|Results and Significance||123 - 125|
|Significance to the Allies||125 - 131|
RESULTS AND SIGNIFICANCE
COAST GUARD HELPS FORMULATE PLANS FOR AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS
As a result of their experiences on the North African beaches, Coast Guard officers were able to send to Washington Headquarters reports and recommendations that were of great value in future amphibious operations. The advice given in those reports helped in the plans and preparation for the landings in Sicily, Italy, and France.
Commander Roger C. Heimer, USCG, pointed out that troops landing wet to the skin on an enemy shore are not at their best. He set to work to design a boat to get them, if not high on the beach, at least dry on the beach. Preparing for the second invasion, he created a new type of landing boat said to be lighter, more seaworthy and more maneuverable than any other of its type. During an extended tour of duty commanding a Coast Guard cutter in Alaska, Commander Heimer had observed the extreme lightness and maneuverability of the Eskimo's oomiak boat. Combining certain details of this construction with those of an extremely successful Coast Guard life boat known as the "otter" type, he designed a craft that won him congratulations from high-ranking Naval sources. He also developed another type of craft to be used in salvage work. Suitable for rescuing beached and immobilized boats from the beach, this vessel was capable of performing the work of several craft of the type formerly used for salvage. A specially trained crew, veterans of the North African invasion, instructed other units in the secret lore of rescue and salvage - knowledge which few men on earth other than officers with years of rescue and beach patrol work behind them could acquire.
Beach Master, Lieutenant J. T. Hagglove, USCG, another veteran of many years experience with small boats in high surf, wrote in his official report: "In landing the first assault wave, if during darkness, the boats should feel their way to the beach and should not do so in one single line abreast. The wave commanders should be in communication with each other so that if a wave ran into trouble, the waves behind could be warned."
Boat Group Commander, Lieutenant A. Keidel, USCG, reported: "Soldiers were too heavily loaded and some had great difficulty picking themselves up in the water after leaving the landing boats.... The army must provide more bulldozers and sleds for unloading boats on the beach. Supplies must be loaded on sleds into the landing boats ready to be pulled out by bulldozers as soon as the boat hits the beach."
U. S. COAST GUARDSMEN AND GERMAN PRISONERS MINGLE ON A NORTH AFRICAN WHARF AS A COAST GUARD MANNED TRANSPORT PREPARES TO SAIL WITH THE GERMANS FOR AMERICA
CAREFUL ATTENTION GIVEN THE COAST GUARD RECOMMENDATIONS
These and many more recommendations were especially called to the attention of the superior command by Captain R. R. M. Emmet, USN, Commander Transports, Amphibious Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, who in a letter dated December 19, 1942, wrote; "The report of the Boat Group Commander merits the careful attention of superior authority. It gives a clear picture of Beach Red-2 (LEONARD WOOD) during and after the assault. Most of Lieutenant Keidel's recommendations are sound and should receive the careful attention of Commander Amphibious Force and of Commander Transports in planning and preparing for future Combat Operations. The report of the Beach Master also merits the careful attention of superior authority," Captain Emmet continued. "It gives a clear picture of conditions on the beaches on D-Day." Most of Lieutenant Hagglove's recommendations were also judged to be sound and worthy of the same careful consideration in preparing for future Combat Operations.
SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ALLIES
As soon as hostilities ceased in Morocco and Algeria, the United States took immediate steps to cooperate with the French forces in Western Tunisia. As a first step, General Eisenhower sent British and American parachute units by air to occupy strategic positions in Western Tunisia and to cooperate with the French forces in that area. The splendid cooperation there was taken as one of the important good symptoms of the attitude of the French population. Soon afterward these parachute units were reinforced by light motorized troops which were sent forward by road. Troops from the British First Army, under General Anderson, with American Army and French units built up a strong assault force in Tunisia. During the last week of November, American parachutists and light armored units with French detachments combined their forces in carrying out a vigorous offensive against all scattered groups of Germans and Italians throughout the center of Tunisia, quite a long distance from the two big cities on the coast, Bizerte and Tunis. The Germans occupied strong positions, supported by aircraft from well-established bases, and offered strong resistance.
FRENCH DOCK LABOR UNLOAD U. S. SUPPLY SHIPS
Reports from General Eisenhower indicated that American troops received excellent cooperation from the civil authorities and from all elements of the civil population in Northern Africa. French dock labor unloaded our supply ships with remarkable speed, and railway workers assisted greatly in the movement of supplies and troops to the forward areas. The arrangements made by General Eisenhower with the French authorities greatly simplified our problems in that region.
THESE GERMANS ARE EN ROUTE TO THE COAST GUARD MANNED TRANSPORT THAT WILL TAKE THEM TO THE UNITED STATES FROM NORTH AFRICA
SUCCESS DUE TO LUCK AND DARLAN
The North African operation was in its essence and by necessity a surprise operation as contrasted with the step-by-step attack against the Japanese in the South Pacific. By very careful and successful planning, coupled with extraordinary luck and good fortune, we achieved a wonderful attack on a stormy coast, where there were very few days when such a landing could have been possible on the west coast of Northwest Africa. There were even a few hours of flat calm. By the action of Darlan, which could not have been anticipated, there was a sudden laying down of the arms of the French forces long before that could have been compelled. That put us a month ahead of any schedule we could have made. Our action might have been impossible if that had not occurred. The chance for cooperation with the French in the development of the French forces, which was very hearty, was the means of developing the cooperative spirit between the Allies and the French, upon which so much depended.
AMERICAN LIVES SAVED
Ambassador-at-large Robert D. Murphy defended United States dealings with French "Vichyites" in the early stages of the African invasion on the ground that thousands of American lives were saved. President Roosevelt's envoy in North Africa, bitterly attacked by "left wing" quarters for negotiating with Admiral Darlan and others, declared, "When you're working inside a cage with a tiger your technique has to be quite different from that of the independent and carefree critic standing safely outside." Murphy said the association with pro-Vichy French did not mean Americans approved of certain schools of French thought. He pointed out that Darlan controlled 300,000 French troops at the time the Tanks swarmed ashore in November 1942, while General de Gaulle had only a handful. "That's why we worked with Admiral Darlan," he explained, "And I can tell you he rendered very practical assistance to the Allied cause. Perhaps the best proof of that is the fact that, whereas our Army leaders expected the casualty list of the North African landing to run to 15,000, it actually was well under 2,000, including the Army and Navy."
DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS ESTABLISHED LATER
Murphy said, furthermore in an interview, that as soon as American power was established, the United States would cooperate with the French in the establishment of democratic institutions. "But first things come first," he told reporters. "I knew I could not face the mothers and wives of our soldiers who might be killed by reason of any reluctance on our part which would have prevented the practical arrangements under which our soldiers were protected."
UNOFFICIAL GOOD WILL AMONG THE NATIVES
Doing unofficial good will work among the natives was George Haboush, Seaman 1st Class, USCG, who took them completely by surprise speaking their native tongue. Haboush, born in this country of Syrian parents, became familiar with the Arabic language as a boy. After bringing his landing boat ashore several times, he further contributed to the success of the North African conquest by serving
FINDING IT HOT IN THE NORTH AFRICAN SUN, THIS SUAVE GERMAN OFFICER LOOSENS HIS COLLAR AS HE WAITS TO BOARD A COAST GUARD MANNED TRANSPORT THAT WILL BRING HIM - AND HUNDREDS MORE - TO THE UNITED STATES
as an interpreter. When seriously wounded natives were brought aboard his transport, the USS HEWES, for treatment, they refused to cooperate, bewildered by what had taken place, uncertain of the Americans, and believing themselves to he prisoners. They would not eat for fear of being poisoned, and objected to being treated for their wounds. So the Commanding Officer sent for Haboush, who struck up conversations with the patients in their own language and persuaded them to change their attitudes. They readily agreed to everything he suggested and he had them practically eating out of his hands. After the armistice at Casablanca he continued his good will work ashore answering questions about the invasion and the intentions of the Americans. Haboush assured the natives of the friendliness of United States forces and also served as a middle man for his shipmates in their souvenir bargain hunting. "They became so cordial that some even invited me to their homes," said Haboush, speaking of the natives. "One invitation was particularly tempting - the man had a very lovely daughter - but we shoved off before I could accept the invitation." He came in for some good-natured teasing when his shipmates learned that in the Arabic language Haboush means "Great lover."
With the successful negotiation of the armistice on November 11, resistance from the French forces ceased, and in so far as the immediate participation of United States naval forces was concerned, the operation ended.
Meanwhile, however, a naval unit on the east coast of French Morocco was established as a Sea Frontier, under the command of Rear Admiral John L. Hall, Jr., U. S. Navy, and a Naval Operating Base at Oran, under the command of Rear Admiral A. C. Bennett, U. S. Navy, was also established. The United States naval forces participating in these operations were taken from the United States Atlantic Fleet. By May 1943, German forces had been driven from Tunisia, and by that time our fighting strength was such that we were able to make definite plans for a major offensive move against the enemy in his own territory. At the Casablanca Conference, in January 1943, the decision was made to capture Sicily.
FRENCH HAIL AMERICAN SUCCESS
The American success in North Africa threw the Vichy regime into a state of panic. While the followers of Petain and Laval were filled with fear and anger, however, the majority of the French people, who hated both the Nazis and their French collaborators, joyfully hailed the Allied occupation of North Africa as a further guarantee of the eventual liberation of France. While Marshal Petain ordered his African garrisons to resist, Hitler's troops rushing south carefully by-passed Toulon, where the officers of the French fleet announced their intention to fight the Germans if molested. These officers later destroyed their ships and died rather than turn the French Navy over to the enemy.
RESULTS OF NORTH AFRICAN CONQUEST
As a result of the successful landings in North Africa, General Marshall was able to report that about 252,415 German and Italian troops and a large amount of equipment were surrendered. The Mediterranean was re-opened to the Allies, resulting in an immediate increase of
A SWARM OF U. S. ARMY DUCKS RUSHES TOWARD THE BEACH IN LAST MINUTE AMPHIBIOUS INVASION MANEUVERS SOMEWHERE ALONG ENGLAND'S COAST
shipping equivalent to some 240 vessels. A French Army was reborn, celebrating its birthday by the capture of 48,719 prisoners, following a deep penetration into the enemy's position. United States forces proved their ability to wage modern war and acquired a wealth of experience which could be disseminated throughout the Army. Effective coordination of Allied air forces with ground forces was successfully achieved. Unity of Allied effort, command, and staff was demonstrated in a most convincing manner as evidence of the growing concentration of power which would sweep the enemy out of control of the European continent.
SIGNIFICANCE TO ALLIES
The Allied occupation of Morocco prevented the Axis from acquiring a port facing the South Atlantic, where Dakar in the eastern bulge of South America might have been used by the enemy as a springboard to launch an attack on the Western Hemisphere. The conquest of Algeria greatly facilitated the westward advance of the British Eighth Army and led to the eventual rout of the enemy in North Africa. Not only was this part of the world prevented from becoming a starting point from which the Axis could initiate an attack on the Atlantic coast of the Americas, but once in Allied hands, northern and western Africa became a springboard from which the Allied powerful attack was launched against Sicily and on to the mainland of Europe. "Operation TORCH" had accomplished its mission.
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