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Meeting the Fox

Center Task Force

Eastern Task Force

Bizerte

Sicily

Western Task Force

Tangier

Gibraltar Port Lyautey

Mehdia Rabat Fedala Casablanca

Oran

Arzew

Algiers

Bône

Tunis Sousse

Sfax Gabès

Malta

Safi

Operation TORCH November 1942

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TORCH Landings

MILES

The Allies landed along the Atlantic coast near Casablanca and at Oran and Algiers, inside the Mediterranean Sea, on November 8, 1942. The action quickly moved far to the east as both sides built up forces in a battle for control of Tunisia.

military installations and factories. The 33rd Fighter Group, with its new P-40 Tomahawks, had been sent to the West Coast immediately after Pearl Harbor to defend against a Japanese attack, but was called back to the East Coast and given orders to join the British, where they were trying to hold the line against Rommel in western Egypt.

Earlier in 1942, serious thought was given to the possi- bility of a landing in North Africa, but the idea was soon set aside. There simply weren’t enough ships available to put more than a few thousand men ashore in an initial landing, and it would take months to build up a force big enough to be significant.

Two powerful and strong-willed men favored a landing in North Africa, however, each for his own reasons.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his third term as presi- dent in 1940 when the United States was still at peace but much of the world was already at war, was determined to get American ground forces into combat with the Germans as soon as possible, certainly in 1942. Americans had been fight-

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