Operation Line

'Line' was the British capture of Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, from the Vichy French forces of Armand Lťon Annet, the governor general, at the end of the campaign which had started with 'Ironclad' (23 September 1942).

The task was accomplished by Brigadier W. A. Dimoline’s 22nd (East African) Brigade Group and Brigadier F. W. Festing’s British 29th Brigade after their advances to the south-west and south following their west and east coast landings in 'Jane' and 'Stream' at Tamatave and Majunga respectively.

The overland progress from 'Jane' and 'Stream' was slow for, in addition to occasional small clashes, the British-led forces also encountered scores of obstacles erected on the main roads by Vichy French soldiers. In the north, a small military force was landed by the cruiser minelayer Manxman at Maromandia during the morning of September 14, and the town was captured at noon next day by a Royal Marine detachment landed upriver to the south of the town.The Allies eventually captured the capital without much opposition, and then the town of Ambalavao. The last major action was at Andramanalina on 18 October. An armistice was signed in Ambalavao on 6 November, and Annet finally surrendered near Ihosy, in the south of the island, on 8 November.

The British-led forces, which had a strength of 15,000 at maximum, suffered about 620 casualties including some who died from disease, and this total included 107 killed and 280 wounded in action (30 killed and 90 wounded in the operations which followed from 10 September). From a land strength of about 8,000, the Vichy French lost 150 men killed and 500 wounded in action.