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SenegalDakar: operation Menace

Gun battle
[Diagram by types of ship]

Start: Monday September 23, 1940 Ending: Wednesday September 25, 1940

The strategic importance of Dakar (Senegal) in the British eyes can not be underestimated. It would be a base much more useful than Freetown to protect the convoys circumnavigating Africa from England to the Middle-East. At that time, the Free French were successful rallying parts of the French colonial empire, like in Nouméa and New Caledonia or Camerun.
In Dakar though, Governor Boisson refused flatly any rallying offer by the De Gaulle and did not shy away from a confrontation with the Royal Navy. The fightings lasted for three days and the losses were high on both sides. De Gaulle's failure was not only military, but above all political. The British doubted that he was the right card to be played to rally the French on their side. It is the lowest point of his career as liberator of France. The conquest of Gabon a couple of months later did not make up for this.


Place: SenegalType: Gun battle

AlliesFrance (Vichy)
ForcesCunningham (Force M): 1 fleet carrier, 2 battleships, 3 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 10 destroyers, 2 sloops, 3 avisos, 1 trawler A/S, 6 troop transports, 5 freighters, 1 Tanker, 21 fighters, 25 torpedo planes, 8 000 men.
  • Boisson (Governor of Dakar): 1 battleship, 1 fleet torpedo boat, 4 escort or patrol boats, 5 auxiliary cruisers, 6 avisos, 3 submarines.
  • Bourragué (Force Y sent from Toulon a few day before and present in Dakar): 2 cruisers, 3 destroyers.
Total: 1 battleship, 2 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1 fleet torpedo boat, 4 escort or patrol boats, 5 auxiliary cruisers, 6 avisos, 3 submarines
Losses 6 torpedo planes lost.
2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers damaged.
2 submarines lost.
1 destroyer, 1 freighter damaged.

Webmaster's question(s) and remark(s): What was the name of the transports, the freighters and the tankers in the landing convoy ? I have not drawn all the civil ships present in the haven of Dakar. There were planes on the French sides. We are currently researching how many.

Additional information on the web : [BritishForces]

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