Operation Squadron X

'Squadron X' was the Allied codename for the force of French warships under the command of Contre-amiral René Emile Godfroy in Egyptian ports (April/August 1943).

The French squadron comprised the old battleship Lorraine, the heavy cruisers Duquesne, Suffren and Tourville, the light cruiser Duguay Truin, the destroyers Basque, Forbin and Fortuné, and the submarine Protée.

After the start of World War II, Lorraine served primarily in the western Mediterranean, and on 4 December departed Casablanca, together with the cruisers Algérie, La Galissonnière and Marseillaise, as well as several destroyers and submarines, against German blockade runners and any possible German surface ship attacks on the Azores islands group and West Africa. During this period, the battleship also carried a shipment of gold bullion from the French treasury to Bermuda. On 1 January 1940, the ship was transferred to the 2nd Battleship Division of the 1st Squadron, and was then dry-docked for a refit lasting until April.

On 27 April, Lorraine and her two sister ships were transferred to Alexandria, but by 10 June, the date on which Italy declared war on France and the UK, both Bretagne and Provence had been redeployed back to the western Mediterranean. Lorraine was the only French capital ship in the eastern Mediterranean, supplementing four British battleships and one British aircraft carrier. On the night of 20/21 June, Lorraine formed was the core of an Anglo-French task force, with the British light cruisers Neptune and Orion, Australian light cruiser Sydney, British destroyers Dainty, Decoy and Hasty, and Australian destroyer Stuart for a bombardment of Italian positions at Bardia. The operation, which caused only minimal damage, was the last combined British and French naval operation before the French surrender.

After the French surrender, Godfroy reached an agreement with Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, commanding the British Mediterranean Fleet, for the French ships to be interned and demilitarised (bunkers emptied and firing mechanisms removed from the guns) at Alexandria in return for Cunningham’s assurance that crews wishing to return to France would be repatriated. In December 1942, following the German 'Attila' and 'Lila' seizure of Vichy France and attempted seizure of the Vichy French fleet at Toulon, the ships' crews decided to join the Allies in the Free French naval forces.