Case Anton

Case Anton

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Operation Anton was the codename for the military occupation of Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 carried out by Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Italy
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 in November 1942.

Background


A German plan to occupy Vichy France had originally been drawn up in December 1940 under the codename of Operation Attila
Operation Attila (WW II)
During World War II, Operation Attila was a plan for the Nazi occupation of Vichy France. This plan was drawn up in 1940 in case the French rejoined the Allies or in case of an Allied threat to the south of France....

, and soon came to be considered as a single operation with Operation Camellia, the plan to occupy Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

. Operation Anton updated the original Operation Attila, including different German units and adding Italian
Royal Italian Army
The Regio Esercito was the army of the Kingdom of Italy from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946...

 involvement.

Following the Allied landings in French North Africa on 8 November 1942 (Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

), Adolf Hitler could not risk an exposed flank on the French Mediterranean. Following a final conversation with French Premier Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively. Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of...

, Hitler gave orders for Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 to be occupied on 11 November, and Vichy France the following day.

History


By the evening of 10 November 1942, Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 forces had completed their preparations for Anton. The German First Army
German First Army
-First World War:The 1st Army during World War I, fought on the Western Front and took part in the Schlieffen Plan offensive against France and Belgium in August 1914. Commanded by General Alexander von Kluck, the 1st Army's job was to command the extreme right of the German forces in attacking...

 advanced from the Atlantic coast, parallel to the Spanish border, while the German Seventh Army
German Seventh Army
The 7th Army was a World War I and World War II field army of the German land forces.-Origins:The 7th Army was activated in Stuttgart on August 25, 1939 with General Friedrich Dollmann in command. At the outbreak of the war, the 7th Army defended the German border and manned the Westwall in the...

 advanced from central France towards Vichy
Vichy
Vichy is a commune in the department of Allier in Auvergne in central France. It belongs to the historic province of Bourbonnais.It is known as a spa and resort town and was the de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944.The town's inhabitants...

 and Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 — both armies under the command of General Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Blaskowitz
Johannes Albrecht Blaskowitz was a German general during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

. The Italian 4th Army occupied the French Riviera
French Riviera
The Côte d'Azur, pronounced , often known in English as the French Riviera , is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco...

 and an Italian division landed on Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

. By the evening of 11 November, German tanks had reached the Mediterranean coast.

Vichy France limited its active resistance to radio broadcasts objecting to the violation of the armistice of 1940
Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed at 18:50 on 22 June 1940 near Compiègne, in the department of Oise, between Nazi Germany and France...

. The 50,000-strong Vichy French Army initially took defensive positions around Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

, but when confronted by German demands to disband, they lacked the military capability to resist the Axis forces.

The Germans formulated Operation Lila with the aim of capturing intact the demobilised French fleet at Toulon. French naval
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

 commanders, however, managed to delay the Germans by negotiation and subterfuge long enough to scuttle
Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon
The French fleet in Toulon was scuttled on 27 November 1942 on the order of the Admiralty of Vichy France to avoid capture by Nazi German forces during Operation Lila of the Case Anton takeover of Vichy France.- Context :...

 their ships on 27 November, before the Germans could seize them, preventing three battleships, seven cruisers, 28 destroyers and 20 submarines from falling into the hands of the Axis powers. While the German Naval War Staff were disappointed, Adolf Hitler considered that the elimination of the French fleet sealed the success of Operation Anton.

See also

  • Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon
    Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon
    The French fleet in Toulon was scuttled on 27 November 1942 on the order of the Admiralty of Vichy France to avoid capture by Nazi German forces during Operation Lila of the Case Anton takeover of Vichy France.- Context :...

  • German occupation of France during World War II
  • Italian occupation of France during World War II
  • Italian Empire
    Italian Empire
    The Italian Empire was created after the Kingdom of Italy joined other European powers in establishing colonies overseas during the "scramble for Africa". Modern Italy as a unified state only existed from 1861. By this time France, Spain, Portugal, Britain, and the Netherlands, had already carved...