In order to stop the growing power of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Indian Ocean, a plan was drawn up for an invasion of Madagascar by Allied forces under Operation Ironclad. Intelligence suggested the Japanese were planning to occupy the deep water port at Diego Suarez on the northern tip of French Vichy-controlled Madagascar. A sizeable naval force, including two aircraft carriers, was assembled as Force 121, which would launch an overpowering attack on the 8,000 French colonial troops defending the port. Commandos were dropped ashore west of Diego Suarez, being provided air support from the carriers. The attack progressed slowly at first due to an effective resistance until a new deployment of commandos resulted in a French surrender on 7 May. Over the next few months more landings had to be made in different locations across the island to stamp out the resistance which was driven further inland.
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