An article in the November 1996 issue of World War II magazine, by Pierre Comtois, tells of the U.S. landings in North Africa in November 1942, and the heroic role of the destroyer Dallas in that battle. The Fort Lyautey Airfield in French Morocco was needed as a base for U.S. planes to land, and ground troops were unable to capture the field from resisting Vichy French forces. The battleship Dallas was called upon.
Captain Robert J. Brodie took seventy-five U.S. Infantrymen on the Dallas and sailed up the Sebou River. He rammed through a river boom and slipped between two scuttled ships, all the while under French artillery fire. He reached the airport area and unloaded his troops, who then captured the airport. The river was thus opened, and Brodie received the Navy Cross for this action.
It was called a “miraculous” feat, even though the Dallas was grounded for a time in the shallow river.
The U.S. battleship Texas also took part in this action. It unloaded 9,000 troops near the Moroccan coast, and assisted in their advance by firing on the enemy defending the Fort Lyautey Casbah area.
By Earl O. Cullum for Dallas County Pioneer Association’s Proud Heritage, Volume III.
Photo: “The Texas” Note: Battleship Texas is the last remaining battleship that participated in both World War I and World War II. In 1925, the Navy opted to modernize USS Texas instead of scrapping her. This meant converting the ship to run on fuel oil instead of coal. Tripod masts and a single stack replaced the ship’s cage masts and two smoke stacks. Torpedo blisters added another layer of protection to the ship’s waterline.
Over her service life, the Navy repeatedly outfitted the ship with cutting edge technology. Fate spared Battleship Texas as she fought in two wars. Now she is fighting for survival against age and rust. Courtesy Texas Parks and Wild Life.