22.9.2018

Corregidor

The Battle of Corregidor (Filipino: Labanan and Corregidor), which fought on May 5-6, 1942, was the culmination of the Japanese campaign to conquer the Commonwealth of the Philippines during the Second World War.

Bataan's April 9, 1942, the fall of all the US military forces in the Far East organized by the opposition invading Japanese forces in Luzon, northern Philippines. The Corregidor Island Fort, whose tunnel network and the huge Defense Forces, as well as the forts over the entrance to Manila Bay, were the remaining barrier to the 14th Imperial Group of the United Nations, Masaharu Hama. Homman had to take Corregidor because as long as the island remained in American hands, the Japanese were denied the use of the Manila Bay, the finest natural harbor in the Far East
                     
Corregidor, officially named Fort Mills, was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay and had been fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery. 
                    Kuvahaun tulos haulle us guns battle of corregidor
Some 5.6 km long and 2.4 km across at its head, the tadpole-shaped island was 3.2 km from Bataan. Its widest and elevated area, known as Topside, held most of the fort's 56 coastal artillery pieces and installation.


Middleside was a small plateau containing battery positions as well as barracks. Bottomside was the lower area, where a dock area and the civilian town of San Jose were located. Americans called it "The Rock" or even the " Gibraltar of the East", comparing it to the fortress that guards the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa.
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File:Correg-malinta-tunnel-inter.jpgThe tunnel system under Malinta Hill was the most extensive construction on Corregidor. It contained a main east-west passage 252 m long with a 7.3 m diameter, in addition to 25 lateral passages, each about 120 m long, which branched out at regular intervals from each side of the main passage. A separate system of tunnels north of this housed the underground hospital. It had 12 laterals (tunnels) and space for 1,000 beds. The facility could be reached either through the main tunnel or by a separate outside entrance on the north side of Malinta Hill. The Navy tunnel system, which lay opposite the hospital, under the south side of Malinta was connected to the main tunnel by a partially completed low passageway through the quartermaster storage lateral.

East of this was Malinta Tunnel, the location of General Douglas MacArthur 's headquarters (Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright 's headquarters during the battle, after MacArthur relocated to Australia on 12 March 1942). Reinforced with concrete walls, floors, and overhead arches, it also had blowers to furnish fresh air, and a double-track electric tramway line along the east-west passage. The Malinta Tunnel furnished bombproof shelters for the hospital, headquarters, and shops, as well as a maze of underground storehouses.
                     File:Gun Emplacement On Corregidor 3-inch antiaircraft gun M3.jpg
The defensive arsenal on Corregidor was formidable with 45 coastal guns and mortars organized into 23 batteries, some seventy-two anti-aircraft weapons assigned to thirteen batteries and a minefield of approximately 35 groups of controlled mines. The two 305 mm guns of Batteries Smith and Hearn, with a horizontal range of 27,000 m and all-around traverse were the longest range of all the island's artillery.

Caballo Island, with Fort Hughes - just south of Corregidor - was the next largest in area. At about 65 ha, the island rose abruptly from the bay to a height of 120 m on its western side. Commander Francis J. Bridget was in charge of its beach defenses with a total of 800 men, of whom 93 were Marines and 443 belonged to the Navy, by the end of April 1942. Coastal artillery numbered some 13 assorted pieces, with its anti-aircraft defenses tied in with those of Corregidor.

File:Corregidor mortar.jpgFort Drum - which lay about 6.4 km south of Fort Hughes - was the most unusual of the harbor defenses. Military engineers had cut away the entire top of El Fraile Island down to the water-line and used the island as a foundation to build a reinforced concrete "battleship", 110 m long and 44 m wide, with exterior walls of concrete and steel 7.6 - 11.0 m thick. 

The top deck of this concrete battleship was 12 m above the low-water mark and had 6.1 m thick walls. Equipped with four 356 mm guns in armored turrets facing seaward, a secondary battery of four casemated 152 mm guns, and two antiaircraft guns, the fort with its 200-man garrison was considered impregnable to attack.
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This mortar located at Corregidor Island's Battery Way is one of the armaments used in the defense of the Philippine island during World War II.    >>>>

Mortars at Corregidor's Battery Way could be rotated to fire in any direction
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The last - Carabao Island - lay only 460 m from the shores of Cavite Province. Except at one point along its eastern shore, the island rises precipitously from the sea in cliffs more than 30 m high. The Americans had placed Fort Frank on this island, which late in 1941, had a military garrison of about 400 men, mostly Philippine Scouts. Its armament consisted of two 356 mm guns, eight 305 mm mortars, four 155 mm GPFs, as well as anti-aircraft and beach defense weapons.

All four forts in Manila Bay - as well as Fort Wint in Subic Bay - had been formed before the war into an organization called the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays, which by August 1941 became a part of the Philippine Coast Artillery Command. Both were under Major General George F. Moore who also commanded the Corregidor garrison. The 5,700 men of the Harbor Defense Force were assigned to four Coast Artillery Regiments: the 59th, 60th, 91st, and 92nd CA (the 60th CA being an antiaircraft artillery unit and the 91st and 92d CA Philippine Scouts units), plus headquarters and service troops.

About 500 Philippine Army soldiers in training were organized into the 1st and 2nd Coast Artillery Regiments (PA), but operated under the control of the two PS regiments. Gen. Moore organized the force into four commands to exercise tactical control: seaward defense, and North and South Channels defense, under Colonel Paul D. Bunker; anti-aircraft and air warning defenses under Col. Theodore M. Chase, and inshore patrol under Captain Kenneth M. Hoeffel of the US Navy's 16th Naval District.

After their evacuation from Olongapo in Zambales, close to Subic Naval Base on December 26, the 4th Marine Regiment - under the command of Col. Samuel L. Howard - became the primary fighting unit on the island. Corregidor's garrison received the largest group of reinforcements right after the fall of Bataan, with some 72 officers and 1,173 enlisted men from more than fifty different units were integrated and assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment. Few of the reinforcements were trained or equipped for ground combat. By April 30, 1942, the 4th Marines actually numbered 229 officers and 3,770 men, of whom only 1,500 were members of the Corps.
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                     Corregidor gun.jpg
         Victorious Japanese troops stop the Hearn Battery, May 6, 1942

On December 29, 1941, the defenders got their first taste of aerial bombardment on Corregidor. The attack lasted for two hours as the Japanese destroyed or damaged the hospital, Topside and Bottomside barracks, the Navy fuel depot and the officers club. Three days later, the island garrison was bombed for more than three hours.

Periodic bombing continued over the next four days, but with only two more raids for the rest of January, the defenders had a chance to improve their positions considerably. To the amusement of the beach defenders on Corregidor, the Japanese dropped only propaganda leaflets on January 29. On March 12, under cover of darkness, Gen. MacArthur was evacuated from Corregidor, using four PT boats bound for Mindanao , from where he was eventually flown to Australia. 
He left Lt. Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright in command in the Philippines.

From December 29 to the end of April 1942, despite incessant Japanese aerial, naval and artillery bombardment, the garrison on Corregidor, which consisted of the 4th Marine Regiment and combined units from the United States Army, the US Navy, and locally recruited Filipino soldiers, resisted valiantly, inflicting heavy enemy losses in men and aircraft.

The defenders were living on about 30 ounces of food per day. Drinking water was distributed only twice a day, but the constant bombing and shelling often interrupted the distribution of rations. When the bombardment killed horses of the Cavalry, the men would drag the carcasses down to the mess hall and they would be eaten. The continued lack of proper diet created problems for the Corregidor garrison, as men weakened and lacked reliable night vision. From Cebu, seven private maritime ships under orders from the army, loaded with a supply of food, sailed towards Corregidor. Of the seven ships, only one reached the island, the MV Princessa commanded by 3rd Lieutenant Zosimo Cruz (USAFFE).

Japanese artillery bombardment of Corregidor began immediately after the fall of Bataan on 9 April. It became intense over the next few weeks as more guns were brought up, and one day's shelling was said to equal all the bombing raids combined in damage inflicted. However, after an initial response from a 155 mm GPF battery, Lt. Gen. Wainwright prohibited counterbattery fire for three days, fearing there were wounded POWs on Bataan who might be killed. 

Japanese bombing and shelling continued with unrelenting ferocity. Japanese aircraft flew 614 missions, dropping 1,701 bombs totaling some 365 tons of explosive. Joining the aerial bombardment were nine 240 mm howitzers, thirty-four 149 mm howitzers, and 32 other artillery pieces, which pounded Corregidor day and night. It was estimated that on May 4 alone, more than 16,000 shells hit Corregidor. 

As of about April 15, 1942, the combined strength of the four fortified islands - including US Army, Philippine Scouts, Philippine Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, Philippine Navy, and civilians - totaled about 14,728. 
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                     Kuvahaun tulos haulle battle of bataan
From April 28, a concentrated aerial bombardment by the 22nd Air Brigade of Maj. Gen. Kizon Mikami - supported by ground artillery on Bataan from May 1 - 5, preceded landing operations.

On the night of 4 May a submarine returning to Australia from patrol evacuated 25 persons. Among the passengers were Colonel Constant Irwin, who carried a complete roster of all Army, Navy, and Marine personnel still alive; Col. Royal G. Jenks, a finance officer, with financial accounts; Col. Milton A. Hill, the inspector general, 3 other Army and 6 Navy officers, and about 13 nurses. Included in the cargo sent from Corregidor were several bags of mail, the last to go out of the Philippines, and "many USAFFE and USFIP records and orders." 

Japanese propaganda to its home population repeatedly declared in this period that Corregidor was about to fall, followed by weeks of silence when did not happen. Imperial General Headquarters finally declared that the resistance was becoming a serious embarrassment. 

On May 5, Japanese forces led by Maj. Gen. Kureo Taniguchi boarded landing craft and barges and headed for the final assault on Corregidor. Shortly before midnight, intense shelling struck the beaches between North Point and Cavalry Point. The initial landing of 790 Japanese soldiers quickly bogged down due to surprisingly fierce resistance from the American and Filipino defenders, whose 37 mm artillery exacted a heavy toll on the invasion fleet.

The Japanese landing was difficult because of the strong sea currents between Bataan and Corregidor, as well as the layers of oil that covered the beaches from ships sunk earlier in the siege. They had considerable trouble landing personnel and equipment. However, the sheer numbers of the Japanese infantry, equipped with 50 mm grenade launchers ("knee mortars"), eventually forced the defenders to pull back from the beach.

The second battalion of 785 Japanese soldiers was not as successful. They landed east of North Point, where the defensive positions held by the 4th Marines Regiment were stronger. Most of the Japanese officers were quickly killed, and the huddled survivors were hit with hand grenades, machine guns, and rifle fire. Nevertheless, some of the landing managed to unite with the first invasion force, and together they moved inland and had captured the Denver Battery by 01:30 on May 6.

The Americans launched a counterattack to eject the Japanese from the Denver Battery, and this saw the heaviest fighting between the opposing forces, virtually hand to hand. A few reinforcements made their way to the 4th Marines, but the battle became a duel with the old World War I style grenades against the deadly accurate Japanese knee mortars. Unless reinforced, the battle would soon go against the Marines.
                     File: Correg-Japani-landing.jpg
                         Japanese troops landing on Corregidor

By 04:30, Colonel Howard had committed his last reserves, consisting of about 500 Marines, a few sailors, and the soldiers of the 4th Battalion. These reinforcement tried to join the battle as quickly as possible, but Japanese snipers had slipped behind the front lines and any movement was very costly. To make matters worse, another 880 Japanese reinforcements arrived at 05:30. The 4th Marines held their positions, but the Americans were losing ground in other areas. The Japanese had a problem of their own: several ammunition crates never made the landing. As a result, several Japanese attacks and counterattacks were made using bayonets.

The defenders' final blow came at 09:30, when three Japanese tanks were landed and immediately went into action. The men of Denver Battery withdrew to the ruins of a concrete trench a few yards from the entrance to Malinta tunnel. At the same moment, Japanese artillery delivered a heavy barrage. Aware of the consequences if the Japanese captured the tunnel, where about 1,000 helpless wounded men lay, and realizing the Malinta tunnel could not hold out much longer, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainright knew that more Japanese would be landed at night. He decided to sacrifice one more day of freedom in exchange for several thousand lives.

In a radio message to President Franklin Roosevelt , Wainwright said, "There is a limit of human endurance, and that point has long been passed." Colonel Howard burned the 4th Marine Regiment's flag as well as the national colors to prevent their capture. Wainwright surrendered the Corregidor garrison at about 1:30 pm on May 6, 1942, with two officers sent forward with a white flag to carry his surrender message to the Japanese.

The Japanese losses from January 1 – April 30 and from the initial assault landings on May 5/6, were about 900 dead and 1,200 wounded, while the defenders suffered 800 dead and 1,000 wounded.
                     Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva
Corregidor's defeat marked the fall of the Philippines and Asia, but Imperial Japan's timetable for the conquest of Australia and the rest of the Pacific was severely upset. Its advance was ultimately checked at the battle for New Guinea, and at Guadalcanal, the turning point in the Pacific War.

About 4,000 of the 11,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war from Corregidor were marched through the streets of Manila to incarceration at Fort Santiago and Bilibid Prison, criminal detention centers turned POW camps. US Army and Navy nurses (the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor") continued to work on Corregidor for several weeks, and were then sent to Santo Tomas. 
                      Tiedosto: Amerflag001 pp1 01.jpg
The rest were sent off in trains to various Japanese prison camps. General Wainwright was incarcerated in Manchuria. Over the course of the war, thousands were shipped to the Japanese home islands as slave labor. Some were eventually freed at the Raid at Cabanatuan and during the battle for Manila's liberation. While most of the Allied forces on Corregidor surrendered, many individuals continued fighting as guerrillas .

General Masaharu Homma, who conquered the Philippines in five months instead of the projected two, ended up being relieved of his command.

21.9.2018

Battle of Lake Khasan

Soviet–Japanese border conflicts
Halhamiao Orahodoga Tauran Kanchazu Island Lake Khasan Khalkhin Gol Kantokuen
The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29 – August 11, 1938), also known as the Changkufeng Incident (Russian: Хасанские бои, Chinese and Japanese: 張鼓峰事件; Chinese Pinyin: Zhānggǔfēng Shìjiàn; Japanese Romaji: Chōkohō Jiken) in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion by Manchukuo (Japanese) into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union.

This incursion was founded in the belief of the Japanese side, that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia and the Qing Dynasty China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation) and that the demarcation markers were tampered with. Japanese forces occupied the disputed area but withdrew after heavy fighting and a diplomatic settlement.
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Khasanin taistelu (Finnish)
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For most of the first half of the twentieth century, there was considerable tension between the Russian (later Soviet), Chinese and Japanese governments, along their common borders in what became North East China. The Chinese Eastern Railway or (CER) was a railway in northeastern China (Manchuria). It connected China and the Russian Far East. 

The southern branch of the CER, known in the West as the South Manchuria Railway, became the locus and partial casus belli for the Russo-Japanese War and subsequent incidents, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War and Soviet-Japanese Border Wars. Larger incidents included the Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929 and the Mukden Incident between Japan and China in 1931. The battle of Lake Khasan was fought between two powers which had long mistrusted each other.

The confrontation was triggered when the Soviet Far East Army and Soviet State Security (NKVD) Border Guard reinforced its Khasan border with Manchuria. This was prompted in part by the defection one month before, of Soviet General GS Lyushkov, in charge of all NKVD forces in the Soviet Far East at Hunchun, in the Tumen River Area. He provided the Japanese with intelligence on the poor state of Soviet Far Eastern forces and the purge of army officers.






Camouflaged Soviet tanks
On July 6, 1938 the Japanese Kwantung Army decoded a message sent by the Russian commander in the Posyet region to Soviet headquarters in Khabarovsk. The message recommended that Russian soldiers be allowed to secure unoccupied high ground west of Lake Khasan, most notably the disputed Changkufeng Heights, because it would be advantageous for the Soviets to occupy terrain which overlooked the Korean port-city of Rajin, as well as strategic railways linking Korea to Manchuria. In the next two weeks, small groups of Soviet border troops moved into the area and began fortifying the mountain with emplacements, observation trenches, entanglements and communication facilities.

At first, the Japanese Korean Army, which had been assigned to defend the area, disregarded the Soviet advance. However, the Kwantung Army, whose administrative jurisdiction overlapped Changkufeng, pushed the Korean Army to take more action, because it was suspicious of Soviet intentions. Following this, the Korean Army took the matter to Tokyo, recommending that a formal protest be sent to the Soviet Union.


The conflict started on July 15, when the Japanese attaché in Moscow demanded the removal of Soviet border troops from the Bezymyannaya (сопка Безымянная, Chinese name: Shachaofeng) and Zaozyornaya (сопка Заозёрная, Chinese name: Changkufeng) Hills to the west of Lake Khasan in the south of Primorye not far from Vladivostok, claiming this territory by the Soviet – Korea border; the demand was rejected.  
Battle of Lake Khasan
Soviet - Japan conflights
Battle of Lake Khasan-Red Army soldiers setting the flag on the Zaozernaya Hill.jpg
Lieutenant IN Moshlyak and two Soviet soldiers on Zaozyornaya Hill after the battle [
DateJuly 29 – August 11, 1938
LocationLake KhasanSoviet Union
ResultStalemate, ceasefire 
Territorial
changes
Soviets reoccupy Changkufeng 
Soviet-Korean border set at Tumen River
Belligerents
 Soviet Union Japan
Commanders and leaders
Vasily Blyukher Executed
Nikolai Berzarin
Grigori Shtern Executed
Suetaka Kamezo
Kotoku Sato
Strength
22,950 troops 
354 tanks
13 self-propelled guns
237 artillery pieces
250 aircraft (including 180 bombers) 
7,000–7,300 troops 
37 artillery pieces 
Casualties and losses
792 killed and missing
3,279 wounded and sick 
96 tanks destroyed or crippled (Japanese sources) [10]
46+ tanks destroyed (Soviet sources) 
526 killed [
913 wounded 

Battle 

The Japanese 19th Division along with some Manchukuo units took on the Soviet 39th Rifle Corps under Grigori Shtern (eventually consisting of the 32nd, 39th and 40th Rifle Divisions, the 2nd Mechanised Brigade and two tank battalions). One of the Japanese Army Commanders at the battle was Colonel Kotoku Sato, the commander of the 75th Infantry Regiment. Lieutenant General Suetaka Kamezo gave Sato an order: "You are to mete out a firm and thorough counterattack without fail, once you gather that the enemy is advancing even in the slightest". The hidden meaning of this was that Sato had been ordered to expel the Soviets from Changkufeng. 

On July 31, Sato's regiment launched a night sortie on the fortified hill. In the Changkufeng sector, 1,114 Japanese engaged a Soviet garrison of 300, eliminating them and knocking out 10 tanks, with casualties of 34 killed and 99 wounded. In the Shachofeng sector, 379 Japanese surprised and routed another 300 Soviet troops, while knocking out 7 tanks, for 11 killed and 34 wounded. Thousands more Japanese soldiers from the 19th division arrived, dug in, and requested reinforcements. High Command rejected the request, as they knew General Suetaka would use these forces to assault vulnerable Soviet positions, escalating the incident. 

Japanese troops defended the disputed area. In 1933, the Japanese had designed and built a "Rinji Soko Ressha" (Special Armoured Train). The train was deployed at "2nd Armoured Train Unit" in Manchuria and participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Changkufeng conflict against the Soviets, transporting thousands of Japanese troops to and from the battlefield, displaying to the west the capability of an Asian nation to implement western ideas and doctrine concerning rapid infantry deployment and transport.





On July 31, People's Commissar for Defence Kliment Voroshilov ordered combat readiness for 1st Coastal Army and the Pacific Fleet. The Soviets gathered 354 tanks and assault guns at Lake Khasan, including 257 T-26 tanks (with 10 KhT-26 flame-throwing tanks), 3 ST-26 bridge-laying tanks, 81 BT-7 light tanks and 13 SU-5-2 self-propelled guns. 

                      Kuvahaun tulos haulle BT-7 tank
                                 BT-7 light tank. mod 1937

                      Kuvahaun tulos haulle t-26 tank
                                           T-26, mod 1937

                     Kuvahaun tulos haulle SU 5-2
                                          SU-5-2,  122mm + T-26 bottoms

                    File:OT-26, rear.jpeg
                                   T-26 mod.1931 TKhP-3 Tank, chemical equipment

                    
                                        Kht-26 (OT-26 tank, mod 1933)

                                 File:ST-26 Engineer Tank.jpg
                                                  ST-26 Tank, mod 1933.

The chief of the Far East Front, Vasily Blücher, arrived at the front line on August 2, 1938. Under his command, additional forces were moved up and from August 2–9, the Japanese forces at Changkufeng were attacked. 

Such was the disparity of forces that one Japanese artillery commander observed that the Soviets fired more shells in one day than the Japanese did in the two-week affair. Despite this, the Japanese defenders organized an anti-tank defense, with disastrous results for the poorly coordinated Soviets, whose attacks were defeated with many casualties. 
Thousands of Soviet troops were killed or wounded and at least 46 tanks were knocked out, with another 39 damaged to varying degrees. 


Despite repelling the Soviet thrusts, it was clear that the local Japanese units would not be able to keep Changkufeng without widening the conflict. On August 10, Japanese <<< ambassador Mamoru Shigemitsu asked for peace. 

Satisfied that the incident had been brought to an "honorable" conclusion, on August 11, 1938, at 13 hours 30 minutes local time the Japanese stopped fighting and Soviet forces reoccupied the heights. 
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More than 6,500 Soviet officers and soldiers were awarded the orders, decorations, and medals of the Soviet Union; 26 of them were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, and 95 were awarded the Order of Lenin.

Soviet losses totaled 792 killed or missing and 3,279 wounded, according to their records and the Japanese claimed to have destroyed or immobilized 96 enemy tanks and 30 guns. Soviet armored losses were significant, with dozens of tanks being knocked out or destroyed and hundreds of "tank troops" becoming casualties.

Japanese casualties, as revealed by secret Army General Staff statistics, were 1,439 casualties (526 killed or missing, 913 wounded); the Soviets claimed Japanese losses of 3,100, with 600 killed and 2,500 wounded. 

The Soviet losses were blamed on the incompetence of Vasily Blücher. On October 22, he was arrested by the NKVD and is thought to have been tortured to death. >>>

The Japanese military, while seriously analyzing the results of the battle, engaged with the Soviets once more, with disastrous results, in the more extensive Battle of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan) in the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939. This second engagement resulted in the defeat of the Japanese Sixth Army. After World War II , at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in 1946, thirteen high-ranking Japanese officials were charged with crimes against peace for their roles in initiating hostilities at Lake Khasan.


Ivan Pozharsky, posthumously awarded Hero of the Soviet Union for his participation in the battle

20.9.2018

Operation Menace

Operation Menace Battle of Dakar, also known as Battle of Dakar, was an unsuccessful attempt in September 1940 by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa (modern-day Senegal). It was hoped that the success of the operation could overthrow the pro-German Vichy French administration in the colony, and be replaced by a pro-British Free French one under General Charles de Gaulle .

At the beginning of World War II, the French fleet in the Mediterranean was to have countered the Italian Navy, thereby leaving the British Royal Navy free to concentrate on the German warships in the North Sea and Atlantic.

After the defeat of France and the conclusion of the armistice between France and Nazi Germany in June 1940, there was considerable confusion as to the allegiance of the various French colonies. Some, like Cameroon and French Equatorial Africa, joined the Free French, but others, including the North African colonies, French West Africa, Syria and Indochina, remained under Vichy control. The possibility that the French fleet might come under German control led the British to attack the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir on 3 July 1940. While the British had eliminated a potential threat, the attack discouraged other units from joining the Free French and Allies.

De Gaulle believed that he could persuade the French forces in Dakar to join the Allied cause. Much would be gained by this. Another Vichy French colony changing sides would have great political impact. Also the gold reserves of the Banque de France and the Polish government in exile were stored in Dakar; and the port of Dakar was far superior as a naval base to Freetown, British Sierra Leone , which was the only Allied port in the area. 

Thus the Allies decided to send a task force to Dakar: an aircraft carrier (HMS Ark Royal), two battleships (HMS Resolution and HMS Barham), five cruisers , ten destroyers , and several transports carrying 8,000 troops. Their orders were to negotiate with the French governor for a peaceful occupation, but if this was unsuccessful, to take the city by force.
Battle of Dakar
WW-II
Date23–25 September 1940
LocationOff Dakar , French West Africa
ResultVichy French victory
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 Australia
 Free France
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom John Cunningham
Free France Charles de Gaulle
Vichy France Pierre François Boisson
Strength
2 battleships
5 cruisers
10 destroyers
1 aircraft carrier
1 battleship
2 cruisers
4 destroyers
3 submarines
coastal emplacements
Casualties and losses
1 battleship crippled
1 battleship damaged
2 cruisers damaged
1 armed trawler sunk
6 torpedo planes lost
1 destroyer grounded
2 submarines sunk
1 battleship damaged
Danish freighter MSTacoma sunk 
The Vichy forces present at Dakar included the unfinished battleship Richelieu , one of the most advanced warships in the French fleet, then about 95% complete. She had left Brest, France on 18 June, just before the Germans reached the port. Before the establishment of the Vichy government, HMS Hermes, a British aircraft carrier, had been operating with the French forces in Dakar. Once the Vichy regime was in power, however, Hermes left port but remained on watch, and was joined by the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia. Aircraft from Hermes attacked Richelieu and had struck her once with a torpedo. The French ship was immobilized but was still able to function as a floating gun battery.

                                           Richelieu katapult at works


                                                Richelieu AA-guns

A force of three cruisers comprising (Gloire. Georges Leygues, and Montcalm) and three destroyers had left Toulon in southern France for Dakar just a few days earlier. Gloire was slowed by mechanical troubles and was intercepted by Australia which ordered the French cruiser to sail for Casablanca. The other two cruisers and the destroyers outran the pursuing Allied cruisers and reached Dakar safely. Three Vichy submarines and several lighter ships were also at Dakar.

                  File:HMS Ark Royal h85716.jpg
HMS Ark Royal with a flight of Fairey Swordfish

On 23 September, the Fleet Air Arm dropped propaganda leaflets on the city of Dakar. Then Free French aircraft flew off Ark Royal and landed at the airport, but their crews were immediately taken prisoner. A boat with representatives of de Gaulle entered the port, but was fired upon. At 10:00, Vichy ships trying to leave the port were given warning shots from Australia. As the ships returned to port the coastal batteries opened fire on Australia. This led to an engagement between the British fleet and the batteries. In the afternoon Australia intercepted and fired on the Vichy destroyer L'Audacieux, setting her on fire and causing her to be beached.

Also in the afternoon, an attempt was made to set Free French troops ashore on a beach at Rufisque, to the south-east of Dakar. The attack failed due to fog and heavy fire from strongpoints defending the beach. General de Gaulle declared he did not want to "shed the blood of Frenchmen for Frenchmen" and called off the assault.



During the next two days, the Allied fleet continued to attack the coastal defences and the Vichy forces continued to defend them. Richelieu was hit by two 15-inch shells from Barham. On the second day of action, guns 7 and 8 (in turret number 2) of Richelieu failed on the first round. The following day, the crews were switched and main turret number 1 was used. Propellant charges reconditioned from charges left by the battleship Strasbourg in Dakar, during winter 1939, were used but these gave a significant reduction in range and caused problems of fire control. Over the two days Richelieu fired a total of 24 rounds. No hits were recorded by Richelieu.

During these engagements, two Vichy submarines (Persée and Ajax) were sunk, and the destroyer L'Audacieux damaged.



The Allied fleet also suffered damage: Resolution was torpedoed by the submarine Bévéziers, and Barham was hit by two shells from the coastal defence batteries which had been manned by crew from the No 1 main turret of Richelieu. Two cruisers were also damaged.

Overall, the Battle of Dakar did not go well for the Allies. The Vichy forces did not back down. Resolution was so heavily damaged she had to be towed to Cape Town . During most of this conflict, bombers of the Vichy French Air Force (Armée de l'Air de Vichy), based in North Africa, bombed the British base at Gibraltar. On 24 September about 50 aircraft dropped 150 bombs while on 25 September about 100 aircraft dropped 300 bombs on the harbour and dockyards. Most of the bombs missed. Some damage was caused, but few casualties were suffered. Only the British armed trawler HMT Stella Sirius was sunk by direct hits. Finally, the Allies withdrew, leaving Dakar and French West Africa in Vichy hands.


Aftermath 
The effects of the Allied failure were mostly political. De Gaulle had believed that he would be able to persuade the Vichy French at Dakar to change sides, but this turned out not to be the case, a result that damaged his standing among the Allies, and he had to content himself with the much less important and less economically developed French Equatorial Africa as the main Free French territory for the time being. Even his success in the Battle of Gabon two months later did not wholly repair this damage.

English novelist Evelyn Waugh participated in the expedition as an officer in the Royal Marines. The battle has a role in his semi-autobiographical novel Men at Arms, which forms the first part of his Sword of Honour trilogy.