Tasked with landing the 18,500 men of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. 1st Armored Division on two beaches west of Oran and one to the east, they encountered difficulty due to insufficient reconnaissance. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. During the landing phase, ground forces were to be commanded by U.S. Major General Charles W. Ryder, Commanding General (CG) of the 34th Division and naval forces were commanded by Royal Navy Vice-Admiral Sir Harold Burrough. In Operation Torch, they had the task of slipping into Oran harbor, carrying two companies of the US 1 st Armored Division for an assault on the port. On July 26, 1942, Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower , whom U.S. Army chief of staff Gen. George C. Marshall had chosen as commander of the U.S. forces in the European theatre, was given the post. https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-operation-torch-2361497 (accessed January 25, 2021). The Al­lies planned an An­glo-Amer­i­can in­va­sion of north-west­ern Africa/Maghreb—Mo­rocco, Al­ge­ria and Tunisia, ter­ri­tory nom­i­nally in the hands of the Vichy French gov­ern­ment. Giraud succeeded Darlan but, like him, replaced few of the Vichy officials. As at Oran, an attempt was made to land directly in the harbor using two destroyers. [21]) In reality, the Eastern Task Force—aimed at Algiers—was commanded by Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson and consisted of a brigade from the British 78th and the U.S. 34th Infantry Divisions, along with two British commando units (No. This was Operation Torch, America's first offensive operation in the European theater of war and, until Operation Overlord's Normandy landings, the greatest amphibious attack in history. Ideally there would also be a landing at Tunis to secure Tunisia and facilitate the rapid interdiction of supplies traveling via Tripoli to Rommel's forces in Libya. The 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, aboard 39 C-47 Dakotas, flew all the way from Cornwall in England, over Spain, to drop near Oran and capture airfields at Tafraoui and La Sénia, respectively 15 miles (24 km) and 5 miles (8 km) south of Oran. One of the major unexpected benefits from Torch was the fact that military operations in the Mediterranean from November 1942 to the fall of 1943 allowed the British and Americans to establish an effective combined, joint high command. On 19 November, the German commander, Walter Nehring, demanded passage for his troops across the bridge at Medjez and was refused. Anderson (CG, 3rd Infantry Division, USA) (18,783 officers and enlisted), Fez Division (Maj. Gen. Maurice-Marie Salbert), Meknès Division (Maj. Gen. Andre-Marie-François Dody), Marrakech Division (Brig. He succeeded in contacting several French officers, including General Charles Mast, the French commander-in-chief in Algiers. Wiki User Answered . Elsewhere, French warships, such as the battleship Richelieu, rejoined the Allies. The setbacks at Kasserine forced the Allies to consolidate their forces, develop their lines of communication and administration before another offensive. He favored the eastern option because of the advantages it gave to an early capture of Tunis and also because the Atlantic swells off Casablanca presented considerably greater risks to an amphibious landing there than would be encountered in the Mediterranean. I sommergibili dell'Asse e l'Operazione Torch. With the assistance of air support from the carriers, the troops pushed ahead, and the objectives were captured. It began on November 8 and concluded on November 16, 1942. Answer. The Vichy French had around 125,000 soldiers in the territories as well as coastal artillery, 210 operational but out-of-date tanks and about 500 aircraft, half of which were Dewoitine D.520 fighters—equal to many British and U.S. These numbered around 120,000 men, 500 aircraft, and several warships. The naval force for the operation would be led by Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham. USS Dallas. (Bonnier de La Chapelle was arrested on the spot and executed two days later.). In the west, the forces of the First Army came under attack at the end of January, were forced back from the Faïd Pass and suffered a reversal at the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid on 14–15 February. No role was provided for Free France, which was supposed to be France's government-in-exile and had taken charge in other French colonies. In the hours prior to the landings, resistance teams under Henri d'Astier de la Vigerie and José Aboulker attempted a coup against General Alphonse Juin. Operation Torch - the Invasion of N orth A frica. Senior US commanders remained strongly opposed to the landings and after the western Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) met in London on 30 July, 1942 General George Marshall and Admiral Ernest King declined to approve the plan. Although ammunition was short and equipment obsolete, their fighting caliber was high. Rendezvousing with Mast and others at the Villa Teyssier in Cherchell, Algeria on Oct. 21, 1942, Clark was able to secure their support. Landings at the westernmost beach were delayed because of a French convoy which appeared while the minesweepers were clearing a path. [8] In addition, there were 10 or so warships and 11 submarines at Casablanca. Under the direction of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, AUS, Adm. Andrew B. Cunningham, RN, Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, USN, and others, the Allies kept pressure on the Axis by attacking what Winston Churchill dubbed the soft underbelly of … This Western Task Force consisted of the U.S. 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions, and two battalions from the U.S. 2nd Armored Division — 35,000 troops in a convoy of over 100 ships. The Western Task Force landed before daybreak on 8 November 1942, at three points in Morocco: Safi (Operation Blackstone), Fedala (Operation Brushwood, the largest landing with 19,000 men), and Mehdiya-Port Lyautey (Operation Goalpost). Giraud supported that but also preferred to maintain the old Vichy administration in North Africa. Gen. Henry Jules Jean Maurice Martin), This page was last edited on 24 January 2021, at 08:40. He preferred to wait in Gibraltar for the results of the landing. While it was hoped that the French would not resist, the defenders opened fire on the two ships and inflicted significant casualties. Crusade in Europe, pp. As a result, the decision was made to land at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. All the coastal batteries had been neutralized by the French Resistance and one French commander defected to the Allies. There are a total of (21) Operation Torch - WW2 Timeline (November 8th - 10th, 1942) events in the Second World War timeline database. Safi surrendered on the afternoon of 8 November. Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. Torch was the first major airborne assault carried out by the United States. Operation Torch resulted in the death of about 480 Allied troops while another 720 were wounded. A Western Task Force (aimed at Casablanca) was composed of American units, with Major General George S. Patton in command and Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt heading the naval operations. Responding, Hewitt directed aircraft from USS Ranger (CV-4) and USS Suwannee (CVE-27), which had been striking French airfields and other targets, to attack targets in the harbor while other Allied warships, including the battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-59), moved inshore and opened fire. As agreed at Cherchell, in the early hours of 8 November, the Géo Gras Group, 400 mainly Jewish French Resistance fighters staged a coup in the city of Algiers. The Morocco landings ruled out the early occupation of Tunisia. In 1942, having been persuaded of the impracticality of launching an invasion of France as a second front, American commanders agreed to conduct landings in northwest Africa with the goal of clearing the continent of Axis troops and preparing the way for a future attack on southern Europe. The Vichy French naval fleet broke from the harbor and attacked the Allied invasion fleet but its ships were all sunk or driven ashore. As the "Hinge of Fate" was turning across the globe, Operation Torch became the US military's first step toward defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe. The occupation of French North Africa was seen as a first step in that process. "The Stamford Historical Society Presents: Operation Torch and the Invasion of North Africa", "Frederick Thornton Peters - the Canadian Virtual War Memorial - Veterans Affairs Canada", "Remembering Operation Torch on its 75th anniversary", United States Army Center of Military History, "Chapter 7: The Decision to Invade North Africa (Torch)", The Decision to Invade North Africa (TORCH), US Army Campaigns of World War II Series/Algeria-French Morocco, History and photos of the operations of the USS Ranger and its Air Group during Operation Torch, (North African Jewish Resistance to Nazis and the Holocaust), The accord Franco-Américan of Messelmoun (in French), Report of the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces to the Combined Chief of Staff on Operations in North Africa, Operation Torch: Allied Invasion of North Africa, Operation TORCH Motion Pictures from the National Archives, Provisional Government of the French Republic, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, Commander, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, Military Governor, U.S. Northern Attack Group (Mehedia), Major General Lloyd R. Fredendall, USA (CG, II Corps, USA) The deal was made on 10 November, and French resistance ceased almost at once. They were for the most part native troops officered by Frenchmen. General Sir Harold Alexander arrived in Tunisia in late February to take charge of the new 18th Army Group headquarters, which had been created to command the Eighth Army and the Allied forces already fighting in Tunisia. Carrier aircraft destroyed a French truck convoy bringing reinforcements to the beach defenses. Jun 7, 2019 - Explore Kathy roe's board "Operation Torch" on Pinterest. Operation Torch was an attack led by General Dewight Eisenhower (from the United States). WikiMatrix WikiMatrix. -51% $19.99 $9.80. Torch was a compromise operation that met the British objective of securing victory in North Africa while allowing American armed forces the opportunity to engage in the fight against Nazi Germany on a limited scale. Operation Torch, which involved 196 ships of the Royal Navy and 105 of the United States Navy, landed about 107,000 Allied soldiers. Rommel advised Hitler to allow a full retreat to a defensible line but was denied and on 9 March, Rommel left Tunisia to be replaced by Jürgen von Arnim, who had to spread his forces over 100 mi (160 km) of northern Tunisia. The 36th Brigade Group from the British 78th Infantry Division stood by in floating reserve. "World War II: Operation Torch." It also offended much of the British and American public, who regarded all Vichy French as Nazi collaborators and Darlan as one of the worst. These officers were willing to support the Allies but asked for a clandestine conference with a senior Allied General in Algeria. Two others landed in French Morocco and three in Spanish Morocco, where another Dakota dropped its paratroopers by mistake. However, Noguès telephoned loyal forces, who stopped the coup. The incomplete French battleship Jean Bart—which was docked and immobile—fired on the landing force with her one working gun turret until disabled by the 16-inch calibre American naval gunfire of USS Massachusetts, the first such heavy-calibre shells fired by the U.S. Navy anywhere in World War II. Operation Torch is an expansion of the acclaimed wargame, Gary Grigsbys War in the West. By the time the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment arrived, French snipers had pinned the assault troops (most of whom were in combat for the first time) on Safi's beaches. The Germans took the airfields there and brought in more troops. Due to navigational and endurance issues, the drop was scattered and the bulk of the aircraft forced to land in the desert. The Germans and the Italians immediately occupied southern France, and German troops moved to seize the French fleet in the port of Toulon from 10 November. Operation Reservist failed, as the two Banff-class sloops were destroyed by crossfire from the French vessels there. The First and Eighth Armies attacked again in April. The French troops in North Africa who were not already captured submitted to and eventually joined the Allied forces. Hickman, Kennedy. See more ideas about operation torch, world war two, torch. On 8 November 1942, the invasion commenced with landings on three beaches—two west of Algiers and one east. The Allies believed that the Vichy French forces would not fight, partly because of information supplied by American Consul Robert Daniel Murphy in Algiers. With British forces advancing from Egypt, this would eventually allow the Allies to carry out a pincer operation against Axis forces in North Africa. The Allies planned an Anglo-American invasion of northwestern Africa — Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, territory nominally in the hands of the Vichy French government. Eisenhower in particular benefited from the experience of leading a combined force of Britis… The success of Torch caused Admiral François Darlan, commander of the Vichy French forces to order co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many other Vichy officials keeping their jobs. However, Darlan in Algiers had such authority. Wracked with indecision, Barré moved his troops into the hills and formed a defensive line from Teboursouk through Medjez el Bab and ordered that anyone trying to pass through the line would be shot. [9] The French troops withdrew to the west and, within a few days, began to skirmish against the Germans, encouraged by small American and British detachments who had reached the area. As a result of French failure to prevent an Allied invasion, Adolf Hitler ordered an invasion and takeover of Vichy, France. Major General Mark W. Clark—one of Eisenhower's senior commanders—was dispatched to Cherchell in Algeria aboard the British submarine HMS Seraph and met with these Vichy French officers on 21 October 1942. Successful completion of these operations was to be followed by an eastwards advance into Tunisia. Occupation Zone in Germany, Khrushchev, Eisenhower and De-Stalinization, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, People to People Student Ambassador Program, Republican Party presidential primaries, 1948, United States Presidential election, 1952, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, gravesite, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Statue of Dwight D. 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His demand was refused and instead, Giraud became a spectator for the duration of the operation. Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942.. This gave the French defenders time to organize resistance, and the remaining landings were conducted under artillery bombardment. Colonel Edson D. Raff was in command. Additional air support was provided by the carrier USS Ranger, whose squadrons intercepted Vichy aircraft and bombed hostile ships. During the time of Operation Torch the French Air Force had some 500 aircraft based on five airfields in Morocco, all within easy range of Casablanca, and various other fields in Algeri… However, they harbored suspicions that the Vichy French navy would bear a grudge over the British attack on Mers-el-Kebir in 1940. HMS Walney, formerly USS Sebago, after refit. Asked by Wiki User. Though Eisenhower had intended to make Giraud the commander of French forces in North Africa after the invasion, the Frenchman demanded that he be given the overall command of the operation. Juin was treated to a surprise: Admiral François Darlan—the commander of all French forces—was also in Algiers on a private visit. His covert mission was to determine the mood of the French forces and to make contact with elements that might support an Allied invasion. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-operation-torch-2361497. Operation Flagpole was part of the run-up to Operation Torch, the planned Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II. Though the landings fell behind schedule, the French were eventually driven back as naval gunfire support and aviation played an increasing role. Though de Gaulle had no official power in Vichy North Africa, much of its population now publicly declared Free French allegiance, putting pressure on Darlan. Operation Torch thus provided Roosevelt with uneven results. German support for the Vichy French came in the shape of air support. The troops used in the attack were the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Heavy artillery fire prevented one destroyer from landing but the other was able to disembark 250 Rangers before it too was driven back to sea. Operation Torch was the invasion of west North Africa to prevent the Germans taking control of the territories occupied by the French, then under the control of the Vichy French Government. With British forces ad­vanc­ing from Egypt, this would even­tu­ally allow the Al­lies to carry out a pin­cer op­er­a­tion against Axis forces in North Africa. On 24 December, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, a French resistance fighter and anti-fascist monarchist, assassinated Darlan. Who was involved in operation torch? Conversely, there was concern about French resentment over the British attack on Mers el Kebir in 1940, which had inflicted heavy damage on French naval forces. However, Tunis was much too close to the Axis airfields in Sicily and Sardinia for any hope of success. The Invasion was the largest anphib assualt in History. "World War II: Operation Torch." figure it out yourself. [6] It was the first mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, and saw the first major airborne assault carried out by the United States. Hard fighting followed but the Allies cut off the Germans and Italians from support by naval and air forces between Tunisia and Sicily. A compromise would be to land at Bône (Annaba) in eastern Algeria, some 300 miles (480 km) closer to Tunis than Algiers. [25] The commander of Reservist, Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in pushing the attack through Oran harbour in the face of point blank fire. A total of 67 American troops were interned by Franco's forces until February 1943. The French had suffered many casualties and lacking artillery and armour, Barré was forced to withdraw.[36]. Later, all French forces were withdrawn from action and properly reequipped by the Allies. Approx. At Fedala, weather disrupted the landings. In the early morning, the local Gendarmerie arrived and released Juin and Darlan. Operation Torch cost the Allies around 480 killed and 720 wounded. This new addition to the most detailed strategy game available on the Western Front of WWII, introduces 10 new challenging scenarios, including both historical and what-if operations. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English … The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its ships when trying to land in shallow water but the French ships were sunk or driven off; Oran surrendered after bombardment by British battleships. Eisenhower told Patton that the past six weeks were the most trying of his life. [24] The landings were begun without covering fire, in the hope that the French would not resist at all. Aerial operations were split into two, east of Cape Tenez in Algeria, with British aircraft under Air Marshal Sir William Welsh and west of Cape Tenez, all American aircraft under Major General Jimmy Doolittle, under the direct command of Major General Patton. Torch was, for propaganda purposes, a landing by U.S. forces, supported by British warships and aircraft, under the belief that this would be more palatable to French public opinion, than an Anglo-American invasion. The main goal of Operation Torch was to take control of the main ports from Morroco to Algeria, and also getting Erwin Rommel out of North Africa. Dubbed Operation Reservist, this saw two Banff-class sloops attempt to run through the harbor defenses. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). 1 and No. In planning, Eisenhower preferred the eastern option which provided for landings at Oran, Algiers, and Bône as this would allow for the rapid capture of Tunis and because the swells in the Atlantic made landing in Morocco problematic. The French Resistance had unsuccessfully attempted a coup in Algiers and, even though this raised alertness in the Vichy forces, the Eastern Task Force met less opposition and were able to push inland and compel surrender on the first day. The Eisenhower/Darlan agreement meant that the officials appointed by the Vichy regime would remain in power in North Africa.

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