The Info List - Operation Torch

Coordinates: 35°05′06″N 2°01′44″W / 35.085°N 2.029°W / 35.085; -2.029

Operation Torch

Part of the North African Campaign
North African Campaign
of World War II

A map showing landings during the operation

Date 8–16 November 1942

Location French Morocco
French Morocco
and French Algeria


Allied victory

Anglo-American occupation of Morocco
and Algeria Free France
Free France
gains control of French West Africa German and Italian occupation of southern France
and scuttling of the French fleet Run for Tunis


 United States  United Kingdom


 Free France

Naval only

 Canada  Netherlands  Australia

Vichy France

Algeria Morocco

Naval only

 Germany  Italy

Commanders and leaders

Dwight D. Eisenhower George S. Patton Lloyd Fredendall Andrew Cunningham Kenneth Anderson

François Darlan Charles Noguès Frix Michelier Ernst Kals


Ground forces: 107,000 troops 33,000 in Morocco 39,000 near Algiers 35,000 near Oran Naval activity: 350 warships 500 transports Total: 850 Ground forces: 210 tanks 500 aircraft many shore batteries and artillery pieces Naval activity: 1 battleship (partially armed) 10 other warships 11 submarines Germany: 14 submarines Italy: 14 submarines[1]

Casualties and losses

US: 526 dead UK: 574 dead All Other Allies: 756 total wounded[2] 1 escort carrier (HMS Avenger (D14)) sunk with loss of 516 men 4 destroyers lost 2 sloops lost 6 troopships lost 1 minesweeper lost 1 auxiliary anti-aircraft ship lost Vichy France: 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded several shore batteries destroyed all artillery pieces captured 1 light cruiser lost 5 destroyers lost 6 submarines lost 2 flotilla leaders lost Germany: 8 submarines lost by 17 November Italy: 2 submarines lost by 17 November[3]

v t e

North African Campaign

Western Desert Campaign

Invasion of Egypt Compass

Fort Capuzzo Nibeiwa Sidi Barrani Bardia Mechili Beda Fomm

Kufra Giarabub Sonnenblume Tobruk

Bardia raid Twin Pimples

Skorpion Brevity Battleaxe Crusader

Flipper 1st Bir el Gubi Point 175 2nd Bir el Gubi


Bir Hakeim

Mersa Matruh 1st Alamein Alam Halfa Agreement




Braganza 2nd Alamein

Outpost Snipe

El Agheila


Casablanca Reservist Terminal Port Lyautey


Run for Tunis Sidi Bou Zid Kasserine Pass Ochsenkopf Medenine Mareth Line El Guettar Wadi Akarit Longstop Hill Hill 609 Vulcan Flax Retribution Strike

v t e

Free French military campaigns of World War II

Dakar Gabon Keren Exporter Kufra Bir Hakeim Run for Tunis Torch Réunion Tunisia Husky Corsica Monte Cassino Glières Ist Mont Mouchet Overlord Elba Saint-Marcel Vercors Dragoon Marseilles Paris Strasbourg Nordwind Colmar Pocket Authion Indochina (1945) Crimson

French Liberation Army I Armée Army of Africa I Corps XIX Corps 1re DFL 1reDB 2e DB 5e DB 3e DIA 13e DBLE FFF FFI FEC FEFEO CLI SAS Résistance Free French Navy Free French Air Force Normandie-Niemen

v t e

Military actions of Vichy France
during World War II

Mers-el-Kébir Gibraltar Dakar Gabon Saint Pierre and Miquelon Indochina (1940) Franco-Thai War
Franco-Thai War
(Ko Chang) Syria–Lebanon Madagascar Réunion Torch Anton Toulon

v t e

Battle of the Mediterranean

Malta Club Run¹ Malta Convoys¹ Axis Convoys² Espero ¹² Mers-el-Kébir Calabria¹² Cape Spada Hurry ¹ Cape Passero¹ MB8 ¹ Taranto Strait of Otranto² White ¹ Cape Spartivento¹ Excess ¹ Convoy AN 14¹ Genoa Abstention Souda Bay Matapan Tarigo ² Crete ² Substance ¹ Halberd ¹ U-boat
Campaign Duisburg ² Bon² 1st Sirte¹² Alexandria 2nd Sirte¹ Calendar ¹ Bowery ¹ Albumen Harpoon ¹ Vigorous ¹ Pedestal ¹ Agreement Torch Stone Age ¹ Toulon Portcullis ¹ Skerki² Olterra's campaign¹ Algiers¹ Zuwarah  Cigno ² Campobasso ² Sicily Gela Scylla ² Bastia Strait of Bonifacio Dodecanese Santorini Symi Cape Bougaroun¹ Port Cros La Ciotat Ligurian Sea ¹

¹ — Involved an Allied convoy

² — Involved an Axis convoy

Operation Torch
Operation Torch
(initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British- United States
United States
invasion of French North Africa
French North Africa
during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on 8 November 1942. It is the first major operation that US troops undertook in the European / North African theatre of World War II.[4] The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had pressed the US and British to start operations in Europe and open a second front to reduce the pressure of German forces on the Soviet troops. While US commanders favored Operation Sledgehammer, landing in Occupied Europe as soon as possible, British commanders believed that such a course was likely to end in disaster.[5] Landings in French North Africa
French North Africa
were instead proposed. On July 28, the Axis Afrika Korps, under General
Erwin Rommel, captured Mersa Matruh, in Egypt, only 140 miles (230 km) from Alexandria. Landings to the west would reduce pressure on Allied forces in Egypt. They would also secure Allied naval control of the south-west Mediterranean, and enable an invasion of Southern Europe
Southern Europe
later in 1943. U.S. President, Roosevelt, suspected that landings in north-west Africa would rule out an invasion of Europe in 1943, but agreed to support British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.[6] Senior US commanders remained strongly opposed to the landings. After the Western Allies' Combined Chiefs of Staff
Combined Chiefs of Staff
(CCS) met in Washington on July 30, General
George Marshall
George Marshall
and Admiral Ernest King
Ernest King
declined to approve the plan. When Roosevelt was told of this, he was furious,[citation needed] called Marshall and King to the White House, and gave a direct order that Torch was to have precedence over other operations and was to take place at the earliest possible date. This was one of only two direct orders he gave to military commanders during the war.[7] (The other was in March 1943, when Roosevelt ordered King to transfer 60 B-24 Liberators
B-24 Liberators
from the Pacific to the Atlantic, to combat U-Boats.)


1 Background

1.1 Allied plans 1.2 Intelligence gathering 1.3 Preliminary contact with Vichy French

2 Battle

2.1 Casablanca 2.2 Oran

2.2.1 Airborne landings

2.3 Algiers

2.3.1 Resistance and coup 2.3.2 Invasion

3 Aftermath

3.1 Political results 3.2 Military consequences

3.2.1 Toulon 3.2.2 Tunisia

4 Later influence 5 Order of battle 6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External links

Background[edit] 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. With much of North Africa already under Allied control, this would allow the Allies to carry out a pincer operation against Axis forces in North Africa. 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
Dewoitine D.520
fighters—equal to many British and U.S. fighters.[8] These forces included 60,000 troops in Morocco, 15,000 in Tunisia, and 50,000 in Algeria, with coastal artillery, and a small number of tanks and aircraft.[9] In addition, there were 10 or so warships and 11 submarines at Casablanca. The Allies believed that the Vichy French forces would not fight, partly because of information supplied by American Consul
Robert Daniel Murphy in Algiers. The French were former Allies of the U.S. and the American troops were instructed not to fire unless they were fired upon.[10] However, they harbored suspicions that the Vichy French navy would bear a grudge over the British attack on Mers-el-Kebir in 1940. An assessment of the sympathies of the French forces in North Africa was essential, and plans were made to secure their cooperation, rather than resistance. German support for the Vichy French came in the shape of air support. Several Luftwaffe bomber wings undertook anti-shipping strikes against Allied ports in Algiers
and along the North African coast. General
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
was given command of the operation, and he set up his headquarters in Gibraltar. 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. Allied plans[edit]

A map of Allied convoys heading from the British Isles to North Africa.

Planners identified Oran
and also Algiers
and Casablanca
as key targets. Ideally there would also be a landing at Tunis
to secure Tunisia
and facilitate the rapid interdiction of supplies travelling via Tripoli
to Rommel's forces in Libya. However, Tunis
was much too close to the Axis airfields in Sicily
and Sardinia for any hope of success. A compromise would be to land at Bône (Annaba) in eastern Algeria, some 300 miles (480 km) closer to Tunis
than Algiers. 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. He favoured 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. The Combined Chiefs of Staff, however, were concerned that should Operation Torch
Operation Torch
precipitate Spain
to abandon neutrality and join the Axis, the Straits of Gibraltar
could be closed cutting the entire Allied force's lines of communication. They therefore chose the Casablanca
option as the less risky since the forces in Algeria
and Tunisia
could be supplied overland from Casablanca
(albeit with considerable difficulty) in the event of closure of the straits.[11] 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. The Morocco
landings ruled out the early occupation of Tunisia. Eisenhower told Patton
that the past six weeks were the most trying of his life.[12] In Eisenhower's acceptance of landings in Algeria
and Morocco
he pointed out that the decision removed the early capture of Tunis
from the probable to only the remotely possible because of the extra time it would afford the Axis to move forces into Tunisia.[13] Intelligence gathering[edit] In July 1941, Mieczysław Słowikowski (using the codename "Rygor"—Polish for "Rigor") set up "Agency Africa", one of the Second World War's most successful intelligence organizations.[14] His Polish allies in these endeavors included Lt. Col. Gwido Langer
Gwido Langer
and Major Maksymilian Ciężki. The information gathered by the Agency was used by the Americans and British in planning the amphibious November 1942 Operation Torch[15][16] landings in North Africa. Preliminary contact with Vichy French[edit] To gauge the feeling of the Vichy French forces, Murphy was appointed to the American consulate in Algeria. His covert mission was to determine the mood of the French forces and to make contact with elements that might support an Allied invasion. He succeeded in contacting several French officers, including General
Charles Mast, the French commander-in-chief in Algiers. These officers were willing to support the Allies, but asked for a clandestine conference with a senior Allied General
in Algeria. 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. With help from the Resistance, the Allies also succeeded in slipping French General
Henri Giraud
Henri Giraud
out of Vichy France
on HMS Seraph—passing itself off as an American submarine—intending to offer him the post of commander in chief of French forces in North Africa after the invasion. However, Giraud would take no position lower than commander in chief of all the invading forces, a job already given to Eisenhower. When he was refused, he decided to remain "a spectator in this affair". Battle[edit]

The Allies organised three amphibious task forces to simultaneously seize the key ports and airports in Morocco
and Algeria, targeting Casablanca, Oran
and Algiers. Successful completion of these operations was to be followed by an eastwards advance into Tunisia. A Western Task Force (aimed at Casablanca) was composed of American units, with Major General
George S. Patton
George S. Patton
in command and Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt
Henry Kent Hewitt
heading the naval operations. This Western Task Force consisted of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions—35,000 troops in a convoy of over 100 ships. They were transported directly from the United States in the first of a new series of UG convoys
UG convoys
providing logistic support for the North African campaign.[17]

A shipment of 116 Supermarine Spitfires sent by sea was assembled in just 11 days at RAF North Front, Gibraltar. Many of these Spitfires served with the United States
United States
Army Air Forces, including the aircraft in the foreground, EP 365 (308th FS, 31st Fighter Group).

The Center Task Force, aimed at Oran, included the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, and the U.S. 1st Armored Division—a total of 18,500 troops. They sailed from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and were commanded by Major General Lloyd Fredendall, the naval forces being commanded by Commodore Thomas Troubridge. 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. 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.[18] ( Fleet Air Arm
Fleet Air Arm
aircraft did carry US "star" roundels during the operation,[19] and two British destroyers flew the Stars and Stripes.[18]) 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. 1 and No. 6 Commandos), totaling 20,000 troops. 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 Vice-Admiral
Sir Harold Burrough. U-boats, operating in the eastern Atlantic area crossed by the invasion convoys, had been drawn away to attack trade convoy SL 125. Some historians have suggested the timing of this trade convoy was an intentional tactical diversion to prevent submarine attacks on the troop transports.[20] Aerial operations were split into two, east of Cape Tenez
Cape Tenez
in Algeria, with British aircraft under Air Marshal
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. P-40s of the 33rd Fighter Group
33rd Fighter Group
were launched from U.S. Navy escort carriers and landed at Port Lyautey
Port Lyautey
on November 10. Additional air support was provided by the carrier USS Ranger, whose squadrons intercepted Vichy aircraft and bombed hostile ships. Casablanca[edit] 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
Port Lyautey
(Operation Goalpost). Because it was hoped that the French would not resist, there were no preliminary bombardments. This proved to be a costly error as French defenses took a toll of American landing forces. On the night of 7 November, pro-Allied General
Antoine Béthouart attempted a coup d'etat against the French command in Morocco, so that he could surrender to the Allies the next day. His forces surrounded the villa of General
Charles Noguès, the Vichy-loyal high commissioner. However, Noguès telephoned loyal forces, who stopped the coup. In addition, the coup attempt alerted Noguès to the impending Allied invasion, and he immediately bolstered French coastal defenses.

A flyer in French and Arabic that was distributed by Allied forces in the streets of Casablanca, calling on citizens to cooperate with the Allied forces.

At Safi, the objective being capturing the port facilities to land the Western Task Force's medium tanks, the landings were mostly successful.[21] The landings were begun without covering fire, in the hope that the French would not resist at all. However, once French coastal batteries opened fire, Allied warships returned fire. By the time General
Ernest Harmon's 2nd Armored Division arrived, French snipers had pinned the assault troops (most of whom were in combat for the first time) on Safi's beaches. Most of the landings occurred behind schedule. Carrier aircraft destroyed a French truck convoy bringing reinforcements to the beach defenses. Safi surrendered on the afternoon of 8 November. By 10 November, the remaining defenders were pinned down, and the bulk of Harmon's forces raced to join the siege of Casablanca. At Port-Lyautey, the landing troops were uncertain of their position, and the second wave was delayed. This gave the French defenders time to organize resistance, and the remaining landings were conducted under artillery bombardment. With the assistance of air support from the carriers, the troops pushed ahead, and the objectives were captured. At Fedala, weather disrupted the landings. The landing beaches again came under French fire after daybreak. Patton
landed at 08:00, and the beachheads were secured later in the day. 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. Casablanca
was the principal French Atlantic naval base after German occupation of the European coast. The Naval Battle of Casablanca resulted from a sortie of French cruisers, destroyers, and submarines opposing the landings. A cruiser, six destroyers, and six submarines were destroyed by American gunfire and aircraft. 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 16-inch calibre American naval gunfire, the first such heavy-calibre shells fired by the U.S. Navy anywhere in World War II. Two U.S. destroyers were damaged.

USS Lakehurst (formerly Seatrain New Jersey), after discharging medium tanks at Safi, Morocco.

Oran[edit] The Center Task Force was split between three beaches, two west of Oran
and one east. Landings at the westernmost beach were delayed because of a French convoy which appeared while the minesweepers were clearing a path. Some delay and confusion, and damage to landing ships, was caused by the unexpected shallowness of water and sandbars; although periscope observations had been carried out, no reconnaissance parties had landed on the beaches to determine the local maritime conditions. This was in contrast to later amphibious assaults—such as Operation Overlord—in which considerable weight was given to pre-invasion reconnaissance. The U.S. 1st Ranger Battalion landed east of Oran
and quickly captured the shore battery at Arzew. An attempt was made to land U.S. infantry at the harbour directly, in order to quickly prevent destruction of the port facilities and scuttling of ships. The operation—code named Operation Reservist—failed, as the two Banff-class sloops were destroyed by crossfire from the French vessels there. The Vichy French naval fleet broke from the harbor and attacked the Allied invasion fleet but its ships were all sunk or driven ashore.[22] French batteries and the invasion fleet exchanged fire throughout 8–9 November, with French troops defending Oran
and the surrounding area stubbornly. Heavy fire from the British battleships brought about Oran's surrender on 9 November. Airborne landings[edit] Torch was the first major airborne assault carried out by the United States. The 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment flew all the way from Britain, over Spain, intending 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.[23] The operation was marked by weather, navigational and communication problems. Poor weather over Spain
and the extreme range caused the formation to scatter and forced thirty of the 37 aircraft to land in the dry salt lake to the west of the objective.[24] Nevertheless, both airports were captured. Algiers[edit] Resistance and coup[edit] As agreed at Churchell, in the early hours of 8 November, 400 mainly Jewish French Resistance
French Resistance
fighters[25] staged a coup in the city of Algiers. Starting at midnight, the force under the command of Henri d'Astier de la Vigerie and José Aboulker
José Aboulker
seized key targets, including the telephone exchange, radio station, governor's house and the headquarters of 19th Corps. Robert Murphy took some men and then drove to the residence of General Alphonse Juin, the senior French Army
French Army
officer in North Africa. While they surrounded his house (making Juin effectively a prisoner) Murphy attempted to persuade him to side with the Allies. However, he was treated to a surprise: Admiral François Darlan—the commander of all French forces—was also in Algiers
on a private visit. Juin insisted on contacting Darlan, and Murphy was unable to persuade either to side with the Allies. In the early morning, the local Gendarmerie arrived and released both Juin and Darlan. Invasion[edit]

American soldiers land near Algiers.

On 8 November 1942, the invasion commenced with landings split between three beaches—two west of Algiers
and one east. Under overall command of Major General
Charles W. Ryder, Commanding General
of the U.S. 34th Infantry Division, British 11th Brigade Group from the British 78th Infantry Division, landed on the right hand beach, U.S. 168th Regimental Combat Team, from the 34th Infantry Division, supported by 6th Commando and most of 1st Commando on the middle beach while the U.S. 39th Regimental Combat Team, also from the U.S. 34th Division, supported by the remaining 5 troops from 1st Commando landed on the left hand beach. The British 36th Brigade Group from the British 78th Division stood by in floating reserve.[26] Though some landings went to the wrong beaches, this was immaterial because of the extremely low level of French opposition. All the coastal batteries had been neutralized by French resistance, and one French commander openly welcomed the landing Allies. The only fighting took place in the port of Algiers, where in Operation Terminal, two British destroyers attempted to land a party of U.S. Army Rangers directly onto the dock, in order to prevent the French destroying the port facilities and scuttling their ships. 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.[22] The landed troops pushed quickly inland and General
Juin surrendered the city to the Allies at 18:00. Aftermath[edit] Political results[edit]

A plaque commemorating Operation Torch
Operation Torch
at the American War Memorial in Gibraltar.

It quickly became clear that Giraud lacked the authority to take command of the French forces. He preferred to wait in Gibraltar
for the results of the landing. However, Darlan in Algiers
had such authority. Eisenhower, with the support of Roosevelt and Churchill, made an agreement with Darlan, recognizing him as French "High Commissioner" in North Africa. In return, Darlan ordered all French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Allies and to cooperate instead. The deal was made on 10 November, and French resistance ceased almost at once. The French troops in North Africa who were not already captured submitted to and eventually joined the Allied forces.[27] Men from French North Africa
French North Africa
would see much combat under the Allied banner as part of the French Expeditionary Corps (consisting of 112,000 troops in April 1944) in the Italian campaign, where Maghrebis (mostly Moroccans) made up over 60% of the unit's soldiers.[28] When Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
learned of Darlan's deal with the Allies, he immediately ordered the occupation of Vichy France
and sent troops to Tunisia. The Eisenhower/Darlan agreement meant that the officials appointed by the Vichy regime would remain in power in North Africa. No role was provided for Free France, which was supposed to be France's government-in-exile, and which had taken charge in other French colonies. This deeply offended Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
as head of Free France. 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. Eisenhower insisted however that he had no real choice if his forces were to move on against the Axis in Tunisia, rather than fight the French in Algeria
and Morocco. Though de Gaulle had no official power in North Africa, much of the population now publicly declared Free French allegiance, putting pressure on Darlan. Then on 24 December, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, a French resistance fighter and anti-fascist monarchist, assassinated Darlan. (Bonnier de La Chapelle was arrested on the spot and executed on 26 December 1942.) Giraud succeeded Darlan, but like him replaced few of the Vichy officials. He even ordered the arrest of the leaders of the Algiers coup of 8 November, with no opposition from Murphy. The French North African government gradually became active in the Allied war-effort. The weak French troops in Tunisia
did not resist German troops arriving by air; Admiral Esteva, the commander there, obeyed orders to that effect from Vichy. The Germans took the airfields there and brought in more troops. 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. While this was of minimal military effect, it committed the French to the Allied side. Later all French forces were withdrawn from action to be properly re-equipped by the Allies. Giraud supported this, but also preferred to maintain the old Vichy administration in North Africa. Under pressure from the Allies and from de Gaulle's supporters, the French régime shifted, with Vichy officials gradually replaced, and its more offensive decrees rescinded. In June 1943 Giraud and de Gaulle agreed to form the "Comité français de Libération nationale" (CFLN), with members from both the North African government and from de Gaulle's "French National Committee". In November 1943 de Gaulle became head of the CFLN, and de jure head of government of France, recognized by the U.S. and Britain. In another political outcome of TORCH (and at Darlan's orders), the previously Vichyite government of French West Africa
French West Africa
now joined the Allies. Military consequences[edit] Toulon[edit] Main article: Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon One of the terms the Second Armistice at Compiègne
Second Armistice at Compiègne
agreed to by the Germans was that southern France
would remain free of German occupation and self-governed from Vichy. The lack of determined resistance by the Vichy French to the Allied invasions of North Africa and the new de Gaulle policies in North Africa convinced the Germans that France
could not be trusted. Moreover, the Anglo-American presence in French North Africa
French North Africa
invalidated the only real rationale for not occupying the whole of Metropolitan France—it was the only practical means to deny the Allies use of the French colonies. The Germans immediately occupied southern France
and German troops moved to seize the French fleet in the port of Toulon. 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. Tunisia[edit] Main article: Tunisia
Campaign After the German and Italian occupation of Vichy France
and their unsuccessful attempt to capture the interned French fleet at Toulon (Operation Lila), the French Armée d’Afrique sided with the Allies, providing a third corps (XIX Corps) for Anderson. Elsewhere, French warships—such as the battleship Richelieu—rejoined the Allies. On 9 November, Axis forces started to build up in Tunisia
unopposed by the local French forces under General
Barré. 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. On 19 November, the German commander—Walter Nehring—demanded passage for his troops across the bridge at Medjez and was refused. The Germans attacked the poorly equipped French units twice and were driven back. However, the French had taken heavy casualties and, lacking artillery and armor, Barré was forced to withdraw.[29] After consolidating in Algeria, the Allies struck into Tunisia. Elements of the British First Army under Lieutenant- General
Kenneth Anderson came to within 40 miles (64 km) of Tunis
before a counterattack at Djedeida
thrust them back. In January 1943, German and Italian troops under Generalfeldmarschall
Erwin Rommel—retreating westward from Libya—reached Tunisia. The British Eighth Army in the east—commanded by Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery—stopped around Tripoli
to allow reinforcements to arrive and build up the Allied advantage. In the west, the forces of the First Army came under attack at the end of January, being forced back from the Faïd Pass and then suffering a reversal at Sidi Bou Zid on 14–15 February. Axis forces pushed on to Sbeitla and then to the Kasserine Pass on 19 February, where the U.S. II Corps retreated in disarray until heavy Allied reinforcements halted the Axis advance on 22 February. Fredendall was replaced by George Patton. General
Sir Harold Alexander arrived in Tunisia
in late February to take charge of the new 18th Army Group
18th Army Group
headquarters, which had been created to take overall control of both the Eighth Army and the Allied forces already fighting in Tunisia. The Axis forces again attacked eastward at Medenine on 6 March but were easily repulsed by the Eighth Army. Rommel counselled 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 miles (160 km) of northern Tunisia. The setbacks at Kasserine forced the Allies to consolidate their forces and develop their lines of communication and administration so that they could support a major attack. The First and Eighth Armies then attacked the Axis in April. Hard fighting followed, but the Allies cut off the Germans and Italians from support by naval and air forces between Tunisia
and Sicily. On 6 May, as the culmination of Operation Vulcan, the British took Tunis, and American forces reached Bizerte. By 13 May, the Axis forces in Tunisia
had surrendered. This opened the way for the Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
in July. Later influence[edit] Despite Operation Torch's role in the war, it has been largely overlooked in many popular histories and in general cultural influence; the fact that the main foes of the Allies were French makes Torch something of an embarrassment.[4] Post-war France
was generally an ally of the British and Americans (despite later withdrawing from NATO for a time), so focusing on a part of World War II
World War II
where the Vichy French were initially enemies, and later bought off as grudging collaborators and administrators, makes for a confused narrative.[4] The operation was America’s first armed deployment in the Arab world since the Barbary wars
Barbary wars
and, according to The Economist, laid the foundations for America’s post-war Middle East
Middle East
policy.[4] Order of battle[edit]

Allied Forces

Division Regiment or battalion

Western Task Force Patton

2nd Armored Division Harmon 66th Armored Regiment 67th Armored Regiment

3rd Infantry Division Anderson 7th Infantry Regiment 15th Infantry Regiment 30th Infantry Regiment

9th Infantry Division Eddy 47th Infantry Regiment 60th Infantry Regiment

Central Task Force Fredendall

1st Ranger Battalion

1st Armored Division Ward Combat Command B 6th Armored Infantry Regiment

1st Infantry Division Allen 16th Infantry Regiment 18th Infantry Regiment 26th Infantry Regiment

Eastern Task Force Anderson

No. 1 Commando (British)

No. 6 Commando (British)

9th Infantry Division Eddy 39th Infantry Regiment

34th Infantry Division Ryder 135th Infantry Regiment 168th Infantry Regiment

78h Infantry Division (British) Evelegh 11th Brigade Group 36th Brigade Group

French Army

Division Regiment


Fez Division Salbert 4th Moroccan Rifle Regiment 5th Moroccan Rifle Regiment 11th Algerian Rifle Regiment 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment

Meknès Division Dody 7th Moroccan Rifle Regiment 8th Moroccan Rifle Regiment 3rd Moroccan Spahis Regiment

Division Béthouart 1st Moroccan Rifle Regiment 6th Moroccan Rifle Regiment Colonial Moroccan Infantry Regiment 1st Hunters of Africa Regiment

Marrakech Division Martin 2nd Moroccan Rifle Regiment 2nd Foreign infantry Regiment 4th Moroccan Spahis Regiment

Algeria Algiers
Division Mast 1st Algerian Rifle Regiment 9th Algerian Rifle Regiment 3rd Zouaves Regiment 2nd Hunters of Africa Regiment 1st Algerian Spahis Regiment

Division Boissau 2nd Algerian Rifle Regiment 6th Algerian Rifle Regiment 15th Senegalese Rifle Regiment 1st Foreign Regiment

Moroccan Division 7th Moroccan Rifle Regiment 3rd Algerian Rifle Regiment 4th Tunisian Rifle Regiment 3rd Foreign Rifle Regiment

See also[edit]

World War II
World War II
portal United States
United States

List of World War II
World War II
Battles Mieczysław Zygfryd Słowikowski RMS Mooltan Troopship North African Campaign
North African Campaign
timeline Operation Flagpole (World War II) Operation Husky Operation Kingpin (World War II) 17th Armored Engineer Battalion Marching Regiment of the Foreign Legion

References[edit] Notes

^ I sommergibili dell'Asse e l'Operazione Torch. ^ Atkinson, Rick. (2002). An Army at Dawn. p. 159 ^ Granito and Emo. Navi militari perdute, Italian Navy Historical Branch, page 61-62. ^ a b c d R.B.S. (9 November 2017). "Remembering Operation Torch
Operation Torch
on its 75th anniversary". The Economist. Retrieved 12 November 2017.  ^ Husen, editor, David T. Zabecki ; assistant editors, Carl O. Schuster, Paul J. Rose, William H. Van (1999). World War II
World War II
in Europe : an encyclopedia. Garland Pub. p. 1270. ISBN 9780824070298. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Mackenzie, S.P. (2014). The Second World War in Europe: Second Edition. Routledge. pp. 54–55. ISBN 1317864719.  ^ Smith, Jean Edward (2012). Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-679-64429-3.  ^ Watson 2007, p. 50 ^ "The Stamford Historical Society Presents: Operation Torch
Operation Torch
and the Invasion of North Africa" ^ Playfair et al. 2004, pp. 126, 141–42. ^ Eisenhower 1948, pp. 88–89 ^ Smith, Jean Edward (2012). Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House. pp. 214–15. ISBN 978-0-679-64429-3.  ^ Eisenhower 1948, p. 90 ^ Tessa Stirling et al., Intelligence Co-operation between Poland and Great Britain during World War II, vol. I: The Report of the Anglo-Polish Historical Committee, London, Vallentine Mitchell, 2005 ^ Churchill, Winston Spencer (1951). The Second World War: Closing the Ring. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. p. 643.  ^ Major General
Rygor Slowikowski, In the Secret Service: The Lightning of the Torch", The Windrush Press, London 1988, s. 285 ^ Hague 2000 pp. 179–80 ^ a b Peter Mangold, 2012, Britain and the Defeated French: From Occupation to Liberation, 1940–1944, London, I.B.Tauris, p. 159. ^ J. D. Brown, 1968, Carrier Operations in World War II: The Royal Navy, London, Ian Allan, p. 93. ^ Edwards 1999 p. 115 ^ Howe 1993, pp. 97, 102. ^ a b Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p. 175. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, pp. 146–47, map 19. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, p. 149. ^ Documentary film presenting the dominant role of Jewish resistance fighters in Algiers ^ Playfair et al. 2004, p. 126, 140–41, map 18. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight. Crusade In Europe, pp. 99–105, 107–10. New York: Doubleday, 1948. ^ Paul Gaujac, Le Corps expéditionnaire français en Italie, Histoire et collections, 2003, p. 31 ^ Watson 2007, p. 60

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War Official reports

Les Cahiers Français, La part de la Résistance Française dans les évènements d'Afrique du Nord (Official reports of French Resistance Group leaders who seized Algiers
on 8 November 1942, to allow allied landing), Commissariat à l'Information of Free French Comité National, London, Aug. 1943.

War correspondent report

Melvin K. Whiteleather, Main street's new neighbors, J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1945.

Academic works

Aboulker, Professeur José; Levisse-Touzé, Christine (2002). "8 novembre 1942: Les armées américaine et anglaise prennent Alger en quinze heures". Espoir (in French). Paris (n° 133).  Allen, Bruce (2007) [1999]. Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942–43. Stackpole Military History Series. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3381-6.  Anderson, Charles R. (1993). Algeria- French Morocco
French Morocco
8 November 1942-11 November 1942. WWII Campaigns. Washington: United States
United States
Army Center of Military History. ISBN 0-16-038105-3. CMH Pub 72-11.  Breuer, William B. (1985). Operation Torch: The Allied Gamble to Invade North Africa. New York: St.Martins Press.  Brown, J. D. (1968). Carrier Operations in World War II: The Royal Navy. London: Ian Allan.  Danan, Professeur Yves Maxime (1963). La Vie Politique à Alger de 1940 à 1944 (in French). Paris: L.G.D.J.  Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1948). Crusade in Europe. London: William Heinemann. OCLC 559866864.  Edwards, Bernard (1999). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs. Brockhampton Press. ISBN 1-86019-927-5.  Funk, Arthur L. (1974). The Politics of Torch. University Press of Kansas.  Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.  Howe, George F. (1993) [1957]. North West Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West. The United States
United States
Army in World War II. Washington, D.C.: United States
United States
Army Center of Military History. LCCN 57060021. CMH Pub 6-1.  Levisse-Touzé, Christine (1998). L'Afrique du Nord dans la guerre, 1939–1945 (in French). Paris: Albin Michel.  Lewis, Adrian S. (2001). Omaha Beach: a flawed victory. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2609-X.  Meyer, Leo J. (2000) [1960]. "Chapter 7: The Decision to Invade North Africa (Torch)". In Kent Roberts Greenfield. Command Decisions. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-7.  Michel, Henri (1993). Darlan. Paris: Hachette.  Moses, Sam (November 2006). At All Costs; How a Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Mariners Turned the Tide of World War II. Random House.  O'Hara, Vincent P. (2015) Torch: North African and the Allied Path to Victory (Annapolis: Naval Institute, 2015). x, 371 pp. Playfair, Major- General
I. S. O.; Molony, Brigadier C. J. C.; Flynn R.N., Captain F. C. & Gleave, Group Captain T. P. (2004) [1st HMSO 1966]. Butler, J. R. M., ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa. History of the Second World War United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Military Series. IV. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-068-8.  Rohwer, J. & Hummelchen, G. (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.  Salinas, Alfred (2013) Les Américains en Algérie 1942–1945 (in French), L'Harmattan, Paris Watson, Bruce Allen (2007) [1999]. Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942–43. Stackpole Military History Series. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3381-6. OCLC 40595324. 


Atkinson, Rick (2002). An Army at Dawn. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-6288-2. 

Further reading

The Decision to Invade North Africa (TORCH) part of Command Decisions a publication of the United States
United States
Army Center of Military History Algeria- French Morocco
French Morocco
a book in the U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II series of the United States
United States
Army Center of Military History

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Operation Torch.

has original text related to this article: US Army Campaigns of World War II
World War II
Series/Algeria-French Morocco

A detailed history of 8 November 1942 Combined Ops 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) Royal Engineers Museum Royal Engineers and Second World War (Operation Torch)[dead link] 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 article by Williamson Murray Eisenhower's report on operation Torch Operation TORCH Motion Pictures from the National Archives Operation Torch Operation Torch
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