At the critical moment of the development of the Second World War, the Allies put forward the proposal of opening up a second battlefield.
As early as July 18, 1941, he proposed to open a second battlefield.
He called the British Prime Minister and asked Britain to open a second battlefield in North Africa or the northern coast of France as soon as possible.
The president also actively advocated opening up a second battlefield in Europe.
He knew that he was very afraid of the second battlefield, which would greatly shorten the war process and reduce sacrifices.
In April, he sent presidential adviser Harry Hopkins and army chief of Staff General George Marshall to London to discuss with the British side.
They brought with them a detailed memorandum, which was called the Western European operation plan.
It was an operation plan, code named “sledgehammer”, prepared by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff and approved by Roosevelt.
But the British were not enthusiastic about it, and Churchill tried to avoid it.
He once said privately: “what did the Soviets do when the British West Line crisis occurred in 1939 and 1940? They are in a hot fight with Berlin.
Now they are threatened and urge us to open a second battlefield again and again.
Besides, it is still difficult for us to protect ourselves.
How can we have the strength to carry out a frontal attack?” However, Churchill also understood that it was impossible not to give certain assistance to the Soviet Union.
Once the Soviet Union was defeated, Hitler could spare his hand and move westward again, pounding the three British Islands, and the British Empire would no longer exist.
According to Churchill’s intention, Britain should mainly fight on the periphery, weaken the strength of the German army first, and then land in Western Europe.
He targeted North Africa.
Because the axis powers in North Africa are relatively weak and easy to win.
In addition, North Africa is the sphere of influence of France and has a direct interest with Britain.
Attacking North Africa can not only delay the opening of the second battlefield, preserve their own strength, but also extend their hands to the coveted territory of North Africa.
Why not? In Churchill’s words, “extend our right claw to French North Africa and our left claw to the north corner of Norway.
As long as we wait another year, we will not risk breaking our teeth on the German fortified position on the other side of the lakish Strait”.
Based on the above purpose, he then introduced the “gymnast” plan to attack North Africa.
In order to persuade Roosevelt to give up the “sledgehammer” plan and support his “gymnast” plan, Churchill traveled between Europe and the United States and launched shuttle diplomacy.
The debate lasted three days.
Marshall, who fought alone, was finally defeated.
On the night of July 22, the British wartime cabinet unanimously rejected the “sledgehammer” plan.
This veto has legal effect and is tantamount to abandoning it completely.
Since the “sledgehammer” plan has been rejected, the “gymnast” plan has naturally become the focus of attention.
Members of the British cabinet agreed that the “gymnast” plan was the only feasible battle plan in 1942.
In order to increase the attraction, Churchill changed the name of “gymnast” plan to “Torch” plan, which means to light a fire on the tail of “Desert Fox” Rommel.
Marshall immediately sent a telegram to President Roosevelt after learning the results of the discussion of the British cabinet.
Roosevelt immediately replied to Marshall: “Your Excellency, you know the details.
Our goal is to exchange fire with the Germans in 1942.
We don’t have to worry about where to join the battle.
Since the sledgehammer plan doesn’t work, we should consider the prime minister’s torch plan.
” Churchill’s efforts were fulfilled.
But he knew very well that without the full help of the Americans, the British attack in North Africa would be impossible.
In return, he suggested that an American general be responsible for directing operation torch.
After discussion, it was finally decided that he should take the post.
Eisenhower has been in intense and busy preparations since he took the post of commander-in-chief of operation torch.
He first set up a leading group and proposed general Mark Clark as deputy commander, who was responsible for drawing up the plan.
Walter and del Smith, former secretaries of the army staff, assumed the post of chief of staff.
The United States and Britain chose the landing site of the “Torch” program in “French North Africa”, which includes French Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
After the French surrender, the Vichy government had about 200000 troops and 500 aircraft in “French North Africa”.
In addition, there are 4 battleships, 12 cruisers, about 40 destroyers, more than 20 submarines and other ships in the ports of Toulon and “French North Africa” in France.
For the landing option, the U.S. military command believes that: first, North Africa can be used as a test ground for large-scale participation in the war.
Although the US military is well equipped, it lacks actual combat experience.
The combat effectiveness of the French army in North Africa is not strong.
Many of them have a strong anti German consciousness.
If they do their work well, they may not encounter strong resistance.
From this operation, the U.S. military can not only obtain the expected results, but also obtain practical combat experience, so as to prepare for the next large-scale battle.
Second, it is easy to carry out sudden military attacks, forming a circuitous situation for the German and Italian forces in Libya, and establishing a reliable base for the subsequent offensive in North Africa.
Third, the French troops stationed in North Africa can be enlisted to participate in the Allied war against fascism and expand the strength of the international anti fascist alliance.
Fourth, after landing here, the Allied forces can attack Germany and Italy from west to East, cooperate with the 8th group army to attack Rommel, completely annihilate the German and Italian troops in North Africa, control the Mediterranean, and then consolidate the Middle East.
After repeated consultations, the two sides reached a consensus on taking Casablanca as the landing point.
However, in the choice of landing sites elsewhere, the US and British generals have been debated inextricably.
The British Navy insisted on landing at phillipville near Bonnie.
The United States insists on limiting the whole “Torch” operation to Casablanca and Oran.
Churchill believed that Algiers could not be abolished in any case, because Algiers is the capital of Algeria, where most of the French troops are pro allies and close to Tunisia.
He called President Roosevelt and persuaded him.
Finally, Casablanca, Oran and Algiers were painted with huge red circles.
After the specific landing location is determined, who will take the lead has also become a difficult problem.
In the Second World War, the French rulers in North Africa succumbed to Hitler’s power and became Hitler’s minions.
In July 1940, the British destroyed most of the French fleet, causing French anti British psychology.
At the beginning of May 1942, the British took French Madagascar as their own, which deepened the French’s disgust with the British.
In the case of deep resentment between Britain and France, ifWhen the British led the attack on North Africa, they were bound to meet the desperate resistance of the French.
What should I do? A few days later, President Roosevelt sent a telegram with a new proposal: the landing should be carried out entirely by the Americans.
The leading force is the US Army, and the British army is arranged behind.
Churchill agreed with this.
On September 20, the Allied generals determined the deployment of troops.
The US and British troops participating in the “Torch” operation had a total of 13 divisions, 650 warships and transport ships.
The first troops to land were seven divisions, including 80000 in Casablanca, 45000 in Oran and 10000 in Algiers.
Several airborne battalions will take part in the operation, whose task is to occupy the enemy’s defense deep airports and important places.
The landing will use 1700 aircraft as air cover, most of which are parked in Gibraltar fortress.
According to the operational plan, the two forces attacking Oran and Algiers were commanded by major general Lloyd friedendale and Major General Charles Ryder respectively, starting from Britain.
The task force attacking Casablanca boarded the ship directly from the United States and was commanded by Major General George Jr.
The landing time is scheduled for November 8.
After the Allied forces decided to implement the “Torch” plan, the only worry was the attitude of the French.
Once the French tenaciously resist the American landing, the allies will pay a great price.
Therefore, President Roosevelt specially recalled Murphy to China and assigned him an important task: contacting senior French generals and cooperating with the Allied landing.
After returning to North Africa, Murphy began extensive activities, contacted a group of military officers, and constantly provided reports on North Africa to the country.
From him, the Allies had many first-hand materials.
In London, General Eisenhower was thinking seriously with Murphy’s telegram in his hand at the Allied headquarters in grosser square.
Sending senior officers to meet in North Africa secretly is extremely dangerous.
Once the Germans find out, the “Torch” plan will come to naught.
If you don’t go, you won’t be able to get in close contact with the French, and strong resistance is likely to be encountered in the landing operation.
Who should be assigned to this important task? He thought of general Clark.
General Clark is his assistant.
He is in his prime of life, smart, witty and strong.
At present, he is the deputy commander in chief of the Allied forces and has the right to make decisions immediately.
After receiving the task, Clark selected four officers as his assistants to go to North Africa to perform this special task.
They are: Colonel Wright, sharpshooter.
Colonel Holmes, who knows French and is familiar with Algeria.
Colonel Hamblen, a maritime expert, and brigadier general ramnecha, who participated in the formulation of the operational plan.
On the morning of October 19, they took a “Flying Fortress” bomber and flew directly from London to polbrook naval base in Gibraltar.
Fox, the commander of the naval base who received the order in advance, has prepared a submarine and four small wooden ships for them.
Fox listened to the outline of the plan and said anxiously, “it’s too dangerous.
We can send you ashore.
There won’t be any trouble there.
But these ships are like a canoe.
You can’t control them in the face of wind and waves.
” Clark nodded, but said solemnly, “the adventure is well thought out and worth it.
” Subsequently, general Clark, his subordinates and three British commando officers boarded the “six winged angel” submarine under the leadership of the Captain Major Jewell.
The submarine sailed on the water for some time and headed for a seaside villa about 60 miles west of Algiers at a speed of 10-12 nautical miles per hour.
On the 20th, night finally fell and the submarine surfaced.
The people on the boat were waiting for the signal light.
A few hours later, the villa was still dark.
Clark was worried.
According to the plan, Patton’s “Western task force” had boarded the ship in the United States.
If the meeting failed, the consequences would be very serious.
At 11:10, a lamp was finally lit in the villa window, and a white sheet hung out behind it.
Jewell drove the submarine close to the coast, and Clark and his party rowed to the coast in a small boat with the help of three British commandos.
Ten minutes later, all the other boats came and Clark and they all landed.
Then they used the signal light to send a “safe” signal to the yacht.
At 7 o’clock in the morning, master, the representative of the French army, and others came to the villa on time.
Clark, Murphy and others began to hold talks with the French side after breakfast.
Clark and others received information about the deployment, mood and morale of the French army in Casablanca, Algiers, Oran and other places from the representatives of the French army.
Clark also bluntly told master and others that the United States was ready to send a large force to North Africa with the support of the British navy and air force.
He did not specify that the British ground forces would also follow the U.S. landing.
For the sake of safety, he didn’t tell master the time and place of the Allied landing, but authorized Murphy to inform master of the date immediately before landing, but even then, he didn’t tell him the place.
Therefore, when the Allied forces landed in Morocco, master’s colleagues in Morocco took resistance.
The talks in the villa came to the last question: who will lead the French army in North Africa after the successful landing of the US Army.
A French officer suggested that General Henry Giro should come forward.
A consensus was soon reached on this issue.
After hearing the report, Eisenhower decided to find Giro and mobilize him to lead the French army in North Africa to land with the allies.
The British submarine “six winged angel” went to the appointed place on the French coast to pick up giro.
The talks did not produce a result satisfactory to Eisenhower.
Giro said his order not to resist the allies would only be issued when the Allies went to liberate France.
Eisenhower told him that the Allied forces were not going to attack France, but the French and Italian forces and puppet forces in French Morocco and Algeria.
On November 8, the US and British troops participating in the “Torch” operation took 665 warships and transport ships, including 3 battleships, 7 aircraft carriers and 17 cruisers, and began to move towards the landing site.
Eisenhower was pacing nervously up and down at the Allied battle command in Gibraltar.
Giro’s uncooperative attitude made him very angry.
Whether the French army would resist or not, he had no idea.
In the west, the task force commanded by General Patton targeted Casablanca.
He divided the landing troops into threePart: the south wing attacked Safi, the middle attacked Casablanca, and the North Wing captured the port of liotai.
General bertuard, the commander of the French army guarding Casablanca, has a strong sense of national justice.
He hates fascist Germany for ravaging his motherland and opposes the traitorous policy of the bedang government.
After persuasion by the US side, he agreed to take cooperative action when the US army landed.
However, beituar knew nothing about the specific landing time of the U.S. military.
He didn’t know the news that the U.S. military would land in the early morning of the next day until the night of November 7, but he didn’t know the specific location of the landing.
He speculated that the U.S. military must have landed on the unprotected beach in Rabat, so he rushed to Rabat overnight, arrested the pro Nazi general lascrow C í stationed there, sent a battalion to the beach to meet the U.S. military, and cut off the contact between the governor general gayno and the outside world.
However, beituar “lost Jingzhou carelessly”.
He did not find that gaino had a secret communication line.
As a result, gaino soon made contact with general mishli, who was loyal to the Nazis, and dispatched troops to smash beituar’s action.
Bertouar, commander of the Casablanca division, was dismissed and replaced by general desder, who was hostile to the US British coalition.
In this way, the US military can only forcibly land on its own, so the landing operation in the west is much more difficult than that in Oran and Algiers.
This important task has historically fallen on Barton.
On the north wing, the commander of the attack on port liotai was brigadier general trascott.
He was not surprising.
He was of medium build, with a slightly curved back, slightly protruding eyes and thick hair.
Port liotai is an ideal naval base and airport.
The SEB river winds through the fortress.
The port is nine miles upstream of the South Bank of the river.
The water depth is between 13 and 17 feet.
It can berth cruisers.
It is of great significance to the Allies: once occupied, the backup forces can use the port.
Five miles from the coast, the airport is the only airport in Morocco with a concrete runway.
If you control it, you can control the air in Casablanca.
According to the scheduled plan, two of trascott’s four battalions captured a strong castle Kasbah on the highlands on the South Bank of the river within one hour after landing, and pushed from the south bank to the port.
The other two battalions will land five miles from the north bank, bypass the bend of the river and advance to liotai from the other side.
As the Allies announced the landing prematurely, the 2nd Battalion of the 60th infantry regiment responsible for attacking Kasbah was blocked by French naval artillery as it approached the landing beach.
After fierce fighting, before dawn, the U.S. Army captured the beach south of Kasbah, and trascott went ashore to establish his own command post.
In order to avoid casualties, trascott sent Colonel Crowe and major Hamilton to negotiate with the French commander in Kasbah.
The negotiation failed.
Colonel Crowe was killed and Hamilton was imprisoned.
At night, trascott organized troops to launch a second attack on Kasbah.
The 2nd Battalion climbed the steep hillside at night, began to push towards Kasbah, and reached under the wall in the early morning.
However, due to the strong wall, the fire of mortars and machine guns did not work, and the attack of the second battalion was blocked.
Trascott asked for naval artillery support.
The artillery on the escort cruiser Dallas began to attack Kasbah violently.
At the same time, eight British bombers flew over Kasbah and bombed in turns.
Drowned in the thick smoke.
The French garrison was stunned by the gunfire, Kaesong surrendered, and trascott’s troops entered Kasbah.
Then, trascott commanded the troops to launch an attack on the airport.
Around the airport, the French army was heavily fortified.
The US military pushed tenaciously towards the airport.
In the evening, the French army announced the cessation of resistance, and major Hamilton was sent back to the United States.
So far, the U.S. military has completely controlled the port of liotai, and trascott has completed the task excellently.
In Safi on the south wing, the landing operation commanded by general Harmon went smoothly.
In the early morning of August 8, the troops began to move towards the beach.
At 0438 hours, the landing craft approached the coast, the US ship fired at the shore with heavy artillery fire, and the attacking forces landed in batches.
By dawn, the port and the urban area were all controlled by the US military.
The battle ended in only five hours.
Now only Casablanca is left.
Patton ordered the 3rd Division to land near the port of fedara, 15 miles north of Casablanca, establish a beachhead position, and then attack Casablanca southward.
His troops were in great trouble here.
At more than 1 a.m., the sea of fedara was dark at night and could not see five fingers.
Only the lights of fedara and Casablanca were faintly visible in the distance.
Patton issued a landing order, and the landing troops immediately boarded the landing boat and headed for the beach.
But after the troops landed, they found that the landing craft deviated more than 10000 yards from the original landing point due to the action of sea tide.
During the landing, the troops also suffered some accidental losses.
Some soldiers were drowned in the sea by big waves, and more than 20 landing boats sank on the way.
Due to the loss of contact between multiple formations during landing, the situation after landing was very chaotic and the target was soon exposed.
French coastal artillery fired on the landing forces, causing serious casualties.
The landing forces launched a powerful offensive under the cover of us ship gunfire and occupied the port of fedala after fierce battle.
At this time, just as Patton was about to step down from his flagship “Augusta” and go ashore, the rear of the flagship suddenly heard a loud gunfire, and the French warships rushed up from the port of Casablanca and shot at the American ships and landing craft.
Suddenly, the sea was filled with gunsmoke and gunfire.
The US ship immediately returned its color, all the guns fired together, and soon drove the French ship back to the port.
Who knows, just a moment later, the French ship rushed frantically to the US fleet.
It was not until noon that the naval battle ended with the victory of the US Army.
At sunset, all landing troops arrived at their scheduled locations in chaos, but the troops still faced many serious problems: artillery and heavy equipment were not brought ashore, ammunition and food supply difficulties, and the work of persuading the French army to surrender was frustrated.
Facing the severe situation at that time, Patton ordered an all-round land, sea and air attack on Casablanca.
He went to the front line in person, organized troops and prepared for attack.
Just one hour before the attack, the French forces guarding the city received a notice that admiral Darlan, the commander-in-chief of the French forces, had signed a ceasefire agreement.
At 6:40, the French army guarding the city announced the implementation of Darlan’s order and the implementation of a comprehensive ceasefire, and a bloody battle was avoidedThe positions of administrative officials in Libya and Morocco remain unchanged.
After the talks, Darlan’s order was immediately sent to all French forces in North Africa.
On the 12th, the fighting west of Algiers stopped.
On the 13th, Clark and Darlan reached a final agreement.
Eisenhower, who had just flown in from Gibraltar, immediately recognized it.
According to the agreement, Darlan served as the High Commissioner and commander in chief of the Navy, Giro as the commander in chief of the ground and air forces, Juan as the commander of the eastern region, and GANO as the commander of the western region and governor of French Morocco.
The Tunisian army should immediately cooperate with the Allied forces in accordance with the agreement on the liberation of Tunisia.