In planning, Eisenhower preferred the eastern option which provided for landings at Oran, Algiers, and Bône as this would allow for the rapid capture of Tunis and because the swells in the Atlantic made landing in Morocco problematic. After weather delays at Fedala, Patton's men, enduring French fire, succeeded in taking their objectives and began moving against Casablanca. Operation Torch was an invasion strategy by Allied forces into North Africa that took place Nov. 8 to 10, 1942, during World War II (1939 to 1945). [12] With Marshall unable to persuade the British to change their minds,[13] President 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. 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. Operation Torch is an expansion of the acclaimed wargame, Gary Grigsby’s War in the West. 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. [32] 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 the 19th Corps. Casablanca was the principal French Atlantic naval base after German occupation of the European coast. ThoughtCo. In return, Darlan ordered all French forces in North Africa to cease resistance to the Allies and to cooperate instead. 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. [21]) In reality, the Eastern Task Force—aimed at Algiers—was commanded by Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson and consisted of a brigade from the British 78th and the U.S. 34th Infantry Divisions, along with two British commando units (No. With the assistance of air support from the carriers, the troops pushed ahead, and the objectives were captured. 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. Eisenhower, Dwight. Consisting of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division as well as the U.S. 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions, the task force carried 35,000 men. His demand was refused and instead, Giraud became a spectator for the duration of the operation. Asked by Wiki User. 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. However, once French coastal batteries opened fire, Allied warships returned fire. Though de Gaulle had no official power in Vichy North Africa, much of its population now publicly declared Free French allegiance, putting pressure on Darlan. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. This proved to be a costly error as French defenses took a toll on American landing forces. Colonel Edson D. Raff was in command. Despite his suspicions and fears, Stalin could take grim… Read More Operation Flagpole was part of the run-up to Operation Torch, the planned Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II. The setbacks at Kasserine forced the Allies to consolidate their forces, develop their lines of communication and administration before another offensive. Northern Attack Group (Mehedia), Major General Lloyd R. Fredendall, USA (CG, II Corps, USA) Conversely, there was concern about French resentment over the British attack on Mers el Kebir in 1940, which had inflicted heavy damage on French naval forces. The success of Torch caused Admiral François Darlan, commander of the Vichy French forces to order co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many other Vichy officials keeping their jobs. 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, until disabled by the 16-inch calibre American naval gunfire, OPÉRATION TORCH Les débarquements alliés en Afrique du Nord. 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