By U.S. Army Center for Military History
Occasions bringing the us military to North Africa had all started greater than a yr sooner than the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For either the Axis and the Allies, the Mediterranean Sea quarter was once one in all doubtful precedence. at the Axis aspect, the site of Italy made obvi-ous Rome’s curiosity within the zone. however the greater German associate pursued pursuits thousands of miles north. the same department of emphasis characterised the Allies. To the British the Mediterranean Sea used to be the very important hyperlink among the house islands and long-held Asian possessions in addition to heart japanese oil fields. To the american citizens, although, the realm had by no means been one among very important nationwide curiosity and was once no longer noticeable because the top path to Berlin. however the fall of France in June 1940 had additionally introduced a brand new size to the zone. The give up of Paris left 120,000 French troops in West and North Africa and lots more and plenty of the French fleet in Atlantic and Mediterranean ports. either the Axis and Allies observed in a foreign country French forces because the decisive virtue that might let them in achieving their contradictory pursuits within the Mediterranean.
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At the same time, 30th Regimental Landing Group officers asked 30 the ships to hold fire for the moment, since their troops were nearing the impact zone. Safety concerns dictated a halt of fire support missions but at the cost of delay in the advance ashore. The Center and Eastern Task Force landings highlighted several operational differences between the two leading Western Allies. Most striking was the British preference for antisabotage thrusts directly into objective areas, a tactic Americans considered suicidal.
But one phenomenon affecting movement to shore remained beyond human reach: the weather. Operational fires (large-caliber supporting fire) proved generally satisfactory to all landings. The assignment of an aircraft carrier to each landing site gave the task forces a great advantage: Allied aircraft could prevent reinforcement of enemy garrisons, but the French could not prevent Allied buildups ashore. Only at Safi and Algiers did lone sorties of French aircraft inflict damage, and both were quickly driven off.
Safety concerns dictated a halt of fire support missions but at the cost of delay in the advance ashore. The Center and Eastern Task Force landings highlighted several operational differences between the two leading Western Allies. Most striking was the British preference for antisabotage thrusts directly into objective areas, a tactic Americans considered suicidal. The failure of Operations RESERVIST and TERMINAL confirmed fears of those American planners who were wary of some British operational concepts, a suspicion dating from World War I.
Algeria - French Morocco by U.S. Army Center for Military History