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In 1942, United States military forces and the United Kingdom launched an operation against Morocco and Algeria, which were French-held territories. Their landing, referred to as the ‘Torch’ reflecting the long arguments between the American and British planners, regarding the allied strategy’s future. Franklin Roosevelt who was the American president by then stilled the arguments. The impact of Torch had an enormous effect decisions made by the leaders of Anglo-American strategic. This operation affected landing in France, but, allowed the U.S to mobilize its manpower and industrial resources for the ground battles and titanic air characterizing the 1944 allied Campaigns.
The strategic thinking of America in 1942 intended to defeat the Nazi Germany before tackling the problems raised by victories and conquests of Japan. According to the Army’s chief, the strategic problem appeared too simple. The U.S needed to concentrate its military towards the achieving lodgement in Europe as soon as possible. In 1942, the Soviet Army was desperate, since Panzer divisions pushed towards the Caucasus and Stalingrad. Part of the American military believed that they needed to invade Europe in the Northwest, in order to take off the Soviets that were hard-pressed.
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However, they preferred spring 1943 when American forces would be well-prepared, equipped and trained to fight. They believed that any difficulties that would be faced by the forces would be tackled by America, since it had enough resources and the required tactics. Military leaders from Britain, on the other hand, had a different approach. They did not appear optimistic to go through the operation in the year 1943. The British leaders were also not totally against that operation, as the country would be forced to bear the military burden in such an attempt. Britain’s military also had the experience of vicious fighting during the World War 1 when they were fighting Germans. This led to heavy casualties on Britain’s forces. Germans had more capability to reinforce the points of attack than Britain. Britain also suffered from a shortage of water transport, and this would only end, if Mediterranean got opened once again.
Britain, therefore, urged Americans to intervene Mediterranean, in order to clear Axis Military Power, based on the shores of the Northern Africa. This would lead to the opening of an inland sea to allow the movement of Allied Convoys. The result was, however, a deadlock, since Marshal took a different turn. The U.S army was switched from the European Theatre to Operations in the Pacific. The U.S president was quick to resist such change of the country’s strategy. He intervened by overruling his advisers (military advisers). He ordered his generals to support the proposal put forward by Britain by landing at the coast of the French Northern Africa. Roosevelt’s reasoning was political. The president understood that focusing on Germany would lead to the U.S troops’ fighting with the Germans in Europe. He understood British attitudes that would make them turn against Algeria and Morocco; hence, he committed the United States troops to fight for Mediterranean control. America had, yet, another ambitious plan. Western allies had to transport at least 65, 000 men from the U.S and England who would invade the Northern Africa.
This allied move succeeded, because the Axis’ military and political leaders focused elsewhere. Germans were struggling for Caucasus and Stalingrad. Montgomery’s Army attacked Germans in October, and the country could have hardly won the battle. The Axis leaders mainly concentrated on Egypt’ deserts. In November, Italian and German intelligence sensed allied shipping at Gibraltar. However, Germany dismissed this saying it was a convoy meant to reinforce Malta. On 8th Novemer 1942, Americans had already landed at the ports of Morocco and Algeria. Italians got shocked by this landing.
The Torch landing was almost successful immediately they landed there. The French officers were, however, quick to resist the Allied forces. American forces were lucky, since the Germans had never trusted the French leaders. They, therefore, did not allow them to modernize their forces in the North Africa. By the time the allied forces were landing, the French tanks were all obsolete, and the defenders had insufficient aircraft to combat. French provided little resistance to the Allied troops, but they provided heavy Atlantic surf in Morocco. Several landing craft got lost in the surf leading to heavy losses of American troops. Americans were also lucky in that French lacked the air support. It was difficult for the U.S troops to land at the Port of Algiers, since French had placed enough ground forces. They also possessed 39 bombers and 52 aircrafts. French could open fire to the commandos, leading to serious damages. The landings were, however, successful in the West, despite the fact that there were some mild resistances.
Admiral Darlan, who had for all a long time collaborated with the Germans, realized that Vichy government had become desperate. He signed an agreement with the American and British allies to stop the fight between Morocco and Algeria. This deal saved many British and American soldiers who would have lost lives, if the fight had continued. The allies were fighting to suppress the defences by French. French, however, made a poor strategic decision by ordering Seizure of Tunisia. Unlike in Algeria and Morocco, French cooperated with the German forces. The two sent heavy armed forces at Mediterranean, in order to secure Tunisia and to prevent the allied attacks. The axis forces confronted the battle, which they had no hope for winning, because the attackers were superior and well-equipped. The newly appointed German commander did not cooperate to defend Tunisia. The weakness of the Unites States troops came out when they were defeated by Africa Korps. However, the U.S troops seemed more effective than British troops, since they had adapted the learning curve to actual combating.
German successes turned into a catastrophe during spring. The allied forces shut down the German communication sea lines between the North Africa and Sicily. Axis partners also became reinforcements and supplies across the Mediterranean only by air. This eventually led to Italian and German forces in the North Africa surrendering the remaining forces. This loss meant that German had no other chance to establish a mobile reserve on Italy. Italians being defeated in Tunisia meant that their military forces, which could have been effective in defending the mainland and Sicily, had ended. The fall of Benito Mussolini regime followed this unsuccessful campaign.
In the end, there were both minuses and pluses of the Torch but, the there were more pluses than the minuses. Marshall was right by asserting that American intervention would make it impossible to land on the Coast of France. However, the landing of Torch enabled to open the Mediterranean communication lines, which made it easy to ship several tons to other parts of the world. This served as a boon to the Allied merchant marine that had not yet recovered from the losses suffered during the 2942 battles. Another benefit from the operation was the fact that Americans and British were able to combine forces leading to a joint command.
They were, therefore, able to evolve some common practices and even had a common language during the military operations. Eisenhower was the one beneficiary of the joint command between the America and Britain. From Mediterranean, they moved the forces to London, in order to plan for Overlord operation. Difficulties that would arisse in Europe between the America and Britain were easily manageable. The operation in the North Africa helped to make a great deal in uniting the two powers. Several defeats followed the North Africa defeat; hence, undermining Germany as a fighting power.
Not only had the Reich’s forces suffered humiliating defeats, but the German and Luftwaffe defence systems were also affected, though they tried as much as they could to defend their territories. Americans came out as the superior power in the European continent, since they would succeed in several occasions. The American allied forces possessed the special capabilities and force structure, which made them conduct the effective and massive campaigns against the French allies’ transportation network. By the mid 1944, railway network in the central and western France had broken down largely. The Germans had, at the same time, lost logistics build-up battle, before the campaign of Normandy began. The allied forces lacked both the force structure and capabilities to go through such a campaign in the year 1943 (Atkinson, 2007).
One of the most important decisions made by Franklin Roosevelt during the Second World War was the decision to send the American troops to French Northern Africa. This decision reflected the realities brought by the strategic situation in the year 1942. The British were right that the Western Powers were not yet ready to go to Wehrmacht through their military forces. Britain had also said that the Northern Africa was far from Germany, and they, therefore, did not see the possibility of Nazi Military Power. The fact that Germany was committed to controlling Tunisia provided the American Army with an opportunity to acquire skills on how to fight an opponent from a far. Combining forces with Britain, America managed to defeat the Axis. The opening of the Mediterranean communication lines gave relief to the merchant navies who were hard pressed. The allied military power also depended on the Mediterranean Sea.
America’s objective when landing in the North Africa was to occupy the French territories. This would only have happened by fighting the axis. These included German and Italians, especially the Germans who were the stronger force of the two. Germany had shown several defeats, mainly by defeating Japan. Therefore, it was still a stronger power than Britain. The combining of forces between America and Britain led to their defeat. If Britain had refused to collaborate with America, it would have been difficult to defeat the axis forces. Another possibility would be the fact that it would have taken a long time for America to end the war, which would have led to several deaths in the U.S Army; hence becoming a weak military force. America also had the plan of occupying the whole Europe. That is the reason why the country was quick to accept the Britain’s proposal to intervene of the opening of the Mediterranean. The country expected to have the Britain’s support in Europe. Britain’s refusal to work with Americans in European wars would have led to America’s failure in obtaining its objectives.
On the other hand, the Axis would not have been defeated, if Germany had trusted Italy. They would have joined forces, and Germany would have allowed Italy to advance its weapons in preparation of events, such as “Torch”. This lack of unity led to the defeat of the Axis forces. The Axis forces were also attacked unaware and, therefore, they were not as well-prepared as the opposition. The Axis forces were not able to acquire the common practices. If they had acquired, for example, a common language, they would have defeated the allied forces. This made the U.S and Britain emerge as the winners, since they achieved their objective. Mediterranean Sea was finally opened, and the Italians surrendered their remaining forces.
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