Talk:Operation Torch

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Algiers section really needs edited. It doesn't look right, it doesn't read right. There's too much uninterrupted text and the english isn't exactly perfect. --Gantlord 23:04, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Translation from French[edit]

There are way too many galicisms. I am eliminating the most obvious ones — bad phrasing, excess of commas, lack of capitalisation etc — as well as letting the text flow by eliminating forced brakes or substituting paragraphs for them.

That this was translated from French explains a lot. There are some things very hard to understand. Do the three figures for troops refer to the three landings? Are the ship figures the total? Why is so little written about the Oran landings? Good target for some more research. DJ Clayworth 20:51, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Answer about galicisms[edit]

Dear Colleagues, Gantlord and Clayworth,

Concerning the galicisms of the Algiers French coup of 1942 paragraph, I am plainly guilty, and should be grateful to the user kind enough to correct my style. I hesitated before to include my complements to that article, but I did it because I estimated in an Encyclopedia, the true was more important than the style. But of course, the style too is very important, and it is why I wrote in the beginning my “Philomax 2” user page: “As a Sorbonne professor, I have a correct competence in History, Politics, and French Public Law... but, unhappily, not in English language. So, I hope some other W. users will not hesitate to ameliorate the style of my texts”.

Philomax 2Philomax 2 5 July 2005 10:49 (UTC)

I've been unable to substantiate what is written about the French coup of 8th November. Other sources simply say that there was an attempted otherthrow of the local government which was put down. In particular I am unable to find any reference that backs up the claim that an entire Army Corps (tens of thousands of soldiers) were neutralised by 400 resistance fighters. Here is the text I removed.

French Insurgency[edit]

That putsch was one of the most beautiful feats of arms of French resistance, by its circumstances and especially by its effects. It indeed allowed the success of Torch operation, i.e. Allied landing in the whole North Africa, whose success, beside the allied victories of El-Alamein and Stalingrad constituted the turning of the war: Pursuant to secretly made agreements in Cherchell on 23 October 1942, between Algiers resistance and the combined command, 400 badly armed French civil resistants, the 2/3 of them being jewishes, neutralized, alone, the coastal artillery of Cherchell and the vichyist XIXème army corps of Algiers during about fifteen hours. To get that result their groups, under the command of José Aboulker (22 years), Henri d'Astier de La Vigerie, and colonel Jousse, had occupied, during the night from the 7 to 8 November, the majority of the strategic points (General Government, Prefecture, Staff headquarters, barracks, etc.) and arrested most of the vichyist military and civil rulers. One of their groups, composed with some eldest pupils of the Ben-Aknoun College, and directed by the young non commissioned officer (aspirant) Pauphilet, had succeeded in arresting General Juin, Chief commandant in North Africa, as well as the collaborationist admiral Darlan, suddenly present in Algiers that night.

Towards 1 hour after midnight the consul Murphy had gone to the villa des Oliviers to give a message of the president Roosevelt with the General Juin, Head commander of French Africa army. The message of Roosevelt required of the army of Africa to receive the United States forces as friends and to join them, so as to release France from German domination. But general Juin and later on admiral Darlan refused to receive peacefully American forces.

At the same time, in Sidi-Ferruch, Colonel Baril, one of the rare resistants among the professional officers, had succeeded in occupying the fort with one of its companies, and in neutralizing its artillery batteries, so that the landing allied forces were going to be able to take foot on Sidi-Ferruch beach without any loss. The other landing points were the Pointe Pescade, close by Algiers, and the Cape Matifou beaches, on the eastern side of the city.

Unfortunately, many soldiers of American general Ryder lost their lifes before arriving on shore, as the sea was agitated and the night very black: the pilots of the landing-crafts — which were going to prove reliable later on in Normandy — had not practically get any drive training, for lack of time. Many landing-crafts charged with heavily equipped soldiers knocked the hulls of the ships, or were badly moored on the landing beaches and then rejected by the sea, on those which followed them. Also a number of them were turned and run over by the sea with their occupants. As a result, the surviving soldiers landed in a more reduced number than expected, while the landing-crafts of material were thrown on other beaches than the soldiers charged to use them.

Under these conditions General Ryder, who during hours had not any vehicle, did not dare, despite the requests of the resistance messengers, to walk immediately on Algiers. And thereafter, when he got under way, he was limited, jointly with its forces landed in the east of the city, to encircle the town by the heights without penetrating there. Actually, disabled by its losses at sea, he did not manage to admit that a few hundreds of civil volunteers had really been able to seize a city defended by an army corps.

Around 3 hours A.M., detonations resounded in the port, where two American destroyers had succeeded in being introduced, and in landing on one of the piers a 300 rangers detachment directed by colonel Swenson. Their goal was to seize the port, to maintain it intact, so that it could immediately be used to land the allied reinforcements. The artillery of admiralty, by cannonading the allied vessels, awoke anybody in Algiers then. The seaboard gendarmes of Darlan, after having killed a dozen American soldiers, did not manage to overcome the well armed commandos. Their attack of the port was only later neutralized by vichyist forces, with the assistance of the armoured tanks of the 5ème Chasseurs.

Later in the morning, Juin and Darlan have been liberated by the mobile guards, and Darlan sent a cable to Vichy, to ask for a bombing by German Luftwaffe of the allied transport vessels in front of Algiers.

Further in the day, Vichy forces spent all the day to besiege the resistant groups one after the other, instead of attack the landing forces on the beaches. Consequently Ryder, after having encircled Algiers, began to penetrate in the town around 5 o’Clock PM, and allied mortars sent some projectiles on vichyist command in Fort-L’Empereur. Then Juin and Darlan, overestimating allied forces, decided to surrender, but only for Algiers.

Thus, it was thanks to French resistants, which prevented the vichyist Algiers garrison from being mobilized, that the allied forces could land without meeting resistance, encircle Algiers and obtain the surrendering from that key port the very day.

DJ Clayworth 02:46, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

I have done substantial searches and reading, and I can find no serious historians who claim that the 'putsch' in Algiers had a major effect on the conduct of the operation. John Keegan mentions it as an unfortunate tragedy (i.e. that it was initiated too early, before the Allies had a chance to support it properly). I have also yet to find a reliable source that says that Juin or Darlan were captured by this coup. If they were, then presumably they were freed when the putsch was put down. If you have any sources to back up the claims that the coup had a noticeable effect on the battle, of that leaders were captured, then please cite them. Otherwise I'm afraid they have to go. DJ Clayworth 4 July 2005 15:16 (UTC)

Answer about the French resistance coup of November 8 1942[edit]

Dear Colleague Clayworth,

I redacted the paragraph here included about the Algiers coup, and appreciate your interest about it. But:

1°) The missed coup to neutralize French vichyst oppostion happened in Morocco, and not in Algiers: There, indeed, in Rabat and Casablanca, the patriot general Bethouard, badly informed about the landing hour, made an attempt of putsch "too early, before the Allies had a chance to support it properly", and that was really an unfortunate tragedy.
But it was not the same in Algiers, and the silence of Mr John Keegan about that successful coup of French patriots (who risked their lifes in Algiers to spare strong casualities to Allied forces) seems me regrettable, even in a book about the whole World war II.
2°) I am surprised how you did not find a reliable source that says that Juin or Darlan were captured by this coup: Their capture, during 5 hours is told in every book, or report (in French or in English), of the bibliography indicated at the end of the article. The ex aspirant Pauphilet who directed the group of youngsters having arrested those generals in Villa des Oliviers, is still alive in Paris, and is the chairman of "Association de la Libération du 8 novembre 1942".
3°) Concerning the Neutralization of the XIXth Corps in Algiers by 400 resistants, it is first necessary to remind that Army corps did not included "tens of thousands of soldiers", but was, because of armistice, reducted to an effective of 12000 men located in the whole Algiers région. 7000 of them stood in he towns of Algiers, Blida and Kolea. Among the 5000 located in Algiers a number were allocated to headquarters, so as the only real fighting forces were 2 regiments, 1 légion of “Gardes mobiles”, and some navy forces.
4°) The neutralization consisted of taking over from 1 o'clock P.M. every strategic points, and afterwards in delaying the vichyist repression, concentrated all the day long on reconquest of the resistants bases, instead of attacking landing forces, who, so, could peacefully encircle Algiers.
By exemple the Central post-office was besieged, at 7h P.M. by armoured cars of the French 5th Chasseurs Regiment: (who was planned to defend the Maison Blanche Airport). There the resistant group leader lieutenant Dreyfus refused to surrender and was killed. But, during that time, a company of the 39th American Infantry regiment could occupy that Maison Blanche airport, the main of North Africa, without any Vichyist opposition.
Even repression was not completly successful, as Resistants kept their main base, the Commissariat Central, until the vichyist capitulation, at 6h30 P.M. .
5°) Concerning the Algiers coup history, everything is correct in the paragraph, and it would have been easy to substantiate your information in having a look to the books mentioned in bibliography, among which the reports of French putsch groups leaders who neutralized Algiers on November 8 1942. They have been published in London, during the war, in August 1943. You could also have consulted the specialised books about that period, indicated in the same bibliography, some of which are recent.
6°) As Operation Torch was acted in French territories, French historians and actors informations have to be not neglected. Consequently, I shall be happy to help your investigation, in sending you photostats of 1942 reports about that putsch, published in 1943 by Free France, in London.

Sincerely Yours.

Philomax 2Philomax 2 5 July 2005 10:49 (UTC)

Others questions to Philomax2 (1)[edit]

Hi Philomax

Thanks for the extra information. I have a few questions about the Algiers coup that you might be able to answer.

1) My reading indicates that the Algiers coup started at around midnight on 7th/8th November, and was effectively put down by sometime on the 8th. Is that the case?

  • Exact for the beginning of the putsch around midnight:

The starting begun by the departure of 27 private cars and 6 coaches from the garage Lavaysse, on November 7, beetween 11h P.M. and 12 P.M. to pick up the voluntaries and bring them to their different targets. During the transport, they received their guns (old Lebels), their official arm-badges, and their assignment orders. The whole targets were occupated on November 8, beetween 0h30 and 1h30. The civil and military telephonic Centrals were occupated and stopped at 1h30.
In the Commissariat central was appointed a new Commissaire Central at 1h30. Then that building was immediately occupated by 20 resistants and became the headquarter of the Coup. There José Aboulker (22 years old)took the control of the Official telephone line standard (the only line kept intact) and received from every commissariat news from the occupation from every target points.

  • But your readings give a false information about putting down of the coup:

The coup has been put down in some places, but neither at the same time, and nor in the whole Algiers: The repression of the putsch will catch the Vichyist forces all the day long: The vichyist retort begun at 6h30 with the reconquest by Garde mobile armoured cars of the Villa des Oliviers (with general Juin and Admiral Darlan). But the rest of Algiers stood yet in hands of the resistants. Then was organized the vichyist repression, with Senegalese troops and 5th Chasseurs armoured cars, who attacked, one after the other, the resistants bases, and obtained, most of the time by negociations, their evacuation. The center of Algiers was reconquested beetween 7h30 A.M. and 1h o'clock P.M.

2) Juin and Darlan were 'arrested' during the coup. When the coup was put down, presumably they were released. Is that also the case?

  • First Juin and Darlan refused to the U.S. consul Murphy to order the cease fire. Then they were kept prisoners. Later Murphy autorizated Darlan to send 2 successive messages to Amiralty, not occupated by resistants, but only blocked. One of the messages included in his last paragraph an order of fighting against allied forces. But it has been captured by resistants and is presently the property of the Algiers resistant leader, prof. José Aboulker. Unhappily the second message brought by an American vice-consul Pendar arrived Admiralty near 3h A.M. Just in time to allow French Naval forces to shoot on the 2 allied destroyers the "Malcolm" and the "Broke" who entered the harbour to land the colonel Swenson american commando.

Then, at 3h10 P.M., the cannon sound awaked the whole Algiers.

  • At 6h30, when Darlan and Juin has been liberated, Juin set on Fort l'Empereur up, to direct the repression, but not in its regular headquarters in Palais d'Hiver neutralized by resistants. So was he not in good conditions to faces the situation. He lost time to receive and to hear, around 8h, the colonels of its neuralized barracks coming to justify their inactivity beetween 3h10 and 7 o'clock P.M.

Darlan went to Etat-major Marine, in hotel Saint-Georges, and around 8h o'Clock, he sent a telegram to Vichy to ask for a Luftwaffe bombing of the allied transports near Algiers.

3) Do you have any more information on the Oran coup, which I knew nothing about.

  • In Oran a putsch of the same style of the Algiers one had been prepared by Roger Carcassonne, a cousin of José Aboulker. Unhappily Henri d'Astier the chief of the whole resistance in North Africa, had appointed a lieutenant-colonel (Tostain) to cover Carcassonne during the putsch. Unhappily that colonel being afraid from arresting his general (Boisseau) during the landing, visited him on november 7, without any agreement of the other resistantce leaders, to ask that general to take the command of resistance, and he revealed him the date of the landing.
  • Immediately general Boisseau put Tostain under arrests, but as he did not believe him, he did not warned Algiers. Then Tostain succeeded in informing Carcassonne about the situation. So Carcassonne renounced to the putsch, refusing the risk of sending his comrades to massacre. He just maintained missions of guidance of allied troops, and his assistant Moyne acted to protect the harbour from any vichyst major sabotage.

4) Could you have a look at this site, which is very detailed but of unknown accuracy. [1] It gives a very clear picture of Darlan and Juin at large and free to negotiate.

Thanks DJ Clayworth 5 July 2005 13:29 (UTC)

I also found this site [2] , which says "Gaullists manage to seize a few government buildings and hold Admiral Darlan captive for a shortime but being put down by Vichy police". Is that a fair summary? DJ Clayworth 5 July 2005 13:39 (UTC)

Regarding the two coups, I also found the exact quote from Keegan: "However American over-caution in preserving the security of their plans prompted [anti-Petainists] to premature action, which resulted in Vichy adherents resecuring control of Algiers and Casablanca..." DJ Clayworth 6 July 2005 06:34 (UTC)

  • That Keegan remark is true for Rabat- Casablanca and Oran.
  • But it is completely false for Algiers, where Allied forces (despite their many problems with their new landing-crafts), had practically no sustained casualities (except in the port operation), thanks to the French patriot colonel Baril, who had neutralized the batteries of the largest landing sand of Sidi-Ferruch, thanks to the patriot general de Montsabert who neutratized Blida airport, thanks to the patriot lieutenant Dreyfus who concentrated on his group the action of the 5th Chasseurs armoured cars, allowing so the Maison Blanche airport to be seized by American forces without any casualities. And almost, thanks to the 400 resistants who, first by arrestating civil and military authorities during some hours, afterwards by keeping their positions during an as long time as possible, and at last by putting until the end of the day barrages on the main axis of communications, created a complete and durable disorder in the whole vichyist command of Algiers.
  • It is the reason why in every place where the putsch has been missed, (Morocco and in Oran), the Allied and French fighted very hardly one another, with very much casualities and losing of vessels and planes, at the difference of Algiers where, thanks to the resistance, very few casualities happened, and where the vichyst capitulated at the end of the first day, with the largest North african port completly intact.
  • It even seems probable than, without the resistants action, the Algiers Vichyist forces would have resisted with efficiency, as in Morocco, to allied forces landed in full disorder, and would have destroyed them. Then, instead of intervene in Tunisia, German forces could have been sent directly in Morocco, to help the vichyist forces of Nogues fighting against allied troops. Then the war would have lasted for a very more long time, etc., etc.

Other questions to Philomax 2 (2)[edit]

More questions - sorry these are coming in bits. Did you really mean that the coup objectives in Algiers were not seized until 1pm (1300hrs)? What time was Darlan arrested? DJ Clayworth 6 July 2005 06:49 (UTC)

  • Every targets have been occupated by resistants, beetween 0H30 and 1h30 P.M., in the early morning of Sunday november 8.

More, I'm afraid. I think these two paragraphs are misleading.

Nevertheless, in spite of the temporary maintenance in Algiers of a Vichyist capacity under American protectorate, the Resistance putsch of 8 November 1942, had not only generated a purely military success: it had capital political consequences.
The Darlan-Giraud authority, initially resolutely Vichyist, was gradually forced to lead the war effort against Nazi Germany; to democratize; to eliminate its principal head vichyist rulers; and to eventually amalgamate with the French national Committee of London. After which the "Comité Français de la Libération Nationale" (CFLN), born from this fusion, despite Roosevelt opposition, passed in a few months under the authority of General de Gaulle, and became the true and independent government of France in war.

By "Vichyist capacity under American protectorate" I presume you are referring to Darlan being placed in charge by the Americans. I think it's unfair to call it that - Darlan agreed to change sides, and Giraud was already on the Allied side. It's not, after all, as though the Vichy regime was being supportive of what Darlan was doing - in fact they were furious. DJ Clayworth 6 July 2005 07:12 (UTC)

  • Darlan had been the most important French collaborationist, with Laval, in Vichy government. He violated French Neutrality since the beginning, by exemple by giving the Germans, in may 1941, an air base in Syria to bomb British forces in Iraq. In the same time he ordered to Vichy Syria forces to give their arms and ammunitions stocks, to Iraqians fighting British forces. Following the French Law he was a betrayer, because the armistice with germans was not peace.
  • Giraud was a patriot, but also a Pétain lover. I. e., in the same time he wished the allied victory, he approbated every hitlerian inspirated measures of Pétain.
  • Consequently Darlan then Giraud maintained, during monthes after the landing, every Pétain Hitlerian inspirated laws against democrats (including the exclusion of jewish little children from schools), and maintened the deported pro-allied French resistants and central Europa refugees in southern concentration camps of Algeria and Morocco, 4 monthes after the landing.
  • Giraud invented also a measure excluding Jewishes soldiers and officers from the fighting units, to the detriment of armée d'Afrique interests (so as to dishonour them and prevent them to recuperate later their French citizenship thanks to their medals and war injuries). Of course, Algeria Jewishes protested against that measure, because they were patriots and wanted to fight, "as every other Frenchmen". And a lot of them, including resistants of November 8 1942 engaged themselves in British Army "Special Detachment" directed by young British officers, disapproving their government pro-Darlan policies. That "SD" was secretly constituted in Algiers, and fighted few weeks later in Tunisia.
  • At last, on December 30, 1942, Giraud and his vichyist advisers ordered the arrestation of the 27 leaders of the French resistance, who had directed the November 8 coup. And Murphy, who had been very happy to get their help to Operation Torch, refused to intervene.
  • At that time British young officers helped some resistants to hide themselves, and as much American than British War correspondants alerted the British and American opinions about the american pro-vichyst policy. Then Churchill has been interpellated in Commons, and the North African policy of Roosevelt has been denounced by Walter Lippman and Dorothy Thompson in States press. Roosevelt, tried to justify its policy,by calling it "Military expediencies".
  • Then do not tell me that Darlan-Giraud regime was not a pure vichyist goverment. (That regime begun to change only in april 1943, when Giraud introducted, under the influence of Jean Monnet, some democratic reforms. But the complete return to democracy and freedom happened completly only after the taking of power by de Gaulle in North Africa).

On a military point of view, the alliance with Darlan, may be understood during the first weeks. But quickly it became unnecessary, but nevertheless was maintained with Giraud, because Roosevelt, badly informed (by Leahy, Murphy, and some Frenchmen refugied in States, as far as possible from the battle), wanted absolutely to eliminate (politically) général de Gaulle.

I hope I have given to you the every answers you wished to get. Cordially Yours.

Philomax 2Philomax 2 6 July 2005 13:25 (UTC)

Thanks for those answers; very detailed and exactly what I wanted to know.

Let me check I've got this right. The Algiers coup begins around midnight on 7th/8th. By 0130 all the objectives are captured, and Juin and Darlan both made prisoner at Villa des Oliviers. Murphy visits him and messages are sent. The Vichyists use armoured cars to recapture the key positions from the resistance, freeing Darlan and Juin around 0630. The city is completely retaken by 1300 on 8th November.

  • OK for your checking, except for the last sentence. It would be corrected like that: The center of the city is completely retaken by 13h00, except the Commissariat Central and the main road barrage who were kept and maintained by resistance until the evening.

Do you know anything about Charles Mast? He seems to have been a key player, in that he ordered his troops around Algiers not to resist the Allies, but in fact to welcome them. Was he involved with the resistance? DJ Clayworth 6 July 2005 16:31 (UTC)

  • General Mast had been designated by Giraud as his representant in Algiers. He had been present in Cherchell secret Conference with général Clark, in october 1942.
  • Mast signed official orders to occupate targets, for some putsch group leaders. He too appointed a patriot new Police Central Commissioner. But, on the early November 8 morning, he was not present in its division headquarters when the resistants took them. Consequently, he could not take the power after the arrestation of generals Juin, Darlan and others, until the expected arrival of Giraud. He had leaved Algiers for Sidi-Ferruch to enconter landing forces and seems even to have embarked on allied ship.

Nevertheless, its help to resistance has been important. At the difference of the Giraud one who had been nonexistent. (Giraud refused to rejoin Algiers the 8th november, because he had been disappointed on the 7 of November not to command the whole Operation Torch).

  • The real leaders of French North African resistance have been José Aboulker and colonel Jousse in Algiers, Roger Carcassone in Oran, General Bethouard in Morocco, under the general direction for North Africa of Henri d'Astier de La Vigerie (not to confuse with his brothers: Emmanuel d'Astier founder of one important inland resistance organisation, and général François d'Astier of the Free french air forces).
  • P.S. Concerning the two sites you suggested me to have a look

a) David Lippman site
He gave some exact, but fragmented, informations about the putsch, he has get from Guy Cohen, who had been one of the resistants of the Commissariat Central, besides José Aboulker. But Lippman includes two errors:
- 1st error: The arrestation of Juin and Darlan had not been realized by "40 aspirants", but by only one aspirant (Pauphilet) with 2 tens of youngsters of the neighbouring Ben Aknoun school ! ('I dont believe the whole Algiers garrison could include 40 aspirants !)
- 2nd error: Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, the further young Darlan executor, was not a member of that group.

b) Richard Doody site
Two errors in 4 lines: - 1st Error: The police did not arrested any resistant the 8th of November, as, after the occupation of Commissariat central by resistance, most of the policemen inside that place joined the resistants. Consequently the later repression has not been realized by police, like told the erroneous text of Richard Doody, but only by Army, including the French gendarmery (i.e. the 7th Legion of Gardes mobiles).
- 2nd Error: The putsch has not been completely put down by the army, and, as much the main Resistants position of Commissariat Central, as the important barrage on Boulevard Baudin (cutting the main axis of communications with inland in the middle of Algiers), has been kept by resistants, till the end of the afternoon.

Philomax 2 Philomax 2 7 July 2005 10:47 (UTC)

I've changed some of the description of the Algiers coup again. According to everthing I've read, and Philomax 2 above, the coup in Algiers was over by the end of the 8th. Darlan clearly wasn't under arrest at the time Juin contacted him. I've read several accounts of the interaction between Murphy, Juin and Darlan and it's completely clear that Darlan has freedom of action. It isn't even known that Darlan is in Algiers until Juin tells Murphy on the morning of the 8th. There is also no indication that Allied forces could have surrounded Algiers on the 8th. The landing forces were still coming under fire at that time.

By the way my dictionary translates "gendarmerie" as police force. DJ Clayworth 15:39, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Unless an entire force showed up, it should probably be changed to 'gendarm', for a single policeman.L Hamm 05:56, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
'Gendarme' I believe, and since they were putting down an armed coup it was certainly more than one policeman. DJ Clayworth 23:11, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Ok Philomax, I think I've found some references backing up the arrest of Juin and Darlan. The tone of the accounts was confusing me. This I think is what was going on.
Murphy goes to Juin in order to attempt to persuade him to join the Allied cause. A number of resistance fighters either join him or go with him and take control of Juin's residence. However since the emphasis is on persuasion none of the things you might normally associate with an arrest or capture happen. Juin isn't locked up: he isn't allowed to leave, but he is allowed to communicate. There are restrictions on who he is allowed to communicate with, especially since the Resistance controlls the telegraph office.
When it is realised that Darlan is present, Juin asks him to come to him, which he does. This is kind of indicative that Juin doesn't place that much store by his 'arrest', since he invites his superior officer to join him there.
Some accounts indicate that the resistance fighters at Juin's place are replaced by Juin's own troops after a few hours without a fight, effectively ending resistance control. If so this doesn't affect Juin's actions and the noegotiations continue. In any event, sometime in the early morning the Gendarmerie arrive and take control of the situation. Again it's not clear if a fight takes place to accomplish this.
My apologies for doubting Juin's arrest - the English language accounts don't really mention it. It also doesn't seem to be that the arrest had that much effect on the course of the battle. It occurred entirely during the time that Murphy and Juin/Darlan were negotiating over their response to the landings. By the time Darlan decided that the landings would be opposed the arrest period was over and he was free to act and give orders. I guess he might have come to that decision more quickly if the resistance hadn't been there. DJ Clayworth 23:11, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

Vichy French vs. German[edit]

Could someone explain why the change from Vichy French to German? How are we going to use these terms? My understanding that (for example) the Oran harbor was defended by forces that were under a French flag, spoke French. While I can understand that calling them "French" forces could be problematic, calling them exclusively German obscures the facts some. I had thought, when discussing this period, the terms "Vichy French" and "Free French" would be a useful way to distinguish. I am going to revert the changes, but am open to discussion about it. John (Jwy) 09:05, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

German should be reserved for troops fighting under the German flag. Vicy French and Free French are the terms I would use say1988 21:13, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Agree. As I understand it all defending forces were French in this battle. I'll actually revert unless someone has done it already. DJ Clayworth 16:45, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
I revertetd last month. Someone had switched it a couple of times and I wanted to document the reason and hopefully get a consensus about it (which so far looks like we have). Thanks John (Jwy) 18:24, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Text from Henri Giraud[edit]

The treatment of his relationship with Operation Torch was far too detailed and I have trimmed it down to essentials. Some of that information looks like it should be incorporated into the section on Algiers here:

Giraud's escape was soon known all over France. Heinrich Himmler ordered the Gestapo to assassinate him, and Pierre Laval tried to persuade him to return to Germany. Giraud supported Pétain and the Vichy government but refused to cooperate with the Germans. Consequently he agreed upon an Allied landing in North Africa, but asked to be the Commander of such an operation. Eventually Giraud travelled to Algeria, and on November 7, 1942, the British submarine Seraph took him to meet Dwight Eisenhower in Gibraltar. Eisenhower, giving him the code name King-Pin, asked him to command French troops in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia after Operation Torch, but Giraud was very disappointed not to command the whole operation. He refused to leave immediately to Algiers, where the French resistance was waiting for him, but rather stayed in Gibraltar until the 9th of November.
The French resistance acted without him: the day after, the 8th of November 1942, at 1 A.M., pursuant to secretly made agreements in Cherchell on October 23, 1942 between the Algiers resistance and General Mark W. Clark of the combined Allied command, 400 badly armed French civil patriots neutralized — alone, by their Putsch of November 8, 1942 — the coastal artillery of Sidi Ferruch and the Vichyist XIXème army Corps of Algiers, in about fifteen hours. To get that result their groups, under the command of José Aboulker, Henri d'Astier de La Vigerie, and Colonel Jousse, took over the majority of the strategic points of Algiers (General Government, Prefecture, Staff headquarters, telephone central, barracks, etc.) during the night and arrested most of the Vichy military and civilian leaders. One of those groups, composed of some youngsters of the Ben-Aknoun College, under the command of the cadet Pauphilet, had succeeded in arresting General Alphonse Juin, chief commander in North Africa, as well as Admiral François Darlan.
Algiers had been occupied on that first day by Allied forces, thanks to the French resistance. General Clark compelled the Vichy Admiral Darlan and General Juin, after three days of talks and threats, to order the ceasefire to all French military forces. Darlan agreed to end hostilities, on November 10 in Oran and November 11 in Morocco, provided that he remained head of a French administration. For this Darlan was disavowed by Pétain's government and Vichy Southern France was 'invaded' by the German army in Case Anton. The ships that had refused to join the Free French Forces in North Africa were scuttled, without any resistance, on November 27 at Toulon. This action also deprived the Germans of those ships.
Most French troops in Africa followed Darlan's lead but certain elements joined the German forces in Tunisia.
In return General Eisenhower, Giraud being absent, agreed with Darlan's self-nomination as the High Commissioner of France for North and West Africa on November 14, a move that enraged Charles de Gaulle. Free French Forces refused to recognize his status as a military governor of French North and West Africa. But de Gaulle was not alone. As Darlan maintained the Nazi-inspired exclusion laws and deported people to Vichyist concentration camps in Southern Algeria, British and American war correspondents informed their countries' publics of the real situation in North Africa. Giraud arrived on the evening of the 9th of November in Algiers, and on the 10th, he agreed to submit himself to Darlan as the French African army commander.
That situation, qualified by Roosevelt as "military expediencies", could not be accepted by the French resistance. Consequently, during the afternoon of December 24, 1942, a 22-year-old French patriot, Ferdinand Bonnier de la Chapelle, entered Darlan's headquarters in Algiers and shot him twice. Although de la Chapelle had been a member of the resistance group led by Henri d'Astier, it is believed he was acting as an individual.

I will allow people familiar with this article to decide what needs to be fixed. --Dhartung | Talk 23:23, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


Are you saying in your summary in the top right that U.S. is a belligerent country? (unsigned by User:

Belligerents just means those countries that are fighting. It doesn't imply that they are agressors. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:21, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

One thing that has always bothered me about this particular article, and about the historical sources readily available on Operation Torch, is the lack of thorough detail about the naval actions at Casablanca. From various information which is available, one can deduce that this was a naval battle of some significance, perhaps enough so to merit its own article. I have yet to find enough information to confirm this, the best info I have seen thus far is an order of battle found on, though someone more versed in the particular history of this action might know of better resources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Extended duration[edit]

Our article here covers only the landings themselves, with a duration of a couple of days. However examining some more sources, including Eisenhower's own report, makes it clear that TORCH refers to the entire operation to capture Tunisia from the West, with a duration of months.

I'm going to try to extend this article by pulling thigs in from other articles - unless anyone thinks we should rename this article to something else. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:00, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, then it would be become redundant with Tunisia Campaign. So you might want to think of another approach - like renaming this to something like Operation Torch Landings. (John User:Jwy talk) 01:34, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

List of sources[edit]

FYI, a list of sources on this subject can be found here: [3]. Cla68 (talk) 03:56, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Free French[edit]

As far as I can see there were no Free French units involved. There were some resistance fighters and the odd renegade Vichy unit but these were in no way linked to the Free French government in exile. In the following Tunisia Campaign these troops are classified as just "French" to distinguish them from Free French forces fighting with 8th Army. I proposing to change the infobox to reflect this. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 09:46, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


This was an attack on French colonial and motherland (northern Algeria) territory. No significant German forces were involved in the operation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Naval Battles Involving the Unites States[edit]

I question deletion of the category: Naval battles involving the United States for this article by User:Kirrages. Most amphibious invasions are considered naval battles because of the participation of warships to escort the troopships and provide gunfire support during the landings. As described in this article, French cruisers, destroyers, and submarines sortied from Casablanca to oppose Operation Torch and were destroyed by the United States Navy covering force including the battleship Massachusetts.Thewellman (talk) 15:25, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm. I guess I'm just uncomfortable with it being described as a naval battle. I guess I would be more comfortable if the category was "Naval battles and operations involving the United States". And I think it important to make the distinction. Take the air equivalent: there was a major air involvement in, say, Operation Neptune (Normandy landings). Although there were some air to air engagements, aircraft mainly were providing support to the land operation. So Neptune included air operations but it wasn't an air battle. By contrast, the Battle of Britain was principally air to air combat so can be described as an air battle. Now there may be a precise military history definition somewhere that I'm unaware of but to an amateur like me, describing Torch as a naval battle is just counter-intuitive and confusing! Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 23:55, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

At the risk of taking this discussion too far afield, that is an intriguing analogy; since air battles are nearly always fought in support of ground or naval forces. The Battle of Britain and Defense of the Reich are campaigns like the Battle of the Atlantic. Some articles of the Aerial Battles category describe relatively brief encounters illustrating the importance of aviators having the opportunity (or misfortune) to get a remembered name attached to their piece of the action. Others, like Gulf War reflect the contributions of aircraft to an armored infantry assault; and that is the analogy to Operation Torch. Although the ships might not have been there without the soldiers, the soldiers certainly wouldn't have been there without the ships.Thewellman (talk) 04:15, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Point taken, but I definitely don't want to get into an extended debate about what philosophically constitutes a sea battle - it's not Wikipedia's style! Let's try another approach. If you asked 100 people who had heard of Operation Torch: "Was it a sea battle?" I would venture that 95 would say "no" so it's common sense not to describe it as such here. Hence my reference to "naval battles and operations" which would make the whole thing moot. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 17:00, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I created the Naval Battle of Casablanca article to describe the sea battle on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.Thewellman (talk) 07:49, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Cool! Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 00:26, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Template talk:WW2InfoBox[edit]

For those of you not aware, there's an important discussion mentioning this article at Template talk:WW2InfoBox, where input is welcome. -Chumchum7 (talk) 10:01, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Operation Mohican[edit]

I get the feeling from this rather lengthy document that Operation Gymnast wasn't really the forerunner of Torch because it had comparatively limited objectives whereas Mohican is clearly outlined as a plan to take the whole of French North Africa. Can anyone shed any light on that? Mr impossible (talk) 15:58, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

relationship to libyan campaigns[edit]

Its rather hard to put this campaign into context with respect to timing relative to the to-and-fro campaigns in Libya, which strangely gets no mention here at all.Eregli bob (talk) 13:15, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Tuskegee Airmen deleted[edit]

The section claiming that the Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group were involved in Torch is totally false and has been deleted. The citation for that claim is "Homan and Reilley" but the book is absent from the source list. I found it on amazon: Apparently it's a children's book. In any case, the 332nd was not formed until October 1942 (a month before Torch) and the group did not arrive in the Mediterranean Theater until more than a year later. The original tuskegee unit, the 99th Fighter Squadron, arrived in North Africa in April 1943.

Among other sources, see "Tuskegee Airmen Chronology" by Dr. Daniel Haulman, USAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 2012.

≈≈ B Tillman, 27 Oct 12 ≈≈ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Btillman (talkcontribs) 18:08, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

A big question[edit]

What book does the "Watson (2007)" inline citation point to? Thanks, Tomandjerry211 (Let's have a chat) 11:51, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Probably "Watson, Bruce Allen" as the same type of bare cite is used in Battle of Kasserine Pass and a better cite is used in Italian North Africa. Whether the book in those cites covers the text here I've no idea. Palmeira (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Amazon preview of the page shows it supports what is written. Don't know the quality of the source or the importance of the information, but I have copied the cite from Battle of Kassarine Pass to here. --John (User:Jwy/talk) 15:50, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

British Soldiers in American Uniform[edit]

This is anecdotal, but readers might find it of interest. My father was a cabin boy, later a steward, on various British merchant navy ships in the Mediterranean at the time. He told me of one landing operation, where they carried American troops to somewhere in North Africa. He then told me that "a lot of funny things happened in the war that you don't read about", and that the ship he was on had British troops wearing American army unifom. He didn't know why, and I didn't make the (possible) connection with Torch until many years later. Of course, if somebody wrote this in a book, it would probably be citable evidence! But until then it remains an anecdote. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 23 April 2017 (UTC)