Operation Jane

'Jane' was a British landing by Brigadier F. W. Festing’s 29th Independent Brigade Group at Tamatave on the east coast of the Vichy French island of Madagascar as other forces headed overland toward Tananarive, the capital, in order to revitalise the British offensive which had stalled after the initial success of 'Ironclad' (18 September 1942).

Also used in the earlier 'Stream', the brigade had departed the Kenyan port of Kilindini on 3 September in two convoys, the first comprising three ships escorted by the monitor Erebus and three destroyers, and the second comprising six ships escorted by the light cruiser Dauntless and five minesweepers. The brigade was landed at Tamatave supported by a reinforced development of the same naval forces used in other elements of the capture of Madagascar, namely Rear Admiral W. G. Tennant’s Force 'A' of Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Eastern Fleet, and now comprising the battleship Warspite, the light cruisers Birmingham, Gambia and Free Dutch Jacob van Heemskerck, and the destroyers Napier, Nepal, Nizam, Australian Norman, and Free Dutch Tjerk Hiddes and Van Galen of the 7th Destroyer Flotilla. Air cover for 'Jane' was provided by the fleet carrier Illustrious and seaplane tender Albatross, which were escorted by the destroyers Express, Fortune, Hotspur and Inconstant.

Undertaken as part of the operations to reduce the Vichy French garrison of the island in the aftermath of 'Ironclad', 'Jane' was designed as part of a converging thrust to the island’s capital, Tananarive, with Brigadier W. A. Dimoline’s 22nd (East Africa) Brigade Group, which had taken over from the 29th Independent Brigade Group after the initial landing at Majunga on the west coast on 10 September. These forces arrived in Tananarive on 23 September, the 29th Independent Brigade Group from the north-east and the 22nd (East Africa) Brigade from the north, allowing the development of a joint thrust to the south in order to link with the South African battalion advancing from its 'Rose' landing at Tuléar on the south-western corner of the island to trap the Vichy French forces in the centre, where the governor surrendered at Ambalavao on 6 November.

On 24 and 30 September Nizam intercepted two Vichy French transport vessels (1,559-ton Maréchal Gallieni and 4,931-ton Amiral Pierre) to the south of Madagascar. The seizure of the former was the result of a sighting by a South African aeroplane, and the prize was then escorted to Cape Town by the South African whaler Cedarberg, while the latter was boarded after being abandoned, but was sunk by gunfire as the scuttling charges had already been initiated.