Date With History
80 Years Ago: Operation Torch and Combat in North Africa
Thursday, November 3
7:00 PM CDT
Hybrid program – view in person or online!
In person: Free event with paid parking.
Virtual: Free event registration required.
About Date with History
Our Date with History series, now in its 15th year, features presentations by authors, historians, documentarians, and veterans on a variety of military history topics. Visit Cantigny or attend online to connect with these experts in a lecture and Q&A format.
Operation TORCH commenced on November 8, 1942. More than 107,000 Allied soldiers landed along the coast of North Africa, running from Morocco into Algeria. Some of these soldiers faced resistance, others did not. Among the American units was the 1st Infantry Division, commanded by MG Terry Allen. The Allied forces slowly fought their way eastward toward Tunisia, where they hoped to meet British forces coming east from Egypt and trap the German Afrika Corps and Italian units. The Allies eventually achieved victory in North Africa when 240,000 German and Italian soldiers surrendered in May 1943. This lecture will briefly summarize the context leading up to Operation TORCH in November 1942. Then it turns to examine the landing operations. Finally, several key leaders and hard-fought battles will be analyzed with special attention given to the Big Red One in combat operations.
MEET THE SPEAKER: Dr. David J. Ulbrich is Associate Dean of the Arts and Sciences Division at Norwich University. He also directs the online Master of Arts in History and in Military History programs since 2017. Previously, Ulbrich worked as a civilian historian at the U.S. Army Engineer School in Missouri. He has co-authored several books including World War II: A Global History and Ways of War. In addition to academic roles, Ulbrich worked as a historical consultant and on-air segment host for the award-winning “Echoes of War: Stories from the Big Red One” PBS television documentary. This 2007 broadcast featured live interviews in the museum’s exhibits with 1st Infantry Division veterans of the Battles of Kasserine Pass and El Guettar. Ulbrich then served as co-director of the Cantigny First Division Oral History Project, in which his students interviewed more than 60 veterans of the 1st Infantry Division. This project was generously funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Dr. Ulbrich has a family connection to the Big Red One because his maternal grandfather, Sgt John H. Roberson of Newnan Georgia, served proudly in the 1st Division during the First World War.
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Illinois teachers can earn 1 PD credit for watching the presentation and filling out a short PD activity.
Step 1: Register for the webinar above.
This program includes built-in closed captioning through Zoom.