South Africa at war against … the French!

The Observation Post

Many people don’t know it, but South Africans also fought against the French in World War 2.

A key part of the East African and Asian campaigns in WW2 was the Allied occupation of the former French colony of Madagascar and South African units took part in the operation.

The purpose was to prevent the strategically important island from being used by Axis Pact powers – Japan, Germany and Italy primarily .

Problem was, at the onset of the war many French colonies and troops did not join the ‘Free French’ and remained loyal to the French government who where now under occupation and in control of the Germans. This newly defined French Vichy government was sympathetic to the fascist cause and signed on with the Axis pact – in effect they changed sides and fought on the side of Germany.  Madagascar was just such a French colony.

The Allies…

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