Jijel, the classical Igilgili, is the capital of Jijel Province in north-eastern Algeria. It is flanked by the Mediterranean Sea in the region of Corniche Jijelienne and had a population of 131,513 in 2008. Jijel is the administrative and trade center for a region specializing in cork processing, leather tanning and steelmaking. Local crops include citrus and grain. Fishing is of great importance. Tourists are attracted to Jijel for its fine sand beaches. Being a resort town, there are many restaurants. There are Phoenician tombs nearby. Jijel is situated 30 km from Taza National Park. In particular, the Taza National Park is habitat for the endangered Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus. Igilgili was first inhabited by Berber tribes. A Phoenician colony, the city passed to the Carthaginians, the Roman Republic and Empire, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Umayyads, the Genovese, the Ottomans, it was conquered for the last in the 16th century by Hayreddin Barbarossa. In July 1664, the French took the city.
Resistance was organized under the direction of Shaban Aga and the French were driven out in October of the same year. Jijel remained a corsair stronghold until recaptured by the French in 1839. Strong local resistance subdued in 1851, resulted in the construction of three forts along its southern fringe as well as minimal colonization; the original town was devastated by an earthquake in 1856. The area is one of the last strongholds of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria. Abdelmalek Droukdel is believed to be hiding in the mountains of this region. Due to the rugged landscape, Jijel is isolated. However, it is connected by road to large cities like Setif and Constantine; the city has its own airport Jijel Ferhat Abbas Airport. Jijel is built along modern patterns with wide streets framed by trees; the surroundings consist of dense cork-oak forest. A peninsula lies right out from the coast and there is a citadel to the north. There is a hospital a Catholic church and University of Jijel. A new port has been built at Djen Djen 7 miles east of Jijel, which can handle large bulk carriers having a draft up to 18.2m.
Presently, the port is used by car carriers and break bulk vessels. List of lighthouses in Algeria 1856 Djijelli earthquakes European enclaves in North Africa before 1830 C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Barbary Macaque: Macaca sylvanus, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg Encyclopædia Britannica. 2002. Edition 15, v. 6 ISBN 0-85229-787-4, ISBN 978-0-85229-787-2 Enterprise Portuaire de Djen Djen. 2009. Port Authority Website
The Tunisian Campaign was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces. The Allies consisted of British Imperial Forces, including Polish and Greek contingents, with American and French corps; the battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces but the massive supply interdiction efforts led to the decisive defeat of the Axis. Over 230,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of the Afrika Korps; the first two years of the war in North Africa were characterised by chronic supply shortages and transport problems. The North African coast has few natural harbours and the British base at Alexandria on the Nile delta was some 2,100 km by road from the main Italian port at Tripoli in Libya. Smaller ports at Benghazi and Tobruk were 1,050 km and 640 km west of Alexandria on the Litoranea Balbo running along a narrow corridor along the coast. Control of the central Mediterranean was contested by the British and Italian navies, which were matched and exerted a reciprocal constraint supply through Alexandria, Tripoli and Tobruk, although the British could supply Egypt via the long route through the Atlantic around the Cape of Good Hope and by the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea.
The chronic difficulty in the supply of military forces in the desert led to several indecisive victories by both sides and long fruitless advances along the coast. The Italian invasion of Egypt by the 10th Army in 1940, advanced 97 km into Egypt and more than 1,600 km in a straight line from Tripoli, 600 km from Benghazi and 320 km from Tobruk; the Western Desert Force fought a delaying action as it fell back to Mersa Matruh began Operation Compass, a raid and counter-attack into Libya. The 10th Army was destroyed and the WDF occupied El Agheila, some 970 km from Alexandria. With the arrival of the German Afrika Korps the Axis counter-attacked in Operation Sonnenblume and in April 1941 reached the limit of their supply capacity at the Egyptian border but failed to recapture Tobruk. In November 1941 the British Eighth Army recovered, helped by the short supply distance from Alexandria to the front line and launched Operation Crusader, relieving the Siege of Tobruk and again reached El Agheila.
The Eighth Army was soon pushed back to Gazala west of Tobruk and at the Battle of Gazala in May 1942, the Axis pushed them all the way back to El Alamein, only 160 km from Alexandria. In 1942, the Royal Navy and Italian Navy were still disputing the Mediterranean but the British hold on Malta allowed the Royal Air Force to sink more Italian supply ships. Large quantities of supplies became available to the British from the United States and the supply situation of the Eighth Army resolved. With the Eighth Army no longer constrained, the Axis were driven westwards from Egypt following the Second Battle of El Alamein in November 1942. In July 1942, the Allies discussed small-scale amphibious operations to land in northern France during 1942, but agreed that these operations were impractical and should be deferred. Instead it was agreed that landings would be made to secure the Vichy territories in North Africa and to thrust east to take the Axis forces in the Western Desert in their rear. An Allied occupation of the whole of the North African coast would open the Mediterranean to Allied shipping, releasing the huge capacity required to maintain supplies around the circuitous route via the Cape of Good Hope.
On 8 November, Operation Torch landed Allied forces in Algeria and Morocco with the intention that once Vichy forces in Algeria had capitulated, an advance would be made to Tunis some 800 km to the east. Because of the nearness of Sicily to Tunisia, the Allies expected that the Axis would move to occupy the country as soon as they heard of the Torch landings. To forestall this, it would be necessary to occupy Tunisia as as possible after the landings were made. However, there was a limit to how far east the Torch landings could be made because of the increasing proximity of Axis airfields in Sicily and Sardinia which at the end of October held 298 German and 574 Italian aircraft. Algiers was accordingly chosen for the most easterly landings; this would ensure the success of the initial landings in spite of uncertainty as to how the incumbent French forces would react. Once Algiers was secured, a small force, the Eastern Task Force, would be projected as as possible into Tunisia in a race to occupy Tunis, some 800 km distant along poor roads in difficult terrain during the winter rainy season, before the Axis could organise.
However, planners had to assume the worst case regarding the extent of Vichy opposition at Algiers and the invasion convoys were assault-loaded with a preponderance of infantry to meet heavy ground opposition. This meant that at Algiers the disembarkation of mobile forces for an advance to Tunisia would be delayed. Plans were thus a compromise and the Allies realised that an attempt to reach Bizerta and Tunis overland before the Axis could establish themselves represented a gamble which depended on the ability of the navy and air force to delay the Axis build-up; the Allies, although they had provided for the possibility of strong Vichy opposition to their landings both in terms of infantry and air force allocations underestimated the Axis appetite for and speed of intervention in Tunisia. Once operations had commenced and despite clear intelligence
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Allied invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II, in which the Allies took the island of Sicily from the Axis powers. It began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign, initiated the Italian Campaign. Husky began on the night of 9–10 July 1943, ended on 17 August. Strategically, Husky achieved; the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, was toppled from power in Italy and the way was opened for the Allied invasion of Italy. The German leader, Adolf Hitler, "canceled a major offensive at Kursk after only a week, in part to divert forces to Italy", resulting in a reduction of German strength on the Eastern Front; the collapse of Italy necessitated German troops replacing the Italians in Italy and to a lesser extent the Balkans, resulting in one fifth of the entire German army being diverted from the east to southern Europe, a proportion that would remain until near the end of the war. The plan for Operation Husky called for the amphibious assault of Sicily by two Allied armies, one landing on the south-eastern and one on the central southern coast.
The amphibious assaults were to be supported by naval gunfire, as well as tactical bombing and close air support by the combined air forces. As such, the operation required a complex command structure, incorporating land and air forces; the overall commander was American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as Commander-in-Chief of all the Allied forces in North Africa. British General Sir Harold Alexander acted as his second-in-command and as the 15th Army Group commander; the American Major General Walter Bedell Smith was appointed as Eisenhower's Chief of Staff. The overall Naval Force Commander was the British Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham; the Allied land forces were from the American and Canadian armies, were structured as two task forces. The Eastern Task Force was led by General Sir Bernard Montgomery and consisted of the British Eighth Army; the Western Task Force was commanded by Lieutenant General George S. Patton and consisted of the American Seventh Army; the two task force commanders reported to Alexander as commander of the 15th Army Group.
The U. S. Seventh Army consisted of three infantry divisions, organized under II Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley; the 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions, commanded by Major Generals Terry Allen and Lucian Truscott sailed from ports in Tunisia, while the 45th Infantry Division, under Major General Troy H. Middleton, sailed from the United States via Oran in Algeria; the 2nd Armored Division, under Major General Hugh Joseph Gaffey sailing from Oran, was to be a floating reserve and be fed into combat as required. On 15 July, Patton reorganized his command into two corps by creating a new Provisional Corps headquarters, commanded by his deputy army commander, Major General Geoffrey Keyes; the British Eighth Army had four infantry divisions and an independent infantry brigade organized under XIII Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey, XXX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver Leese. The two divisions of XIII Corps, the 5th and 50th Infantry Divisions, commanded by Major-Generals Horatio Berney-Ficklin and Sidney Kirkman, sailed from Suez in Egypt.
The formations of XXX Corps sailed from more diverse ports: the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, under Major-General Guy Simonds, sailed from the United Kingdom, the 51st Infantry Division, under Major-General Douglas Wimberley, from Tunisia and Malta, the 231st Independent Infantry Brigade Group from Suez. The 1st Canadian Infantry Division was included in Operation Husky at the insistence of the Canadian Prime Minister, William Mackenzie King, the Canadian Military Headquarters in the United Kingdom; this request was granted by the British, displacing the veteran British 3rd Infantry Division. The change was not finalized until 27 April 1943, when Lieutenant-General Andrew McNaughton commanding the Canadian First Army in the United Kingdom, deemed Operation Husky to be a viable military undertaking and agreed to the detachment of both the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade; the "Red Patch Division" was added to Leese's XXX Corps to become part of the British Eighth Army.
In addition to the amphibious landings, airborne troops were to be flown in to support both the Western and Eastern Task Forces. To the east, the British 1st Airborne Division, commanded by Major-General George F. Hopkinson, was to seize vital bridges and high ground in support of the British Eighth Army; the initial plan dictated that the U. S. 82nd Airborne Division, commanded by Major General Matthew Ridgway, was to be held as a tactical reserve in Tunisia. Allied naval forces were grouped into two task forces to transport and support the invading armies; the Eastern Naval Task Force was formed from the British Mediterranean Fleet and was commanded by Admiral Bertram Ramsay. The Western Naval Task Force was formed around the U. S. Eighth Fleet, commanded by Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt; the two naval task force commanders reported to Admiral Cunningham as overall Naval Forces Commander. Two sloops of the Royal Indian Navy - HMIS Sutlej and HMIS Jumna - participated. At the time of Operation Husky, the Allied air forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean were organized into the Mediterranean Air Command under Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder.
The major sub
Battle of Dakar
The Battle of Dakar known as Operation Menace, was an unsuccessful attempt in September 1940 by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa. It was hoped that the success of the operation could overthrow the pro-German Vichy French administration in the colony, be replaced by a pro-British Free French one under General Charles de Gaulle. At the beginning of World War II, the French fleet in the Mediterranean was to have countered the Italian Navy, thereby leaving the British Royal Navy free to concentrate on the German warships in the North Sea and Atlantic. After the defeat of France and the conclusion of the armistice between France and Nazi Germany in June 1940, there was considerable confusion as to the allegiance of the various French colonies. Some, like Cameroon and French Equatorial Africa, joined the Free French, but others, including the North African colonies, French West Africa and Indochina, remained under Vichy control; the possibility that the French fleet might come under German control led the British to attack the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir on 3 July 1940.
While the British had eliminated a potential threat, the attack discouraged other units from joining the Free French and Allies. De Gaulle believed. Much would be gained by this. Another Vichy French colony changing sides would have great political impact; the gold reserves of the Banque de France and the Polish government in exile were stored in Dakar. Thus the Allies decided to send a task force to Dakar: an aircraft carrier, two battleships, five cruisers, ten destroyers, several transports carrying 8,000 troops, their orders were to negotiate with the French governor for a peaceful occupation, but if this was unsuccessful, to take the city by force. The Vichy forces present at Dakar included the unfinished battleship Richelieu, one of the most advanced warships in the French fleet about 95% complete, she had left France on 18 June, just before the Germans reached the port. Before the establishment of the Vichy government, HMS Hermes, a British aircraft carrier, had been operating with the French forces in Dakar.
Once the Vichy regime was in power, Hermes left port but remained on watch, was joined by the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia. Aircraft from Hermes had struck her once with a torpedo; the French ship was still able to function as a floating gun battery. A force of three cruisers comprising and three destroyers had left Toulon in southern France for Dakar just a few days earlier. Gloire was slowed by mechanical troubles and was intercepted by Australia which ordered the French cruiser to sail for Casablanca; the other two cruisers and the destroyers outran the pursuing Allied cruisers and reached Dakar safely. Three Vichy submarines and several lighter ships were at Dakar. On 23 September, the Fleet Air Arm dropped propaganda leaflets on the city of Dakar. Free French aircraft flew off Ark Royal and landed at the airport, but their crews were taken prisoner. A boat with representatives of de Gaulle was fired upon. At 10:00, Vichy ships trying to leave the port were given warning shots from Australia.
As these ships returned to port, Vichy-controlled coastal batteries opened fire on Australia. Their guns, which had a range of 14 km, were 240mm/50 Modèle 1902 gun that had come from the Vergniaud, a French semi-dreadnought battleship, scrapped in the 1920s. An engagement between the British fleet and the batteries continued for several hours. In the afternoon Australia intercepted and fired on the Vichy destroyer L'Audacieux, setting her on fire and causing her to be beached. In the afternoon, an attempt was made to set Free French troops ashore on a beach at Rufisque, to the south-east of Dakar; the attack failed due to heavy fire from strongpoints defending the beach. General de Gaulle declared he did not want to "shed the blood of Frenchmen for Frenchmen" and called off the assault. During the next two days, the Allied fleet continued to attack the coastal defences and the Vichy forces continued to defend them. Richelieu was hit by two 15-inch shells from Barham. On the second day of action, guns 7 and 8 of Richelieu failed on the first round.
The following day, the crews were switched and main turret number 1 was used. Propellant charges reconditioned from charges left by the battleship Strasbourg in Dakar, during winter 1939, were used but these gave a significant reduction in range and caused problems of fire control. Over the two days Richelieu fired a total of 24 rounds. No hits were recorded by Richelieu. During these engagements, two Vichy submarines were sunk, the destroyer L'Audacieux damaged; the Allied fleet suffered damage: Resolution was torpedoed by the submarine Bévéziers, Barham was hit by two shells from the coastal defence batteries, manned by crew from the No 1 main turret of Richelieu. The cruisers Australia and Cumberland were damaged. Overall, the Battle of Dakar did not go well for the Allies; the Vichy forces did not back down. Resolution was so damaged she had to be towed to Cape Town. During most of this conflict, bombers of the Vichy French Air Force, based in North Africa, bombed the British base at Gibraltar.
On 24 September about 50 aircraft dropped 150 bombs while on 25 September about 100 aircraft dropped 300 bombs on the harbour and dockyards. Most of
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.
Operation Torch was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, enabling an invasion of Southern Europe, it provided the ‘second front’ which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative; the American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca and Algiers, in advance of a rapid move on Tunis; the Western Task Force encountered unexpected resistance, as well as bad weather, but Casablanca, the principal French Atlantic naval base, was captured after a short siege. The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its fleet, trying to land in shallow water, but the enemy ships were sunk or driven off, Oran surrendered after heavy fire from British battleships.
The Eastern Task Force met less opposition because the French Resistance had staged a coup in Algiers, the Allies were able to push inland and compel surrender on the first day. The success of Torch caused the commander of French forces in the region, Admiral Darlan, to order full co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many Vichy officials keeping their jobs, but Darlan was assassinated soon after, De Gaulle’s Free French came to dominate the government. Operation Torch was the first mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, saw the first major airborne assault carried out anywhere by the United States; the Allies planned an Anglo-American invasion of north-western Africa/Maghreb—Morocco and Tunisia, territory nominally in the hands of the Vichy French government. With British forces advancing from Egypt, this would allow the Allies to carry out a pincer operation against Axis forces in North Africa; the Vichy French had around 125,000 soldiers in the territories as well as coastal artillery, 210 operational but out-of-date tanks and about 500 aircraft, half of which were Dewoitine D.520 fighters—equal to many British and U.
S. fighters. These forces included 60,000 troops in Morocco, 15,000 in Tunisia, 50,000 in Algeria, with coastal artillery, a small number of tanks and aircraft. In addition, there were 11 submarines at Casablanca; the Allies believed that the Vichy French forces would not fight because of information supplied by American Consul Robert Daniel Murphy in Algiers. The French were former members of the Allies and the American troops were instructed not to fire unless they were fired upon. However, they harbored suspicions that the Vichy French navy would bear a grudge over the British attack on Mers-el-Kebir in 1940. An assessment of the sympathies of the French forces in North Africa was essential, plans were made to secure their cooperation, rather than resistance. German support for the Vichy French came in the shape of air support. Several Luftwaffe bomber wings undertook anti-shipping strikes against Allied ports in Algiers and along the North African coast. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was given command of the operation, he set up his headquarters in Gibraltar.
The Allied Naval Commander of the Expeditionary Force would be Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham. Senior US commanders remained opposed to the landings and after the western Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff met in Washington on 30 July, General George Marshall and Admiral Ernest King declined to approve the plan. U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a direct order that Torch was to have precedence over other operations and was to take place at the earliest possible date, one of only two direct orders he gave to military commanders during the war. Planners identified Oran and Casablanca as key targets. Ideally there would be a landing at Tunis to secure Tunisia and facilitate the rapid interdiction of supplies travelling via Tripoli to Rommel's forces in Libya. However, Tunis was much too close to the Axis airfields in Sicily and Sardinia for any hope of success. A compromise would be to land at Bône in eastern Algeria, some 300 miles closer to Tunis than Algiers. Limited resources dictated that the Allies could only make three landings and Eisenhower — who believed that any plan must include landings at Oran and Algiers — had two main options: either the western option, to land at Casablanca and Algiers and make as rapid a move as possible to Tunis some 500 miles east of Algiers once the Vichy opposition was suppressed.
He favoured the eastern option because of the advantages it gave to an early capture of Tunis and because the Atlantic swells off Casablanca presented greater risks to an amphibious landing there than would be encountered in the Mediterranean. The Combined Chiefs of Staff, were concerned that should Operation Torch precipitate Spain to abandon neutrality and join the Axis, the Straits of Gibraltar could be closed cutting the entire Allied force's lines of communication, they therefore chose the Casablanca option as the less risky since the forces in Algeria and Tunisia could be supplied overland from Casablanca in the event of closure of the straits. Marshall’s opposition to Torch delayed the landings by a month, his opposition to landings in Algeria led British military leaders to quest