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"Menace" to "Ironclad": The British Operations against Dakar (1940) and Madagascar (1942)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)769 - 809
Number of pages41
Issue number3
PublishedJul 2011

King's Authors


Two relatively unknown British operations during the Second World War-Operation "Menace" against Dakar (1940) and Operation "Ironclad" against Madagascar (1942)-offer a fascinating contrast, the former being a humiliating failure and the latter a striking success. This article seeks to explain the dramatic difference in their outcomes. Both were directed against Vichy France, with which Britain was not at war, and were undertaken at a time of particularly scarce resources and competing priorities, resulting in great challenges for political leaders and military planners. Unlike "Menace," "Ironclad" achieved the desired objective at minimum cost to either side, largely by securing and exploiting surprise.

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