It was established in the UK in August 1942 under General Dwight Eisenhower in order to command the forces committed to Operation Torch. Eisenhower had the title Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Force. Shortly after the establishment of the headquarters, "Expeditionary" was deleted from its title for reasons of operational security. Eisenhower thus became Commander in Chief, Allied Force.
By the end of 1942, there was a need to unify command of the Allied forces in North Africa, since those from the west, landed during Operation Torch, and those from the east that had won the Second Battle of El Alamein were now close enough together to need coordination. Therefore, in February 1943, Allied Force Headquarters assumed control of the British Eighth Army advancing from the east as well.
Eisenhower remained in command of AFHQ until January 1944, overseeing the Allied invasion of Sicily, which began on 10 July 1943 and the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland, on 3 September 1943. He then returned to the United Kingdom to assume command of the forces assembling for Operation Overlord. He was succeeded by General Sir Maitland Wilson. Wilson's title became Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.
Wilson was in command for just under a year, until he was sent to Washington in December 1944 to replace Field Marshal Sir John Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission who had died suddenly. Wilson was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander who was Supreme Commander and commander of AFHQ until the end of the war. After the war AFHQ became a small interallied staff responsible for combined command liquidation activities and commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir William Morgan as Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. AFHQ was abolished, effective September 17, 1947, by General Order 24, AFHQ, September 16, 1947.
- Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) was originally called North African Theater of Operations (NATO) and is an American term for the conflict that took place between the Allies and Axis powers in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
- Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. p. 520. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.
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