Sunday, July 29, 2007

More plans that were moot

Winston Churchill like the idea for the "Gymnast" operation that would put Allied troops into Vichy North African colonies in northwest Africa. The British government hoped to be able to deal with General Weygand, but he was removed by the Vichy government on 18 November 1941. Operation Crusader was not going as well or as fast as had been hoped, so that slowed down consideration of "Gymnast". Still, the British were going to consult with U.S. President Roosevelt to help with France. They would essentially give the Vichy government an ultimatum, rather than negotiate with General Weygand. The commanders would rather have seen the operation target Tunisia than Morocco and Algeria, as they were too far to the west. The British went so far as to calculate that they would fly in three squadrons from Gibraltar and Malta, if the French acceded to their demands. All this became moot after 7 December 1941. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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