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Operation Catapult, Mers-el-Kebir - July, 1940

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by ravelleman, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. ravelleman

    ravelleman recruit

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    Hi, new member here. I'll give you a little background before I go further. I'm a secondary school (high school) student in Ireland, taking history for my Leaving Certificate (Ireland's equivilent to the A levels). Before my final exams next year I have to complete a reasonably detailed research project on a historical figure or incident of my own choice. The project counts for about 20% of my overall grade. I have to source information, determine my own thesis and write about the incident in relation to it. It's actually quite easy to achieve full marks if one goes about it properly.

    Now, I was thinking of writing my project on Operation Catapult - the destruction of the French fleet by the Royal Navy in Mers el Kebir after the surrender of France. My thesis will be that this incident was just as important as the Battle of Britain in regard to the survival of Britain before America's entry into the war, if not more so.

    It is my understanding that the German Navy couldn't possibly have rivalled the Royal Navy on it's own at this time. If the German's were to have launched Operation Sealion it is quite likely that the invasion would have been successful while the Royal Navy was in such a dominant position over the German Navy. If the German's were to invade Britain and be successful they would need to acquire more ships for their navy. The perfect source of these ships was from the newly surrendered French Navy. The Royal Navy would have been able to defend Britain better than the RAF in the event of a full seaborn attack. So it is my thought that the destruction of these ships, in part, saved Britain during WW2.

    My question is, does anyone know of any books or other reasonably detailed sources of information about the battle? Would contacting the Imperial War Museum about any primary sources they might have get me very far? Does my arguement seem even reasonable to you?

    Thanks for reading this far,
    Richard [​IMG]
     
  2. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Where abouts in Ireland are you Richard? Im in Dublin!

    I may have a few bits that mey help. Contacting the IWM will certainly give you a list of what they have to offer with regards to primary source material but to view them you would need to visit the IWM's reading room. If you do intend to visit the UK for research then the PRO may well be a better source.
     
  3. Ali Morshead

    Ali Morshead Member

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    Too many bloody Irish here,

    Dont be afraid to try some politically incorrect work such as W.S.Churchill's works.

    They do provide a background to the thought processes at the time.

    Also, put yourself in the Brits boots of 1940, not 2005. They had a lot of problems and cleaning up the French Fleet took a problem away.

    I also think the French Fleet was more of a threat in the Med, in conjunction with the Regia Marina, than with the Kriegsmarine.

    The Brits had this tactic well worked out by 1940, the Danish Fleet got hit in 1803 & 1809 while Neutral for fear of them joining Napoleon.
     
  4. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Yer, well I aint Irish...

    So there... [​IMG]
     
  5. Ali Morshead

    Ali Morshead Member

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    Even worse, someone who has made a choice about living there!
     
  6. steo

    steo recruit

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    hi i'm doing the special research topic as well, i'm having a hard time lookin for books which books did you use?
     
  7. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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