Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 32 kilometres long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 10 kilometres across at its widest point. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms. Collectively and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are called the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions, its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has an arid, cactus-strewn landscape; this climate has helped tourism. It has a land area of 179 km2 and is densely populated, with a total of 102,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census, it lies outside Hurricane Alley. The name Aruba may have different origins: From the Spanish Oro hubo which means "there was gold" From the Indian word Oruba which means "well-placed" From the Indian words Ora and Oubao Aruba's first inhabitants are thought to have been Caquetío Amerindians from the Arawak tribe, who migrated there from Venezuela to escape attacks by the Caribs.
Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to 1000 AD. As sea currents made canoe travel to other Caribbean islands difficult, Caquetio culture remained more associated with that of mainland South America. Europeans first learned of Aruba following the explorations for Spain by Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda in the summer of 1499. Both described Aruba as an "island of giants", remarking on the comparatively large stature of the native Caquetíos compared to Europeans. Gold was not discovered on Aruba for another 300 years. Vespucci returned to Spain with stocks of cotton and brazilwood from the island and described houses built into the ocean. Vespucci and Ojeda's tales spurred interest in Aruba, Spaniards soon colonized the island; because it had low rainfall, Aruba was not considered profitable for the plantation system and the economics of the slave trade. Aruba was colonized by Spain for over a century. Simas, the Cacique, or chief, in Aruba, welcomed the first Catholic priests in Aruba, who gave him a wooden cross as a gift.
In 1508, the Spanish Crown appointed Alonso de Ojeda as its first Governor of Aruba, as part of Nueva Andalucía. Arawaks spoke the "broken Spanish". Another governor appointed by Spain was Juan Martínez de Ampiés. A cédula real decreed in November 1525 gave Ampiés, factor of Española, the right to repopulate Aruba. In 1528, Ampiés was replaced by a representative of the House of Welser of Augsburg; the Netherlands seized Aruba from Spain in 1636 in the course of the Thirty Years' War. Since 1636, Aruba has been under Dutch administration governed by Peter Stuyvesant appointed to New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant was on a special mission in Aruba in November and December 1642; the island was included under the Dutch West India Company administration, as "New Netherland and Curaçao", from 1648 to 1664. In 1667 the Dutch administration appointed an Irishman as "Commandeur" in Aruba; the Dutch took control 135 years after the Spanish, leaving the Arawaks to farm and graze livestock, used the island as a source of meat for other Dutch possessions in the Caribbean.
Aruba's proximity to South America resulted in interaction with cultures of the coastal areas more than a century after independence of Netherlands from Spain. Dutch was not spoken on the island outside of colonial administration. Students on Curaçao, Bonaire were taught predominantly in Spanish until the late 18th century, when the British took Curaçao, Bonaire. Teaching of Spanish was restored when Dutch rule resumed in 1815. Efforts were made to introduce bilingual popular education in Dutch and Papiamentu in the late 19th century. During the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire took control over the island, between 1799 and 1802, between 1804 and 1816, before handing it back to the Dutch. During World War II with the occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 the oil facilities in Aruba came under the administration of the Dutch government-in-exile in London, Aruba continued to supply oil to the British and their allies. In August 1947, Aruba presented its first Staatsreglement, for Aruba's status aparte as an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
By 1954, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, providing a framework for relations between Aruba and the rest of the Kingdom. In 1972, at a conference in Suriname, Betico Croes, a politician from Aruba, proposed a sui-generis Dutch Commonwealth of four states: Aruba, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, each to have its own nationality. C. Yarzagaray, a parliamentary member representing the AVP political party, proposed a referendum so that the people of Aruba could choose whether they wanted total independence or Status Aparte as a full autonomous state under the Crown. Croes worked in Aruba to prepare the people of Aruba for independence. In 1976, he appointed a
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary or upper deck is the horizontal structure that forms the "roof" of the hull, strengthening it and serving as the primary working surface. Vessels have more than one level both within the hull and in the superstructure above the primary deck, similar to the floors of a multi-storey building, that are referred to as decks, as are certain compartments and decks built over specific areas of the superstructure. Decks for some purposes have specific names; the main purpose of the upper or primary deck is structural, only secondarily to provide weather-tightness and support people and equipment. The deck serves as the lid to the complex box girder, it resists tension and racking forces. The deck's scantling is the same as the topsides, or might be heavier if the deck is expected to carry heavier loads; the deck will be reinforced around deck fittings such as cleats, or bollards. On ships with more than one level, deck refers to the level itself.
The actual floor surface is called the sole, the term deck refers to a structural member tying the ships frames or ribs together over the keel. In modern ships, the interior decks are numbered from the primary deck, #1, downward and upward. So the first deck below the primary deck will be #2, the first above the primary deck will be #A2 or #S2; some merchant ships may alternatively designate decks below the primary deck machinery spaces, by numbers, those above it, in the accommodation block, by letters. Ships may call decks by common names, or may invent fanciful and romantic names for a specific deck or area of that specific ship, such as the Lido deck of the Princess Cruises' Love Boat. Equipment mounted on deck, such as the ship's wheel, fife rails, so forth, may be collectively referred to as deck furniture. Weather decks in western designs evolved from having structures fore and aft of the ship clear. Eastern designs developed earlier, with efficient middle decks and minimalist fore and aft cabin structures across a range of designs.
In vessels having more than one deck there are various naming conventions, alphabetically, etc. However, there are various common historical names and types of decks: 01 level is the term used in naval services to refer to the deck above the main deck; the next higher decks are referred to as the 02 level, the 03 level, so on. Although these are formally called decks, they are referred to as levels, because they are incomplete decks that do not extend all the way from the stem to the stern or across the ship. Afterdeck an open deck area toward the stern-aft. Berth deck: A deck next below the gun deck, where the hammocks of the crew are slung. Boat deck: Especially on ships with sponsons, the deck area where lifeboats or the ship's gig are stored. Boiler deck: The passenger deck above the vessel's boilers. Bridge deck: The deck area including the helm and navigation station, where the Officer of the Deck/Watch will be found known as the conn An athwartships structure at the forward end of the cockpit with a deck somewhat lower than the primary deck, to prevent a pooping wave from entering through the companionway.
May refer to the deck of a bridge. Flight deck: A deck from which aircraft take off or land. Flush deck: Any continuous unbroken deck from stem to stern. Forecastle deck: A partial deck above the main deck under which the sailors have their berths, extending from the foremast to the bow. Freeboard deck: assigned by a classification society to determine the ship's freeboard. Gun deck: on a multi-decked vessel, a deck below the upper deck where the ships' cannon were carried; the term referred to deck for which the primary function was the mounting of cannon to be fired in broadsides. However, on many smaller and unrated vessels the upper deck and quarterdeck bore all of the cannons but were not referred to as the gun deck. Hangar deck: A deck aboard an aircraft carrier used to store and maintain aircraft. Half-deck: That portion of the deck next below the forecastle or quarterdeck, between the mainmast and the cabin. Helicopter deck: Usually located near the stern and always kept clear of obstacles hazardous to a helicopter landing.
Hurricane deck:, the upper deck a light deck, erected above the frame of the hull. Lido deck: Open area at or near the stern of a passenger ship, housing the main outdoor swimming pool and sunbathing area. Lower deck: the deck over the hold, orig. only of a ship with two decks. Synonym for berth deck. Alternative name for a secondary gun deck Main deck: The principal deck of a vessel. Middle or Waist deck the working area of the deck. Orlop deck: The deck or part of a deck where the cables are stowed below the waterline, it is the lowest deck in a ship. Poop deck: The deck forming the roof of a poop or poop cabin, built on the upper deck and extending from the mizzenmast aft. Promenade deck: A "wrap-around porch" found on passenger ships a
Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany has been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain, it is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km². Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC. Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany.
The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire region. At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71 % lived in the region of Brittany. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes and Brest. Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic; the word Brittany, along with its French and Gallo equivalents Bretagne and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin Britannia, which means "Britons' land". This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain, more the Roman province of Britain; this word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη or Βρεττανίαι, used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands around 320 BC.
The Greek word itself comes from the common Brythonic ethnonym reconstructed as *Pritanī, itself from Proto-Celtic *kʷritanoi. The Romans called Brittany Armorica, together with a quite indefinite region that extended along the English Channel coast from the Seine estuary to the Loire estuary, according to several sources, maybe along the Atlantic coast to the Garonne estuary; this term comes from a Gallic word, which means "close to the sea". Another name, was used until the 12th century, it means "wide and flat" or "to expand" and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany: Llydaw. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many Britons settled in western Armorica, the region started to be called Britannia, although this name only replaced Armorica in the sixth century or by the end of the fifth. Authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia minor and Britannia major to distinguish Brittany from Britain. Breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin.
Breton can be divided into the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it and would write it Breih; the official spelling is a compromise with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, a standard which has never been accepted. On its side, Gallo language has never had a accepted writing system and several ones coexist. For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, a couple of other scripts exist. Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic; the first settlers were Neanderthals. This population was scarce and similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe, their only original feature was a distinct culture, called "Colombanian". One of the oldest hearths in the world has been found in Finistère, it is 450,000 years old. Homo sapiens settled in Brittany around 35,000 years ago.
They replaced or absorbed the Neanderthals and developed local industries, similar to the Châtelperronian or to the Magdalenian. After the last glacial period, the warmer climate allowed the area to become wooded. At that time, Brittany was populated by large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers. Agriculture was introduced during the 5th millennium BC by migrants from the east. However, the Neolithic Revolution in Brittany did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills. Neolithic Brittany is characterised by important megalithic production, it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture; the oldest monuments, were followed by princely tombs and stone rows. The Morbihan département, on the southern coast, comprises a large share of these structures, including the Carnac stones and the Broken Menhir of Er Grah in the Locmariaquer megaliths, the largest single stone erected by Neoli
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, can perform several roles; the term has been in use for several hundred years, has had different meanings throughout this period. During the Age of Sail, the term cruising referred to certain kinds of missions – independent scouting, commerce protection, or raiding – fulfilled by a frigate or sloop-of-war, which were the cruising warships of a fleet. In the middle of the 19th century, cruiser came to be a classification for the ships intended for cruising distant waters, commerce raiding, scouting for the battle fleet. Cruisers came in a wide variety of sizes, from the medium-sized protected cruiser to large armored cruisers that were nearly as big as a pre-dreadnought battleship. With the advent of the dreadnought battleship before World War I, the armored cruiser evolved into a vessel of similar scale known as the battlecruiser; the large battlecruisers of the World War I era that succeeded armored cruisers were now classified, along with dreadnought battleships, as capital ships.
By the early 20th century after World War I, the direct successors to protected cruisers could be placed on a consistent scale of warship size, smaller than a battleship but larger than a destroyer. In 1922, the Washington Naval Treaty placed a formal limit on these cruisers, which were defined as warships of up to 10,000 tons displacement carrying guns no larger than 8 inches in calibre; some variations on the Treaty cruiser design included the German Deutschland-class "pocket battleships" which had heavier armament at the expense of speed compared to standard heavy cruisers, the American Alaska class, a scaled-up heavy cruiser design designated as a "cruiser-killer". In the 20th century, the obsolescence of the battleship left the cruiser as the largest and most powerful surface combatant after the aircraft carrier; the role of the cruiser varied according to ship and navy including air defense and shore bombardment. During the Cold War, the Soviet Navy's cruisers had heavy anti-ship missile armament designed to sink NATO carrier task forces via saturation attack.
The U. S. Navy built guided-missile cruisers upon destroyer-style hulls designed to provide air defense while adding anti-submarine capabilities, being larger and having longer-range surface-to-air missiles than early Charles F. Adams guided-missile destroyers tasked with the short-range air defense role. By the end of the Cold War, the line between cruisers and destroyers had blurred, with the Ticonderoga-class cruiser using the hull of the Spruance-class destroyer but receiving the cruiser designation due to their enhanced mission and combat systems. Indeed, the newest U. S. and Chinese destroyers are more armed than some of the cruisers that they succeeded. Only two nations operate cruisers: the United States and Russia, in both cases the vessels are armed with guided missiles. BAP Almirante Grau was the last gun cruiser in service, serving with the Peruvian Navy until 2017; the term "cruiser" or "cruizer" was first used in the 17th century to refer to an independent warship. "Cruiser" meant the mission of a ship, rather than a category of vessel.
However, the term was nonetheless used to mean a faster warship suitable for such a role. In the 17th century, the ship of the line was too large and expensive to be dispatched on long-range missions, too strategically important to be put at risk of fouling and foundering by continual patrol duties; the Dutch navy was noted for its cruisers in the 17th century, while the Royal Navy—and French and Spanish navies—subsequently caught up in terms of their numbers and deployment. The British Cruiser and Convoy Acts were an attempt by mercantile interests in Parliament to focus the Navy on commerce defence and raiding with cruisers, rather than the more scarce and expensive ships of the line. During the 18th century the frigate became the preeminent type of cruiser. A frigate was a small, long range armed ship used for scouting, carrying dispatches, disrupting enemy trade; the other principal type of cruiser was the sloop, but many other miscellaneous types of ship were used as well. During the 19th century, navies began to use steam power for their fleets.
The 1840s sloops. By the middle of the 1850s, the British and U. S. Navies were both building steam frigates with long hulls and a heavy gun armament, for instance USS Merrimack or Mersey; the 1860s saw the introduction of the ironclad. The first ironclads were frigates, in the sense of having one gun deck. In spite of their great speed, they would have been wasted in a cruising role; the French constructed a number of smaller ironclads for overseas cruising duties, starting with the Belliqueuse, commissioned 1865. These "station ironclads" were the beginning of the development of the armored cruisers, a type of ironclad for the traditional cruiser missions of fast, independent raiding and patrol; the first true armored cruiser was the Russian General-Admiral, completed in 1874, followed by the British Shannon a few years later. Until the 1890s armored cr
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, a fleet of battleships was considered vital for any nation that desired to maintain command of the sea; the term battleship came into formal use in the late 1880s to describe a type of ironclad warship, now referred to by historians as pre-dreadnought battleships. In 1906, the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought into the United Kingdom's Royal Navy heralded a revolution in battleship design. Subsequent battleship designs, influenced by HMS Dreadnought, were referred to as "dreadnoughts", though the term became obsolete as they became the only type of battleship in common use. Battleships were a symbol of naval dominance and national might, for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. A global arms race in battleship construction began in Europe in the 1890s and culminated at the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905, the outcome of which influenced the design of HMS Dreadnought.
The launch of Dreadnought in 1906 commenced a new naval arms race. Three major fleet actions between steel battleships took place: the decisive battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War, the inconclusive Battle of Jutland during the First World War. Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the war, it was the last major battle fought by battleships in world history; the Naval Treaties of the 1920s and 1930s limited the number of battleships, though technical innovation in battleship design continued. Both the Allied and Axis powers built battleships during World War II, though the increasing importance of the aircraft carrier meant that the battleship played a less important role than had been expected; the value of the battleship has been questioned during their heyday. There were few of the decisive fleet battles that battleship proponents expected, used to justify the vast resources spent on building battlefleets. In spite of their huge firepower and protection, battleships were vulnerable to much smaller and inexpensive weapons: the torpedo and the naval mine, aircraft and the guided missile.
The growing range of naval engagements led to the aircraft carrier replacing the battleship as the leading capital ship during World War II, with the last battleship to be launched being HMS Vanguard in 1944. Four battleships were retained by the United States Navy until the end of the Cold War for fire support purposes and were last used in combat during the Gulf War in 1991; the last battleships were stricken from the U. S. Naval Vessel Register in the 2000s. A ship of the line was the dominant warship of its age, it was a large, unarmored wooden sailing ship which mounted a battery of up to 120 smoothbore guns and carronades. The ship of the line developed over centuries and, apart from growing in size, it changed little between the adoption of line of battle tactics in the early 17th century and the end of the sailing battleship's heyday in the 1830s. From 1794, the alternative term'line of battle ship' was contracted to'battle ship' or'battleship'; the sheer number of guns fired broadside meant a ship of the line could wreck any wooden enemy, holing her hull, knocking down masts, wrecking her rigging, killing her crew.
However, the effective range of the guns was as little as a few hundred yards, so the battle tactics of sailing ships depended in part on the wind. The first major change to the ship of the line concept was the introduction of steam power as an auxiliary propulsion system. Steam power was introduced to the navy in the first half of the 19th century for small craft and for frigates; the French Navy introduced steam to the line of battle with the 90-gun Napoléon in 1850—the first true steam battleship. Napoléon was armed as a conventional ship-of-the-line, but her steam engines could give her a speed of 12 knots, regardless of the wind condition; this was a decisive advantage in a naval engagement. The introduction of steam accelerated the growth in size of battleships. France and the United Kingdom were the only countries to develop fleets of wooden steam screw battleships although several other navies operated small numbers of screw battleships, including Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Naples and Austria.
The adoption of steam power was only one of a number of technological advances which revolutionized warship design in the 19th century. The ship of the line was overtaken by the ironclad: powered by steam, protected by metal armor, armed with guns firing high-explosive shells. Guns that fired explosive or incendiary shells were a major threat to wooden ships, these weapons became widespread after the introduction of 8-inch shell guns as part of the standard armament of French and American line-of-battle ships in 1841. In the Crimean War, six line-of-battle ships and two frigates of the Russian Black Sea Fleet destroyed seven Turkish frigates and three corvettes with explosive shells at the Battle of Sinop in 1853. In the war, French ironclad floating batteries used similar weapons against the defenses at the Battle of Kinburn. Wooden-hulled ships stood up comparatively well to shells, as shown in the 1866 Battle of Lissa, where the modern Austrian steam two-decker SMS Kaiser ranged across a confused battlefield, rammed an Italian ironclad and took 80 hits from Italian ironclads, many of which were shells, but including at least one 300-pound shot at point-blank range.
Despite losing her bowsprit and her foremast, bei
Attack on Mers-el-Kébir
The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir known as the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir, was part of Operation Catapult. The operation was a British naval attack on French Navy ships at the base at Mers El Kébir on the coast of French Algeria; the bombardment killed 1,297 French servicemen, sank a battleship and damaged five ships, for a British loss of five aircraft shot down and two crewmen killed. The attack by air-and-sea was conducted by the Royal Navy after France had signed armistices with Germany and Italy that came into effect on 25 June. Of particular significance to the British were the seven battleships of the Bretagne and Richelieu classes, the second largest force of capital ships in Europe after the Royal Navy; the British War Cabinet feared that France would hand the ships to the Kriegsmarine, giving the Axis assistance in the Battle of the Atlantic. Admiral François Darlan, commander of the French Navy, promised the British that the fleet would remain under French control but Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet judged that the fleet was too powerful to risk an Axis take-over.
After the attack at Mers-el-Kébir and the Battle of Dakar, French aircraft raided Gibraltar in retaliation and the Vichy government severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom. The attack created much rancour between France and Britain but demonstrated to the world that Britain intended to fight on; the attack is controversial and the motives of the British are debated. In 1979, P. M. H. Bell wrote; the predominant British motive was thus dire necessity and self-preservation". The French thought they were acting honourably in terms of their armistice with Nazi Germany and were convinced they would never turn over their fleet to Germany. Vichy France was created on 10 July 1940, one week after the attack and was seen by the British as a puppet state of the Nazi regime. French grievances festered for years over. On 27 November 1942, the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon foiled Operation Anton, a German attempt to capture the rest of the French fleet after the Allied invasion of Morocco and French Algeria in Operation Torch.
After the Fall of France in 1940 and the armistice between France and Nazi Germany, the British War Cabinet was apprehensive about the Germans acquiring control of the French navy from the government of Vichy France. The French and German navies combined could alter the balance of power at sea, threatening British imports over the Atlantic and communications with the rest of the British Empire; that the armistice terms at article eight paragraph two stated that the German government "solemnly and declared that it had no intention of making demands regarding the French fleet during the peace negotiations" and that similar terms existed in the armistice with Italy, were considered to be no guarantee of the neutralisation of the French fleet. On 24 June, Darlan assured Winston Churchill against such a possibility. Churchill ordered that a demand be made that the French Navy should either join with the Royal Navy or be neutralised in a manner guaranteed to prevent the ships falling into Axis hands.
At Italian suggestion, the armistice terms were amended to permit the French fleet to stay temporarily in North African ports, where they might be seized by Italian troops from Libya. The British made contingency plans to eliminate the French fleet in mid-June, when it was clear that Philippe Pétain was forming a government with a view to signing an armistice and it seemed that the French fleet might be seized by the Germans. In a speech to Parliament, Churchill repeated that the Armistice of 22 June 1940 was a betrayal of the Allied agreement not to make a separate peace. Churchill said "What is the value of that? Ask half a dozen countries; the armistice could be voided at any time on any pretext of non-observance..."The French fleet had seen little fighting during the Battle of France and was intact. By tonnage, about 40 percent was in Toulon, near Marseilles, 40 percent in French North Africa and 20 percent in Britain and the French West Indies. Although Churchill feared the fleet would be put into action, the Axis leaders did not intend to employ a combined Franco-Italian-German force.
The German Navy and Benito Mussolini made overtures but Adolf Hitler feared that the French fleet would defect to the British and be used against German submarines in the Atlantic if he tried to take it over. Churchill and Hitler viewed the fleet as a potential threat; the armistice was contingent on the French right to man their vessels and the French Navy Minister, Admiral François Darlan, had ordered the Atlantic fleet to Toulon to demobilise, with orders to scuttle if the Germans tried to take the ships. The British tried to persuade the French authorities in North Africa to continue the war, or alternatively to hand over the fleet to British control. A British admiral visited Oran on 24 June, on 27 June Duff Cooper, Minister of Information, visited Casablanca; the French Atlantic ports were in German hands, while the British needed to keep the German surface fleet out of the Mediterranean, to confine the Italian fleet to the Mediterranean and to blockade the Vichy ports. The Admiralty was against an attack on the French fleet, since if not enough damage were done to the ships, Vichy France would be provoked into declaring war and t