History of the Second World War, Volume 3

temporarily disabled at daybreak on the 7th iy a torpedo fired by a U-boat when 150 miles short of Algiers but after that the seaborne approach deeper into the Mediter­ranean met no further trouble. Although sighted by a few enemy observation planes, 1 0 air attack came before the convoy made ts southward turn after dark to the landing D e aches .One group of these was near Cap Vlatifou some 15 miles east of Algiers, mother near Cap Sidi Ferruch 10 miles vest of the city and the third group 10 miles 'arther west near Castiglione. For political :amouflage the landings nearest Algiers vere made by the Americans with ad-an nixture of British Commandos and the nain British one was on the more westerly )eaches near Castiglione. Here the landings began promptly at 0100 lours and proceeded without mishap despite ough and dangerous beaches. French troops /ho were met a short way inland said that hey had been instructed to offer no resis- ance. Blida airfield was reached about 900. On the eastern side of Algiers the andings were a little late and suffered some onfusion but 'in the absence of resistance was possible to straighten out the situa- ion quickly. The important Maison Blanche irfield was reached soon after 0600 hours nd occupied after a few shots had been fired tokens resistance. The advance on Algiers self however met a village strongpoint hat refused passage and was then brought d a complete halt by a threat of attack from iree French tanks. The coast battery on lap Matifou also rejected calls to surrender, nd only yielded after being twice bom- arded by warships and dive-bombed. The attempt to rush the port of Algiers ired worse. The British destroyers Broke nd Malcolm flying large American flags nd carrying an American infantry bat- ilion were used for this venture —which 'as planned to enter the harbour three ours after the landings in the hope that le defenders would have been drawn off, iren if their acquiescence had not been icured. Instead the destroyers came under eavy fire as soon as they approached the ntrance. Malcolm was badly hit and with- rew. Broke at the fourth try succeeded in inning the gauntlet and berthed alongside quay where her troops disembarked. At rst they were allowed to occupy installa- ons unopposed but about 0800 hours guns arted to shell Broke forcing her to castoff ad withdraw. The landing party was hem- Led in by French African troops and sur- rndered soon after mid-day as its ammuni- on was running low and there were no gns of relief by the main force. The French re however had been directed to keep the mding party in check rather than destroy it. In the landings west of Algiers near Cap id i Ferruch there was much more delay and nfusion awhile number of the landing aft went astray and arrived on the British iaches farther west. Components of each ittalion were scattered over 15 miles of ast while many of the landing craft ere wrecked in the surf or delayed by lgine trouble. Fortunately the troops had passive reception at first 1137 t .34 WORKHORSE FOR THE ALLIES Debut of the Parachute Regiment. By the time of the Torch landings the British had recruited a small force of airborne troops which was to prove vital during the opening stages of the race into Tunisia. The operations to capture the airfields at Bone and Souk el Arba were among the first occasions in which the new parachute battalions were used inaction, and since at this stage they had not acquired anew badge the men wore the distinctive red beret with the badges of their old regiments. A parachute battalion at this time consisted of about 538 men of all ranks —a headquarters company and three rifle com panies-and would be accompanied into action by a variety of specialists: troops from the Royal Engineers Royal Signals and Royal Army Medical Corps. The operations in Tunisia were also the first time that the airborne troops used the aircraft which was to become their standard mount for the rest of the war —and the workhorse of almost all the Allied forces in every theatre. Douglas C-47 Dakota. A military version of the DC-3 airliner the Dakota had a strengthened floor and larger cargo- handling door on the port side. Rugged and extremely reliable over 10,000 Dakotas had been produced by the end of thew 200 ar—1 of them being supplied to the RAF —and many were instill use 20 years after the war ended. Speed: 230 mph (maximum) 167 mph (cruising). Range: 1300 miles. Crew: Three. Load: 9028 lb of cargo or 18/24 paratroops (Below) Dakotas inflight during the advance into Tunisia (Below right) British paratroops inside a Dakota en route to Bone airfield
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