Algeria-French Morocco - U.S. Army Campaign of World War II by U.S. Army Center for Military History

By U.S. Army Center for Military History

Occasions bringing the us military to North Africa had started greater than a 12 months ahead of the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For either the Axis and the Allies, the Mediterranean Sea zone was once considered one of doubtful precedence. at the Axis aspect, the positioning of Italy made obvi-ous Rome’s curiosity within the sector. however the enhanced German companion pursued pursuits 1000's of miles north. an analogous department of emphasis characterised the Allies. To the British the Mediterranean Sea was once the important hyperlink among the house islands and long-held Asian possessions in addition to center japanese oil fields. To the americans, despite the fact that, the world had by no means been one among important nationwide curiosity and was once no longer noticeable because the most sensible path to Berlin. however the fall of France in June 1940 had additionally introduced a brand new size to the zone. The quit of Paris left 120,000 French troops in West and North Africa and lots more and plenty of the French fleet in Atlantic and Mediterranean ports. either the Axis and Allies observed in another country French forces because the decisive virtue that may let them in attaining their contradictory pursuits within the Mediterranean.

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Even on beaches without sandbars, lighters frequently bottomed some distance from the shoreline and had to discharge vehicles into several feet of water, disabling electrical systems. Problems such as these provoked a spiral of unloading delays and forced troops ashore into a tactical disadvantage during the crucial early hours of the landings. Reaching shore sooner than tanks and artillery, infantry units on D-day often found themselves attacking French coastal batteries and armored units with little more than rifles and hand grenades.

Most other problems relating to navigation and handling of hazardous items such as gasoline could be corrected with training and experience. But one phenomenon affecting movement to shore remained beyond human reach: the weather. Operational fires (large-caliber supporting fire) proved generally satisfactory to all landings. The assignment of an aircraft carrier to each landing site gave the task forces a great advantage: Allied aircraft could prevent reinforcement of enemy garrisons, but the French could not prevent Allied buildups ashore.

General Eisenhower recounts the challenges of international command in his Crusade in Europe (1948). Harry C. Butcher, a naval officer serving with Eisenhower, gives another view from headquarters in his My Three Years with Eisenhower (1946). The views of armor commanders are to be found in George S. , War As I Knew It (1947), and Ernest N. Harmon, Combat Commander: Autobiography of a Soldier (1970). The most exhaustive treatment of the campaign remains George F. Howe, Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West (1957), a volume in the series United States Army in World War II.

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