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Madagascar Landings: 1942
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Language: English

Item Identification Code (UID#): 3756
Shelving Location: Collectibles: Trading Cards
Estimated Value: £5.00
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Madagascar Landings

1942

(War at Sea)
Edito-Service, Geneva (1977).
Trading Card

Text from the Back of the Card

Madagascar Landings: British forces invade and occupy.

Operations in the Indian Ocean during March and April 1942 by powerful Japanese naval forces (five carriers and four battleships commanded by Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the victor of Pearl Harbor) led the British to reappraise their position in that theatre. One of the fears that most possessed them was that the Japanese might seize Madagascar, part of the Vichy French Empire, as a forward base for attacks on British possessions in Africa and on British convoys in the area. It was thus decided to forestall any such Japanese attempt by taking the island's main port, Diego Suarez, in May 1942.

The assault force was commanded by Rear-Admiral E. N. Syfret, and consisted of the carriers Illustrious and Indomitable, the battleship Malaya, the cruisers Hermione and Devonshire, nine destroyers, six corvettes and six minesweepers. The landing force, under the command of Major-General R. G. Sturges, consisted of Force 121 of three infantry brigade groups and one commando. Several Tetrarch light tanks were carried to give support to the infantry.

Redesignated Force F, Syfret's command sailed from Durban on 25th to 28th April, and received their final orders for an attack on 5th May only on 1st May. By such excellent secrecy, complete surprise was achieved. An overland advance on Diego Suarez was planned, with the initial landings being made in Courrier and Ambararata Bays to the west of the peninsula connecting Cape Amber with the mainland.

Preceded by naval air strikes on Diego Suarez harbour and airfield, the landings by the 17th and 29th Brigades went well, and by 0620 on the 5th some 2,000 men were ashore and heading inland. No 5 Commando led the advance into the Andrakaka peninsula, with Diego Suarez at its tip. The peninsula was in British hands by 1700, but on the other side of the harbour the attack had been halted south of Antsirane. A Royal Marine party was landed here at 0850 the following morning, however, and in the following confusion the town was taken. By 1630 the main force had entered Diego Suarez harbour and the operation was over.

Illustration: Royal Marines train at Mombassa for the Madagascar Landings, September 1942. (Imperial War Museum, London)

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