This Day in History: 1942-05-06

Operation Ironclad. British force including 2nd East Lancashires and 2nd South Lancashires held up by stiff opposition as it attempts to capture the Vichy French naval base of Diego Suarez, main objective of the invasion of Madagascar. The South Lancashires work around the defences through swamps and bad terrain which breaks them into groups. Nevertheless, they swing behind the Vichy line and cause chaos, pouring fire on the Vichy defences from behind and seizing the radio station and a barracks, but are forced to withdraw when the radio set fails and they lose communication with the main force. The deadlock is finally broken when the destroyer HMS Anthony charges through the cross-fire of the harbour defences and lands 50 Royal Marines in the Vichy rear area, who ‘create a disturbance in the town out of all proportion to their numbers.’