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Mers el Kebir battle memoriesย 

Published May 20, 2022
Updated Oct 27, 2022

📍 🇫🇷 🇩🇿 Mers el Kebir battle memories

"A terrible axe blow ; many French volunteers turned their heels on us after this", wrote French General Charles de Gaulle in his memoirs after the Mers el Kebir tragedy. Himself exiled, residing in London since the June 1940 CE defeat to Nazi Germany, his budding efforts to rally French fighters were perceived as treacherous by many Frenchmen after that event.

Numbers speak for themselves: 1300 French sailors killed on July 3, 1940 alone, refusing to surrender to the English Navy. Most had to be literally fished out before being buried while survivors crawled towards Oran (Algeria’s west) in a state of shock. Why such carnage between Allies ? Because London feared that Nazi Germany would absorb the fleet at some point and invade the United Kingdom with it.

“Comprehensible logic, comprehensible... yet dark impulses" of the British, concluded de Gaulle, who decided to carry on his “resistance” then, more isolated than ever before.

____ Sources ____

>> Charles de Gaulle, “War Memoirs”, 1954

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Mers el Kebir
Middle East
20th CE