Episode 11: Operation Torch:
North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory
In this podcast, independent scholar and naval historian Vincent O’Hara presents his award-winning book, Torch:North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory (Naval Institute Press, 2015). Operation Torch (November 1942), was an US-UK joint-amphibious invasion of five landings in North Africa: Port Lyautey, Fédala, and Safi in Morocco; and Oran and Algiers in Algeria. Though overshadowed by other major campaigns during the Second World War, Operation Torch was an exceptional turning point on the Western European front.
It stands out as a surprise (and rushed) invasion of a neutral nation (Vichy France owned Algeria and controlled Morocco at the time), failed to relieve pressure from (then) beleaguered Soviet forces at the Battle of Stalingrad, and failed to achieve its short-term goals. Operation Torch successfully, however, brought France back into the Allied camp, provided a template for intense American and British military cooperation, and served as a model for amphibious doctrine. Combined, O’Hara persuasively argues, Operation Torch radically affected the war’s outcome to the advantage of the Allies.
The lecture was recorded at the Centre d’Études Maghrébinesen Algérie (CEMA), on the 75th anniversary of Operation Torch (7 November 2017), in Oran, Algeria. His Excellency John P. Desrocher, Ambassador of the Embassy of the United States of America in Algeria, moderated the lecture.