Operation Torch

Operation Torch (8–16 November 1942) was an AngloAmerican invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the ‘second front’ which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

The Western Task Force encountered unexpected resistance, as well as bad weather, but Casablanca, the principal French Atlantic naval base, was captured after a short siege. The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its fleet, trying to land in shallow water, but the enemy ships were sunk or driven off, and Oran surrendered after heavy fire from British battleships. The Eastern Task Force met less opposition because the French Resistance had staged a coup in Algiers, and the Allies were able to push inland and compel surrender on the first day.

The success of Torch caused the commander of French forces in the region, Admiral Darlan, to order full co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many Vichy officials keeping their jobs. But Darlan was assassinated soon after, and De Gaulle’s Free French gradually came to dominate the government.

Operation Torch was the first mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, and saw the first major airborne assault carried out anywhere by the United States.

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

Operation Torch
Part of the North African Campaign of the Second World War
Operation Torch - map

A map showing landings during the operation
Date8–16 November 1942
Result Allied victory
Anglo-American occupation of Morocco and Algeria
Free France control of French West Africa
German and Italian occupation of southern France

 United States
 United Kingdom

 Free France

Naval only

Vichy France

Naval only
Commanders and leaders
United States Dwight D. Eisenhower
United States George S. Patton
United States Lloyd Fredendall
United Kingdom Andrew Cunningham
United Kingdom Kenneth Anderson
Vichy France François Darlan
Vichy France Charles Noguès
Vichy France Frix Michelier
Nazi Germany 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
United States:
526 dead
United Kingdom:
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]


The Allies planned an Anglo-American invasion of north-western Africa/MaghrebMorocco, Algeria and Tunisia, territory nominally in the hands 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. 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. fighters.[4] 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.[5] 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 members of the Allies and the American troops were instructed not to fire unless they were fired upon.[6] 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 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.

Senior US commanders remained strongly opposed to the landings and after the western Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) met in Washington on 30 July, General George Marshall and Admiral Ernest King declined to approve the plan. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a direct order that Torch was to have precedence over other operations and was to take place at the earliest possible date, one of only two direct orders he gave to military commanders during the war.

Allied plans

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

Planners identified Oran, 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 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

Intelligence gathering

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.[10] His Polish allies in these endeavors included Lt. Col. 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[11][12] landings in North Africa.

Preliminary contact with Vichy French

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 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".


A map showing landings during Operation Torch.

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 in command and Rear Admiral 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 providing logistic support for the North African campaign.[13]

Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vs assembled by the Special Erection Party in Gibraltar for Operation Torch, 1942
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 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 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.[14] (Fleet Air Arm aircraft did carry US "star" roundels during the operation,[15] and two British destroyers flew the Stars and Stripes.[14]) 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.[16]

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.

P-40s of the 33rd Fighter Group were launched from U.S. Navy escort carriers and landed at Port Lyautey on November 10. Additional air support was provided by the carrier USS Ranger, whose squadrons intercepted Vichy aircraft and bombed hostile ships.


American ships landing during Operation Torch, November 1942 (26688233893)
American ships preparing to land off Safi during Operation Blackstone

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). 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.

Operation Torch - message from the president of United States to the citizens of Casablanca
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.[17] 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 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. Two U.S. destroyers were damaged.

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


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 helped inform subsequent 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.[18]

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

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.[19] 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.[20] Nevertheless, both airports were captured.


Resistance and coup

As agreed at Cherchell, in the early hours of 8 November, 400 mainly Jewish French Resistance fighters[21] 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 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 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.


Near Algiers, "Torch" troops hit the beaches behind a large American flag "Left" hoping for the French Army not fire... - NARA - 195516
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.[22] 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.[18] The landed troops pushed quickly inland and General Juin surrendered the city to the Allies at 18:00.


Political results

Operation Torch plaque persp
A plaque commemorating 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.[23] Men from 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.[24]

When 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 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 two days later.)

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 limited 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 joined the Allies.

Military consequences


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 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 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 and Italians immediately occupied southern France and German troops moved to seize the French fleet in the port of Toulon, beginning on 10 November. 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.


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.[25]

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 and to repair the port there. 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 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 in July.

Later influence

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.[26] The Economist speculated that this is because French forces were the initial enemies of the landing, making for a difficult fit into the war's overall narrative in general histories.[26]

The operation was America’s first armed deployment in the Arab world since the Barbary wars and, according to The Economist, laid the foundations for America’s post-war Middle East policy.[26]

Orders of battle

Western Task Force – Morocco

George S. Patton and Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt cropped
Maj. Gen. George S. Patton and Vice Adm. H. Kent Hewitt aboard CA Augusta

Vice Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, USN[27]
Major General George S. Patton, USA
Northern Attack Group (Mehedia)

Center Attack Group (Fedhala)

Southern Attack Group (Safi)

Central Task Force – Oran

Lloyd fredendall
Maj. Gen. Lloyd R. Fredendall
Rear Admiral Troubridge 1945 IWM A 28419 cropped
Commodore Thomas Troubridge

Commodore Thomas Hope Troubridge, RN[28]
Major General Lloyd R. Fredendall, USA
Approx. 39,000 officers and enlisted

  • 1st Ranger Battalion
  • 1st Armored Division, Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward
    • Combat Command B
    • 6th Armored Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Terry Allen
    • 16th Infantry Regiment
    • 18th Infantry Regiment
    • 26th Infantry Regiment

Eastern Task Force – Algiers

Charles W. Ryder2
Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder
Vice Admiral Sir Harold Martin Burrough A20779
Rear Adm. Sir Harold M. Burrough

Rear Admiral Sir Harold M. Burrough, RN[29]
Major General Charles W. Ryder, USA
Approx. 33,000 officers and enlisted

  • British (approx. 23,000)
    • No. 1 Commando
    • No. 6 Commando
    • 78th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Vyvyan Evelegh
      • 11th Infantry Brigade
      • 36th Infantry Brigade
  • United States (approx. 10,000)
    • 9th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy
      • 39th Infantry Regiment
    • 34th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder
      • 135th Infantry Regiment
      • 168th Infantry Regiment

French Army – Morocco

  • Fez Division (Maj. Gen. Maurice-Marie Salbert)
    • 4th Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 5th Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 11th Algerian Rifle Regiment
    • 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment
  • Meknès Division (Maj. Gen. Andre-Marie-François Dody)
    • 7th Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 8th Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 3rd Moroccan Spahis Regiment
  • Casablanca Division (Brig. Gen. Antoine Béthouart)
    • 1st Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 6th Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • Colonial Moroccan Infantry Regiment
    • 1st Hunters of Africa Regiment
  • Marrakech Division (Brig. Gen. Henry Jules Jean Maurice Martin)
    • 2nd Moroccan Rifle Regiment
    • 2nd Foreign infantry Regiment
    • 4th Moroccan Spahis Regiment

French Army – Algeria

  • Algiers Division (Maj. Gen. Charles Mast)
    • 1st Algerian Rifle Regiment
    • 9th Algerian Rifle Regiment
    • 3rd Zouaves Regiment
    • 2nd Hunters of Africa Regiment
    • 1st Algerian Spahis Regiment
  • Oran Division (Gen. Robert 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



  1. ^ I sommergibili dell'Asse e l'Operazione Torch.
  2. ^ Atkinson, Rick. (2002). An Army at Dawn. p. 159
  3. ^ Granito and Emo. Navi militari perdute, Italian Navy Historical Branch, page 61-62.
  4. ^ Watson 2007, p. 50
  5. ^ "The Stamford Historical Society Presents: Operation Torch and the Invasion of North Africa"
  6. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, pp. 126, 141–42.
  7. ^ Eisenhower 1948, pp. 88–89
  8. ^ Smith, Jean Edward (2012). Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House. pp. 214–15. ISBN 978-0-679-64429-3.
  9. ^ Eisenhower 1948, p. 90
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Churchill, Winston Spencer (1951). The Second World War: Closing the Ring. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. p. 643.
  12. ^ Major General Rygor Slowikowski, In the Secret Service: The Lightning of the Torch", The Windrush Press, London 1988, s. 285
  13. ^ Hague 2000 pp. 179–80
  14. ^ a b Peter Mangold, 2012, Britain and the Defeated French: From Occupation to Liberation, 1940–1944, London, I.B.Tauris, p. 159.
  15. ^ J. D. Brown, 1968, Carrier Operations in World War II: The Royal Navy, London, Ian Allan, p. 93.
  16. ^ Edwards 1999 p. 115
  17. ^ Howe 1993, pp. 97, 102.
  18. ^ a b Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p. 175.
  19. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, pp. 146–47, map 19.
  20. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, p. 149.
  21. ^ Documentary film presenting the dominant role of Jewish resistance fighters in Algiers
  22. ^ Playfair et al. 2004, p. 126, 140–41, map 18.
  23. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight. Crusade In Europe, pp. 99–105, 107–10. New York: Doubleday, 1948.
  24. ^ Paul Gaujac, Le Corps expéditionnaire français en Italie, Histoire et collections, 2003, p. 31
  25. ^ Watson 2007, p. 60
  26. ^ a b c R.B.S. (9 November 2017). "Remembering Operation Torch on its 75th anniversary". The Economist. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  27. ^ Morison 1947, pp. 36-39
  28. ^ Morison 1947, p. 223
  29. ^ Morison 1947, p. 190


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 8 November 1942-11 November 1942. WWII Campaigns. Washington: 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 Army in World War II. Washington, D.C.: 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 (ed.). Command Decisions. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-7.
  • Michel, Henri (1993). Darlan. Paris: Hachette.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1947). Operations in North African Waters: Vol. II of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 0-7858-1303-9.
  • 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 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.

Further reading

External links

891 Naval Air Squadron

891 Naval Air Squadron was an fighter squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II.

In August 1942 the squadron transferred from RNAS Lee-on-Solent where it had been formed in July to RNAS Charlton Horethorne with six Sea Hurricanes to prepare for carrier operations, later transferring to RNAS St Merryn and then embarking on HMS Dasher to take part in Operation Torch. The squadron was disbanded in April 1943, but was reformed in June 1945 and equipped with Hellcat IIs in order to operate in the Pacific, but the war ended before they could be deployed. The squadron was disbanded in September 1945.On 8 November 1954 891 NAS was recommissioned with de Havilland Sea Venom FAW 20s under the command of Lt.Cmdr. M. A. Birrell, DSC. The squadron was initially equipped with two Sea Venoms and four Sea Vampire T22s, then on 1 March 1955 the squadron formed an 'X' flight commanded by Lt.-Cmdr. G. M. Jude, Royal Australian Navy, to train RAN crews in preparation for the formation of 808 RAN Squadron in August 1955. 891 replaced its Mk.20 Sea Venoms with Mk.21s in June 1955, then in April 1956 the squadron disbanded, only to reform in December 1957 under the command of Lt.-Cmdr. J. F. Blunden at RNAS Merryfield with Sea Venom FAW Mk.22s. 891 was the last Sea Venom squadron to see active service when operating from HMS Centaur it became involved in Operation Damen, carrying out rocket attacks against Yemeni rebel infiltrations in Aden. 891 NAS disbanded as the last frontline Sea Venom squadron in July 1961.

Admiralty Tunnel

Admiralty Tunnel is a tunnel in Gibraltar. The tunnel was used for the purpose of bringing stone from the east side. During the second World War the tunnel contained an operations centre where Dwight Eisenhower planned Operation Torch. As of 2013, the operations centre is used to house a secure data facility.

Allied Force Headquarters

Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ) was the headquarters that controlled all Allied operational forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II from late 1942 until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

AFHQ was established in the United Kingdom in August 1942 under Lieutenant General Dwight David Eisenhower in order to command the forces committed to Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa, set for November. Eisenhower had the title Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Force. Shortly after the establishment of the headquarters, "Expeditionary" was deleted from its title, for reasons of operational security. Eisenhower thus became Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force.

Towards the end of 1942, there was a need to unify command of the Allied forces in North Africa, since those from the west, the British First Army, under the command of Lieutenant-General Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson, landed during Operation Torch, and those from the east, the British Eighth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Bernard Law Montgomery, that had fought and won the Second Battle of El Alamein, were now close enough together to need coordination. Therefore, in February 1943, AFHQ assumed control of the Eighth Army advancing from the east as well.

Eisenhower remained in command of AFHQ until January 1944, overseeing the Allied invasion of Sicily (with the codename of Operation Husky), which began on 10 July 1943 and the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland (codenamed Operation Baytown and Operation Avalanche), on 3 September 1943. Eisenhower then a full general, returned to the United Kingdom in December to assume command of the Allied forces assembling for Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, scheduled for the spring of 1944. He was succeeded by General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. Wilson's title became Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

Wilson was in command for just under a year, until he was sent to Washington, D.C. in December 1944 to replace Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission who had died suddenly. Wilson was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander who was Supreme Commander and commander of AFHQ until the end of the war. After the war AFHQ became a small interallied staff responsible for combined command liquidation activities and commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir William Duthie Morgan as Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. AFHQ was abolished, effective 17 September 1947, by General Order 24, AFHQ, on 16 September 1947.

American War Memorial, Gibraltar

The American War Memorial (also known as the American Steps or more formally the Naval Monument at Gibraltar) is a World War I memorial in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It was built for the American Battle Monuments Commission in 1933, and incorporated into the main city wall, the Line Wall Curtain. It commemorated the successful alliance of the United States and the United Kingdom in their naval exploits in the vicinity of Gibraltar during the Great War. The monument was inaugurated in 1937. Sixty-one years later, in November 1998, the monument was the site of another unveiling ceremony, that of a bronze plaque which commemorated the World War II Allied invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch. That unveiling ceremony was one of a number of events that weekend whose guests included dignitaries from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Banff-class sloop

The Banff-class sloop was a group of ten warships of the Royal Navy. Built as United States Coast Guard Lake-class cutters, in 1941 these ships were loaned to the Royal Navy as antisubmarine warfare escort ships. The transfers took place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the British battleship Malaya was under repair after being torpedoed by U-106. The sloops were manned for transport to England by personnel from the damaged battleship. The sloops were initially used to escort SL convoys between England and Sierra Leone, and one was sunk while so employed. The nine surviving sloops were assigned to Operation Torch where two were destroyed attacking Oran in Operation Reservist. The remaining seven escorted Mediterranean convoys in support of the North African invasion and saw varied employment in the Atlantic until assigned to the Kilindini Escort Force in late 1943 and early 1944. They stayed in the Indian Ocean for the remainder of the war escorting trade convoys in the Arabian Sea, and five served in the Bay of Bengal supporting Operation Dracula and Operation Zipper in the last months of conflict with Japan. Six were returned to the United States after the conclusion of hostilities; and one, disabled by mechanical failure, was scrapped overseas.


Bethioua (Arabic: بطيوة‎) (formerly Arzew, under French rule, called Vieil Arzew then Saint Leu) is a town in the wilaya of Oran in the west of Algeria. It has a gas port, petrochemical facilities and desalination plant.

It is located on the ruins of the ancient Roman settlement of Portus Magnus. The region itself belonged to the Battiwa (pl. Ibettiwen), a group of Berber clans which arrived from the Rif mountains, mainly Ait Said tribe centuries ago in 1370. They were sent by the Merinids to defeat the Maghraouas in their capital of Mazouna but the battle they particaped failed for their side, afterwards they settled the Maghraoua territory and would not have return. Thus originally settled in Mazagran near the city of Mostaganem for nearly six centuries, when in 1784 was given to them by the bey of Mascara this coastal territory a little further west. During the French colonization, Bettiouas had to take refuge in Mazagran once again, most of them were given back their land by the authorities. Today only elders can still really speak the tribe language.When the Anglo-Americans invaded Algeria in November 1941 (Operation Torch), the American troops who captured Oran landed at Beach Z, which was the strip of coastline between Arzew and Bethioua.

Blida Airport

Blida Airport is an airport in Blida, Algeria (ICAO: DAAB). It undertook a repavement project in 2012.On November 8, 1942, during World War II, the airport was taken by the British 11th Infantry Brigade. The event was part of the Operation Torch of the North African Campaign.Major A. Peter Dewey, America's first Vietnam casualty, departed from the airport on a parachuting mission to South Western France, while serving as a lieutenant at the Air Transport Command in August 10, 1944. With his company was Jack Hemingway, the son of writer Ernest Hemingway, who, unusually, strapped a fishing rod to his leg before parachuting in.

French destroyer Tornade

Tornade was a Bourrasque-class destroyer (torpilleur d'escadre) built for the French Navy during the 1920s.

After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940 during World War II, Tornade served with the navy of Vichy France. She was at Oran, French Algeria, when the Allies invaded French North Africa in Operation Torch in November 1942. Resisting the invasion, she was badly damaged off Oran on 8 November 1942 by gunfire by the Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Aurora and destroyer HMS Calpe and was beached to avoid sinking.

French destroyer Tramontane

Tramontane was a Bourrasque-class destroyer (torpilleur d'escadre) built for the French Navy during the 1920s.

After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940 during World War II, Tramontane served with the navy of Vichy France. She was at Oran, French Algeria, when the Allies invaded French North Africa in Operation Torch in November 1942. Resisting the invasion, she was badly damaged off Oran on 8 November 1942 by gunfire by the Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Aurora and destroyer HMS Calpe and was beached to avoid sinking.

French destroyer Typhon

Typhon was a Bourrasque-class destroyer (torpilleur d'escadre) built for the French Navy during the 1920s.

After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940 during World War II, Typhon served with the navy of Vichy France. She was at Oran, French Algeria, when the Allies invaded French North Africa in Operation Torch in November 1942. She was scuttled there on 9 November 1942.

HMS Avenger (D14)

HMS Avenger was a Royal Navy escort aircraft carrier during the Second World War. In 1939 she was laid down as the merchant ship Rio-Hudson at the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company yard in Chester, Pennsylvania. Launched on 27 November 1940, she was converted to an escort carrier and transferred under the lend lease agreement to the Royal Navy. She was commissioned on 2 March 1942.

Avenger's capacity allowed for a maximum of 15 aircraft. In September 1942, she took part in what was the largest and most successful Russian convoy to date. Upon her return home, after observing a number of design faults, Avenger's captain drew up recommendations for future escort carrier design. In November 1942 she took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, where she suffered engine problems. While leaving North Africa to start the journey home Avenger was sunk by the German submarine U-155 on 15 November 1942 at 3:20am GMT, 9 hours after leaving Gibraltar for Britain, with a heavy loss of life among her crew.

HMS Lamerton (L88)

HMS Lamerton was a Type II Hunt-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was sold to the Indian Navy in 1952, where she served as INS Gomati.

Following the war, early in 1946, she was reduced to Reserve status at Harwich.

HMS Welshman (M84)

HMS Welshman was an Abdiel-class minelayer of the Royal Navy. During World War II she served with the Home Fleet carrying out minelaying operations, before being transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in mid-1942 for the Malta Convoys. She also saw service during Operation Torch. The ship was torpedoed and sunk off Tobruk by the German submarine U-617 with the loss of 157 lives.

I Armored Corps (United States)

The I Armored Corps was a corps-sized formation of the United States Army that was active in World War II.

The corps made landfall in Morocco in French North Africa during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa, as the Western Task Force, under the command of Major General George S. Patton, the first all-American force to enter the war against the Germans.

Following the successful defeat of the Axis powers under Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel in North Africa, in May 1943, I Armored Corps was redesignated as the Seventh Army on 10 July 1943 while at sea en route to the Allied invasion of Sicily as the spearhead of Operation Husky.

Mediterranean Theater of Operations

This page deals with the United States Army's Mediterranean Theater of Operations. See Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II for more details of other campaigns in the theater.The Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States Army (MTOUSA), originally called the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA), was the American term for the theater of operations covering North Africa and Italy during World War II. American operations in the theater began with the Allied Expeditionary Force, which landed on the beaches of northwest Africa on November 8, 1942, in Operation Torch. They ended in the Italian Alps some 31 months later with the German surrender in May 1945.

North African Campaign

The North African Campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts (Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War) and in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch), as well as Tunisia (Tunisia Campaign).

The campaign was fought between the Allies, many of whom had colonial interests in Africa dating from the late 19th century, and the Axis Powers. The Allied war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe. The United States officially entered the war in December 1941 and began direct military assistance in North Africa on 11 May 1942.

Fighting in North Africa started with the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940. On 14 June, the British Army's 11th Hussars (assisted by elements of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 1st RTR) crossed the border from Egypt into Libya and captured the Italian Fort Capuzzo. This was followed by an Italian counter-offensive into Egypt and the capture of Sidi Barrani in September 1940 and again in December 1940 following a British Commonwealth counteroffensive, Operation Compass. During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps—commanded by Erwin Rommel, who later became known as "The Desert Fox"—was dispatched to North Africa in February 1941 during Operation Sonnenblume to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat.

A fluctuating series of battles for control of Libya and regions of Egypt followed, reaching a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery inflicted a decisive defeat on Rommel's Afrika Korps and forced its remnants into Tunisia. After the Anglo-American landings (Operation Torch) in North-West Africa in November 1942, and subsequent battles against Vichy France forces (who then changed sides), the Allies encircled several hundred thousand German and Italian personnel in northern Tunisia and finally forced their surrender in May 1943.

Operation Torch in November 1942 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. In addition, as Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, had long been pleading for a second front to be opened to engage the Wehrmacht and relieve pressure on the Red Army, it provided some degree of relief for the Red Army on the Eastern Front by diverting Axis forces to the North African theatre. Over half the German Ju 52 transport planes that were needed to supply the encircled German and Romanian forces at Stalingrad were tied up supplying Axis forces in North Africa.Information gleaned via British Ultra code-breaking intelligence proved critical to Allied success in North Africa. Victory for the Allies in this campaign immediately led to the Italian Campaign, which culminated in the downfall of the fascist government in Italy and the elimination of Germany's main European ally.

Pont du Fahs Airfield

Pont du Fahs Airfield is an abandoned military airfield in Tunisia, which was located approximately 6 km west-southwest of El Fahs, and 55 km southwest of Tunis.

A Luftwaffe-held airfield prior to the Operation Torch landings, it was the home of the 5.(Pz.)/Schlachtgeschwader 1, flying Henschel Hs 129 ground attack aircraft. It was captured by British parachute infantry forces on 29 November 1942. Once in Allied hands, it was used by B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers of the United States Army Air Force XII Bomber Command 97th Bombardment Group.

The 97th moved out in mid August 1943 and after that the airfield was largely abandoned. Today some evidence of the airfield remains with the main runway being visible in aerial photography and traces of taxiways and disbursement hardstands.


Tafraoui is a municipality in Oran Province, Algeria close to the city of Oran. There is an airport with the same name. Capturing Tafaraoui Airport was a part of Operation Torch in the World War II.

Tunisian Victory

Tunisian Victory is a 1944 Anglo-American propaganda film about the victories in the North Africa Campaign.

The film follows both armies from the planning of Operation Torch and Operation Acrobat (the latter of which was canceled), to the liberation of Tunis. Interspersed in the documentary format are the narrative voices of supposed American and British soldiers (voiced by Burgess Meredith and Bernard Miles respectively), recounting their experience in the campaign. The Miles and Meredith, playing the roles of soldiers, talk separately until the end of the film when they have a dialogue, agree to co-operate after the end of the war, and with the other Allied nations create a more just and peaceful post-war order.

The film was intended as a follow-up to the successful British documentary film Desert Victory (1943). Frederic Krome's article "Tunisian Victory" and Anglo-American Film Propaganda in World War II from The Historian details the acrimony between the British and US film makers on the project. Most of the actual American combat footage taken during Operation Torch was destroyed when the ship carrying it was sunk, requiring many "battle scenes" to be reshot in the U.S. by director John Huston. Huston restaged several battles and liberations to achieve high quality footage, even going so far as to film some air battle scenes (in the Mohave Desert) and in Orlando, Florida. The British recognized the dubious nature of the film, though they themselves were guilty of the same recreations in wartime propaganda films.The direction of the final version involved no less than five individuals: Frank Capra, John Huston, Anthony Veiller, Hugh Stewart and Roy Boulting.


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