Operation Torch (initially called operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on 8 November 1942.
The Soviet Union had pressed the United States and United Kingdom to start operations in Europe and open a second front to reduce the pressure of German forces on the Soviet troops. While the American commanders favored Operation Sledgehammer, landing in Occupied Europe as soon as possible, the British commanders believed that such a course would end in disaster.
An attack on French North Africa was proposed instead, which would clear the Axis powers from North Africa, improve naval control of the Mediterranean Sea, and prepare for an invasion of Southern Europe in 1943. American President Franklin D. Roosevelt suspected the African operation would rule out an invasion of Europe in 1943 but agreed to support British Prime Minister Winston Churchill... (see more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/)