Battle of Port Lyautey

Battle of Port Lyautey is part of Operation Torch. The Allied forces in this action captured the French Moroccan port Lyautey and successful landed in North Africa.

When this action commenced, the British had achieved a decisive victory at El Alamein. The Axis forces were retreating westwards. At this time, the Allies landed in French North Africa and would attack the Axis forces from the east and west directions. If the Allied succeeded in landing operations, it was possible to the Allies to annihilate the Axis forces in North Africa region, leaving no time for it to reinforce and build new defenses. The landing force composed entirely of U.S. troops, aiming to reduce resistance desires of the defenders to the maximum degree. Because after France quitted World War 2, the British attacked the French fleets, resulting in a large number of casualties, therefore there was a serious mistrust between Britain and France. This was also the first visit of the U.S. Army to Africa and most of which had no combat experience.

Port Lyautey is a French Moroccan port on the Atlantic coast. The combat task of the landing Force was to control the local fortifications, forts, and airports. U.S. General Lucian Truscott was responsible for directing the landing operations. Because the United States after France withdrew from World War 2 continued to maintain its diplomatic relation with the country, so that there were many U.S. diplomatic personnel in the local area. These people helped the U.S. military gather intelligence, contact anti-Axis resistance organizations, contributing a lot to the successful landing of the Allies.

Late at night on November 7, 1942, the U.S. military used the cover of night and landed. During the landing, the forces did not face strong resistance from the defenders. On November 8th, the U.S. Army sent several officers to the headquarters of the French army to capitulate. However, the officers were shot by the French army on the way and one of them was killed and the remaining were captured and taken to the French military headquarters. The French army did not accept the proposal of the U.S. military and continued to resist. It was not until on November 10 after the U.S. troops repeated attacks and captured the garrison fortress and took control of the airport, the garrison was forced to surrender to the U.S. eventually. This battle showed that the French garrison did not reckon the U.S. military as liberators and the two sides still experienced fierce fighting. During the entire Operation Torch, the total number of casualties of the two sides was close to 5,000 people in eight days. If it was not the French army commander Fran├žois Darlan who finally ordered to stop resisting, the Allied losses would be greater.

Ultimately, the U.S. military succeeded in landing operations. Although the French defenders did not cooperate as expected, the overwhelming superiority of the U.S. military ensured the success of the military operations. In fact, the whole of French North Africa region though had some defending forces, but there was a substantial strength gap compared with the strong U.S. and British landing forces. Unless the Axis rapidly intervened during the landing, otherwise the operations of the Allies were bound to be successful. But at this point, all the main forces of the Axis were engaged in the East line and had just suffered defeat at El Alamein, consequently the Axis forces were unable to timely respond to the operations of the Allies.

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