Gibraltar - 1923 French article about turning the rock into an aircraft hangar

Better image of the plan/idea in the article


medias.jpg


Why are the British so keen on Gibraltar?​


Fiercely clinging to the Rock of Gibraltar since the Treaty of Utrecht gave them full and complete possession of it in 1713, the English do not seem more inclined to do without their enclave in the Mediterranean Sea after the Brexit which will bring them out of the European Union than they were before. An article by Georges-Gustave Toudouze (1877-1972), dating from 1923 and taken from the yellowed pages of 'Je sais tout', could explain this attachment

A recent article in Courrier International affirms it: Brexit is likely to revive the secular tensions between Spaniards and English around the possession of Gibraltar. It turns out that I recently stumbled, in the always fascinating pages of an old binding of Je sais tout , on an illustrated article, much less recent but just as well informed, which sheds a new light on what could justify ( in addition to the banal reasons commonly accepted and unlikely to deceive our scholarly sagacity) the value of this piece of rock in the eyes of the perfidious Albion ... But let GG Toudouze shed all the light on what is perhaps no longer, and since a long time already, an improbable project! (LD)

The Rock of Gibraltar interior design project and its use​

Very impressed by the development of air transport, England decided to make an immense effort in the aeronautical field. It intends to double all its maritime navigation lines with air navigation lines. These lines will be served by rigid airships and seaplanes.

Commander Burney submitted to the British government the following general plan: rigid airships, cubic 140,000 meters and capable of crossing 70 miles an hour, would ensure the permanent link between England and each of the Dominions. Walking at a reduced speed of 40 miles an hour, these airships would take three and a half days to get from London to Bombay; from there, in four days, flying over Oceania, they would reach Sydney in Australia, then Auckland in New Zealand. This service could begin immediately, because Commander Burney has requested the handing over to his hands of the four rigid English navies currently ready. In exchange, he undertakes to provide the Admiralty with all the airships of his company on the day of a mobilization.

The project of this commercial air service seduced the Admiralty and the British public. In totality, it embraces the entire surface of the globe and covers it with a commercial air network, but which can be military overnight.

So the Admiralty immediately considered establishing this network in a practical way. And she is currently studying the transformation of the historic Rock of Gibraltar into a central British aviation station. For this, the rock which controls both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean would be transformed into an immense hive, hollowed out of innumerable galleries, in which on each floor would be a service: airships under mobile domes with eclipses, TSF, batteries, barracks. seaplanes and planes, ammunition, food, water and gas tanks, repair shops, repair shops and an underwater port. Nothing could be more original than this conception which would transform the old fortress into a unique center in the world.

From this center would leave for Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, the lines on India and Australia; to America the lines on Canada, Jamaica, Guyana; to the south, the lines to English Guinea, Saint Helena and Cape Town. Cape Town would be linked to Cairo, America, India. It would be a British aerial net stretched over the world.

Georges G. Toudouze
 

Stan_Deesey

War Hero
An interesting article - and a really fanciful idea. I´m not surprised that it came to naught.

ISTR that the airfield at Gib wasn´t built until WW2. After reading that article I wondered if launching and recovering airships from the Rock would have been possible due to the winds, but then I remembered that the USN operated airships from RAF Gibraltar during the war.

 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I've landed on Gib courtesy of Crab Air....it's a fairly hairy approach ;-)

Surprised it wasn't considered as a seaplane stop-over by Imperial Airways TBH
 

Stan_Deesey

War Hero
The concept could have been the inspiration for Tracey Island in the Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds series.

The underwater entrance to the submarine base looks bloody dangerous. The OOW would have had to pilot the sub blind through the minefield, then into and through the tunnel. It would have been a ride that was full of suspense for the crew!
 

Endoscope

LE
Book Reviewer
The French have always been mad. They imagined they could invade Britain by tunneling to it. Like that would ever have succeeded.... crazy fools
 

QRK2

LE
Don't forget the French bombed Gib in 1940.

On Tuesday, 24 September 64 bombers flew from bases in Oran, Tafaroui, Meknes, Mediouna, and Port Lyautey . The action was approved by both the German Armistice Commission and the Italian Armistice Commission. The French dropped 150 bombs on Gibraltar during the raid. They inflicted heavy damage on the fortress and encountered no British aircraft while doing so. The South Mole and a large ship in the harbour were heavily damaged. In the northern part of Gibraltar, fires broke out. However, most of the Vichy bombs again fell into the sea.

On 25 September, the French returned with a larger force of eighty-three bombers to cause additional damage to the naval base and harbour installations. Again, aircraft of the British Royal Air Force made no appearance. However, the French crews did report encountering heavy anti-aircraft fire. One LeO 451 bomber was lost and 13 other aircraft were lightly damaged during the two days of bombing attacks. The British armed trawler HMT Stella Sirius was sunk by bombs, and several civilians were killed.
 
Don't forget the French bombed Gib in 1940.

On Tuesday, 24 September 64 bombers flew from bases in Oran, Tafaroui, Meknes, Mediouna, and Port Lyautey . The action was approved by both the German Armistice Commission and the Italian Armistice Commission. The French dropped 150 bombs on Gibraltar during the raid. They inflicted heavy damage on the fortress and encountered no British aircraft while doing so. The South Mole and a large ship in the harbour were heavily damaged. In the northern part of Gibraltar, fires broke out. However, most of the Vichy bombs again fell into the sea.

On 25 September, the French returned with a larger force of eighty-three bombers to cause additional damage to the naval base and harbour installations. Again, aircraft of the British Royal Air Force made no appearance. However, the French crews did report encountering heavy anti-aircraft fire. One LeO 451 bomber was lost and 13 other aircraft were lightly damaged during the two days of bombing attacks. The British armed trawler HMT Stella Sirius was sunk by bombs, and several civilians were killed.
Err yes, and there was a sort of counter thingy at Mers-el-Kabir...with slightly different results.

 
I see your airport, and raise you a Tunnel to Africa

 

Yokel

LE
An interesting article - and a really fanciful idea. I´m not surprised that it came to naught.

ISTR that the airfield at Gib wasn´t built until WW2. After reading that article I wondered if launching and recovering airships from the Rock would have been possible due to the winds, but then I remembered that the USN operated airships from RAF Gibraltar during the war.


There was an airfield in Gibraltar in wartime days. HM Government promised Franco that the RAF would not fly operational sorties from there against the Germans, and they were true to their word. The RN took over the squadrons based there.
 

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