Operation Catapult: Britain's only option or a bloody betrayal?


Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
No, I describe the British attacks from 16th Century to Mers-el-Kebir... I don´t try and being perjorative. It is more.
You are using an insulting term and applying it to an entire country, that is perjoritive, as well as ignorant, bigoted and juvenile.
Given that, who are you to speak of honour?

From your point of views not even are treacherous but glorious attacks.. different values and I respect your values although I don´t share.
Please point out one single instance in this thread where I have described Britains actions as glorious. If you cannot then stop telling me what my point of view is!
You have no idea what I think, where I live or what I believe so please keep your preconceptions to yourself as they only serve to damage your argument.

"Perfidious" came from the attacks without war... nobody use the name "perfidious" with other countries... Why?

No one uses the term 'inscrutable' about any other country but China. Does that make it true? No.
People say the Germans have no sense of humour. Is that the truth? No.
The Spanish have a reputation for being lazy and careless. Are they?

You need a broader perspective on nationality and history, it will stop you making childish mistakes like calling an entire nation perfidious just because a French writer once said so.

Do you know anything about Aztecs? I don´t think so...
A great deal more than you do apparently. Consider the following:

Aztecs declared war on Cortes..
Cortes was prepared for a war of conquest before he even reached the mainland. He attacked the natives of the Yucatan peninsula with no declaration of hostilities.

by other side they were not Christian..
What has their faith got to do with their honour? Or Cortes'

about rape etc pure invention from yourself or any anglosaxon writer.
The effects of conquistadors on women&nbsp|&nbspHistory 465


One of your countrymen admits to rape, theft and murder in his writings.

Bernal Díaz del Castillo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.
Likes: Edric Streona


Ad Honorem
Jan 2010


No, it is not anglophobic. I describe a fact. The name Pérfida Albión is a 18th Century expression minted by writer Agustín Luis María de Ximenes (1726 - 1817) in his poem L´ere des Français. Others thinks came from Bossuet in 17th Century, and others think the name Perfidous Albion was invented in 13th Century. About the origin of the "Perfidious" some writers thought it came from Viking origin and others thought It was not Viking but own British.. I don´t take part because I don´t know.
It was a tradition by enemies; particularly the French that ran back further than the 18th century, and it's generally a political slogan to defame the English/British, and as such, especially considering it's early use in relation to religious affairs be taken as an habitual trait of the nation. In other words, it's a term used and then dropped depending upon the emotions of the times. It's a pejorative term, and you are taking it verbatim that it is a trait, which means you are either showing signs of anglophobia or you are not reading into the context of the term correctly, and who it was used by and why.

When you consider influential and popular people like Voltaire and Montesquieu were outspoken in the defence of England, it makes the term less an identifier and more as a propaganda slogan.

The article below is an old one that explains the context of the term and why it was used, so please study it if you get time, to help understand the context more:

Jstor: Idea and Slogan of "perfidious Albion"

If Britain had sent an ultimatum to the government, the issue would be very different.
Maybe, maybe not. The issue might have been different, if the full information was declared to the government rather than some truncated. Point is, we will never know.

In 1940 the mass murder hadn´t begun in France... and France had been attacked by England.. yes, after Mers-el-Kebir, France had to join Axis.
It started in 1940 and Leval was pro-Nazi in his attitude and he had influence over Petain. The official stance of Vichy is irrelevant, when you consider they were used as puppet government from the moment France surrendered until the time Germany invaded their unoccupied zone. The fact that they collaborated under a neutral status, makes them no less collaborators.

Show in this forum the date Spain joined Axis.. oh wait.. that never joined... Spain sent volunteer to Russia because soviets had been in Spain before... but Spain was never part of the Axis. Finland yes. Spain not.
Yes and the Nazis were also involved in the civil war, in support of Spain. Fascism against Communism. Keeping the balance of forces? Who knows. Point is, that that war not part of WWII, so the fact that a volunteer force joined the Nazis in fighting the allies still stands as a sign of dishonour, even if you use the motivator of "revenge" as a factor. The reason I am even bringing this point up, is just to prove to you, that Britain was not the only country who engaged in tactics like this. This is called geopolitics.

This is your poor argument? Atahualpa? :) Any attack against France, Britain, Denmark, German States, Savoy....
Why is it a poor argument? Because it corroborates my rebuttal to your accusations? That is just one specific example.

Yes, I welcome you recognize that Spain never treacherously attacked any Christian country and you must to speak about Pizarro...
Does it matter whether they were Christian or Pagan? By your standards of definition, it is still dishonourable, and they destroyed and enslaved entire cultures, with royal decree too.

If I write here the list of British betrayal in colonial... I am not going to end in months... I wan you give me a list with Spanish Attack against Countries... European Countries, for example...as:
1.- Mers-el-Kebir, 1940
2.- Navarino, 1827
3.- Copenhague 1807
4.- Santa María, 1804
5.- Copenhague 1801
6.- Passaro, 1718
These poor lists will not even act as a defence, and any list you offer for colonial affairs with Britain can be equaled/surpassed with Spanish examples and this entire argument is only going to continue in a vicious circle, which I want no part of. I'm not in this debate to try and name and shame the historical past of other cultures, only to defend the accusation of it being a treacherous attack, which is most certainly was not, as you have been shown evidence to declare.

The issue makes no sense. For you, Mers-el-Kebir is a great British feat and a right option..
No, it most certainly is not a great British feat and I don't celebrate the death of the people involved. What it was was an unfortunate tragedy born from a necessary operation, and the fact that in the early stages of the operation, French ships were seized or capitulated in relatively bloodless circumstances, and even in mutual agreement, should arrest and deter any accusations of cowardice and treachery, for those ships could have been obtained in an equally violent way, if those were the methods [cowardice and treachery] Britain was taking.

ok.. for me it is It is an unworthy, shameful, treacherous attack. Ok. Whe have different point of view.
That is your point of your view, and I don't think anything myself or others say, or any sources we offer, will alter your opinion, and I can't help but feel that is because you have ingratiated yourself with the fact that Britain is treacherous by nature and been taken in by the slogan of "perfidious albion" and maybe even some current affairs revolving issues like the Falklands and Gibraltar.

The same opinion I have about Japanese in Pearl Harbour or Port Arthur. We are not goint to change our minds.
It doesn't seem that way, and I should point out Pearl Harbour was not the same as Mers-el-Kebir on the basis one was a surprise attack the other was not.

I think different than you, but I like to read you. Regards and until next argument in another thread. Regards.
Yes, I share the same sentiments and apart from this thread, I usually enjoy reading your posts because you back them up well.
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
I think about Catapult we have exposed our arguments. About other questions I prefer to answer in other thread. I think this one is about Catapult. For me It as Pearl Harbour. For you not. Regards.
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Jan 2015
Gloucestershire, UK
Just one small point, Martin76, the Vichy French tried to attack Gibraltar under Lavalle and Lavalle offered Hitler 500 pilots during the Battle of Britain. He was not a nice man, and I believe it was the Free French who hanged him after the war. Too bad, eh? Regarding whether Hitler was a gentleman or not, if you mean was he some foppish, chinless wonder who was bound in a morale code that his enemies laughed at, probably not. He realised that this was a war to the death. And the rest of Europe, including Fascist Spain, should be grateful that he did fight on with that spirit. Churchill is not without his faults: many consider his position regarding the Trade Unions in the 1920s unforgivable, many criticise him for the Dresden bombing, many on the right think that he should have made peace with Hitler, preserved the Empire and let the French and the rest of Europe go hang. on the whole, although I think the loss of life in the French Fleet regrettable, I would put 90% of the blame on Lavalle and Darlan.

Regarding the Ultimatum, the question surely us not whether France should have needed to be incentivised.
There was a big difference between the UK and Nazi Germany, and you sound like they are equivalent, Tercios Espanoles.
Second, Britain could not control whether the French would or would not accept the ultimatum, but they offered, and persisted in trying to reach a solution which avoided bloodshed. That is what was the right thing to do. The discussions did not start out as a formal ultimatum. That is where they ended. They started with normal diplomatic discussions between London and France. Having ultimately rejected the ultimatum, the consequences followed since the French Fleet under Vichy would have remained an unacceptable risk to the British, and ultimately would have to be destroyed. General de Gaul understood this.

Third, other French Forces refused to surrender and carried on the fight against Natzi Germany, without being "incentivised" by anything other the love of their country and desire to be revenged on the Germans.
Oct 2012
If Britain had sent an ultimatum to the government, the issue would be very different.
The Hague Convention says only that 'the Contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between themselves must not commence without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of a reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war.'

The British, by issuing an ultimatum, fulfilled the requirements of the Hague Convention. There's nothing in the convention about who this ultimatum has to be presented to, the admiral of the fleet you're about to attack is probably the most reasonable choice available.

In fact, I'd go a step further and say he was the only possible recipient of the ultimatum as there was no French government at the time, at least none recognized by the British. Having sent the ultimatum to the quislings in Vichy would have been a tacit recognition of their government and bestowed undue legitimacy on an illegitimate group of collaborators and usurpers. Absent the existence of a recognized government, the armed forces are the only group with which it's possible to communicate on an official level.
Jan 2015
Gloucestershire, UK
Is the Royal NAvy attack on the Danish Fleet in Copenhagen not a similar example from history. In that case the French considered that the Danish fleet could be used to support an invasion of Britain. Britain asked Denmark to either hand over the fleet for a temporary basis or to be sunk. The Danes declined and the ROyal NAvy shelled Copenhagen and sunk the Danish fleet at anchor.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
I forgot to say that Churchill was not Hitler, of course. Nor Britain was the III Reich. Churchill is the symbol of the spirit fighter against totalitarism (he fought Lenin and Hitler)...and he never surrendered.. but What I say He was not a gentleman as Mers-el-kebir taught us. A leader? Of course yes. A fighter? Yes. A democrat? Yes. A patriot? yes. A heroe? Also yes... a Gentleman? No.
Isn’t it true that the only European fleet that could really be a threat to Great Britain was the French fleet in being? Faced with the prospect, or possibility, of the French fleet being co-opted by the Germans, what would you have done? Would you have taken anyone’s word for it that this rather powerful navy would not re-emerge as part of a suddenly much larger German navy?

You, of course, can call the British “ungentlemanly” and “not nice” or whatever, but you were not the nation faced with the prospect of destruction. A wise person or a wise country does its best to survive to fight another day. The French leadership, after being offered a union with Great Britain, brusquely turned that offer aside and said that union with Great Britain was “fusion with a corpse”. More, as I understand it, the British offered to let he French Fleet depart for Caribbean shores, or, alternatively, to Great Britain, but this too received no satisfactory response. Maybe this was because there were some French admirals who liked the British even less than they liked the Germans. One hopes not.

Mers-el-Kebir was a horrible event. It gave much pause to the British Royal Navy which had to carry out this odious task. Considering the alternative - there was, literally, no alternative for the British. We are talking “real time politics” here. Suppose the British had to face this re-flagged navy under control of the Germans: is this a risk any country fighting for its life would be willing to take? No way.

It also demonstrated to the Germans that the British were serious and willing to be as ruthless as necessary to keep these floating threats away from their shores.

I mourn the dead French sailors but cannot fault the British for saving themselves.
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Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
Wel, I was comparing both Churchill and Tojo wanted the best for their countries.. and both men attacked without declaration of war.
You say in Mers-el-Kebir was given a ultimatum (not to the French government).. in Pearl Harbour also.. In fact, It was supposed the attack begun after the Japanese embassy in Washington had sent the note to the US government... but the embassy was late because of they had to decipher and translate the note.
Nothing is 100% similar but I can see some parallels.
No way. It is palpably obscene of you to compare the British action at Mers-el-Kebir to the Japanese treacherous attack at Pearl Harbor. For one thing, the British were already at war, as opposed to the Japanese who were not and who were busily engaged in diplomatic negotiations in Washington as their Imperial Navy steamed towards Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had a history of launching sneak attacks without warning - just ask the Czar what happened to its Far Eastern squadrons.

And, unlike the perfidious, lying Japanese, the British Navy, gave the French the opportunity to get out of Dodge City and they chose not to. I understand that there were probably ancient rivalries and jealousies between the French and the British that probably played a part here, but the moment for these was well past and the French needed to “belly up to the bar” and play their part in history.

I know DeGaulle was a very difficult and prickly individual that other members of the French officer class may have reviled, but he, and not Vichy was sill in the fight and he saved French honor.
Jan 2015
Rupert's Land ;)
Isn’t it true that the only European fleet that could really be a threat to Great Britain was the French fleet in being? Faced with the prospect, or possibility, of the French fleet being co-opted by the Germans, what would you have done? Would you have taken anyone’s word for it that this rather powerful navy would not re-emerge as part of a suddenly much larger German navy?

The British should presumably accepted the solumn pledge by Petain (convicted of treason by the French) or Pierre Laval (convicted and executed for treason by the French)

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