sailors were killed.


Yes, at the Battle of Oran on 30 July, 1940.

#43 nimitz

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 07:42 AM

Here is the position of the French Navy in the harbor of Casablanca :

Posted Image
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#44 nimitz

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 09:07 AM

Here a short article i've written about this fact of war.
Sorry for the poor translation... :confused:

The drama of Mers-el-Kébir finds its origin at the time of the disaster of Dunkirk where English had to mitigate the absence of the French fleet to evacuate the troops taken with the trap. Darlan, anxious to reassure Churchill will ensure to him thereafter that it "will never make it possible German to seize the fleet". Despite everything, the British Admiralty asks that the French ships join English ports, not holding obviously account of the declarations of Darlan and blaming the French honor.





Whereas the negotiations of armistice are in hand, the fleet based in Toulon installs towards the African ports north and in particular Mers-el-Kébir while the too decayed buildings to take the sea are scuttled in the various naval bases :

2 battleships and 8 destroyers are then in Plymouth

4 battleships and 1 seaplane tender are in Mers El Kébir

1 battleship, 4 cruisers and 3 destroyers in Alexandria

Battleship Richelieu installs for Dakar whereas the Jean Bart unfinished takes the sea for Casablanca.

France thus proves its will to save its fleet of the German seizure. It also tries to obtain its disarmament in the wearing of North Africa: Germany accepts on June 30!!

At the time of the signature of the armistice, the German and Italian admirals ask that the French fleet go without condition but Hitler, to the general surprise, is opposed to it. It asks that it be demilitarized.

Conscious of the climate which is established, Darlan wants to still reassure English and leaves the choice with each commander of warship:

* not to fall to the hands from German or Italian

* to rejoin the English ports or the Antilles

* to scuttle itself

In any event, never not to allow that a building falls intact to the hands from the enemy.

Churchill remains despite everything being wary and programs the Catapult operation:

July 1, the admiral Somerville, named on June 28 with the head of the Force "H", receives the order to be ensured of the transfer or the destruction of the French naval units of Mers-el-Kébir.





The English squadron which installs of Gibraltar on July 2 at 4 p.m. has proud pace:

* the aircraft carrier Ark Royal (carrying 65 planes)

* 1 battlecruiser : prestigious Hood (45.000 tons and 8 guns of 380mm) flagship of the admiral Somerville and pride of Royal Navy

* 2 battleships : Resolution and Valiant (32.000 tons and 8 gunsof 380mm)

* 2 cruisers and ten destroyers.

Battlecruiser HOOD
Posted Image


Battleship RESOLUTION
Posted Image

Battleship VALIANT
Posted Image




French ships at Mers-el-kébir, although fewer, also form part of the top of the navy:

* the 2 battleships Strasbourg and Dunkirk (flagship de Gensoul) of 35.500 tons and armed with 8 guns of 340 mm

* the 2 old battleships Provence and Bretagne of 23.500 tons also armed with 8 guns of 340 mm

* the seaplane-tender Commanadant Teste.

* a flotilla of 6 destroyers among which Mogador and Volta, steaming by more than 40 knots and, which by their armament, is connected more with light cruisers.

French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir
Posted Image

Plan of the harbor
Posted Image

Battlsehip STRASBOURG
Posted Image

Battleship PROVENCE
Posted Image





The harbor is protected by 4 coastal batteries:

Fort Santon (3 tubes of 194mm)

Battery Gambetta (4 tubes of 120mm)

Spanish Battery (2 tubes of 75mm)

Battery Canastel (3 tubes of 240mm)

It should finally be known that if the order emanates from Churchill and the British Admiralty, the principal English admirals are far from being unanimous as for the approval of such a step. All their contacts with their French counterparts stipulated well that to in no case the French fleet does not have to pass in enemy hands. The Catapult operation thus seems particularly useless, especially when it is a question of opening fire on the allies of the day before!

July 3
Mers-el-Kébir

Since the armistice, disarmament is in hand:
The coastal batteries which protect the harbor see their guns without cylinder heads.
With regard to the warships, they are not on the foot of war but with damping, stopped machines, and the poop directed towards the sea thus depriving them of their principal artillery.

Around 6h of the morning, the destroyer Foxhound is detached from the horizon and takes the direction of the French base, asking for the authorization of come into contact with the admiral Gensoul by the means of the commander Holland, current ordering of Ark Royal and former naval attache in Paris.

7h15: Gensoul sends its aide-de-camp, the lieutenant Dufay to the meeting of English. This one usually speaks English and knows Holland well.

7h45: Holland, although disappointed not to have dealt with Gensoul in person, in did not transmit the message of admiralty: that the French ships join to Royal Navy, a squadron awaits them broad to welcome to them.

Indeed, the watchers of the flagship announce the appearance of the force "H" of Somerville.
A complement of message arrives by the projectors of Hood:
"We hope that our proposals will be acceptable and that we will find you at our side".

Gensoul understands the hardly buckled threat and recalls to the stations of combat

8h30: Gensoul, which continues to refuse to receive Holland in person, takes note of the English proposals:

1 to install and fight at the sides of the English fleet

2 to install under crew reduced to join an English port

3 to join the Antilles under crew reduced for demilitarization

4 to scuttle itself

If all its proposals had been suddenly disallowed, English would use of the force to prevent that the French ships do not fall to the hands from German or Italian.




Gensoul is cut down! The situation is disastrous. It is a true setting remains about it which the British forwarded to him. He analyzes the proposals then:

* The two first can only be rejected because would be to betray the armistice

* It is not also possible to scuttle ships which are already out of reach troops of the Axis.

* As for installing for the Antilles, it feels well that the English message would not allow it.

He prevents at once French admiralty BUT without evoking proposal 3: "English Force in front of Oran. Ultimatum: sink your ships time six hours or we will force you there by the force." Answer: "French ships will answer the force by the force "

In same time, one rearms the coastal batteries quickly and drives out is put in alarm. Gensoul makes light fires of the boilers and convenes the chiefs of squadron.




9h: Message with all the ships: "English Fleet arrival to pose an unacceptable ultimatum to us, be ready to answer the force by the force" Holland, which always awaits the answer of French, notices their preparations and receives finally the response of Gensoul:

1 the insurances given remain whole. In no case the French ships will not fall to the hands from the enemy.

2 being given the form of the ultimatum, the French buildings will answer the force by the force.

Holland manages to obtain to negotiate with Dufay on board cabin of the high-speed motorboat of Dunkirk. It recalls that nobody questions the will of French but how to be sure that French, encircled, would have time to scuttle itself? Dufay makes him then share of creation of teams of scuttling and that nothing is opposed so that the ships are demilitarized on the spot, with Seas-el-Kébir, far from the metropolis.

Holland regains Foxhound then, not without to have pointed out to Dufay which its decision would have been the same one in similar circumstances.

9h50: The English answer arrives: It is out of question that the French fleet leaves the port without to have accepted the English conditions.
The drama seems tied but the admiral Somerville, who saw the French preparations, still hesitates.
He gives the order to mine the master key and the planes of Ark Royal release about midday of the magnetic mines aiming at avoiding very left. On board English ships, waiting continues, each one being repugnant to have to open fire on French.

12h30: Somerville warns London which it is ready to open fire but, on proposal of Holland, a last message sends to Gensoul.
"If you accept the proposals, hoist a square house if not I make open fire with 13h. Your harbor is mined "

13h15: Gensoul accepts a maintenance of principle with Holland and stipulates that he awaits the response of his government and thus the intention does not have to install. The reasons which pushed Gensoul to change opinion and to accept this meeting are double: not to have to open fire and to save time to allow its ships to finish their preparations.

15h15: Holland arrives on board Dunkirk and is not without noticing that French does not remain inactive. Gensoul shows him the message which Darlan concerning the instructions had forwarded to him to follow in the event of threat. Having thus proven its good faith, Gensoul plans to install for the Antilles but with its crews, data which is not considered in the English proposals. An agreement seems however to be able to be considered.

But the fate of the French fleet decides well far from there. An emanating message of French Admiralty is transmitted to Gensoul: all the French forces of the Mediterranean rejoin Mers-el-Kkebir at full steam.

The response of Somerville is unambiguous: either the conditions are accepted with 16h30, or its buildings open fire.

The fate is thrown by it, the negotiations failed.

Holland leaves the edge with 16h25 and Somerville is obliged to wait before starting the combat.

16h53: The signal is hoisted with the mast of Hood

First salvo falls near the french fleet
Posted Image

16h56: The Resolution opens fire the first. The too short salvo explodes on the pier whereas Dunkirk installs. Hardly it left its damping which a shell of Hood touches it with the back. The French battleship made despite everything fire of all its parts and frames the British cruiser of battle but the chance is side of the attackers: 3 shells of 380mm reach the ship which, in one moment, loses half of its principal pieces of artillery like any energy, its power supply having been crossed. It any more but does not remain to him to go to fail itself on the bottom in front of Ste André.

At the same time, Provence is badly in point: a shell having started a water way to the back it is necessary to drown the compartments; the turrets postpone are out of use and the turret of directing of gunfire was divided. Although disabled, the old battleship echoue by 10 m basic.

Bretagne as for him did not have the advisability of carrying out least the move: a whole salvo reaches the ship which burns right through. The evacuation is ordered but with 17h09 a last explosion makes capsize the building which involves in death 977 men. It will be necessary to await the attack of Pearl Harbor to see a fate even crueler falling down on a crew.

movements of french ships
Posted Image

Battle plan
Posted Image

17h10: At this moment, only of all the heavy units, Strasbourg succeeded in avoiding the English salvos: having broken its mooring ropes, the battleship splits water at a vertiginous speed. It crosses the door of the stopping at 28 knots without the mines not coming to explode against the hull.

It is not the only one to have been able to leave the roads: the destroyers, much manoeuvrable, could be extracted from the trap. Volta and the Terrible one will launch two attacks to the torpedo at the time of their escape but without any result.

Only Mogador, reached of a shell of 380mm which pulverized the back, had to be abandoned.

17h15: The French ships are either out of combat, or took the sea.

Gensoul requires one then cease the fire which Somerville will answer that as long as the French ships will be with flood, it will again make open the shooting.

17h20: Swordfish of Ark Royal announces that a battleship travelled towards the East at high speed: Strasbourg, whose exit had passed unperceived at the time of engagement, was located. Only Hood, faster than the English battleships, is able to start hunting with the cruisers and destroyers.

Battlship STRASBOURG opens fire
http://img131.images...efeu2yp8.th.jpg

In spite of two air raids with 17h45 and 19h55, Strasbourg manages to avoid the British torpedes and strongly counteracts Hood which will end up giving up the continuation with 19h20. The floret of the French navy will reach without encumbers Toulon the following day.

At Mers-el-Kébir, the assessment is heavy: the headlight was volitilized by a shell of 380mm, the failed ships are the prey of the flames, the survivors are for the majority atrociously wounded or burned and struggle in the medium of the remains.

And it is alas not finished: the British Admiralty, conscious that Dunkirk could easily be given in state orders in Somerville to carry out a new bombardment.

July 6:

The planes of Ark Royal are received by a violent one shooting of DCA and must face some Dewoitine fighters. The torpedo which is intended for Dunkirk is boxed by a tug boat which was literally pulverized. If the battleship did not record the least blow with the goal, the explosion of the grenades of Terre-Neuve, opened a 40m hole in the hull. Despite everything, the ship will also join Toulon at at the beginning of 1942, before another sad episode of the history of the French navy.

Stupor and the pain invaded France in front of such an attack and the loss of 1297 lives. The responsibility falls on Churchill, the admirals being satisfied with executing the orders or, having expressed their dissension, being found with the retirement of office. English and French had just written one of the blackest pages of the relations between the two countries.....
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#45 topdeadcenter

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 11:22 AM

Posted Image
From the Malta Times today - 15th Aug 07

The 65th Anniv of the convoy that saved Malta.


Two WWII veterans of the Sta Marija convoy - Allan Shaw and Jim Hutchison - yesterday attended the commemoration of Operation Pedestal 65 years ago.
Wreaths were cast into the sea at Grand Harbour to mark the arrival of the convoy which had been decimated by enemy action as it attempted to supply Malta with fuel, spare parts and food.
The tolling of the Great Siege Bell broke the deafening silence as those present observed a minute of silence in honour of those who had given up their lives.
Mr Shaw was on the SS Ohio which limped into Grand Harbour carrying desperately needed supplies to the relief of the Maltese.
Mr Hutchison was on the HMS Phoebe, which did not reach Malta because it had to turn back.

#46 von Poop

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 11:30 AM

Strong Stuff.

Ohio on her last trip, limping to Harbour with a 25 foot wide torpedo hole in her side:

Posted Image

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Cheers,
Adam.

It's only the Internet...

 


#47 chocapic

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:57 AM

Very good work, I learnt many things about the operational aspects of this affair, thank you.

On the diplomatic side, I would add that it was very hard to foresee and judge the reliability and what a person like Darlan had really in mind, which can explain to some extent why Churchill was reluctant to take for granted what he was told.

#48 FalkeEins

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 07:51 PM

" ..The Catapult operation thus seems particularly useless, especially when it is a question of opening fire on the allies of the day before! "

....as you state Churchill agreed to let the French seek a separate armistice with the German invader - but only on condition that the French fleet sailed for British ports...lets be clear - ..armistice with the German invader meant that "France" was no longer in our camp, no longer a friend...even some enlightened French men realised that, notably de Gaulle..

it was a crazy situation ..but French actions - and Darlan's "political" ambitions and support for Petain - made it even more so...the Vichy Air force fought against the British and the Americans in North Africa even as we were liberating them, so its not hard to see what lay behind Churchill's thinking...the French Navy had to be put out of commission..

#49 Jan7

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:19 PM

The italians know this battle as Battaglia di Mezzo Agosto:
http://digilander.libero.it/planciacomando/WW2/mezzoagosto1.htm

Here is a web only dedicated to this Operation, with videos of the epoch:
Malta Convoy August 1942 in English.
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#50 izi

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 05:58 PM

Hi,
Does anybody know which Royal navy units were raiding the Adriatic toward the end of 1943 ?
or any info on British raiding parties based on the island of Vis in December 1943 ?

regards

izi


"GOTT MIT UNS"




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