Operation Attila

(Hunnic leader of the mid-5th century)

This was a German plan for the emergency occupation of Vichy France, without Italian involvement, in the event of increasing French support for the Allies (summer 1940/autumn 1942).

It was on 10 December 1940 that Adolf Hitler issued his definitive Führerweisung Nr 19 for the seizure of French military resources and the future occupation of Vichy France in ‘Attila’, and cancelled the ‘Felix’ plan to take Gibraltar via landward assault after an advance through Spain. The occupation was implemented on 11/17 November 1942 as ‘Anton’ and ‘Lila’ with Italian participation after the Allied ‘Torch’ landings in French North-West Africa, and resulted in the scuttling by their crews of most French warships in the naval base at Toulon on the orders of Amiral Jean de Laborde. As a result of this action, the Germans lost the possible use of three battleships, seven cruisers, 28 destroyers and 20 submarines.