Case Study: Testing Materials) -- Sensitive

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[. . .] But these are secondary objectives when the Axis' main goals are to defeat the Russians and the British on their homelands. A sufficient Allied push into North Africa will readily force the Axis's hand and cause them to abandon North Africa as strategically insignificant, thus preparing the way for a potential Allied path into Europe by way of Italy and Sicily -- basically chasing the Axis back up their own LOC.

Question 7. The chief decisive points in Operation TORCH are first, control of the port cities of French North Africa -- Casablanca, Bone, Algiers, Tunis; second, the allegiance of French forces in North Africa; and third, secure Allied control of the outlets of the eastern and western Mediterranean at the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar.

The port cities are crucial so as to give the Allies reliable LOC in the Theater beyond the limited possessions of Gibraltar, Malta, and Alexandria. Once gained, they make the Allied dominance of half of the sought territory relatively simple.

The allegiance of French forces in North Africa is, to a certain extent, a political rather than a military objective -- however, the political conditions are strongly in the Allied favor. France defeated Germany (at substantial cost) in the last war, and is hardly jubilant at how easily Germany rolled over the Maginot Line and installed Petain as their puppet in this war. A substantial French resistance exists, and "free French" armed forces who can take over leadership capabilities once Vichy French territory falls into allied hands. Right now Rommel's chief strategic disadvantage is that he must rely on the French to protect his rear.

Finally the Allies have to be prepared -- in the event that these first two decisive points are reached -- that the Axis will prefer to move either east or west and not fight on two fronts, with the goal of shutting down Allied access to one or the other side of the Mediterranean. Control of the Mediterranean is not much use to the Axis if they abandon North Africa, nor is it much use beyond supplying the Russian front via the Black Sea. It might be supposed that, once the Allies establish a foothold, the focus of battle will no longer be on reclaiming the French possessions but on the Axis intending to maintain control of one of the two outlets from the Mediterranean besides the one that leads toward Russia, i.e., Suez or Gibraltar. Gibraltar would only make sense in the context of Spain mobilizing to enter the fight due to discomfort with Allied presence in their backyard -- while Spain is fascist and might conceivably have more sympathy for Axis ideology, Spain has also recently undergone a costly and bloody civil war, and has maintained its neutrality for a reason. Therefore the Question would be whether Rommel pushes eastward, but thus far the British Allied forces have held him off in the desert equivalent of trench warfare in the Western Desert. As long as the Allies manage to hold both of these fronts, at the two outlets of the Mediterranean, the Axis will have nowhere else to go but vanish back up their LOC into Sicily and the Italian peninsula -- leaving the Allies to chase them, as part of a larger strategy of invading continental Europe once a presence in North Africa has been established.

Question 8. The potential culmination points for Operation TORCH -- in which the Allies fail to achieve the objectives without being defeated -- are fairly easily summarized.

The first possibility is that the Allies take too long in establishing their beachhead in French North Africa. With sufficient complications in the landing and taking of the port cities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia -- which could be due to an unexpected ferocity on the part of the Vichy French in defending the incursion, or which could be due to something as simple as unforeseen bad weather -- the Axis forces under Rommel that are presently fighting in the Western Desert of Libya would have time to turn 180 degrees and head toward French North Africa to meet the Allies as they arrive. The notion that Rommel might make it as far west as Tunis is a real possibility if the ports are not seized with genuine rapidity: and if Rommel makes it as far as Tunis, it is possible that the Allies will be forced out altogether and the Axis military goal will be to seal off the western end of the Mediterranean, concentrating on Malta and Gibraltar. This would be a disaster for the Allies.

A second possibility of a culmination point for the Allies would be the entrance of Spain into the war. Eisenhower remarks on this as a distinct possibility and thus a potential culmination point, that would essentially close the back door behind the Allied invading force. If Spain joins the Allies, Gibraltar will not hold and therefore the only truly strategic territory the Allies hold securely would be lost. (Malta is less strategic because to a certain degree Malta relies on Gibraltar to be of any value. If Gibraltar falls, then Malta becomes a moot point: any Allied presence there might as well stay in bed, since they'd have nowhere to fly to, and no way of getting out of the Mediterranean.)

A final culmination point, although not a likely one, would be if Rommel breaks the stalemate in the Western Desert and manages to make incursions into Allied territory in Egypt. This would mean a tremendous (although not necessarily catastrophic) disruption in logistics for the entirety of the Allied cause, as it would essentially leave the Axis in total control of the petroleum supplies of the eastern Mediterranean. This seems unlikely, though, as Alexandria has not yet fallen -- and ultimately what lies beyond Suez is British territory in India. This is the primary reason why the Axis have ended up in North Africa at all, was to disrupt this supply chain. They have not managed… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Testing Materials) -- Sensitive.  (2014, February 26).  Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/testing-materials-sensitive/6155835

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"Testing Materials) -- Sensitive."  Essaytown.com.  February 26, 2014.  Accessed August 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/testing-materials-sensitive/6155835.