Operation 'TORCH' North Africa (Hardback)
Then and Now
When the western Allies decided to launch a second front in North Africa, they carefully considered the anti-British feeling left in France by the ill-advised attack by the Royal Navy on the French Fleet at Mers el Kébir in July 1940. Consequently, the operation was given an American rather than a British complexion, General Eisenhower was chosen to lead a mostly American force into battle and the major Royal Navy contribution was kept as inconspicuous as possible. This operation marked the first time that American troops fought against German forces during the Second World War. They had a rough baptism of fire in southern Tunisia in February 1943, training, equipment and leadership failed in many instances to meet the requirements of the battlefield, but the US Army was quick to learn and revise army doctrines, particularly with respect to the use of armour. The successful campaign created thousands of seasoned soldiers of all ranks whose experience would prove decisive in subsequent campaigns. The next test was only two months away — the invasion of Sicily. In addition, Operation ‘Torch’ brought the French army back into the war. Most important of all, the Allies had seized the initiative in the West.