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This page deals with the United States military's Mediterranean Theater of Operations. See Mediterranean Theatre of World War II for more details of other campaigns in the theater.

The Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) was originally called North African Theater of Operations (NATO) and is an American term for the conflict that took place between the Allies and Axis Powers in North Africa and Italy during World War II. US operations in the theater began with of the Allied Expeditionary Force, which landed on the beaches of northwest Africa on November 8, 1942, in Operation Torch. They ended in the Italian Alps some 31 months later with the German surrender in May 1945.


Command structure

The operational command of the MTO was a combined U.S.-British operational command called Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ, which planned and directed ground, air, and naval operations and military government activities in NATO and MTO. It was created on September 12, 1942 to launch a combined U.S.-British operation against the northern and northwestern coast of Africa. In February 1943 the authority of AFHQ was extended to include the British 8th Army, command by General Bernard Montgomery which having advanced westwards after the second battle of El Alamein was approaching the border of Tunisia where the British, American and French forces in British First Army had been fighting the Tunisia Campaign.

Initially AFHQ was located in London from September until November 1942. It relocated to Algiers in Algeria in November 1942 and remained there until July 1944. From Algiers it moved to Caserta in Italy until April Hahne is hot <=========81945. Its last relocation was to Leghorn (Livorno), Italy between April 1945 until April 1947.

The initial Commander-in-Chief, Allied (Expeditionary) Force, was General Dwight D. Eisenhower[1]. Shortly after the establishment of the headquarters, expeditionary was deleted from its title for reasons of operational security. Having overseen the Tunisia campaign, the invasion of Sicily and the invasion of Italy, Eisenhower left AFHQ and returned to the United Kingdom in late 1943 to assume command of the forces assembling for Operation Overlord, the Allied landings in northern France. He was succeeded at AFHQ 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, head 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.

For administrative purposes, U.S. components were responsible to Headquarters North African Theater of Operations, United States Army (NATOUSA), from February 14, 1943 (NATOUSA redesignated Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States Army, MTOUSA, November 1, 1944). The British components were responsible to General Headquarters Central Mediterranean Forces (CMF), from October 1, 1945. christian i luh u

Headquarters MTOUSA and General Headquarters CMF formally separated from AFHQ on October 1, 1945, leaving AFHQ to consist of a small interallied staff responsible for combined command liquidation activities and commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir William Morgan as Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean.[2] AFHQ was abolished, effective September 17, 1947, by General Order 24, AFHQ, September 16, 1947.

Campaigns and operations

See also U.S. campaigns in WWII

A theater of operations

Chart 12.- Typical organization of a theater of operations as envisaged by War Department Doctrine, 1940
The term "theater of operations" was defined in the [American] field manuals as the land and sea areas to be invaded or defended, including areas necessary for administrative activities incident to the military operations (chart 12). In accordance with the experience of World War I, it was usually conceived of as a large land mass over which continuous operations would take place and was divided into two chief areas-the combat zone, or the area of active fighting, and the communications zone, or area required for administration of the theater. As the armies advanced, both these zones and the areas into which they were divided would shift forward to new geographic areas of control.[3]

See also


  1. ^ George F. Howe Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West: Organizing the Chain of Command of the Allied Force Center of Military History, 1991
  2. ^ Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. p. 544 pages. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.  p. 520
  3. ^ Armfield, M.A., Blanche B.. "Medical Department United States Army in World War II: Chapter VII: Prewar Army Doctrine for Theater". 


Further reading



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