Tafraoui and La Sénia were eventually captured but the role played by the airborne forces in Operation Torch was minimal.[29][31]. P-40s of the 33rd Fighter Group were launched from U.S. Navy escort carriers and landed at Port Lyautey on 10 November. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-ii-operation-torch-2361497. Giraud supported that but also preferred to maintain the old Vichy administration in North Africa. 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. 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. 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J.W. For the same reason, Churchill suggested that British soldiers might wear U.S. Army uniforms, although there is no evidence that this tactic was implemented. Additional air support was provided by the carrier USS Ranger, whose squadrons intercepted Vichy aircraft and bombed hostile ships. When he was refused, he decided to remain "a spectator in this affair". 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. Rober Daniel Murphy located in Algiers at the time was assigned with the task to determine if and how cooperative the French army would be. Most of the landings occurred behind schedule. 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. Answer. By 13 May, the Axis forces in Tunisia had surrendered, opening the way for the Allied invasion of Sicily in July. The French had suffered many casualties and lacking artillery and armour, Barré was forced to withdraw.[36]. 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. In 1940, the Germany Army had defeated most of Western Europe, and in 1941, they turned their attentions to Eastern Europe and Russia. This was meant as a preventative action to keep the U.S out of WW2, but ended up doing the opposite. One of the terms of the Second Armistice at Compiègne agreed to by the Germans was that southern France would remain free of German occupation and governed by Vichy. Reports indicated that they might support the Allies. Under the command of Major-General Charles W. Ryder, commanding general of the U.S. 34th Infantry Division, the 11th Brigade Group from the British 78th Infantry Division, landed on the right hand beach, the US 168th Regimental Combat Team, from the 34th Infantry Division, supported by 6 Commando and most of 1 Commando on the middle beach while the US 39th Regimental Combat Team, also from the US 34th Infantry Division, supported by the remaining 5 troops from 1 Commando, landed on the left hand beach. Following the Operation Torch landings—from early November 1942—the Germans and Italians initiated a buildup of troops in Tunisia to fill the vacuum left by Vichy troops which had withdrawn. 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. While these men were willing to aid the Allies, they requested a meeting with a senior Allied commander before committing. The Allied Naval Commander of the Expeditionary Force would be Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham; his deputy was Vice-Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, who would plan the amphibious landings. During this period of weakness, the Allies decided against a rapid advance into Tunisia while they wrestled with the Vichy authorities. 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… With the groundwork laid with the French, the invasion convoys sailed with the Casablanca force departing the United States and the other two sailing from Britain. As a result, these forces came ashore under artillery fire from French troops in the area. In November 1943, de Gaulle became head of the CFLN and de jure head of government of France and was recognized by the U.S. and Britain. Operation Torch cost the Allies around 480 killed and 720 wounded. Despite Operation Torch's role in the war and logistical success, it has been largely overlooked in many popular histories of the war and in general cultural influence. The troops used in the attack were the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Allies organised three amphibious task forces to simultaneously seize the key ports and airports in Morocco and Algeria, targeting Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. 33,000 officers and enlisted, Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}35°05′06″N 2°01′44″W / 35.085°N 2.029°W / 35.085; -2.029, Allied landing operations in French North Africa during World War II, Ground and naval commanders for Western Task Force, Maj. Gen. George S. Patton and Rear Adm. H. Kent Hewitt aboard CA, Ground and naval commanders for Central Task Force, Ground and naval commanders for Eastern Task Force, The award was posthumously as he was killed in an aircraft crash returning to the UK, Documentary film presenting the dominant role of Jewish resistance fighters in Algiers. Juin insisted on contacting Darlan and Murphy was unable to persuade either to side with the Allies. The French North African government gradually became active in the Allied war effort. [10][11] After Prime Minister Winston Churchill pressed for a landing in French North Africa in 1942, Marshall suggested instead to President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the U.S. abandon the Germany first strategy and take the offensive in the Pacific. The Naval Battle of Casablanca resulted from a sortie of French cruisers, destroyers, and submarines opposing the landings. The Americans surrounded the port of Casablanca by 10 November, and the city surrendered an hour before the final assault was due to take place. In North Africa, the French Armée d’Afrique joined with the Allies as did several French warships. 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. [14], Marshall's opposition to Torch delayed the landings by almost a month, and his opposition to landings in Algeria led British military leaders to question his strategic ability; the Royal Navy controlled the Strait of Gibraltar, and Spain was unlikely to intervene as Franco was hedging his bets. [33] Though some landings went to the wrong beaches, this was immaterial because of the lack of French opposition. 8th to 12th Nov ember 1942. The naval strength of the Axis in the Mediterranean would have been greatly increased if the Germans had succeeded in seizing the French ships, but every important ship was scuttled at dock by the French Navy before the Germans could take them. Churchill then traveled to Moscow in August 1942, where Stalin berated him for postponing the second front and suspending Arctic convoys because of German naval action. Operation Torch (8 November 1942 – 13 May 1943) was an Allied invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. The 36th Brigade Group from the British 78th Infantry Division stood by in floating reserve. Operation Torch is an expansion of the acclaimed wargame, Gary Grigsbys War in the West. Overcoming shallow waters, the troops went ashore and encountered stubborn French resistance. Top Answer. [9] As at Oran, an attempt was made to land directly in the harbor using two destroyers. 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. After consolidating in Algeria, the Allies began the Tunisia Campaign. In return, Darlan ordered all French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Allies and to cooperate instead. Operation Reservist failed, as the two Banff-class sloops were destroyed by crossfire from the French vessels there. Eisenhower, with the support of Roosevelt and Churchill, made an agreement with Darlan, recognizing him as French "High Commissioner" in North Africa. 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. 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 only fighting took place in the port of Algiers, where in Operation Terminal, two British destroyers attempted to land a party of US Army Rangers directly onto the dock, to prevent the French destroying the port facilities and scuttling their ships. Slated to land on Nov. 8, 1942, the Western Task Force approached Casablanca under the guidance of Major General George S. Patton and Rear Admiral Henry Hewitt. The Axis forces attacked eastward at the Battle of Medenine on 6 March but were easily repulsed by the Eighth Army. 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. His demand was refused and instead, Giraud became a spectator for the duration of the operation. By 10 November, the remaining defenders were pinned down, and the bulk of Harmon's forces raced to join the siege of Casablanca. The naval force for the operation would be led by Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham. Limited resources dictated that the Allies could only make three landings and Eisenhower – who believed that any plan must include landings at Oran and Algiers – had two main options: either the western option, to land at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers and then make as rapid a move as possible to Tunis some 500 miles (800 km) east of Algiers once the Vichy opposition was suppressed; or the eastern option, to land at Oran, Algiers and Bône and then advance overland to Casablanca some 500 miles (800 km) west of Oran. 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. American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in the European Theater, planned a three-pronged attack on Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), then a rapid move on Tunis. 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 — … As a result of Operation Torch, Adolf Hitler ordered Operation Anton, which saw German troops occupy Vichy France. Today, it is all but forgotten. 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. I sommergibili dell'Asse e l'Operazione Torch. …approved the renamed operation “Torch”—a combined invasion of North Africa planned for the autumn. Anderson nearly succeeded in taking Tunis but was pushed back by determined enemy counterattacks. To the north, operational issues caused delays at Port-Lyautey and initially prevented the second wave from landing. The U.S. 1st Ranger Battalion landed east of Oran and quickly captured the shore battery at Arzew. As a result of French failure to prevent an Allied invasion, Adolf Hitler ordered an invasion and takeover of Vichy, France. 1 and No. figure it out yourself. 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. The Germans attacked the poorly-equipped French units twice and were driven back. At Port-Lyautey, the landing troops were uncertain of their position, and the second wave was delayed. Elements of the First Army (Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson), came to within 40 mi (64 km) of Tunis before a counterattack at Djedeida thrust them back. The French were former members of the Allies and the American troops were instructed not to fire unless they were fired upon. After the German and Italian occupation of Vichy France and their failed attempt to capture the French fleet at Toulon (Operation Lila), the French Armée d'Afrique sided with the Allies, providing a third corps (XIX Corps) for Anderson. By Nov. 10, the city was surrounded and seeing no alternative, the French surrendered to Patton. The deal was made on 10 November, and French resistance ceased almost at once. 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. 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