November 21, 1942 – News Of The World – NBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The much anticipated Second Front was well underway, this November 21st in 1942 – Allied footholds were gaining ground but not without heavy resistance. Following the Operation Torch landings—from early November 1942—the Germans and Italians initiated a buildup of troops in Tunisia to fill the vacuum left by Vichy troops which had withdrawn. During this period of weakness, the Allies decided against a rapid advance into Tunisia while they wrestled with the Vichy authorities. Many of the Allied soldiers were tied up in garrison duties because of the uncertain status and intentions of the Vichy forces.
By mid-November, the Allies were able to advance into Tunisia, but only in single division strength. By early December, the Eastern Task Force—which had been re-designated as the British First Army under Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson—was composed of the British 78th Infantry Division, British 6th Armored Division, 1st Parachute Brigade, No. 6 Commando and elements of US 1st Armored Division. But by this time, one German and five Italian divisions had been shipped from Europe and the remoteness of Allied airfields from the front line gave the Axis clear air superiority over the battlefield. The Allies were halted and pushed back having advanced eastwards to within 30 kilometres (19 mi) of Tunis.
Meanwhile, General Maxime Weygand, a much celebrated French military commander in World War I and World War II joined Philippe Pétain’s Vichy regime as Minister for Defence and served until September 1940, when he was appointed Delegate-General in French North Africa. Weygand favored only limited collaboration with Germany and was dismissed from his post in November 1941 on Hitler’s demand. Following the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, Weygand was arrested by the Germans and imprisoned at Itter Castle in Austria.
And news from the South Pacific was upbeat, with new reports surfacing that five more Japanese warships were sunk than was previously disclosed. The news further bolstered morale that progress was being made in the Pacific, despite being somewhat overshadowed by news from Europe and The Second front.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this November 21, 1942 as reported by NBC’s News Of The World.
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