By the evening of November 10 1942, Axis forces had completed their preparations for Anton. The German First Army advanced from the Atlantic coast, parallel to the Spanish border, while the German Seventh Army advanced from central France towards Vichy and Toulon — both Armies under the command of General Johannes Blaskowitz. The Italian 4th Army occupied the French Riviera and an Italian division landed on Corsica. By the evening of November 11 1942, German tanks had reached the Mediterranean coast.
Vichy France limited its active resistance to radio broadcasts objecting to the violation of the armistice of 1940. The 50,000-strong Vichy French Army initially took defensive positions around Toulon, but when confronted by German demands to disband, they lacked the military capability to resist the Axis forces.
The Germans particularly targeted the demobilised French fleet at Toulon and formulated Operation Lila with the aim of capturing it intact. French naval commanders, however, managed to delay the Germans by negotiation and subterfuge long enough to scuttle their ships before the Germans could seize them, preventing three battleships, seven cruisers, 28 destroyers and 20 submarines from falling into the hands of the Axis powers.
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