Preprations Op TORCH

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Carl Schwamberger
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Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Oct 2022 17:47

Looking about for the references for time line & events in preparation of Op TORCH. Dates of decisions events, assignments, and published orders, ect... Thanks for any directions. Most of the material on my shelf lacks coherent references to time scale. Its all very fuzzy on when key events occured. ie: When did I Armored Corps received its orders/assignement to Op TORCH?

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 04 Oct 2022 16:24

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Oct 2022 17:47
Looking about for the references for time line & events in preparation of Op TORCH. Dates of decisions events, assignments, and published orders, ect... Thanks for any directions. Most of the material on my shelf lacks coherent references to time scale. Its all very fuzzy on when key events occured. ie: When did I Armored Corps received its orders/assignement to Op TORCH?
I’ve been reading Carlo d’Este’s rather over-blown biography of Patton and he has a couple of relevant details:

P.417
“At the end of July [1942] Patton was again hastily summoned to Washington where he learned that he was to command the Western Task Force of Torch…”

P.418
“Patton’s headquarters was in the Munitions Building on Independence Avenue…His first act was to summon from California several trusted members of his 1 Armored Corps staff.”

P.419
“On August 5, accompanied by several other officers … Patton” [flew to England]. There he was briefed by Eisenhower and Truscott on the current state of TORCH planning.

I hope that helps. The rest of the chapter covers the friendly liaison between USN and US Army during TORCH planning and rehearsal. :D

Regards

Tom

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Oct 2022 17:52

Thanks. There's a lot of fragmented history of op TORCH but I've not run across anything comprehensive. The in depth studies are of the later Tunisian campaign

Michael Kenny
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Michael Kenny » 04 Oct 2022 18:21

It would be interesting to see the 'phase lines' for the landing and campaign. For example was it intended to attack Tripoli from the west and trap Rommel in Libya.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 04 Oct 2022 19:56

Michael Kenny wrote:
04 Oct 2022 18:21
It would be interesting to see the 'phase lines' for the landing and campaign. For example was it intended to attack Tripoli from the west and trap Rommel in Libya.
In a letter of 18 November 1942 to Alexander, Montgomery certainly hoped that First Army was intending to take Tripoli from the west. Para 7 of the letter suggests that liaison between the TORCH forces and the Middle East forces was poor:
7. It is essential that we should be supplied immediately with the following information from the U.K.
(a) Details as to the real progress of events in N. Africa in general, and in Tunisia in particular.
(b) The immediate, and distant, objectives of the "Western Army".
(c) The dates by which Malta, and air forces based in Algiers - Tunisia, will be in a position to begin large scale neutralisation of the enemy shipping to N. Africa, and the port of Tripoli itself.

8. It is most important that the Chiefs of Staff should be left in no doubt as to the problem facing Eighth Army in an advance into Tripolitania.
Regards

Tom

reedwh52
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by reedwh52 » 06 Oct 2022 03:44

I would suggest, as a start at Hyperwar with the US Army Green Books
1) Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative In the West http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html and
2) Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-42 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html and the U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II :Algeria-French Morocco: 8 November 1942--11 November 1942 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html

With regard to Patton, See " Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative, Chapter III Tactical Plans and Political Preparations"pages 39-40
"Western Task Force Planning
On 30 July, immediately after General Marshall returned to Washington from the decisive conferences in London, General Patton was summoned to the War Department to take charge of organizing the Western Task Force and of planning for its operations. He spent a few days in conferences while Col. Hobart R. Gay, his chief of staff,and other officers summoned from the I Armored Corps, established a headquarters in the Munitions Building and devised a preliminary plan to capture Casablanca. Patton met there for the first time his prospective associate commander, Admiral Hewitt. With Col. Kent C. Lambert, who was to be his operations officer, he flew to England for participation in the planning at AFHQ. The effort to arrive at a satisfactory strategic plan had not succeeded when on 20 August he returned to Washington. He carried with him a directive to prepare an attack against Oran instead of Casablanca, in conformity with a provisional outline plan then being submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by General Eisenhower. That directive was promptly superseded by another from the War Department, but not until the executive agreement of 5 September was the objective of the Western Task Force firmly established"

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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by jbroshot » 06 Oct 2022 05:17

reedwh52 wrote:
06 Oct 2022 03:44
I would suggest, as a start at Hyperwar with the US Army Green Books
1) Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative In the West http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html and
2) Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-42 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html and the U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II :Algeria-French Morocco: 8 November 1942--11 November 1942 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... index.html
Or you can download them from the US Army Center of Military History site

1) https://history.army.mil/catalog/pubs/6/6-1.html

2) https://history.army.mil/catalog/pubs/1/1-3.html

and https://history.army.mil/catalog/pubs/72/72-11.html

jbroshot
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by jbroshot » 06 Oct 2022 05:24

And I might add that this Green Book might be of assistance

WASHINGTON COMMAND POST: THE OPERATIONS DIVISION

https://history.army.mil/catalog/pubs/1/1-2.html

Especially Chapter X:

"X . T H E TORCH PERIOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 6 4
Redefinition of Levels of Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Staff Work in the Joint Committee System . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Theater Group Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 7 4
Expansion o f Logistics Group Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 7 5
Personnel a n d Personnel Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 7 8
OPD's Role in Torch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Case History i n Confusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8 3"

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Oct 2022 18:28

Thanks for the guidance folks. As usual its very helpful.


Digressing....
7. It is essential that we should be supplied immediately with the following information from the U.K.
(a) Details as to the real progress of events in N. Africa in general, and in Tunisia in particular.
(b) The immediate, and distant, objectives of the "Western Army".
(c) The dates by which Malta, and air forces based in Algiers - Tunisia, will be in a position to begin large scale neutralisation of the enemy shipping to N. Africa, and the port of Tripoli itself.

8. It is most important that the Chiefs of Staff should be left in no doubt as to the problem facing Eighth Army in an advance into Tripolitania.

Maybe its different at the upper rarified atmosphere strategic levels. Among my peers had a subordinate sent such a whiny demanding message to his commander or staff he'd been shut up. Now maybe Monty was entirely in the dark about expectations for Eight Army and the general concept of operations. But, here he's asking not only for details that have only indirect bearing on his operations, but also cant be usefully answered as he seems to be expecting. Im not cognizant of the command structure at this point, how operations of the forces in Lybia and Middle East in general were being coordinated with Eisenhowers forces. Monty here is demanding the information "from the UK". Was the coordination being run through Brooke, & by extension Churchill? I strongly suspect Brooke with his superb understanding of staff work and proper command procedures was not leaving Monty in the dark about the mission of Eigth Army and the essential information about the strategic situation.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Oct 2022 18:41

The effort to arrive at a satisfactory strategic plan had not succeeded when on 20 August he returned to Washington. He carried with him a directive to prepare an attack against Oran instead of Casablanca, in conformity with a provisional outline plan then being submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by General Eisenhower. That directive was promptly superseded by another from the War Department, but not until the executive agreement of 5 September was the objective of the Western Task Force firmly established"
This reinforces my impression there was a lot of confusion in strategic planning of the Allies between the ARCADIA & SYMBOL conferences. While its natural there would be changes in the details of the plans when changes like this start yanking the subordinate staff about its a bad sign.

jbroshot
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by jbroshot » 08 Oct 2022 14:09

Here's a plan submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated October 11, 1942

J.C.S. 127, October 11, 1942: Joint Army and Navy plan for U.S. participation in Operation "Torch", short title- "Rooftree"

https://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/digital ... 5625/rec/6

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Oct 2022 18:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
07 Oct 2022 18:28
Among my peers had a subordinate sent such a whiny demanding message to his commander or staff he'd been shut up.
Really?

Boss, I've just won a big battle and am thinking ahead (like a professional army commander should) - what are the ENDs you want me to achieve? If those ENDS are going to include an advance to TUNIS, please be aware that is going to need a lot of MEANS!
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
07 Oct 2022 18:28
I strongly suspect Brooke with his superb understanding of staff work and proper command procedures was not leaving Monty in the dark about the mission of Eigth Army and the essential information about the strategic situation.
I strongly suspect that Brooke was expecting TUNISIA to be taken from the West. :D

Regards

Tom

Michael Kenny
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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Oct 2022 19:58

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Oct 2022 18:57

I strongly suspect that Brooke was expecting TUNISIA to be taken from the West. :D
There must have been some written 'plan' that gave an overview of what TORCH was expected to achieve The links do not provide any real information as what the Allies strategy was (an advance into Libya?) once they occupied Tunisia. Given the entirely unexpected German response and the lacklustre Allied reply perhaps these targets were weeded from the surviving documentation in order to cover a few important arses.

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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Oct 2022 21:51

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Oct 2022 18:57

Really?

Boss, I've just won a big battle and am thinking ahead (like a professional army commander should) - what are the ENDs you want me to achieve? If those ENDS are going to include an advance to TUNIS, please be aware that is going to need a lot of MEANS!

The details & tone of the message indicates to me the writer had not read his existing guidance or orders. The alternate explanation is the senior HQ had not provided the appropriate guidance. There is also the question of the chain of command. Who was Montys senior? Was he addressing his commander, or going around that chap for either good or bad reasons? I know Monty had or thought he had a special connection to Brooke, and have been told Churchill liked to jump the chain of command.


The whole thing has a vibe of a Lt with too much self importance bothering the battalion commander with questions that should have been covered by the company commander. & covered largely by previous communications from that company commander. Now maybe Monty here is trying to fix a deficiency in orders and communication to him, or maybe he is up to something else. Theres a couple different possibilities in command failure there & i dont know enough to see which one it is.

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Re: Preprations Op TORCH

Post by Gooner1 » 10 Oct 2022 16:35

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
07 Oct 2022 18:28
Thanks for the guidance folks. As usual its very helpful.


Digressing....
7. It is essential that we should be supplied immediately with the following information from the U.K.
(a) Details as to the real progress of events in N. Africa in general, and in Tunisia in particular.
(b) The immediate, and distant, objectives of the "Western Army".
(c) The dates by which Malta, and air forces based in Algiers - Tunisia, will be in a position to begin large scale neutralisation of the enemy shipping to N. Africa, and the port of Tripoli itself.

8. It is most important that the Chiefs of Staff should be left in no doubt as to the problem facing Eighth Army in an advance into Tripolitania.

Maybe its different at the upper rarified atmosphere strategic levels. Among my peers had a subordinate sent such a whiny demanding message to his commander or staff he'd been shut up. Now maybe Monty was entirely in the dark about expectations for Eight Army and the general concept of operations. But, here he's asking not only for details that have only indirect bearing on his operations, but also cant be usefully answered as he seems to be expecting. Im not cognizant of the command structure at this point, how operations of the forces in Lybia and Middle East in general were being coordinated with Eisenhowers forces. Monty here is demanding the information "from the UK". Was the coordination being run through Brooke, & by extension Churchill? I strongly suspect Brooke with his superb understanding of staff work and proper command procedures was not leaving Monty in the dark about the mission of Eigth Army and the essential information about the strategic situation.

Probably best if you read it in context

Letter to Alexander 18 November 1942 delivered by Liaison Officer by hand
I think the time has come to take stock of the situation and to ensure that our efforts here are closely linked with the Allied forces now in Tunisia. As I see it our situation is as set out below.

1. If the enemy wants to remain in N. Africa he requires the use of Tripoli. Our object is to remove the Axis force from N. Africa, therefore an essential step in this direction must be the capture, or complete neutralisation, of Tripoli.

2. Eighth Army, Malta and the “Western Army” all must play a part in the Neutralisation of Tripoli, and the sooner we all get going the easier will be our task.

3. It is obvious, from the communication point of view alone, that the capture of Tripoli should be undertaken from the west.
They have a short sea route to the ports in N. Africa; and they have a good railway and road system which stretches nearly to the Tripolitanian border.
We have the long sea route via the Cape to Egypt, the small railway terminating at Tobruk, the indifferent port of Benghazi, and the 760 miles of road from Benghazi to Tripoli which would be our main line of maintenance

4. It is obvious that the enemy means to hold the Agheila position. I am preparing to face up to this position now. It is very strong, and the country is difficult. But I must have it because:
(a) it greatly assists the defence of Cyrenaica.
(b) the enemy's next defensive position would probably be the Wadi el Chebira, and this would give me the landing grounds about Sirte – very useful for air action against Tripoli.
Once I secure the Agheila position any attack on Cyrenaica or Egypt from the west becomes almost out of the question.
Therefore I must have it, and I mean to get it.

5. It may take some weeks to get the Agheila position. My maintenance situation is very precarious; I have advanced so far and so fast, in order to establish the air in Cyrenaica, that I have nothing “in the kitty” and have to be very careful what I do.
Once I have the Agheila position, any advance by me into Tripolitania would be an immense problem and could not be undertaken for a considerable time. This time would be very considerable if the enemy was still able to use Tripoli.

6. It is clear that a very great deal now depends on te effective neutralisation of Tripoli. We should start this at once.

7. It is essential that we should be supplied immediately with the following information from the U.K.
(a) Details as to the real progress of events in N. Africa in general, and in Tunisia in particular.
(b) The immediate, and distant, objectives of the "Western Army".
(c) The dates by which Malta, and air forces based in Algiers - Tunisia, will be in a position to begin large scale neutralisation of the enemy shipping to N. Africa, and the port of Tripoli itself.

8. It is most important that the Chiefs of Staff should be left in no doubt as to the problem facing Eighth Army in an advance into Tripolitania.
The real way to take Tripoli is from the west.
If however the Western Army is likely to be “seen off” by the Germans, then we have to do something about it; but it would take time owing to the need for building up stocks. Benghazi as a port is not good, and the maintenance of a Corps, even in Cyrenaica, is difficult; in Tripolitania it would be colossal.

9. It is so important to find out the real situation of the “Western Army”, what it is doing, what it hopes to do, its condition, and its resources, etc, etc, that I suggest someone should fly over and see them.
You could fly there in one night from Cairo in a Liberator.
If this were done we could find out the whole situation for ourselves.

10. To sum up.
(a) We must begin the heavy neutralisation of Tripoli at once.
This is the surest way to shorten the time required to secure the Agheila position. See paras 2 and 6.
(b) We must find out what is going on in the west. See paras 7 and 9.
A brilliant appreciation of the situation, as one would expect.
Alex and Monty were then of the same rank as Monty had just been promoted to full General. Though Alex was Montys boss they had an excellent working relationship on the basis that Monty would decide what needed to be done and would inform Alex of what he needed or wanted and Alex would do his best to provide.
Alex's succinct reply to Montys above message shows that he was quite capable of holding his own and reminding Monty that he was his superior.
'What you suggest is being done. There is a tendency that the West want to leave Tripoli to us. I have already sent a strong wire to Prime Minister and CIGS stressing our difficulties and urging paramount importance of first of all clearing whole North African coast before embarking on other ventures.'

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