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D-Day North Africa - Order of Battle
Operation "TORCH" - November 1942
Re-equip and Re-assemble for Tunisia 

9th Infantry Division
D-Day North Africa
8 November 1942  

The invasion force was 107,000, commanded by Lt. General Dwight D. Eisenhower.  They were split into 3 invasion Task Forces. 

                Western Task Force - West Morocco: Safi, Fedala & Port Lyautey

Major General George S. Patton, Jr
47th and 60th Regimental Combat Teams (9th Infantry Division)
2nd Armored Division (one combat command and one armored battalion)

                 Central Task Force - Algiers: Les Andalouses, Oran & Arzew

Major General Lloyd Fredendall
                1st Infantry Division
                Combat Command B, 1st Armored Division
                1st Ranger battalion
                Corps Troops

                 Eastern Task Force - Algiers: Algiers, Ain-Taya & Bougie

Major General C. W. Ryder
                39th Regimental Combat Team (9th Infantry Division)
                168th Regimental Combat Team (34th Infantry Division)
                1st and 6th Battalions, Commandos (American and British troops)
                11th and 36th Regimental Groups (British 78th Infantry Division)

  About 850 ships, the largest amphibious task force ever assembled for warfare, sailed to North Africa and D-Day. Some sailed from the British Isles and the others, such as those transporting the 47th and 60th Combat Teams, sailed directly from the US.  They met in the Atlantic and proceeded South then East to the Mediterranean Sea and their D-Day.  They went directly to their pre-assigned invasion points and proceeded to work for their first of Eight Stars.

9th Infantry Division
North Africa
Operation "TORCH"


It was 23 October 1942.  Rommel’s Afrika Corps and General Montgomery’s Desert Rats were in their famous historical battle at Al Alamein.  A major British victory was in the process of being executed.  A Second Front had to be established to relieve the Russians. Operation Torch was that second front. Operation Torch began with planning by the Combined Chiefs of Staff of America and Britain. The staffs in England devoted exceptionally long hours to the minutest of details.  The Vichy French were siding with the Germans and major political efforts were made to attempt to get them to capitulate. The especially chosen pro Allied French leaders were involved to assist with the capitulation’s of French Garrisons and airfields in French Northern Africa. It was not known whether Spain would enter the fray on the side of the Germans and let them traverse Spain to North Africa.  Were the planes of the Luftwaffe and submarines of the German Navy going to cause major disruption to the pending invasion.? Fortunately, sufficient deception and misinformation was about, causing the German Air Force to withdraw to Sicily, Sardinia and southern Italy with most of its supplies.  They expected action somewhere on mainland Europe.  The Germans thought the fleet was going to Malta

  Operation Torch was to be a coordinated effort of simultaneous landings and thus surprise the French and Italians at the Western, Central and Eastern Task Force North African landings.  D-Day was scheduled for 8 November 1942.

  On 7 November the USS Thomas Stone transport, carrying the entire 2nd Battalion of the 39th Combat Team, was struck and disabled by torpedo one day prior to the landing.  The convoy had to proceed without them, possibly leaving them at the mercy of the enemy and not knowing whether they would survive.  So much for surprise.  The 3rd Battalion had to be substituted.  The 2nd Battalion of the 39th Combat Team did attempt to use its landing craft to get into the action, but most of the craft broke up and sank long before they reached land. (They were 160 miles from their invasion site.)  A naval destroyer picked up the men.

  On 8 November 1942 Operation Torch began with landings in the pre dawn, about 1:30 AM.  The Forces met with differing amounts of opposition from the French. The 39th Combat Team’s 1st and 2nd Battalions were successful in achieving their objectives of the 1st day with varying amounts of opposition from the French in Algiers Eastern Sector.  The 3rd Battalion moved inland and was successful in achieving their objectives of the 1st day at 6:15 AM.  Admiral Darlan was visiting in the area and was captured. Discussions took place with Admiral Darlan, who was commander in chief of all Vichy French Forces.  These discussions resulted in a formal surrender. Occupation of Algiers started at 7 PM.

  "General Patton's Western Task Force mission was to attack western Morocco, seize and secure the port of Casablanca as a base for future operations to the north and northeast, and eliminate or cripple the enemy air force and secure by dark of D-Day at least one airfield as a base for land-based planes."

  The 47th and 60th Combat Teams encountered more resistance in French Morocco.  Their opposition was the famed French Foreign Legion.  They had sailed directly from the US to  their invasion point. Not only were the cliffs, rocks and hills an additional challenge of the Western Task Force, but they got underway late and after President Roosevelt had broadcast a message in French, asking the French for their help, ”.... we have come among you to repulse the cruel invaders“.  Company E of the 2nd Battalion of the 60th CT had lost 5 of its 6 officers in the battles for Kasba-Mehdia.  Distinguished Service Crosses (DSC) were posthumously awarded to several of these officers. On the morning of 10 November the 2nd Battalion had suffered 215 casualties.   The French finally capitulated on 11 November 1942 and an Armistice was signed. After 4 days of fighting, the bulk of French North Africa was in Allied hands. 

  The Combat Teams of the 9th had won their first battle.

  This did not conclude the fighting in North Africa, but it did bring peace to French North Africa and was an important message to the Axis, that the War had taken a turn against them.  The Forces now turned their attention toward the East and Tunisia, where the Luftwaffe and amphibious units were landing 1500 German troops a day.  The Vichy French government under Petain had blessed this infiltration. This buildup of German troops delayed the Allied plan to invade Sicily by up to six months.

9th Infantry Division
Re-equip and Re-assemble for Tunisia

                Desert kits were issued to all army personnel in North Africa.  The kit contained a dust mask, dust glasses, and isinglass eye shields.  Ernie Pyle was in Oran, Algiers at the time and speaking about the dust mask in his book, "This is your War", I quote, "and the dust mask was a frightful-looking contraption.  It consisted of a big black rubber schnozzle that covered the nose and half the face.  To this were attached two circular devices, about saucer size, which looked like wheels and which hung over each jaw.  Apparently the theory was to scare the dust away."

                 Nobody used the dust equipment during this season; it was raining a good part of the time.

                  "... But soon the dust would blow ... even after a few rainless days  ... we noticed a thin film of dust on the furniture. We really couldn't sense dust in the air, but it was there.

                  The doctors said this invisible dust, plus the rapid drop in temperature at sundown was responsible for what we called, or at least I called, 'sundown throat'.  Almost everyone I knew got a sore throat just about sundown. It was a strange, seemingly unaccountable thing.  It came on just after the sun went down behind the hills and the evening chill started coming down.  Our throats got so sore we could hardly swallow.   It was gone the next morning".

                  Africa was not clean, and we knew we could expect a good bit of disease before we finally got out.  Our sore throats and flu were known to doctors as ‘winter respiratory diseases.’  The malaria, dysentery, and stuff we’d have come spring would be known as  ‘summer intestinal disturbances’.”

                  On 11 November 1942 there were 130,000 Spanish and Moroccan desert soldiers of Generalissimo Franco’s army in Spanish Morocco.  They were a threat, since no one knew the intentions of Generalissimo Franco. Would he side with Hitler? 

                  Shortly, the 47th and 60th Combat Teams were to return to Division control and be positioned along the Spanish Moroccan border.  Up until this time the 9th Infantry Combat Teams were operating as units, but attached to different commands.

                  The 60th Combat team was located at Mamora Cork Forest, guarding the Spanish border.  The 60th C.T. was soon to be joined by the 47th Combat Team, after they foot marched 238 miles from Safi, stopping on the way to participate in a French-American parade in Casablanca on 13 December 1942.

                  The Ninth Infantry Division was reassembling in late December 1942.  The 47th C.T. joined the 60th C.T. on 19 December.  Division Headquarters, Diverty and the remainder of regimental and attached troops were on their way in ships and started to dock at Casablanca on Christmas Eve, except for the 39th, which was in the Oran, Algiers area and a few units still to arrive from America. The last of which arrived on 25 January 1943 on the Swedish Liner Kungsholm.

                  The 9th Infantry Division had responsibility for Port Lyautey, a key port in the supply chain for North Africa. 

                  Weeks of guard duty, training, writing letters home, etc. followed.  They had entertainment by Martha Raye and her troupe, Carol Landis, Kay Francis, and Mitzi Mayfair at Port Lyautey. 

                  President Roosevelt and Prime Minster Winston Churchill met in Casablanca during January 1943. On 22 January units of the Ninth staged a review for President Roosevelt.

                  The British had more troops and more experienced troops in North African than the Americans. The British 8th Army was arriving in Tunisia.  It was to be a predominately British win in North Africa. This had been the agreement between all parties involved. 


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