Operation Torch (8 November 1942 – 13 May 1943) was an Allied invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps—commanded by Erwin Rommel—was dispatched to North Africa—during Operation Sonnenblume—to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat. Operation Torch in November 1942 was a compromise operation that met the British objective of securing victory in North Africa while allowing American armed forces the opportunity to engage in the fight against Nazi Germany on a limited scale. The Axis forces made a new attempt to break through to Cairo at the end of June at Alam Halfa but were pushed back. Information gleaned via British Ultra code-breaking intelligence proved critical to Allied success in North Africa. Allied codebreakers read much enciphered German message traffic, especially that encrypted with the Enigma machine.  The Italians shared parts of their intercepts with their German allies. The Allied war effort was dominated by the British Commonwealth and exiles from German-occupied Europe. The Eighth Army then pushed the Axis forces westward, capturing Tripoli in mid-January 1943. After receiving supplies and reinforcements from Tripoli, the Axis again attacked, defeating the Allies at the Gazala in June and capturing Tobruk. During Operation Torch, American, Vichy French and German navy vessels fought the Naval Battle of Casablanca, ending in a decisive American victory. Rommel and von Arnim found themselves in an Allied "two army" pincer. However, five days after the Germans invaded France, Italy declared war on both Britain and France on June 10, 1940. Thus, the North African campaign and the naval campaign for the Mediterranean were extensions of each other in a very real sense.  The British Commonwealth force, totalling 36,000 men, attacked the forward elements of the 10-division-strong Italian army on 9 December.  Fellers talked with British military and civilian headquarters personnel, read documents and visited the battlefront. Sono circa 400.000 i prigionieri fatti dagli inglesi in Etiopia e in Africa settentrionale, 125.000 presi dagli americani in Tunisia e in Sicilia, 40.000 lasciati ai francesi in Tunisia (There were about 400,000 prisoners made by the British in North Africa and in Ethiopia, 125,000 taken by the Americans in Tunisia and Sicily, 40,000 by the French in Tunisia), For the campaign during the First World War, see, Playfair, Volume IV, p. 460.  The forward Allied forces—now named XIII Corps—adopted a defensive posture and over the coming months was built up before having most of its force redeployed to Greece while the 7th Armoured Division was withdrawn to the Nile Delta. We knew from experience that Italian Headquarters cannot keep things to themselves and that everything they wireless to Rome gets round to British ears. A see-saw series of battles for control of Libya and parts of Egypt followed, reaching a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery delivered a decisive defeat to the Axis forces and pushed them back to Tunisia. Until June 1940, the United States held out hope that Italy could be kept on the sidelines despite its philosophical inclinations, in the same way Franco was not bringing Spain into the war. As a consequence, and once again, the front line (axis of advance) would be El Agheila. Corps, most notably in routing the U.S II Corps commanded by Major-General Lloyd Fredendall at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. , Tobruk's garrison—although isolated by land—continued to receive supplies and support from the Royal Navy, and Rommel was unable to take the port. During the time when Malta was under heavy air attack, the ability to act on this information was limited, but as Allied air and naval strength improved, the information became instrumental to Allied success.
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