Scuttling of the French fleet – The “suicide” of the big naval force in Toulon


Most of the French fleet was scuttled by order of the Admiralty, in reaction to Operation Lila. The objective of operation was to capture the units of the French fleet at Toulon intact, and was carried out by the 7th Panzer Division, augmented with units from other divisions.

The naval base of Toulon in 1944. The French destroyed more than 70 ships, including warships, cruisers, destroyers, torpedo boats, mania, submarines, patrol boats, auxiliary ships, tugs.

The Operation Lila was initiated by the Germans on 19 November 1942, to be completed by 27 November. German forces were to enter the French city from the east, and from the west, capturing the main arsenal and the coastal defenses.

More than 80% of the French fleet is destroyed while some units set sail, escaping both the disintegration and the capture of the Axis.

The harbor of Toulon, where the destruction of the French navy took place / Image source

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