Algeria - French Morocco by U.S. Army Center for Military History

By U.S. Army Center for Military History

Occasions bringing the USA military to North Africa had began greater than a 12 months ahead of the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For either the Axis and the Allies, the Mediterranean Sea sector used to be one among doubtful precedence. at the Axis part, the positioning of Italy made obvi-ous Rome’s curiosity within the sector. however the more suitable German associate pursued pursuits 1000's of miles north. an analogous department of emphasis characterised the Allies. To the British the Mediterranean Sea used to be the very important hyperlink among the house islands and long-held Asian possessions in addition to center japanese oil fields. To the american citizens, besides the fact that, the realm had by no means been certainly one of important nationwide curiosity and was once now not visible because the most sensible path to Berlin. however the fall of France in June 1940 had additionally introduced a brand new measurement to the quarter. The give up of Paris left 120,000 French troops in West and North Africa and masses 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 will let them in achieving their contradictory goals within the Mediterranean.

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With surface units ten or more miles offshore, naval gunfire margins of error could not be ignored. Such considerations forced Army units to operate without some of the largecaliber support that could have shortened the duration—and reduced the casualty total—of some battles. For advancing units ashore, a more immediate tactical problem with naval gunfire occasionally arose. In the Fedala area a conflict in calls for support almost caused the tragedy of American fire landing among American troops.

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.

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. Only at Safi and Algiers did lone sorties of French aircraft inflict damage, and both were quickly driven off. Naval gunfire provided essential support in neutralizing coastal batteries.

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