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
The Franco-Thai War was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over certain areas of French Indochina. Negotiations with France shortly before World War II had shown that the French government was willing to make appropriate changes in the boundaries between Thailand and French Indochina, but only slightly. Following the Fall of France in 1940, Major-General Plaek Pibulsonggram, the prime minister of Thailand, decided that France's defeat gave the Thais an better chance to regain the vassal state territories that were ceded to France during King Chulalongkorn's reign; the German military occupation of a large part of France made France's hold on its overseas possessions, including Indochina, difficult. The colonial administration was now cut off from outside supplies. After the Japanese invasion of French Indochina in September 1940, the French were forced to allow Japan to set up military bases; this subservient behaviour convinced the Phibun regime that France would not resist a confrontation with Thailand.
The French military forces in Indochina consisted of an army of 50,000 men, 12,000 of whom were French, organised into forty-one infantry battalions, two artillery regiments, a battalion of engineers. The French army had a shortage of armour, it could field only 20 Renault FT tanks against the nearly one hundred armoured vehicles of the Royal Thai Army; the bulk of the French forces stationed near the Thai border consisted of the Indochinese troops of the 3rd and 4th Regiments of Tirailleurs Tonkinois, together with a battalion of Montagnards, French regulars of the Colonial Infantry, French Foreign Legion units. The French navy in Indochina had four Avisos; the Armée de l'Air had 100 aircraft, of which about 60 could be considered front line. These included thirty Potez 25 TOE reconnaissance/fighters-bombers, four Farman 221 heavy bombers, six Potez 542 bombers, nine Morane-Saulnier M. S.406 fighters, eight Loire 130 reconnaissance/bombers flying boats. The larger Thai Army was a well-equipped force.
Consisting of 60,000 men, it was made up of four armies. The largest were the Isan Army with three divisions. Independent formations under direct control of the army high command included two motorised cavalry battalions, one artillery battalion, one signals battalion, one engineer battalion, one armoured regiment; the artillery was a mixture of Krupp guns and modern Bofors guns and Howitzers, while 60 Carden Loyd tankettes and 30 Vickers 6-ton tanks made up the bulk of the army's tank force. The Royal Thai Navy included two Thonburi coastal defence ships, 12 torpedo boats, four Japanese-made submarines; the Thai navy was inferior to the French naval forces, but the Royal Thai Air Force held both a quantitative and qualitative edge over the local Armée de l'Air units. Among the 140 aircraft that composed the air force's first-line strength were 24 Mitsubishi Ki-30 light bombers, nine Mitsubishi Ki-21 medium bombers, 25 Curtiss Hawk 75N pursuit fighter planes, six Martin B-10 medium bombers, 70 Vought O2U Corsair observation/attacker aircraft.
While nationalist demonstrations and anti-French rallies were being held in Bangkok, several border skirmishes erupted along the Mekong frontier. The superior Royal Thai Air Force conducted daytime bombing runs over military targets in Vientiane, Phnom Penh and Battambang with impunity; the French retaliated with their own air attacks. The activities of the Thai air force in the field of dive-bombing, was such that Admiral Jean Decoux, the governor of French Indochina, grudgingly remarked that the Thai planes seemed to have been flown by men with plenty of war experience. On 5 January 1941, following the report of a French attack on the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet, the Thai Burapha and Isan Armies launched an offensive on Laos and Cambodia. French response was instantaneous, but many units were swept aside by the better-equipped Thai forces; the Thai army swiftly overran Laos, but the French forces in Cambodia managed to rally and offer more resistance. At dawn on 16 January 1941, the French launched a large counterattack on the Thai-held villages of Yang Dang Khum and Phum Preav, initiating the fiercest battle of the war.
Due to poor co-ordination and non-existent intelligence against the entrenched and prepared Thai forces, the French operation was stopped and fighting ended with a French retreat from the area. However, the Thais were unable to pursue the retreating French, as their forward tanks were kept in check by the gunnery of French Foreign Legion artillery. With the situation on land deteriorating for the French, Admiral Decoux ordered all available French naval forces into action in the Gulf of Thailand. In the early morning of 17 January, a French naval squadron caught a Thai naval detachment by surprise at anchor off Ko Chang island; the subsequent Battle of Ko Chang was a tactical victory for the French and resulted in the sinking of two Thai torpedo boats and the disabling of a coastal defence ship, with the French suffering only minor casualties. Fearing the war would turn in France's favour, the Japanese intervened, proposing an armistice be signed. On 24 January, the final air battle took place when Thai bombers raided the French airfield at Angkor, near Siem Reap.
The last Thai mission bombing Phnom Penh commenced at 07:10 on 28 January, when the Martins of the 50th Bomber Squadron set out on a raid on Sisophon, escorted by thirteen Hawk 75Ns of the 60th Fighter Squadron. Japan stepped in to mediate the conflict. A Japanese-sponsored
Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine
The Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine known as the Siegfried Line Campaign, was a phase in the Western European Campaign of World War II. This phase spans from the end of the Battle of Normandy, or Operation Overlord, incorporating the German winter counter-offensive through the Ardennes and Operation Nordwind up to the Allies preparing to cross the Rhine in the early months of 1945; this corresponds with the official United States military European Theater of Operations Rhineland and Ardennes-Alsace Campaigns. German forces had been routed during the Allied break-out from Normandy; the Allies advanced against an enemy that put up little resistance. But after the liberation of Paris in late August 1944, the Allies paused to re-group and organise before continuing their advance from Paris to the River Rhine; the pause allowed the Germans to solidify their lines—something they had been unable to do west of Paris. By the middle of September 1944, the three Western Allied army groups. S. 12th Army Group in the center, the Franco-American 6th Army Group in the south, formed a broad front under the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his headquarters SHAEF.
While Montgomery and Bradley each favored direct thrusts into Germany, General Eisenhower disagreed. Instead, he chose a "broad-front" strategy, which allowed the Allies to gain ground from the beaten Germans in all sectors, allowed the advancing Allied forces to support each other, minimized the difficulty of supplying the most advanced forces; the rapid advance through France had caused considerable logistical strain, made worse by the lack of any major port other than the distant Cherbourg in western France. Although Antwerp was seen as the key to solving the Allied logistics problems, its port was not open to Allied shipping until the Scheldt estuary was clear of German forces; as the campaign progressed, all the belligerents, Allied as well as German, felt the effects of the lack of suitable replacements for front-line troops. There were two major defensive obstacles to the Allies; the first was the natural barriers made by the rivers of eastern France. The second was the Siegfried Line, which fell under the command, along with all Wehrmacht forces in the west, of Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt.
Although the breakout from Normandy had taken longer than planned, the advances until September had far exceeded expectations. Bradley, for example, by September had four more divisions than planned and all of his forces were 150 miles ahead of their expected position. One effect was that insufficient supplies could be delivered to the various fronts to maintain the advance: demand had exceeded the expected needs. Much war material still had to be brought ashore across the invasion beaches and through the one remaining Mulberry harbour. Although small harbours, such as Isigny, Port-en-Bessin, Courcelles, were being used, the major forward ports such as Calais, Dunkirk and Le Havre either remained in German hands as "fortresses" or had been systematically destroyed; the availability of Cherbourg had been valuable until the breakout, but the shortage of transport to carry supplies to the advancing armies became the limiting factor. Although fuel was pumped from Britain to Normandy via the Pluto pipeline, this still had to reach the fronts, which were advancing faster than the pipelines could be extended.
The railways had been destroyed by Allied attacks and would take much effort to repair, so fleets of trucks were needed in the interim. In an attempt to address this acute shortage of transport, three newly arrived U. S. infantry divisions—the 26th, 95th, 104th—were stripped of their trucks in order to haul supplies. Advancing divisions of the U. S. 12th Army Group left all their heavy artillery and half their medium artillery west of the Seine, freeing their trucks to move supplies for other units. Four British truck companies were loaned to the Americans. 1,500 other British trucks were found to have critical engine faults and were unusable, limiting assistance from that quarter. The Red Ball Express was an attempt to expedite deliveries by truck but capacity was inadequate for the circumstances; the 6th Army Group advancing from southern France were supplied adequately from Toulon and Marseille because it had captured ports intact and the local railway system was less damaged. This source supplied about 25% of the Allied needs.
The U. S. supply organization—Communications Zone —is perceived to have failed to expedite solutions and to have been far too bureaucratic, employing 11,000 staff. COMZ and its commander, General John C. H. Lee, were roundly criticised by other American generals. Failure to supply forward units led to unofficial arrangements, with pressed units "diverting" supplies intended for others. General Eisenhower felt he could not exert authority since COMZ was directly answerable to Washington and not to SHAEF, but General Eisenhower has been criticised for not exerting more pressure and influence than he did. At this time the main Allied supply lines still ran back to Normandy, presenting serious logistical problems; the solution was to get Antwerp into operation quickly. Although this major port had been captured intact, the mere occupation of Antwerp was not enough, because the 21st Army Group failed t
German military administration in occupied France during World War II
The Military Administration in France was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during World War II to administer the occupied zone in areas of northern and western France. This so-called zone occupée was renamed zone nord in November 1942, when the unoccupied zone in the south known as zone libre was occupied and renamed zone sud, its role in France was governed by the conditions set by the Second Armistice at Compiègne after the blitzkrieg success of the Wehrmacht leading to the Fall of France. For instance, France agreed that its soldiers would remain prisoners of war until the cessation of all hostilities. Replacing the French Third Republic that had dissolved during France's defeat was the "French State", with its sovereignty and authority limited to the free zone; as Paris was located in the occupied zone, its government was seated in the spa town of Vichy in Auvergne, therefore it was more known as Vichy France. While the Vichy government was nominally in charge of all of France, the military administration in the occupied zone was a de facto Nazi dictatorship.
Its rule was extended to the free zone when it was invaded by Germany and Italy during Case Anton on 11 November 1942 in response to Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North Africa on 8 November 1942. The Vichy government remained in existence though its authority was now curtailed; the military administration in France ended with the Liberation of France after the Normandy and Provence landings. It formally existed from May 1940 to December 1944, though most of its territory had been liberated by the Allies by the end of summer 1944. Alsace-Lorraine, annexed after the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 by the German Empire and returned to France after the First World War, was re-annexed by the Third Reich The departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais were attached to the military administration in Belgium and Northern France, responsible for civilian affairs in the 20-kilometre wide zone interdite along the Atlantic coast. Another "forbidden zone" were areas in north-eastern France, corresponding to Lorraine and about half each of Franche-Comté, Champagne and Picardie.
War refugees were prohibited from returning to their homes, it was intended for German settlers and annexation in the coming Nazi New Order. The occupied zone consisted of the rest of northern and western France, including the two forbidden zones; the southern part of France, except for the western half of Aquitaine along the Atlantic coast, became the zone libre, where the Vichy regime remained sovereign as an independent state, though under heavy German influence due to the restrictions of the Armistice and economical dependency on Germany. It constituted a land area of 246,618 square kilometres 45 percent of France, included 33 percent of the total French labor force; the demarcation line between the free zone and the occupied zone was a de facto border, necessitating special authorisation and a laissez-passer from the German authorities to cross. These restrictions remained in place after Vichy was occupied and the zone renamed zone sud, placed under military administration in November 1942.
The Italian occupation zone consisted of small areas along the Alps border, a 50-kilometre demilitarised zone along the same. It was expanded to all territory on the left bank of the Rhône river after its invasion together with Germany of Vichy France on 11 November 1942, except for areas around Lyon and Marseille, which were added to Germany's zone sud, Corsica; the Italian occupation zone was occupied by Germany and added to the zone sud after Italy's surrender in September 1943, except for Corsica, liberated by the landings of Free French forces and local Italian troops that had switched sides to the Allies. After Germany and France agreed on an armistice following the defeats of May and June, Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and General Charles Huntzinger, representatives of the Third Reich and of the French government of Marshal Philippe Pétain signed it on 22 June 1940 at the Rethondes clearing in Compiègne Forest; as it was done at the same place and in the same railroad carriage where the armistice ending the First World War when Germany surrendered, it is known as the Second Compiègne armistice.
France was divided into an occupied northern zone and an unoccupied southern zone, according to the armistice convention "in order to protect the interests of the German Reich". The French colonial empire remained under the authority of Marshall Pétain's Vichy regime. French sovereignty was to be exercised over the whole of French territory, including the occupied zone and Moselle, but the third article of the armistice stipulated that French authorities in the occupied zone would have to obey the military administration and that Germany would exercise rights of an occupying power within it: In the occupied region of France, the German Reich exercises all of the rights of an occupying power; the French government undertakes to facilitate in every way possible the implementation of these rights, to provide the assistance of the French administrative services to that end. The French government will direct all off
The Holocaust in France
The Holocaust in France refers to the persecution and annihilation of Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 in occupied France, metropolitan Vichy, in Vichy-North Africa, during World War II. The persecution began in 1940, culminated in deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 which lasted until July 1944. Of the 340,000 Jews living in metropolitan/continental France in 1940, more than 75,000 were deported to death camps, where about 72,500 were killed. French Vichy government and the French police participated in the roundup of Jews. Although most deported Jews died, the survival rate of the Jewish population in France was up to 75%, one of the highest survival rates in Europe. In the summer of 1940, there were around 700,000 Jews living in French-ruled territory, of which 400,000 lived in French Algeria an integral part of France, in the two French protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco. Metropolitan France had a population of about 150,000 Jewish nationals during the Interwar period.
In addition, France hosted a large population of foreign Jews. By 1939, the Jewish population had increased to 330,000 due to the refusal of the United States and the United Kingdom to accept any more Jewish refugees following the Évian Conference. After the occupation of Belgium and the Netherlands in 1940, France hosted a new wave of Jewish immigrants and Jewish population peaked at 340,000 individuals. At the declaration of World War II, French Jews were mobilized into the French military like their compatriots, like in 1914, a significant number of foreign Jews enlisted in regiments of foreign volunteers. Jewish refugees from Germany were interned as enemy aliens. In general, the Jewish population of France was confident in the ability of France to defend them against the occupiers, but some from Alsace and the Moselle regions fled westwards into the unoccupied zone from July 1940; the armistice of 22 June 1940, signed between the Third Reich and the government of Marshal Philippe Pétain, did not contain any overtly anti-Jewish clauses, but did indicate that the Germans intended the racial order existent in Germany since 1933 to spread to Metropolitan France and its overseas territories: Article 3 warned that in the regions of France occupied directly by the Germans, the French administration must "by all means facilitate the regulations" relating to the exercise of the rights of the Reich.
From the city of Vichy, the government of Marshal Pétain governed a new French State in southern France and the departments of French Algeria, together with France's overseas territories such as Morocco, Indochina, the Levant, etc. The Vichy regime saw its empire as an integral part of non-occupied France, its anti-Jewish decrees were implemented there, because of the Vichy vision of the empire as a territorial continuation of metropolitan France From the summer of 1940, Otto Abetz, the German ambassador in Paris, organized the expropriation of rich Jewish families; the Vichy regime took the first anti-Jewish measures after the German authorities in the autumn of 1940. On 3 October 1940, Vichy passed a set of anti-Jewish laws called the Statut des Juifs to solve the Jewish question in areas under its control. Article 9.of the Statut stated that the law are applicable to France's possessions of French Algeria, the colonies, the Protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco, mandates territories. The October 1940 Statut was prepared by Raphaël Alibert.
According to a document made public in 2010, Pétain himself made slight moderations to the term of the law. The Jewish Statute, "embraced the definition of a Jew established in the Nuremberg Laws", deprived the Jews of their civil rights, fired them from many jobs; the statut forbade Jews from working in certain professions while a Law of 4 October 1940 envisaged the incarceration of foreign Jews in internment camps in southern France such as the one at Gurs. These internees were joined by convoys of Jews deported from regions of France, including 6,500 Jews, deported from Alsace-Lorraine during Operation Bürckel. During Operation Bürckel, Gauleiters Josef Bürckel and Robert Heinrich Wagner oversaw the expulsion of Jews into unoccupied France from their Gaues and the parts of Alsace-Lorraine, annexed in the summer of 1941 to the Reich. Only those Jews in mixed marriages were not expelled; the 6,500 Jews affected by Operation Bürckel were given at most two hours warning on the night of 22–23 October 1940, before being rounded up.
The nine trains carrying the deported Jews crossed over into France "without any warning to the French authorities", who were not happy with receiving them. The deportees had not been allowed to take any of their possessions with them, these being confiscated by the German authorities; the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop treated the ensuing complaints by the Vichy government over the expulsions in a "most dilatory fashion". As a result, the Jews expelled in Operation Bürckel were interned in harsh conditions by the Vichy authorities at the camps in Gurs and Les Milles while awaiting a chance to return them to Germany; the Commissariat Général aux Questions juives, created by
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