Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

French fleet joins Allies in 1940

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • French fleet joins Allies in 1940



    After the French defeat in 1940 to avoid the French fleet falling into German hands the French fleet was given four options -

    "a) Sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.

    (b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.

    If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.

    (c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans unless they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West Indies — Martinique for instance — where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.

    If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours."

    Unfortunately the French chose option d and the French fleet was put out of action costing thousands of French lives.

    But what if the French Admiral Marcel-Bruno Gensoul had instead chosen option a or b and personally decided to continue the war on the Allied side? Darlan had made himself uncontactable so it was all down to Gensoul as the senior naval officer on the scene.

    1. Would the French crews in Mers el Kebir have obeyed his orders and sailed to a British port?
    2. Assuming they did how would this have effected other French colonies such as Syria?
    3. Would the Germans have immediately done as they did in 1942 and move into southern France?
    4. What impact would it have had on the wider balance of naval power in 1940, ie how useful to the British would having much of the French fleet under their control have been.?




    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    I'm pretty convinced that Gensoul would not have chosen to join the Allies. To do so would have broken the Armistice and put his family, and the families of all his crews, under German occupation pretty immediately.

    I think that had he not been such an arrogant prick, and had some of the accidental 'insults' involved not happened, then I think Option C would have been taken. The French would have sailed to a port out of the reach of the Germans, and the US would have been pressed by the British to put some ships 'watching' them, the Brits would have probably kept a ship 'in the area' to 'keep an eye on them', and the French could have had the bulk of the Marine Nationale sitting in the Caribbean for the rest of the war.

    It's possible if option C was taken, that a few individual ships might have also joined the Free French. I could definitely see at a few points even before the Germans break the Armistice where a ship or two might 'defect' to the Free French. It's also possible that a number of 'free french' ships would have sailed for Martinique to join the Marine Nationale as it wasn't sunk yet.

    Overall, had Option C been taken, the French would have had a much stronger position when the Germans broke the Armistice, and might have even dragged that out somewhat. And when they did rejoin the Allies, they would have rolled straight into US dockyards for quick emergency refits and upgrades, and then Boom you have an extra fleet sitting about. I'd have particularly liked to see the Dunkerques get deployed to the Pacific to escort the carriers, with the standard US "2nd Amendment" AA suite of 'you have some open deck there, it should have a bofors on it'.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

    Comment


    • #3
      TC4 spells it out better than I could.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
        I And when they did rejoin the Allies, they would have rolled straight into US dockyards for quick emergency refits and upgrades, and then Boom you have an extra fleet sitting about. .
        Everything hinges on this fleet being effective to warrant an alternative outcome....so one would think that it would be natural to have them all refitted....except even historically that did not happen. Notwithstanding that until the US joins the war, the French fleet will be sitting idle for much of that time for lack of spare parts, as the French naval bases of North Africa have only the basic of machine and maintenance shops, it would be two years before they can be worked on.

        Historically, the French ships that were refitted were done so very reluctantly very slowly as to not draw away any energy being spent on US shipbuilding....so an entire foreign fleet suddenly showing up asking to be completely refitted?

        Not going to happen.


        You'll live, only the best get killed.

        -General Charles de Gaulle

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by asterix View Post

          Everything hinges on this fleet being effective to warrant an alternative outcome....so one would think that it would be natural to have them all refitted....except even historically that did not happen. Notwithstanding that until the US joins the war, the French fleet will be sitting idle for much of that time for lack of spare parts, as the French naval bases of North Africa have only the basic of machine and maintenance shops, it would be two years before they can be worked on.

          Historically, the French ships that were refitted were done so very reluctantly very slowly as to not draw away any energy being spent on US shipbuilding....so an entire foreign fleet suddenly showing up asking to be completely refitted?

          Not going to happen.

          Well in my timeline of events they'd bein in Martinique or similar.

          And I doubt they'd get full refits or need as much of a refit given that they wouldn't have received the rough treatment. I would suspect that for the cruisers, merely updating the AA suite would make them suitable for convoy protection duties covering troop convoys and such. Same for the battleships and shore bombardment duties.
          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

          Comment

          Latest Topics

          Collapse

          Working...
          X