The Guns Of Operation Torch

The Guns Of Operation Torch

Author: American Rifleman
Published: December 29, 2022

Check out this historical article from American Rifleman.

“Deemed a safer option than a direct attack on Nazi-occupied France, Operation Torch—the Allied invasion of French North Africa—was nonetheless a hard-fought, six-month campaign. These are the guns that helped America’s warfighters win victory.

Eighty years ago, U.S. involvement in World War II was still new. During the 11 months since Pearl Harbor, American ground forces fought the Japanese across the Pacific in the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, but they had not yet engaged in major ground combat against the other members of the Axis alliance. A “Europe First” strategy had been affirmed by President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill when they met during the Arcadia Conference in December 1941, and that agreement obligated the United States to join the struggle against Germany and Italy as soon as possible.

Since the British Eighth Army was already fighting Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps in Libya and Egypt, an attack against French Morocco and Algeria would have the effect of dividing the enemy’s strength on a vulnerable front at a critical time. But the American military did not want that, preferring instead a direct attack against occupied France in 1942. To the British, such a course of action would lead inevitably to disaster because the Americans just were not ready to take on the enemy’s full strength. To them, the more prudent approach would be the indirect attack targeting French North Africa.

They argued that the potential enemy forces that would be encountered there could be more easily defeated because of their location along the “soft underbelly” of a European continent that had been brought under Nazi and fascist domination. But the troops that would be encountered during the landings would be French, not German or Italian, and because of the Vichy government’s position of armed neutrality, it was hoped that they would choose not to fight. A long history of close cultural and ideological ties with the United States offered the further optimism that maybe they could even be convinced to join the Allied cause. In every way, an invasion of French North Africa seemed to be a safer use of the valuable resources available at the time.”

The full article can be found here.

Photo Credit: Original Author

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