Mers-el-Kebir

Mers-el-Kebir

(mĕrs-ĕl-kəbĭr`), town, NW Algeria, on the Gulf of Oran. Originally a Roman port, it has a long history of maritime importance. During the 15th cent. it was a center of activity for corsairs and was twice occupied by the Portuguese. The Spanish held the town from 1505 to 1792; the French arrived in the 19th cent. After France's defeat by Germany in June, 1940, the French fleet sought refuge at Mers-el-Kebir, but the British navy sank or damaged most of the ships. The great French naval base at Mers-el-Kebir came to include subterranean installations where atomic tests were held. In 1962 the Evian Agreement, by which Algerian independence was acknowledged, allowed France to maintain the Mers-el-Kebir base for 15 years; however, the French evacuated the base in 1967.
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Perhaps Mr Page would like to include Sir Winston Churchill in his war criminal list for his order to destroy the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir in 1940, or Bomber Harris for directing the bombing of Dresden in 1945.
The French remained angry that the British had attacked the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir in July 1940 and at Dakar two months later.
He then describes the seizure of French ships when possible and, most controversial of all, the British destruction of the French fleet in Mers-el-Kebir after the French refused to hand over the ships.
Both Vichy France and Italy attacked from the air; Vichy in retaliation for the sinking of the French fleet by the British at Mers-el-Kebir, while the Italians flew from Sardinia and were allowed to refuel at Spanish airfields.
The French Vichy fleet was not sunk with all hands at Mers-el-Kebir, Paul Fussell never wrote a book called The Great War and Modern Germany (Modern Memory, Norman
The points upon which the negotiators agreed in principle included the future of the oil riches and nuclear installations in the Sahara, the use of the naval base of Mers-el-Kebir, the withdrawal of French troops from Algeria, the future of the European community in an independent Algeria, economic cooperation between France and Algeria after independence.