FRENCH SCUTTLE FLEET
Action Prevents Seizure by Nazis
LONDON, England—Sailors of the French navy scuttled most of that nation’s fleet to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. The action occurred as Nazi forces stormed the base at Toulon intending to seize the ships to prevent the fleet from sailing into Allied possession. The waterfront became a battle front as explosions rocked the harbor from scuttling. Many French sailor were killed in the explosions, while casualties were numerous on both sides from the skirmish. Over sixty vessels were sent to the bottom, including three battleships, seven cruisers, twenty-five destroyers, and twenty-seven submarines. Two submarines slipped out of the harbor and into the Mediterranean. The ships at Toulon represented approximately half of the French navy’s tonnage; the remainder has been under Allied control.