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|Part of World War II|
|Commanded by||Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz|
|Objective||Military occupation of France|
|Date||10–27 November 1942|
Case Anton (German: Unternehmen Anton) was the military occupation of France carried out by Germany and Italy in November 1942. It marked the end of the Vichy regime as a nominally-independent state and the disbanding of its army (the severely-limited Armistice Army), but it continued its existence as a puppet government in Occupied France. One of the last actions of its armed forces before their dissolution was the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon to prevent it from falling into Axis hands.
A German plan to occupy Vichy France had been drawn up in December 1940 under the codename of Operation Attila and soon came to be considered with Operation Camellia, the plan to occupy Corsica.Operation Anton updated the original Operation Attila, including different German units and adding Italian involvement.
For Adolf Hitler, the main rationale for permitting a nominally-independent France to exist was, in the absence of German naval superiority, the only practical means to deny the use of the French colonies to the Allies. However, with the Allied landings in French North Africa on 8 November 1942 and the French submission to Allied occupation made that rationale disappear. Moreover, Hitler could not risk an exposed flank on the French Mediterranean. After a final conversation with French Prime Minister Pierre Laval, Hitler gave orders for Corsica to be occupied on 11 November and Vichy France the following day.
By the evening of 10 November 1942, Axis forces had completed their preparations for Case Anton. The 1st Army advanced from the Atlantic coast, parallel to the Spanish border, while the 7th Army advanced from central France towards Vichy and Toulon, under the command of General Johannes Blaskowitz. The Italian 4th Army occupied the French Riviera and an Italian division landed on Corsica. By the evening of 11 November, German tanks had reached the Mediterranean coast.
The Germans had planned Operation Lila to capture intact the demobilised French fleet at Toulon. French naval commanders managed to delay the Germans by negotiation and subterfuge long enough to scuttle their ships on 27 November, before the Germans could seize them, preventing three battleships, seven cruisers, 28 destroyers and 20 submarines from falling into the hands of the Axis powers. Despite the disappointment of the German Naval War Staff, Hitler considered that the elimination of the French fleet sealed the success of Operation Antonsince the destruction of the fleet denied it to Charles de Gaulle and the Free French Navy.
Vichy France limited its resistance to radio broadcasts objecting to the violation of the armistice of 1940. The German government countered that it was the French who violated the armistice first by not offering a determined resistance to the Allied landings in North Africa. The 50,000-strong Vichy French Army took defensive positions around Toulon, but when confronted by German demands to disband, it did so since it lacked the military capability to resist the Axis forces.
Operation Torch was an Allied invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. The French colonies in the area were dominated by the Vichy French, formally aligned with Germany but of mixed loyalties. Reports indicated that they might support the Allies. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack on Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), then a rapid move on Tunis.
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.
Jean Louis Xavier François Darlan was a French admiral and political figure. He was admiral of the fleet and Chief of Staff of the French Navy in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. After France signed an armistice with Nazi Germany in 1940, Darlan served in the pro-German Vichy regime, becoming its deputy leader for a time. When the Allies invaded French North Africa in 1942, Darlan was the highest-ranking officer there, and a deal was made, giving him control of North African French forces in exchange for joining their side. Less than two months later he was assassinated.
Force H was a British naval formation during the Second World War. It was formed in 1940, to replace French naval power in the western Mediterranean removed by the French armistice with Nazi Germany. The force occupied an odd place within the naval chain of command. Normal British practice was to have naval stations and fleets around the world, whose commanders reported to the First Sea Lord via a flag officer. Force H was based at Gibraltar but there was already a flag officer at the base, Flag Officer Commanding, North Atlantic. The commanding officer of Force H did not report to this Flag Officer but directly to the First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound.
From 1939 until 1940, the French Third Republic was at war with Germany. The period from 1940 until 1945 saw competition between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle for control of the overseas empire. In 1944, after the landings of the Allies in France, they expelled the German Army, putting an end to the Vichy Regime.
The North African campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria, as well as Tunisia.
The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir on 3 July 1940, during the Second World War was, a British naval attack on French Navy ships at the naval base at Mers El Kébir, at Oran, on the coast of French Algeria. The attack was part of Operation Catapult, a British plan to neutralise or destroy French ships to prevent them falling into German hands in the aftermath of the Allied defeat in the Battle of France. The British bombardment of the base killed 1,297 French servicemen, sank a battleship and damaged five other ships, for a British loss of five aircraft shot down and two crewmen killed.
The Battle of the Mediterranean was the name given to the naval campaign fought in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II, from 10 June 1940 to 2 May 1945.
The Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre was a major theatre of operations during the Second World War. The vast size of the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre saw interconnected naval, land, and air campaigns fought for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe. The fighting in this theatre lasted from 10 June 1940, when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, until 2 May 1945 when all Axis forces in Italy surrendered. However, fighting would continue in Greece – where British troops had been dispatched to aid the Greek government – during the early stages of the Greek Civil War.
During World War II, Operation Attila was a plan for the German occupation of Vichy France. It was drawn up in 1940 in case the French rejoined the Allies or of an Allied threat to the south of France.
La Galissonnière was the lead ship of her class of six light cruisers built for the Marine Nationale during the 1930s. She was named in honour of Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière. During World War II, she served with Vichy France.
The scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon was orchestrated by Vichy France on 27 November 1942 to prevent Nazi German forces from taking it over. The Allied invasion of North Africa had provoked the Germans into invading the zone libre, neutral according to the Armistice of 1940. The Vichy Secretary of the Navy, Admiral François Darlan, defected to the Allies, who were gaining increasing support from servicemen and civilians. His replacement, Admiral Gabriel Auphan, guessed correctly that the Germans were aiming to seize the large fleet at Toulon, and ordered them to be scuttled.
Jean de Laborde was a French naval officer who had a long and illustrious career starting at the end of the 19th century and extending to World War II where he served as admiral. A pioneer of naval aviation in France, he captained the first French aircraft carrier, earned many awards, and held many top posts. He is most well known for his final military act, the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon during the German occupation of Vichy France in World War II, which left his prestige in ruins and led to his arrest and conviction for treason.
Italian-occupied France was an area of south-eastern France occupied by the Kingdom of Italy in two stages during World War II. The occupation lasted from June 1940 until the Armistice of Cassibile between Italy and Allied armed forces in September 1943, when Italian troops on French soil retreated under pressure from the Germans.
The following events occurred in November 1942:
The French State, popularly known as Vichy France, as led by Marshal Philippe Pétain after the Fall of France in 1940 before Nazi Germany, was quickly recognized by the Allies, as well as by the Soviet Union, until 30 June 1941 and Operation Barbarossa. However France broke with the United Kingdom after the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. Canada maintained diplomatic relations until the occupation of Southern France by Germany and Italy in November 1942.
The zone libre was a partition of the French metropolitan territory during World War II, established at the Second Armistice at Compiègne on 22 June 1940. It lay to the south of the demarcation line and was administered by the French government of Marshal Philippe Pétain based in Vichy, in a relatively unrestricted fashion. To the north lay the zone occupée in which the powers of Vichy France were severely limited.
Italian-occupied Corsica refers to the military occupation by the Kingdom of Italy of the island of Corsica during World War II. It lasted from November 1942 to September 1943.
The French Demarcation line was the boundary line marking the division of Metropolitan France into the territory occupied and administered by the German Army in the northern and western part of France and the Zone libre in the south during World War II. It was created by the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after the fall of France in May 1940.
France was the largest military power to come under occupation as part of the Western Front in World War II. The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations.