History of United States Naval Operations in World War II

Volume II: Operations in North African Waters, October 1942 to June 1943

History of United States Naval Operations in World War II – Volume II: Operations in North African Waters, October 1942 to June 1943.

One of America’s most distinguished historians, Samuel Eliot Morison, was commissioned in the Naval Reserve early in 1942 with the sole duty of preparing the history of which this book is the second volume chronologically. The work, as a whole, is a "shooting history", written from the inside out, in effect simultaneously with the events it records. Captain Morison spent more than half his time at sea during the war, seeing active duty on eleven different ships and emerging with seven battle stars on his service ribbons. Either he or one of three officers on his staff covered personally every major operation after 1942. His is the story of naval combat, surface actions, submarine and anti-submarine warfare as conducted from carriers and naval bases ashore, and amphibious warfare.

This second volume, actually the first to be published, covers naval aspects of Operation "Torch", the North African campaign, which carried out the plan favoured by President Roosevelt for opening a second front to relieve the Russians. Told with the accuracy of a historian, the pace of an experienced narrator, the detail of firsthand observation and participation, it is a full record of what was, at the time it occured, the largest overseas expedition ever undertaken.

Samuel Eliot Morison, Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard, was convinced that too many histories were written from the outside looking in. He felt that more was to be gained by writing in contact with the events, when most of the participants were alive, than by waiting until the ships were broken up and the sailors had departed.

Just after Pearl Harbor, Professor Morison went to President Roosevelt with his idea. The President was enthusiastic. So was Secretary Knox. In April, 1942, Professor Morison was commissioned Lieutenant Commander Morison USNR, and given the active writing assignment that he had suggested.

For the remainder of the war, Morison spent more than half of his time at sea, with active duty on eleven different ships, emerging a captain with seven battle stars on his service ribbons. He was present at Operation Torch (the North African invasion); he served on Atlantic convoys, and his journeying took him through most of the combat areas of the Pacific during the height of the conflict. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral and died 1976 in his 89th year.


  • Title: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II
    Volume II: Operations in North African Waters, October 1942 to June 1943
  • Period: World War Two
  • Type: War Report
  • Author: Samuel Eliot Morison
  • Format: 298-page hardcover book with 57 photos and 21 maps
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA
  • ISBN: 0-316-58302-2
  • Published: 1947


The Expedition against French Morocco

  • Preliminaries, July 1940 – October 1942
  • The Crossing, 20 October – 7 November 1942
  • Landing at Fedhala, 8 November 1942
  • The Naval Battle of Casablanca, 8 November 1942
  • The Northern Attack, 7–11 November 1942
  • The Southern Attack, 7–11 November 1942
  • Morocco Secured, 9 November – 1 December 1942

The Expedition against Algeria and Tunisia

  • Preparations, October – November 1942
  • The Winning of Algiers, 8–15 November 1942
  • The Capture of Oran, 8–11 November 1942
  • The Navy in the Tunisian Campaign, November 1942 – May 1943
  • Pantelleria


  • Allied Ships Sunk in Operation "Torch", 7–16 November 1942
  • Western Naval Task Force: Expenditure of Ammunition, 8–11 November 1942
  • Summary of Beginning Action, 8 November 1942
  • Index

Samuel Eliot Morison’s history of naval operations in North African waters is an excellent resource for wargamers interested in recreating Operation Torch, or the expeditions against Algeria and Tunisia in miniature. Maps of the landing beaches, ship and troop dispositions enable discerning wargamers to select interesting scenarios and create the terrain for them.

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