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Darby's Rangers: We Led the Wayby William O. Darby
Synopses & Reviews
North African Spearhead--Arzew
The summer of 1942 was an unforgettable time for the World War II Allies. Until that year, defeat had followed defeat. Pearl Harbor came first for the United States, and then the loss of the Philippines; Britain had its Dunkirk and had lost Singapore; and the Soviet Union was fighting a desperate battle against the Nazi Army on its entire Western front.
Darby's Rangers' first operations--Operation Torch of 8 November 1942--began with the war in North Africa in support of the Allied landing. This invasion had the backing of both British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt, and the opposition of practically all the military staffs. It was first mentioned by the British at the Arcadia Conference in December 1941. They stressed the desirability of bringing French forces back into the war against Germany and thought of the North African operation as a relatively cheap means of seizing the initiative from Hitler. At the same time, the United States was busily engaged in the Pacific, particularly with the Guadalcanal operation which began on 7 August 1942. In late August 1942 the Soviet Union was to see the beginning of the Stalingrad attack by the Germans.
Churchill journeyed to Moscow to take news to Joseph Stalin, premier of the Soviet Union: the Western Allies were not going to invade the continent in 1942 but instead were to attack northwest Africa before the end of October. He gave Stalin the reasons for the inability of the Allies to help his beleaguered forces by drawing German divisions away through a continental attack. Churchill explained Operation Torch and what was hoped it would do; he was greatly surprised when Stalin agreed with its concept.
After Churchill's visit to Moscow, and with Roosevelt's complete approval, plans went ahead swiftly for the Allied invasion of North Africa. On 14 August the Combined Chiefs of Staff appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, then in command of the American forces in England, to be commander of the Allied expeditionary force and directed him to prepare plans for the landing. Three task forces were developed for the operation. The Western Task Force was to capture Casablanca, the Central Task Force the city of Oran, and the Eastern Task Force the seaport of Algiers. In each case these amphibious landings were to be made in the classical historic mode of pinching off a seaport by attacking from the flanks, rather than head-on.
The Western Task Force, under the command of Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, included infantry troops and Maj. Gen. Ernest Harmon's armored forces. Harmon had elements of the 2nd Armored Division while the infantry was part of the 9th Infantry Division. The Central Task Force at Oran was commanded by Maj. Gen. Lloyd Fredendall and included the 1st Infantry Division and Maj. William Darby's Ranger Battalion. At Algiers the landing force consisted of a British division, a regimental combat team from the American forces, and three British Commando units.
IT WAS JUST THREE HOURS BEFORE THE START of the greatest amphibious operation in history with the hands of the ship's clock into 8 November 1942. I was standing on the bridge of H.M.S. Ulster Monarch with the master of the ship, trying to pierce the fog. Pricks of doubt ran through both our minds as we considered the a
Recounts the heroic World War II exploits of Colonel William Darby with the U.S. Army Rangers, experts at amphibious landings, hand-to-hand combat, and night fighting, who spearheaded the landings in North Africa and Italy for other U.S. forces. Reprint.
The exciting true story of a legendary leader and the men who fought by his side in World War II, told in his own words. . .
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