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STRATEGY: Give Us a Sign

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Oliver Lyttelton, one of Winston Churchill’s Ministers (Production), had said that by the end of this week the Allies would have “some sign of future events … a breathless moment … the first evidence of victory.” If his words meant anything—and so many words of promise had meant less than nothing—the day of action was at hand.

Dakar? The Axis reported angrily that the Allies had blockaded Vichy’s port on the hump of West Africa and were about to seize it. If so, the Allies were aiming at a point of constant threat to the mid-atlantic, to Brazil (1,800 miles away) and to vital ports of entry in mid-Africa. But Allied action at Dakar could scarcely relieve Russia or even loosen the German hold on the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean? Axis labor battalions raised defenses along the Balkan and Mediterranean coasts. The Germans, reporting big-scale British landing exercises at Gibraltar, had not forgotten that along the Balkan coasts were the points of action nearest to the Russians’ southern front. Nor could they forget the coastline between Tunisia and Egypt, in Rommel’s rear, where a sudden blow might affect the whole course of battle in North Africa and the Middle East.

Northern Europe? British bombers over Oslo (see p. 28), were enough to prove again that Norway was a powder keg under the occupying Nazis, awaiting only the Allied match. A factor in Allied calculations, well known to the Germans, was the U.S. P-38, a fighter plane able to fly from Iceland or Britain to a landing point in Norway, thus enormously extending the feasible area of invasion.

Across the Channel? BBC broadcast: “Today it is more necessary than ever to envisage the possibility of landings by British and Allied troops on French soil.”

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