01 September 2010

Naval Alliance FAIL

Journalist Carl Prine recently alerted me to the news that the British and French, due to budget constraints, will actually be pooling their aircraft carrier fleets.  Thus, Britain and France will be able to keep at least one of their three aircraft carriers--the HMS Ark Royal, the HMS Illustrious and the Charles De Gaulle--at sea at any one time.

I, for one, am a tad cynical.  The British and French navies are, quite possibly, the only navies that have done more harm to one another as allies than they have as enemies.  In 1940, the British sank an entire French fleet off the coast of Algeria, killing over 1200 French sailors, for fear that the Germans--having recently accepted the French surrender--might use the French battle fleet against them. (H/T Rex Brynen for the reference to that one)

Over forty years later, during the Falkland Islands War, the British fleet was menaced by a new sea-skimming anti-ship missile which crippled or sank a number of British warships, most notably the HMS Sheffield.  The new weapon, of course, was the Exocet missile, manufactured in France and sold to the Argentinians.

Horatio Nelson must be rolling in his grave cask of brandy.


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