Mission 1: Lighting The Torch

A screenshot photo of the WWII Operation Torch map from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

This is the map shown by Col. Hargrove in the mission briefing before Lt. Powell begins “Lighting the Torch.”

The game’s first mission takes place in Arzew, a port city in Algeria. Titled “Lighting the Torch,” it references Operation Torch, which started on Nov. 8, 1942.

In fact, the mission will ignite Torch’s flame (both literally and figuratively), on Nov. 7, 1942.

At the outset of the slideshow briefing, Col. Stanley Hargove identifies himself as a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS was the predecessor of the CIA and formed during WWII to coordinate U.S. military actions behind enemy lines.

“Espionage, sabotage, infiltration. That’s the business we’re in, Lieutenant,” Hargrove says proudly.

Lt. Mike Powell, with a small team of U.S. Army Rangers, must infiltrate a small coastal town outside Arzew and sabotage Afrika Korps artillery batteries that overlook the coastal landing zone.

The Deutsches Afrikakorps was Germany’s force in Africa and took control of Tunisia and Libya during WWII. In the game, they are also credited with holding Algeria, which was actually governed by Vichy France, as was Morocco. France, typically an ally of the United States, is never mentioned an enemy in this mission.


A map of WWII Operation Torch from Wikipedia.

A more exact map of Operation Torch.

As noted by Hargrove in the briefing, this was the Allies‘ first large-scale offensive of the war. It is to be assumed that he was restricting his description to the European theater of operations, since the Allies had already invaded Guadalcanal in the Pacific on Aug. 7.

A three-pronged operation, the United States and the United Kingdom planned to hit Casablanca with the Western Task Force, Oran with the Center Task Force and Algiers with the Eastern Task Force. The map provided by Hargrove in his slideshow is correct, with the exception of Arzew being centrally placed between Algiers and Oran, which are about 250 miles apart. Arzew is actually only about 20 miles from Oran.

In 1942, the U.S. 1st Ranger Battalion landed unopposed near Arzew (Hargrove suggested in his mission letter to Powell that resistance would be minimal). Once ashore, they infiltrated and captured two artillery batteries on the shore. A brief fight gained them the town of Arzew as well.

Of course, infiltrating and sabotaging would be too easy, so Hargrove throws Powell a curveball. “A man [he’s] known for years,” Maj. Jack Grillo of the British Special Air Service, has been captured and needs rescue. Though it is unlikely that this man, or this part of the story, for that matter, even existed, the SAS was created in 1941 as a force that would operate behind enemy lines in North Africa. So, it is possible that men and assignments like Grillo’s did actually exist.

A screenshot photo of the photo of Maj. Jack Grillo as seen in the mission briefing before "Lighting The Torch" in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

The photo of Maj. Jack Grillo as seen in the briefing.

Grillo’s mission had been to sabotage the artillery batteries, which threaten the Allied landings, and then give the all-clear signal for the invasion. Those are pretty high expectations for one man, if you ask me. But for someone who reminds me of Bear Grylls, I expect the best.

Naturally, the squad of Rangers must add rescuing Grillo to its list of objectives, before “he’s forced into taking drastic measures,” according to Hargrove, because Grillo “would never allow himself to give up what he knows to the Germans.”

A screenshot photo of the suicide pill shown in the "Lighting The Torch" mission briefing in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

The suicide pill shown in the briefing slideshow. It is hinted that this will be Grillo’s “drastic measure.”

With those ominous words spoken, he clicks the slideshow to a picture of fingers holding a capsule filled with some sort of granular substance. This is supposed to represent a suicide pill, sometimes known as the “L” tablet. According to the only place I found any somewhat reliable and detailed information, they were typically about the size of a pea, oval, and filled with a concentrated solution of potassium cyanide, which is highly toxic. However, as long as they could be concealed and filled with poison, they could’ve looked like anything.

Some notable historical figures, especially during WWII, took suicide pills to avoid an imminent and more painful or degrading death. Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler were a few of the Nazis who committed suicide via a pill of cyanide salts, though Hitler also shot himself in the head.


~ by John on July 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Mission 1: Lighting The Torch”

  1. Hitler shot himself in the head? All lies, we all know that his brain was preserved and implanted into President Obama.


    Anyways, I’m loving this blog so far. If you can keep up a relatively steady stream of updates, this could get lots of readers.

    • Haha, well, I’m glad you like it. It takes me a while to do each post, so I haven’t quite figured out what my regular posting days will be. Though I guess I’ll learn that after a few more posts…

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