Mers el-Kébir 1940

Operation Catapult

Mers el-Kébir 1940 cover

Mers el-Kébir 1940

Operation Catapult

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A fascinating analysis of the World War II battle between Great Britain and France to ensure French ships were kept out of German hands during World War II.

Following France's armistice with the Axis powers, Great Britain realized that if Germany or Italy insisted upon the transfer of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers from the French Navy to the control of their own navies, the balance in the Mediterranean would immediately swing in their favour. Churchill decided that the Marine Nationale's most powerful vessels would need to be secured through diplomacy, coercion, or force. The French Navy commander-in-chief was equally eager to keep their ships out of Axis hands, but he also did not want the British to have them. These increasingly hostile circumstances led to Operation Catapult, which began on 3 July 1940, and saw the two nations battle for the ships.

Expert naval historian Ryan Noppen analyses the Royal Navy Operation Catapult at Mers el-Kébir, the follow-up Operation Lever and the French retaliatory actions in the subsequent days. This book examines the rapid deterioration of Anglo-French relations and how the two former allies quickly fell into armed conflict. Fully illustrated with detailed maps, photographs and artwork that bring to life the British and French forces involved, it presents an engaging treatment of an often-forgotten episode early in World War II.

Table of Contents

Origins of the Campaign
Opposing Commanders
Opposing Forces and Orders of Battle
Opposing Plans
The Campaign

Product details

Published 24 Oct 2024
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472859709
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Colour illustrations throughout, including battlescene artworks, maps, 3D diagrams and photographs.
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Campaign
Short code CAM 405
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Ryan K. Noppen

Ryan K. Noppen is a military author and consultant…


Adam Tooby

Adam Tooby is an internationally renowned digital…


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