Unit History: HQ Allied Forces
Allied Forces Headquarters was the headquarters that controlled all Allied operational forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II from late 1942 to the end of the war.
It was established in the UK in August 1942 under General Dwight Eisenhower in order to command the forces committed to Operation Torch. Eisenhower had the title Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Force. Shortly after the establishment of the headquarters, expeditionary was deleted from its title for reasons of operational security. Eisenhower thus became Commander in Chief, Allied Force.
By the end of 1942, there was a need to unify the Allied forces, since those from the west landed during Operation Torch, and those from the east that had won the Second Battle of El Alamein were now close enough together to need coordination. Therefore, in February 1943, Allied Force Headquarters assumed control of the British Eighth Army advancing from the east as well.
Eisenhower remained in command of AFHQ until January 1944, overseeing the Allied invasion of Sicily, which began on 10 July 1943 and the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland, on 3 September 1943. He then returned to the United Kingdom to assume command of the forces assembling for Operation Overlord. He was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. Wilson’s title became Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.
Wilson was in command for just under a year, until he was sent to Washington in December 1944 to replace Field Marshal Sir John Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission who had died suddenly. Wilson was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander who was Supreme Commander and commander of AFHQ until the end of the war.
After the war, AFHQ was no longer needed, and it was inactivated on 1 August 1945.