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Battle of Gabon
Part of Fighting in French West Africa, World War II
French Equatorial Africa.PNG
Date8–12 November 1940
LocationFrench Equatorial Africa
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 Free French
France Vichy France
Commanders and leaders
Free French Forces Charles de Gaulle
Free French Forces Pierre Koenig
France Marcel Tetu
Casualties and losses
Unknown 1 colonial sloop
1 submarine

The Battle of Gabon or the Battle of Libreville was part of the fighting in French West Africa that occurred in November 1940 as part of World War II. The battle resulted in the Free French forces under General Charles de Gaulle taking Libreville, Gabon, and taking all of French Equatorial Africa from Vichy French forces.

Background

On 8 October 1940, General de Gaulle arrived in Douala. On 12 October, he authorized plans for the invasion of French Equatorial Africa. De Gaulle also wanted to use French Equatorial Africa as a base to launch attacks into Axis-controlled Libya. For this reason, he personally headed northward to survey the situation in Chad, located on the southern border of Libya.[1]

On 27 October, Free French forces crossed into French Equatorial Africa and took the town of Mitzic. On 5 November, the Vichy garrison at Lambaréné capitulated. Meanwhile, the main Free French forces under General Philippe Leclerc and Battalion Chief Marie Pierre Koenig departed from Douala, French Cameroon. Their goal was to take Libreville, French Equatorial Africa.[1]

Battle

On 8 November 1940, the Shoreham class sloop HMS Milford sank the Vichy submarine Poncelet.[2] Koenig's forces landed at Pointe La Mondah. His forces included French Legionnaires (including the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade), Senegalese, and Cameroonian troops.[1]

On 9 November, Lysander aircraft operating out of Douala bombed the Libreville aerodrome. The aerodrome was eventually captured, despite the stiff resistance encountered by Koenig's force during their approach. Free French naval forces, including the colonial sloop Savorgnan de Brazza attacked and sank the Vichy colonial sloop Bougainville. Bougainville was the sister ship to Savorgnan de Brazza.[1] [2]

On 12 November, the final Vichy forces capitulated at Port Gentil. Governor Masson—despairing of his actions—committed suicide.[1]

Order of battle

Free French

Vichy French

Aftermath

On 15 November, de Gaulle's personal appeal failed to persuade most of the captured Vichy soldiers—including General Marcel Tetu to join the Free French. As a result, they were interned as prisoners of war in Brazzaville, French Congo for the duration of the war.[1]

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 0°23′24″N 9°27′6″E / 0.39°N 9.45167°E / 0.39; 9.45167

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