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

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,202
Navan, Ireland
...........................................

In WWI, the same issue arised: and if France falls, and there's the risk that Germans take the French fleet?

First Lord of Admiralty, W. Churchill amswered:
" This idea of the French Fleet being handed over to Germany is absurd. It passes human reason to suppose that French officers would hand over French ships to Germany to enable Germany to destroy their ally.

They would not do this even if every man, woman and child on the soil of France were going to be put to the sword"

.....................
In WWI he'd have probably found the notion of France collapsing completely in a matter of equally absurd.

The events of 1940 shocked everyone.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,022
Europix
In WWI he'd have probably found the notion of France collapsing completely in a matter of equally absurd.

The events of 1940 shocked everyone.
He stated it in September 1914, when British Government seriously started to consider the eventuality of France collapsing.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,202
Navan, Ireland
I disagree: France was deriving without a captain and with broken masts while Britain was sailing the tempest with alll sails up ...
OK but to continue with the analogy the out of control French threatened to ram the British so the obstacle had to be removed one way or another.

I condemn neither the French or the British -- with hindsight I wish the French had en masse shouted hurrah and joined the 'Free French' but in the real world that's not going to happen.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,202
Navan, Ireland
He stated it in September 1914, when British Government seriously started to consider the eventuality of France collapsing.
And he then saw France fight Germany to a standstill in 4 years of bloody war?

But collapse in weeks in 1940.
 

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,634
Wirral
I know.

It's the British I try to understand, that's why I keep posting and asking here.

I found finally one of Churchill's notes, the note that makes me puzzled on the Catapult.

In WWI, the same issue arised: and if France falls, and there's the risk that Germans take the French fleet?

First Lord of Admiralty, W. Churchill amswered:
" This idea of the French Fleet being handed over to Germany is absurd. It passes human reason to suppose that French officers would hand over French ships to Germany to enable Germany to destroy their ally.

They would not do this even if every man, woman and child on the soil of France were going to be put to the sword"

Three decades later, the same man didn't believed that any longer.

French Navy's reaction on the other hand, proved he was wrong in no longer believing.

Definitely, history is odd!
I don’t know the circumstances of the WWI quote. However, I think it’s perfectly understandable that Churchill would use those words while France was an active combatant - he could hardly say in the middle of WWI that he was worried about France’s reliability and trustworthiness.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,022
Europix
OK but to continue with the analogy the out of control French threatened to ram the British so the obstacle had to be removed one way or another.
Good continuation of the analogy.

The issue is that not that many were convinced the out of control French wreck was an obstacle.

But ok, I suppose we will never know all what was behind it.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,022
Europix
Before I go:

Looking around on English sources, I found this: French Battleships 1922-1956 (from page 71 onwards)

It's a good read, plus a lot of technical info on French vessels for those interested.

Oh, yes: thank You Fairfax, Lins, Kevin, Gog for Your time. I appreciate it!
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,202
Navan, Ireland
Good continuation of the analogy.

The issue is that not that many were convinced the out of control French wreck was an obstacle.

But ok, I suppose we will never know all what was behind it.
They could not know--- I do not 'blame' (what a silly concept) the French or the British both 'were between a rock and a hard place' , could it have been handled better? perhaps yes (it was elsewhere) but also perhaps not.

A crisis was unfolding for both nations and both had to act as they saw fit.