Williams, John.


Heinemann, 1st.ed., 1976. Xii + 201 pp., 5 photo-plates & 2 maps. D.j., 22 x 14cm. FINE. In the summer of 1940 after France had fallen and Britain stood alone, it was feared in London that the Germans might seize the important French naval base at Dakar, in Senegal, and so threaten Britain’s vital shipping routes to Cape Town and beyond. America, not yet in the war, also expressed concern as Dakar was the nearest point in Africa to their continent. This is the first full-length English account of the expedition of 7,000 French and British troops commanded by de Gaulle and General Spears, escorted by warships of the Royal Navy under Cunningham’s command. Their first aim was to persuade Vichy French to support the Free French. The defenders in Dakar knew little of de Gaulle and cared even less and things went wrong from the start. Six French warships slipped past Gibraltar, and the fiasco at Dakar brought about Churchill’s reorganization of the British war effort.

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