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.
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We thank Mr. Souheib Zallazi, (student at CFT, Tunisia) and Mr. Malek Saadani (student at ULT, Tunisia), for their interpretation of el Ardh Ardhi of Sabri Mesbah, performed for the introduction and conclusion of this podcast. Souheib on melodica and Malek on guitar.
Selected Writings by the Author:
O’Hara, Vincent. 2015. Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2010. In Passage Perilous: Malta and the Convoy Battles of June 1942. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2009. Dark Navy: The Regia Marina and the Armistice of 8 September 1943. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2009. Struggle for the Mediterranean: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean, 1940-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2007. The US Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2004. “Attack and Sink.” World War II. March: 44-48.
O’Hara, Vincent. 2004. The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
O’Hara, Vincent and Enrico Cernuschi. 2013. “The Other Ultra: Signal Intelligence and the Battle to Supply Rommel’s Attach toward Suez.” Naval War College Review. 66(3): 117-138.