Timeline of Operation Torch (November 1942)

Timeline of Operation Torch (November 1942)

North Africa seemed a good a place as any to start the Allied march on Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo.





In their boldest move yet, the Allies planned out the invasion of North Africa through Operation Torch. With the Americans now onboard, the British had some substantial new-blood to reinforce their war-weary legs. The combined invasion force - numbering some 102 naval vessels - would be comprised of the U.S. Western Task Force, the U.S. Central Task Force and a combined U.S./British Eastern Task Force. Each task force would yield between 23,000 and 39,000 troops for the all-out invasion of North Africa - the first step required in retaking Europe proper.


Though many U.S. generals preferred an all-out invasion of the European mainland, American President Franklin Roosevelt trusted his counterpart, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in establishing a second front across Northern Africa first. The move, if successful, would contain German expansion in Europe, block vital shipping lanes to Axis forces in the Mediterranean, and provide the Allies with a jumping-off point into the inevitable invasion of Italy en route to Berlin.


On November 8th, 1942, the landings took place while being supported by air power. Despite the thinking on the Allies part that the French of North Africa would greet them as liberators, pockets of Vichy French soldiers battled it out as hard-core enemies aligned with the Axis. In other places, fighting was not in the cards as areas fell without so much as a shot being fired. The invasions also marked the formal entry of famous American General George S. Patton into the war.


As news of the invasion spread, German General Irwin Rommel - fresh off of his defeat at El Alamein - diverted his Panzer forces to the West. In Germany, Hitler was so enraged by the success of the Allied invasion over his Vichy French allies that he ordered his forces to take the south of France under his control (to this point, Southern France was under the management of Vichy French forces loyal to Hitler's Germany). At the news of this, most all Vichy French forces in North Africa officially surrendered to Allied forces.


For a bulk of the invasion, progress proved relatively steady as strategic routes, cities, and critical airfields all fell under Allied control within time. It was not until the arrival of a more stout German defense that the Allied push became bogged down by November 30th.


The German defense would remain in place into 1943 though the damage to the Axis hold on North Africa was all but done. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com




There are a total of (21) entries in the Timeline of Operation Torch (November 1942). Entries are listed below by earliest date to latest date.


September 1st - September 30th
1942
The month is spent ironing out plans for the Allied invasion of German-occupied North Africa.
November 7th
1942
Three Allied task forces - the US Western, Central and the British Eastern - approach the coast of North Africa.
November 8th
1942
The Allied invasion forces reach North African shores.
November 8th
1942
The US Western and Central task forces tangle with Vichy French opposition.
November 8th
1942
At Oran, French coastal guns destroya US transport with 200 soldiers aboard.
November 8th
1942
French General Mast surrenders to the British Eastern Task Force.
November 9th
1942
The first French cease-fires begin to ring out across Algeria and Morocco.
November 9th
1942
US forces tangle with a suprisingly stout French defense. It was believed that the two country's histories would have brought France to surrender rather than fight a former ally.
November 11th
1942
The British Eastern Task force capture the strategic airfield at Djidjelli via Bougie from Algiers.
November 11th
1942
French Admiral Jean Francios Darlan joins French General Alphonse Juin in calling an all-out cease fire for French forces throughout Africa.
November 12th
1942
German paratroopers move into the area near the airfield at Bone.
November 12th
1942
British paratroopers land near Bone and take the nearby airfield.
November 12th
1942
German paratrooper forces attack the British paratroopers near Bone but are repelled.
November 15th
1942
American paratroopers land at the airfield near Youks les Bains
November 16th
1942
British paratroopers land and capture the airfield at Soul el Arba.
November 16th
1942
Allied forces begin their move into German-held Tunisia.
November 17th
1942
The Allies capture Beja.
November 18th
1942
The Allies take Sidi Nsir.
November 20th
1942
The Allied assault on the strategic city of Medjez el Bab begins.
November 26th
1942
Medjez el Bab falls to the Allies.
November 30th
1942
Despite the consistent progression throughout North Africa, the Allied invasion offensive grounds to a halt in the face of growing German resistance at key junctions. The total liberation of North Africa will have to wait.