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July 3rd, 1940 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Two old French battleships 'Courbet' and 'Paris' and several destroyers and submarines, including the giant 'Surcouf', are in British ports. They are boarded and seized, but not before there are casualties on both sides; three British personnel and a French seaman die in scuffles on board the submarine Surcouf; In total 59 French warships are seized.

Tugs Abeille II, Abeille IV, Abeille V, Abeille VI, Abeille XIV, Abeille XX, Abeille XXI, Abeille XXII, Cherbourgeois I, Cherbourgeois III, Cherbourgeois IV, Divette, Elan II, Excellent, Faisan, Jobourg, La Frene, La Pernelle, La Salicoque, Lama, Mammouth, Mastodonte, Mouflon, Nacqueville, Nessus, Peuplier, Pingouin, Pintade, Plougastel, Portzic, Ramier, Rene le Besnerais, Risban, Urville commissioned into RN service.

Minesweeping trawlers HMS Aiglon, Andre et Louise, Congre, Henriette, L'Atlantique, and Pine commissioned.

The Admiralty considers withdrawal from the eastern Mediterranean. While Admiral Pound supports the idea, Churchill is adamantly opposed and quashes it. The concern involves the Italian Fleet and the fall of France. (Alex Gordon)

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - occupied airfields at Merville and Rotterdam.
51 Sqn. Four aircraft to Merville. Three bombed successfully, one returned early.
58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Rotterdam. Only two bombed, weather very bad.
2 Group: 15 Sqn. Aerial reconnaissance of Scharnhorst and bombing of Evere.
82 Sqn. Cloud-cover raids on French airfields.
107 Sqn. Nine aircraft bomb railways at Hamm, Hamborn, Wismar, Osnabruck and Leunan. Four sections also went after barges on the River Lek and bombed Schipol.

RAF Fighter Command: No 1. Squadron is declared operational again after its return from France.


NETHERLANDS: Henri Winkelman, the former Dutch Commander-in-Chief is arrested and taken to Germany.


ALGERIA: Operation Catapult - Admiral Somerville arrives with Force H off the French Algerian base of Mers-el-Kebir near Oran. The French Admiral Gensoul is offered a number of choices to ensure his fleet with its four capital ships stays out of Axis hands.

These are to join the British outright; be interned in British ports; sail to French ports in the West Indies; or scuttle their own ships.

All are turned down and, at around 18.00, Force H opens fire on the anchored ships. Battleship FS Bretagne blows up (total killed 36 officers, 151 Petty Officers and 825 Seamen) and the 'Dunkerque' and 'Provence', together with other ships are badly damaged killing 130 French sailors. The French ships and shore batteries return fire, but fail to hit any British ships. Battlecruiser 'Strasbourg' and some destroyers manage to break out in spite of attacks by aircraft from HMS Ark Royal. They reach Toulon.

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Chilliwack laid down North Vancouver British Columbia.
Corvette HMS Mayflower (later HMCS Mayflower) launched Montreal Province of Quebec.

U.S.A.: Submarine USS Tautog commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-26 (Type IA) is sunk at position 48.03N, 1130W, by 8 depth charges from an Australian Sunderland aircraft (Sqn 10/H). HMS Rochester picked up the 48 survivors (entire crew) from the attack.

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