This is coolbert:
Here is a military campaign from the Second World War [WW2], perhaps best characterized as a side-show of a side-show, that nonetheless had an unanticipated war-winning [for the allies] consequence.
Ironclad. The attack and capture of the island of Madagascar from Vichy French forces.
A campaign, albeit as a response to a perceived threat from Japanese naval contingents active in the Indian Ocean. But a campaign that in the aftermath became of even greater significance to the entire nature of atomic research resulting in the ATOMIC BOMB!!
"The Battle of Madagascar (or Operation Ironclad) was the Allied campaign to capture Vichy-French-controlled Madagascar during World War II. It began on 5 May 1942. Fighting did not cease until 6 November."
"In early 1942, Allied leaders believed that ports on Madagascar might be used by Japan, an idea shared by the German Navy."
"the possibility of Japanese naval forces using forward bases in Madagascar had to be addressed. The potential use of these facilities particularly threatened Allied merchant shipping"
Graphite as produced by the mines of Madagascar, pure in a way that allowed for a nuclear self-sustaining reaction to be controlled as was hitherto impossible, that reaction allowing for the creation and further processing of fissionable plutonium.
NO WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD AT THE TIME WAS GRAPHITE OF THE SUFFICIENT PURITY AND QUALITY OBTAINABLE IN THE DESIRED QUANTITIES!!
"Uranium 238 gives off neutrons at too fast a rate to sustain a chain reaction. Graphite was one of the substances that could modulate (control) the rate so that a chain reaction could be sustained. But the graphite had to be especially pure - and evidently the graphite from Madagascar was pure enough . . . When Fermi got a chain reaction (using graphite) going in Chicago, it was found that a nuclear reactor could produce plutonium . . . plutonium was an even better fissionable material."
NOT ONLY pure enough, but obtainable in the sufficient quantities needed! And also denied to the fascist forces as well in the process!
At the time Ironclad was planned and put into execution WHO EVER thought that the military operation, the invasion and conquest of far-off Madagascar would have such consequences! NO ONE!
But that is how things work in this world! Believe it!