As the Battle of El Alamein brought success in Egypt, an Allied amphibious force, under the overall command of Lt General Dwight D Eisenhower landed at Casablanca in Morocco, and Oran and Algiers in Algeria on 8 November 1942. A force of 31,000 landed as part of the Western Task Force at Casablanca, 18,500 came ashore as the Central Task Force at Oran and 20,000 troops formed the Eastern Task Force.

A small force of British airborne troops took Bone airfield, west of Tunis to deprive the Germans of vital reinforcement and supply opportunities. The Allies pushed eastwards towards Tunisia, while German reinforcements were rushed in to the region to halt their advance. During the winter months and early Spring of 1943, Rommel led his troops in a skilful withdrawal, holding up the Allied forces at Medinine and the heavily fortified Mareth Line. Further west, Axis forces captured all the passes in the Eastern Dorsales region before launching a major attack against the Kasserine Pass in February 1943.

American forces held the 10th Panzer Division at the Pass and Rommel called off the attack on the 22nd, before heading to a meeting with Hitler to request an evacuation from Africa. Not only was the request denied, Rommel was sent on sick-leave and overall command of Army Group Africa passed to General von Arnim. After General George S Patton took command of US II Corps, US troops took Gafsa and Station de Sened. German troops fought to the end, despite Allied troops entering Tunis and Bizerta.

Subsequently 275,000 Axis troops surrendered in Tunisia as the Desert War came to a close on 13 May 1943. The Torch landings were an important reflection of the need for close air, sea and ground co-ordination in executing a successful campaign and the move towards greater co-operation between the Allied nations in deciding priorities for action.


Geoffrey Wooler

Tommy washing for me while I recover

Geoffrey Wooler was born in 1911 and studied medicine at Cambridge, starting his medical career in 1933. In the RAMC he served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

Major Gerald Jackson

Major Gerald Jackson had served in 6RTR during the retreat towards El Alamein in June and July 1942 and took part in a series of engagements which took their toll both on tank numbers and on crew-members. He then joined 10 Corps HQ as Personal Liaison Officer to Brigadier George Webb in time for the October battle.