REVERSING THE TIDE IN THE
Rommel had come to Africa to rescue his Italian allies. In spectacular fashion, he had driven the British back to the borders of Egypt and taken the garrison at Tobruk in the process. The political leaders of the Western Allies radically changed their strategy to counter Rommel, and it fell to the military captains to create a new plan. At first, Spaatz's role was merely to aid in the planning process and to build up the air forces that would accompany Eisenhower, who had been selected to command TORCH, as the invasion of Africa had been code-named. Shortly after the beachheads were established, Spaatz was moved down to the Mediterranean first to become Eisenhower's principal air adviser and then the commander of the Northwest African Air Force. Spaatz departed the United Kingdom thinking he would be back in a few days. Instead, he was held in the Mediterranean for the next year, through the conquest of North Africa, the landings on and capture of Sicily, and the invasion of Italy.
As with all major military operations, the goals of TORCH were complex. One objective was to partially satisfy Stalin's demand for a second front. Also, FDR wanted to get American troops into action in 1942, and the British needed to create a threat on Rommel's rear to relieve the pressure on their Eighth Army in Egypt. Marshall and Eisen-