By U.S. Army Center for Military History
Occasions bringing the us military to North Africa had all started greater than a 12 months earlier than the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For either the Axis and the Allies, the Mediterranean Sea sector used to be certainly one of doubtful precedence. at the Axis aspect, the site of Italy made obvi-ous Rome’s curiosity within the quarter. however the better German companion pursued pursuits hundreds of thousands of miles north. the same department of emphasis characterised the Allies. To the British the Mediterranean Sea was once the very important hyperlink among the house islands and long-held Asian possessions in addition to center jap oil fields. To the americans, notwithstanding, the realm had by no means been certainly one of very important nationwide curiosity and used to be no longer obvious because the most sensible path to Berlin. however the fall of France in June 1940 had additionally introduced a brand new measurement 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 abroad French forces because the decisive virtue that may let them in attaining their contradictory targets within the Mediterranean.
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Extra info for Algeria - French Morocco
Most landings took place near urban areas, which placed troops in civil-military minefields. Since Allied leaders looked forward to eventual French cooperation against the Axis, gunnery officers aboard ships and field commanders ashore had to exercise great care to avoid civilian housing as well as port facilities and oil supplies they hoped to use. With surface units ten or more miles offshore, naval gunfire margins of error could not be ignored. Such considerations forced Army units to operate without some of the largecaliber support that could have shortened the duration—and reduced the casualty total—of some battles.
Most other problems relating to navigation and handling of hazardous items such as gasoline could be corrected with training and experience. 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.
Reaching shore sooner than tanks and artillery, infantry units on D-day often found themselves attacking French coastal batteries and armored units with little more than rifles and hand grenades. Most other problems relating to navigation and handling of hazardous items such as gasoline could be corrected with training and experience. 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.