Monday, November 08, 2004

On this day in military 1939 and 1942

On this day in military 1939. Hitler survives an assassination attempt. Imagine what would have been if he had been killed in 1939.

On this day in military 1942. The Anglo-American forces under General Dwight Eisenhower invade Morocco and Algeria during Operation Torch. The Russians had been asking the Allies to open a second front against the Germans, so to help the Russkies out and also to provide a foothold for the Allied forces in northwest Africa, the Allies invaded the areas of Morocco and Algeria controlled by the Vichy French. It was hoped that the Vichy French forces would "surrender" or at least provide no resistance if confronted by the combined Anglo-American army. There was sporadic fighting during the invasion as most Vichy French forces decided that "living to fight another day" was preferable to dieing for Hitler except at the landing site close to Casablanca. Coastal batteries fired on the invasion fleet and the US Navy sunk a number of destroyers and submarines to prevent them from attacking the landing beaches.

The Torch landings caught the Germans in the rear and forced them to fight a "two front" war in North Africa, the Americans closing in on Tunisia from the west and the British forces from the east. The Germans still held out, scoring notable victories at Faid and Kasserine Passes, until May 1943 when all Axis resistance in North Africa finally ceased. Historical Note: The first appearance of the feared German "Tiger" tank was in during the north Africa campaign. It didn't live up to it's reputation at that time.


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