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Encyclopedia > Tunisia Campaign
Tunisia Campaign
Part of World War II

November 23, 1942. The crew of an M3 (Lee) tank from the U.S. 1st Armored Division at Souk el Arba, Tunisia.
Date November 17, 1942 - May 13, 1943
Location Tunisia
Result Allied Victory
Combatants
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States
France
Flag of Nazi Germany Germany
Italy
Commanders
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Flag of United Kingdom Harold Alexander
Flag of United Kingdom Keneth Anderson
Flag of United Kingdom Bernard Montgomery
Flag of Nazi Germany Albert Kesselring
Flag of Nazi Germany Erwin Rommel
Flag of Nazi Germany Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
Giovanni Messe
North African campaign
Libya & EgyptTorchTunisia
Tunisia Campaign
Sidi Bou ZidKasserine PassCapriPugilistEl GuettarVulcanFlaxRetribution

The Tunisia Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia), was a series of World War II battles that took place in Tunisia in the North African Campaign of World War II, between forces of the German/Italian Axis, and allied forces consisting primarily of U.S., British and former Vichy French. The battle opened with initial success by the German forces, but the massive supply and numerical superiority of the Allies eventually led to the Germans' complete defeat. Over 275,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of the Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK). Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called General Lee named after General Robert E. Lee, and its modified version built to British specification, with a new turret, was called General Grant named after General Ulysses S. Grant. ... The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed “Old Ironsides”— is an armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Wiesbaden, Germany. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... May 13 is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Dwight David Ike Eisenhower (October 14, 1890–March 28, 1969), American soldier and politician, was the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961) and supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, with the rank of General of the Army. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (December 10, 1891 - June 16, 1969) was a British military commander and Field Marshal, notably during World War II as the commander of the 15th Army Group. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Anderson in an Auster aircraft, 2 May, 1943. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976) was a British Army officer, often referred to as Monty. He successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in World War II, and... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Albrecht von Kesselring (August 8, 1881 - July 16, 1960) was a Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. One of the most respected and skillful generals of Nazi Germany, he was nicknamed Smiling Albert or Smiling Kesselring. // At least one source claims that Kesselring was born on August 8, 1881 [1]. However... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Giovanni Messe Giovanni Messe (December 10, 1883 - December 19, 1968) was an Italian soldier, politician and quite possibly the most distinguished Italian Field Marshal. ... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... The Western Desert Campaign was the primary early theatre of the North African Campaign of World War II. It is sometimes referred to as the Egypt-Libya Campaign. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... Combatants United Kingdom United States France Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Keneth Anderson Bernard Montgomery Albert Kesselring Erwin Rommel Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Giovanni Messe The Tunisia Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia), was a series of World War II battles that took place... Combatants Germany United States Commanders Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Lloyd Fredendall The Battle of Sidi Bou Zid was a World War II battle that took place during the Tunisia Campaign, fought between the 10th and the 21st Panzer Divisions of Hans-Jurgen von Arnims German Fifth Army and... Combatants Germany Italy United States United Kingdom Free France Commanders Erwin Rommel Lloyd Fredendall Strength 22,000 30,000 Casualties 2,000 10,000 (including 6,700 Americans) The Battle of Kasserine Pass took place in World War II during the Tunisia Campaign. ... Operation Capri was a German counter-attack at Medenine, Tunisia, intended to disrupt and delay the 8th Armys own attack on the Mareth Line. ... Operation Pugilist was a battle in Egypt during World War II. Categories: | ... The Battle of El Guettar was a World War II battle that took place during the larger Battle of Tunisia, fought between the Deutsches Afrika Korps under Juergen von Arnim and the Americans under George Patton in south-central Tunisia. ... During World War II, Operation Vulcan was the final ground attack against German forces in Tunis, Cap Bon and Bizerte, the last Axis toeholds in north Africa. ... Combatants  United Kingdom United States Germany Italy Commanders General Harold Alexander Jürgen von Arnim Giovanni Messe During World War II, Operation Flax was an Allied air operation designed to cut the air supply lines between Italy and the Axis troops in Tunis, in April, 1943 This interdiction operation led... During World War II, Operation Retribution was a series of air and naval attacks designed to prevent the German evacuation of North Africa through Tunis. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Henri Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval Legislature National Assembly Historical era... The Deutsches Afrikakorps (often just Afrika Korps or DAK) was the corps-level headquarters controlling the German Panzer divisions in Libya and Egypts Western Desert during the North African Campaign of World War II. Since there was little turnover in the units attached to the corps the term is...

Contents

Background

The early portions of the war in North Africa was marked primarily by a lack of supplies and the inability to provide any sort of concentrated logistics support. The British supply head at Alexandria and the Italian bases at Benghazi and Tobruk were separated by over 400 miles (650 km) of land that was generally passable only along a narrow corridor along the coast. At the time the central Mediterranean was contested, and although the British would normally enjoy military superiority over the Italians, their ability to supply their garrison via Alexandria was limited both by Italian actions as well as pressing needs in other theaters. Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Nickname: Alexandria on the map of Egypt Map of Alexandria Coordinates: , Country Egypt Founded 334 BC Government  - Governor Adel Labib Population (2001)  - City 3,500,000 Time zone EET (UTC+2)  - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3) Twin Cities  - Baltimore  United States  - Cleveland  United States  - ConstanÅ£a  Romania  - Durban  South Africa... Colourful buildings in the city centre. ... Tobruk or Tubruq (Arabic: طبرق; also transliterated as Tóbruch, Tobruch, Å¢ubruq, Tobruck ) is a town, seaport, municipality, and peninsula in eastern Libya in Northern Africa. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ...


The limited supplies led to a "back and forth" contest for the land along the coast. The initial Italian offensive drove almost 1000 miles to the Egyptian border, but by that point their supplies were almost gone as they had little logistical ability at the best of times. The British, still close to their supply bases, quickly built up their own forces and counterattacked well into Libya. With the arrival of the Germans the front moved eastward, once again petering out as the Germans outran their lines of supply.


But things had changed dramatically by 1942. Buy this point the Royal Navy had finally driven the Italian fleet out of the Mediterranean and allowed British transports free movement, while the British retention of Malta allowed the Royal Air Force to interdict an increasing amount of Italian supplies at sea. Now the supply situation increasingly swung to the British favor, eventually becoming overwhelming. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


With the German retreat following Bernard Montgomery's breakout in Egypt following the Second Battle of El Alamein in November 1942, and with Montgomery's 8th Army no longer short of supplies as in early battles, it would only be a matter of time before the British arrived in Libya. Only days later on November 8th, Operation Torch landed additional allied forces to the west, potentially trapping the Axis forces between the two allied groups in Libya's poor defensive terrain. Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ... For the Battle of Alam Halfa, which is also often termed the Second Battle of El Alamein, see Battle of Alam Halfa Combatants British Eighth Army: United Kingdom Australia New Zealand South Africa India Panzer Army Africa: Nazi Germany Fascist Italy Commanders Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Strength 220,000 men... The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations in World War II, fighting in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in...


Much better defensive possibilities existed to the west, in Tunisia. Tunisia is roughly rectangular, with its eastern border defined by the Gulf of Sidra and north by the Mediterranean. Most of the inland western border with Algeria was astride the western line of the roughly triangular Atlas Mountains. This portion of the border was easily defendable in the limited number of passes through the two north-south lines of the mountains. In the south a second line of lower mountains limited the approaches to a narrow area between these Matmata Hills and the coast. The French had earlier constructed a 20 km wide and 30 km deep series of strong defensive works known as the Mareth Line along this plain, in order to defend against an Italian invasion from Libya. Only in the north was the terrain favorable to attack; here the Atlas Mountains stopped near the eastern coast, leaving a large area on the northwest coast unprotected. Gulf of Sidra is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya; it is also known as Gulf of Sirte. ... Map showing the location of the Atlas Mountains (colored red) across North Africa The Atlas Mountains (Arabic: ‎) are a mountain range in northwest Africa extending about 2,400 km (1,500 miles) through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and including The Rock of Gibraltar. ... The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the fall of France it fell into Axis hands. ...


Generally, Tunisia offered an excellent and fairly easily defended base of operations. Defensive lines in the north could deal with the approaching Allied forces of Operation Torch, while the Mareth Line made the south rather formidable. In between, there were only a few easily defended passes though the Atlas Mountains. Better yet, Tunisia offered two major deepwater ports at Tunis and Bizerte, only a few hundred miles from Italian supply bases on Sicily. Supplies could be brought in at night, protecting them from the RAF's patrols, stay during the day, and the return again the next night. In contrast, Italy to Libya was a full-day trip, making supply operations rather dangerous. Bizerte or Bizerta (Arabic: بنزرت; transliterated: Binzart) is a capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia. ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ...


In Hitler's view, Tunisia could hold out for months, or years, upsetting Allied plans in Europe. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ...


Axis buildup

The elements of the Operation Torch forces which had landed at Algiers, known as the Eastern Task Force, had originally planned on following their landings with Commando and Airborne attacks into Tunisia. These plans were upset when the local Vichy commanders entered into lengthy negotiations on whether or not to support the Allies, forcing the Allies to leave large garrison forces spread throughout the Vichy territories of northwest Africa. Although this allowed forward bases to be constructed and supplies to be moved forward, no offensive action was taken. A quick run into Tunisia would have been possible had it been carried out immediately, but it wasn't, and Eisenhower would later write that the American operations violated every recognized principle of war. Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... “Alger” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Commando (disambiguation). ... Airborne Military parachuting form of insertion. ... Vichy (Occitan: Vichèi) is a French commune, situated in the département of Allier and the région of Auvergne. ...


Tunisian officials were undecided about whom to support, and they did not close access to their airfields to either side. As early as November 10 the Italian Air Force sent a flight of 28 fighters to Tunis. Two days later an airlift began that would bring in over 15,000 men and 581 tons of supplies. By the end of the month they had shipped in three German divisions, including the 10th Panzer Division, and two Italian infantry divisions. On November 12th, Walther Nehring was assigned command of the newly formed XC Corps, and flew in on November 17. is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Look up ton in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The 10th Panzer Division was created in 1939, and served in the Army Group North reserve during the invasion of Poland (1939). ... Walter Nehring (August 15, 1892 - April 20, 1983), was a German General of World War II, known for his involvement with the Afrika Korps. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ...


The run for Tunis

Eventually, on November 22, the North African Agreement finally placed the Vichy on the allied side, allowing the Allied garrison troops to be sent forward to the front. By this time the Axis had been able to build up an entire Corps, and the German forces outnumbered their Allied counterparts in almost all ways. November 22 is the 326th day (327th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The two forces met for the first time at Djebel Abiod on the 17th, the same day Nehring arrived. He ordered a spoiling retreat; the Eastern Task Force followed, reaching Sidi Nsir on the 18th, Medjez el Bab on 19th-20th, and near el Aroussa on the 23rd.

The first true Allied offensive started on November 25, 1942. Their plan was to break through the Axis lines, then separate and take Bizerte and Tunis. Once Bizerte was taken Torch would come to an end. Attacking in the north towards Bizerte would be British 36th Infantry Brigade and in the south British 11th Infantry Brigade, both part of Major General Vivian Evelegh's British 78th Infantry Division. Between the two infantry thrusts would be 78th Division's "Blade Force", an armoured regimental group commanded by Colonel Hull which included tanks, motorised infantry, paratroops, artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and engineers[1]. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 471 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (550 × 700 pixel, file size: 106 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign operations 25 November to 10 December 1942 Source:http://www. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 471 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (550 × 700 pixel, file size: 106 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign operations 25 November to 10 December 1942 Source:http://www. ... is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Bizerte or Bizerta (Arabic: بنزرت; transliterated: Binzart) is a capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia. ... The 36th Infantry Brigade was a British Army formation. ... The 11th Infantry Brigade was a British Army regular formation that served in both the First and Second World Wars. ... The British 78th Infantry Division also known as the Battleaxe Division fought in the Second World War in North Africa and Italy. ...


The first encounters happened that day, and again Nehring ordered spoiling attacks, and withdrew from Majaz al Bab (shown on Allied maps as Medjez el Bab or just Medjez) that night along the road to Tebourba. The Luftwaffe, happy to have local air superiority whilst the Allies planes had to fly from relatively distant bases in Algeria, caused serious havoc among the columns moving eastward over the next two days. Nevertheless, part of Blade Force comprising 17 light M3 tanks of Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, U.S. 1st Armored Division under the command of Major Rudolph Barlow infiltrated behind German lines to the newly activated airbase at Djedeida in the afternoon. In a lightning attack, the tanks destroyed more than 20 enemy aircraft on the ground, while shooting up several buildings, supply dumps, and killing and wounding a number of the defenders. Company C lost one tank, and several crewmen before withdrawing to their own lines. Majaz al Bab (Arabic: ) is a town in northern Tunisia. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... Air superiority is the dominance in the air power of one side air forces of another side during a military campaign. ... The Stuart was an American light tank of World War II named after the Civil War general Jeb Stuart. ... The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed “Old Ironsides”— is an armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Wiesbaden, Germany. ...


The Eastern Task Force fought steadily northeast against the delaying actions of the retreating Axis forces, while Nehring and his XC Corps set up a new defensive line behind Tebourba at Djedeida, only 30 km from Tunis. The Allied forces met them on November 27 and were sent reeling back with 30 men killed, and 86 prisoners of war. A second attempt was made in the early hours of 28 November with the help of armor from U.S. 1st Armored Division's Combat Command 'B', and they quickly lost five tanks to anti-tank guns positioned within the town[2]. is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A Combat Command was a combined-arms military organization of comparable size to a brigade or regiment employed by armored forces of the U.S. Army from 1942 until 1963. ...


On December 1 the Axis forces mounted a counterattack. Over the next four days they managed to push the Allies back to their starting points on the high ground on each side of the river west of Terbourba[3]. Finally as Allied troops built up in Tunisia a new H.Q. under 1st Army was activated, that of British V Corps under Lieutenant-General Charles Allfrey, to take over command of all forces in the Tebourba sector. Despite Anderson's wish to make one more attempt to break through to Tunis, Allfrey considered the weakened units facing Tebourba were highly threatened and ordered a retreat of roughly 6 miles to the high positions of Longstop Hill and Bou Aoukaz on each side of the river. On the 10 December German tanks attacked Combat Command B on Bou Aoukaz becoming hopelessly bogged down in the mud. In turn, the U.S. tanks counter-attacked and were also mired and picked off , losing 18 tanks[4]. Allfrey was still concerned over the vulnerability of his force and ordered a further withdrawal west so that by the end of 10 December Allied units held a defensive line just east of Medjez el Bab. This string of Allied defeats in December cost them dearly; over men 1,000 missing (prisoners of war), 73 tanks, 432 other vehicles, and 70 artillery pieces lost. is the 335th day of the year (336th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Allies started a buildup for another attack, and were ready by late December, 1942. The continued but slow buildup had brought Allied force levels up to a total of 20,000 British, 11,800 American, and 7,000 French troops. A hasty intelligence review showed about 25,000 combat and 10,000 service troops, mostly German, in front of them.


On the night of December 16-December 17, a company of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division made a successful raid on Maknassy, 155 miles (250 km) south of Tunis, and took twenty-one Italian prisoners. The main attack began the afternoon of December 22, despite rain and insufficient air cover, elements of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division's 18th Regimental Combat team and Coldstream Guards of 78th Division's Guards Infantry Brigade made progress up the lower ridges of the 900-foot (270 m) Longstop Hill that controlled the river corridor from Medjez to Tebourba and thence to Tunis. By the morning of 23 December the Coldstreams had driven back the elements of German 10th Panzer Division on the summit were then relieved by 18 RCT and were withdrawn to Mejdez. The Germans regained the hill in a counter-attack and the Coldstreams were ordered back to Longstop. The next day they had regained the peak and with 18 RCT dug in. However, by 25 December, with ammunition running low and Axis forces now holding adjacent high ground, the Longstop position became untenable and the Allies were forced to withdraw to Medjez[5] and by 26 December 1942, the Allies had withdrawn to the line they had set out from two weeks earlier, having suffered 534 casualties. December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army —nicknamed “The Big Red One” after its shoulder patch—is the oldest continuously serving division in the United States Army. ... December 22 is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Coldstream Guards is a regiment of the British Army, part of the Guards Division or Household Division. ... The 1st Infantry Brigade is a British Army formation with a long history including service during the First and Second World Wars . ... The 10th Panzer Division was created in 1939, and served in the Army Group North reserve during the invasion of Poland (1939). ...


The Allied run for Tunis had been stopped.


Stalemate

While the battles wound down, factionalism among the French again erupted. On 24 December François Darlan was assassinated for his collaboration with the Nazis, and Henri Giraud was selected as replacement by the United States. Charles de Gaulle was somewhat upset that he was not chosen. Nevertheless, he had hated Darlan, considering him a traitor to France and was happy to see him go. is the 358th day of the year (359th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... François Darlan (August 7, 1881 – December 24, 1942) was a French naval officer. ... Roosevelt and Henri Giraud in Casablanca, 19 January 1943 Henri Honoré Giraud (18 January 1879 – 13 March 1949) was a French general who fought in the First and Second World Wars. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


To the frustration of the Free French the US government had so far had displayed considerable willingness to make a deal with Darlan and the Vichyists. Consequently Darlan’s disappearance was of great benefit to them. Under the joint chairmanship of the Giraud and de Gaulle the CFLN, the Committee for French National Liberation, was formed. de Gaulle quickly eclipsed Giraud, who more or less willingly from then on deferred to the Leader of the Free French.


Things were similarly upsetting for the Germans. Nehring, considered by most to be an excellent commander, had continually infuriated his superiors with his outspoken critiques. Over the winter they decided to "replace" him by upgrading the forces to full strength under General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army. The Army consisted of the composite heavy infantry unit Division von Broich (later Division von Manteuffel) in the Bizerte area, the 10th Panzer Division in the center before Tunis, and the Italian Superga Division on the southern flank. From mid-November through January, 112,000 men and 101,000 tons of supplies and equipment arrived in Tunisia, something that the Allies found terribly frustrating given their overwhelming naval superiority. Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ... Also known as: Panzer Group West Panzer Group Eberbach The Fifth Panzer Army was a German panzer army which saw action in the Western and North African Fronts. ...

General von Arnim's staff car at the Eastbourne Redoubt captured by the Royal Sussex Regiment in Tunisia.
General von Arnim's staff car at the Eastbourne Redoubt captured by the Royal Sussex Regiment in Tunisia.

Eisenhower, meanwhile, transferred remaining units from Morocco and Algeria eastward into Tunisia. In the north, Lt Gen Kenneth Anderson's Eastern Task Force was upgraded to the British First Army with four corps under command: three more divisions forming British IX Corps soon joined the 6th Armoured and 78th Infantry Divisions of V Corps already in Tunisia. In the south, the basis of a two-division French corps (French XIX Corps) was being built. In the center was a new U.S. II Corps, to be commanded by Lloyd Fredendall, eventually consisting of the majority of six divisions: the 1st, 3rd, 9th, and 34th Infantry and the 1st and 2nd Armored. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x776, 369 KB) Harveyqs I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x776, 369 KB) Harveyqs I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... // Eastbourne Redoubt was built at what is now Royal Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England between 1804 and 1810 to support the associated Martello Towers. ... The Royal Sussex Regiment, a regiment in the British Army , was formed in 1881 from the 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot and the 107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry) . // Following its formation the 1st Battalion was sent to the Sudan on the unsuccessful attempt to save General... Anderson in an Auster aircraft, 2 May, 1943. ... The British First Army was a field army that existed during the First and Second World Wars. ... The British IX Corps was an army corps formation that existed during World War I and World War II. World War I The IX Corps was originally formed in England in 1915 in readiness to make a new landing at Suvla during the Battle of Gallipoli. ... // History This Second World War British Army formation was created on the 12th September 1940. ... The British 78th Infantry Division also known as the Battleaxe Division fought in the Second World War in North Africa and Italy. ... The French XIX Corps was formed in late 1942 from the Army of Africa (Fr: Armée dAfrique), when French Vichy forces in north-west Africa joined the Allies after the German oocupation of Vichy France. ... The US II Corps was the first American formation of any size to see combat in Europe or Africa during World War II. History It came to prominence in the Battle of Kasserine Pass when Field Marshal Erwin Rommel defeated the formation. ... General Lloyd Fredendall (1883-1963) was an American General during World War II. He is best known for his command of the Central Task Force landings during Operation Torch, and his command of the US II Corps. ... The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army —nicknamed “The Big Red One” after its shoulder patch—is the oldest continuously serving division in the United States Army. ... Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States Army 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized). ... The 9th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War II. World War II Activated: 1 August 1940. ... The 34th Infantry Division is a division of the United States Army National Guard that participated in World War I, World War II and continues to serve today, with most of the Division part of the Minesota and Iowa Army National Guard. ... The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed the Old Ironsides— is an armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Wiesbaden, Germany. ... Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States Army 2nd Armored Division, Hell on Wheels. ...


The U.S. also started to build up a complex of logistics bases in Algeria and Tunisia, with the eventual goal of forming a large forward base at Maknassy, on the eastern edge of the Atlas Mountains, in excellent position to cut off Rommel's forces approaching from the south. Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Rommel pushes back in the center to Kasserine

Erwin Rommel, meanwhile, had made plans to retreat to the Mareth Line as soon as the British 8th Army finally caught up. This would leave the Axis forces in control of the two natural entrances into Tunisia in the north and south, with only the easily defended mountain passes between them. On January 23, 1943 the 8th Army took Tripoli, by which point Rommel was already well on his way west. Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tripoli (Arabic: طرابلس Tarābulus) is the capital city of Libya. ...


By this point in time, elements of the U.S. forces had crossed into Tunisa through passes in the Atlas Mountains from Algeria, controlling the interior of the triangle formed by the mountains. Their position had the potential of cutting the DAK off from von Antrim's forces to the north. Rommel could not let this stand, and formed a plan to attack these forces before they could form much of a threat.

On January 30, 1943, the German 21st Panzer met elements of the French forces near Faïd, the main pass from the eastern arm of the mountains into the coastal plains. They rolled over them, surrounding two U.S. battalions near them that had been positioned too far apart for mutual support. Several counterattacks were organized, including a number by the U.S. 1st Armored Division, but all of these were beaten off with ease. After three days the U.S. gave up, and the lines were withdrawn into the interior plains and made a new forward defensive line at the small town of Sbeitla. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 466 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (544 × 700 pixel, file size: 126 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 466 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (544 × 700 pixel, file size: 126 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign. ... January 30 is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Sbeitla (Arabic: ‎) is a small town in north-central Tunisia. ...


The Germans started forward once again the next week to take Sbeitla. The U.S. forces held for two days, but eventually the defense started to collapse on the night of February 16, 1943, and the town lay empty by midday on the 17th (see also the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid). This left the entirety of the interior plains in German hands, and the remaining Allied forces retreated further, back to the two passes on the western arm of the mountains into Algeria, at Sbiba and Kasserine. Combatants Germany United States Commanders Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Lloyd Fredendall The Battle of Sidi Bou Zid was a World War II battle that took place during the Tunisia Campaign, fought between the 10th and the 21st Panzer Divisions of Hans-Jurgen von Arnims German Fifth Army and...


At this point there was some argument in the German camp about what to do next; all of Tunisia was under Axis control, and there was little to do until the 8th Army caught up. Their offensive stopped even as the U.S. forces retreated in disarray. The 8th continued to dither, and eventually Rommel decided his next course of action was to simply take the U.S. supplies on the Algerian side of the western arm of the mountains. Although doing little for his own situation, it would seriously upset any possible US actions from that direction.


On February 19, 1943, Rommel launched what would become the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. After two days of rolling over the U.S. defenders, the Afrika Korps had suffered few casualties, while the U.S. forces lost 6000 men and two-thirds of their tanks. On the night of February 21st, 1943, British troops arrived to bolster the U.S. defense, having been pulled from the British lines facing the Germans in Sbiba. Nevertheless, the following day opened with yet another German thrashing of the Americans until the arrival of four U.S. artillery battalions made offensive operations difficult. February 19 is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Germany Italy United States United Kingdom Free France Commanders Erwin Rommel Lloyd Fredendall Strength 22,000 30,000 Casualties 2,000 10,000 (including 6,700 Americans) The Battle of Kasserine Pass took place in World War II during the Tunisia Campaign. ...


Faced with stiffening defenses and the alarming news that the British 8th Army's lead elements had finally reached Medenine, only a few kilometers from the German-held Mareth Line, Rommel decided to call off the attack and return to the lines on the night of the February 22nd, 1943, hoping that the attack had caused enough damage to upset any actions from the north over the next little while. Rommel's forces reached the western end of the line on the 25th, but the British had been on the eastern end since the 17th and launched probes westward on the 26th. On March 6th, 1943, the majority of Rommel's forces, three German armored divisions, two light divisions, and elements of three Italian divisions, launched Operation Capri, an attack southward in the direction of Medenine, the northernmost British strong point. British artillery fire was intense, beating off the Axis attack and knocking out 55 of the remaining 150 Axis tanks. Operation Capri was a German counter-attack at Medenine, Tunisia, intended to disrupt and delay the 8th Armys own attack on the Mareth Line. ...


Action then abated for a time, and both sides studied the results of recent battles. Rommel remained convinced that the U.S. forces posed little threat, while the British were his equal. He held this opinion for far too long, and it would prove very costly in the future. The US likewise studied the battle, and relieved several senior commanders while issuing several "lessons learned" publications to improve future performance. Most important, on March 6, 1943, command of the U.S. II Corps passed from Fredendall to George Patton, with Omar N. Bradley as assistant Corps Commander. Commanders were reminded that large units should be kept concentrated to ensure mass on the battlefield, rather than widely dispersed as Fredendall had deployed them. This had the intended side effect of improving the fire control of the already-strong US artillery. Close air support had also been weak, and while improvements were made, a truly satisfactory solution was not arrived upon until the Battle of Normandy. General George Smith Patton Jr. ... Omar Nelson Bradley (February 12, 1893 - April 8, 1981) was one of the main US Army field commanders in North Africa and Europe during World War II. Bradley was born to a poor family near Clark, Missouri, the son of a schoolteacher. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Canada Free France Poland Germany Commanders Dwight Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander) Bernard Montgomery (land) Bertram Ramsay (sea) Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air) Omar Bradley (US 1st Army) Miles Dempsey (UK 2nd Army) Harry Crerar (Canadian 1st Army) Gerd von Rundstedt (OB WEST) Erwin Rommel (Heeresgruppe B...


Montgomery breaks the Mareth Line

Montgomery launched his major attack, Operation Pugilist, against the Mareth Line in the night of 19 March/20 March 1943. Elements of the British 50th Infantry Division penetrated the Line and established a bridgehead west of Zarat on20 March/21 March, but a determined counterattack by 15 Panzerdivision destroyed the pocket and established the line once again during 22 March. Operation Pugilist was a battle in Egypt during World War II. Categories: | ... The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the fall of France it fell into Axis hands. ... March 19 is the 78th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (79th in leap years). ... is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... // 50th Northumbrian Division History This formation was sent to France in 1940 as a Territorial Army division, and was involved in the evacuation at Dunkirk. ... is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... March 21 is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... March 22 is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


On 26 March, General Horrocks' X Corps drove around the Matmata Hills, captured the Tebaga Gap and capturing the town of El Hamma at the northern extreme of the line (Operation Supercharge II). This flanking movement made most of the Mareth Line untenable. The following day, German and Italian units managed to stop Horrock's advance with well-placed anti-tank guns, in an attempt to gain time for a strategic withdrawal. Within 48 hours the defenders of the Mareth Line marched 60 kilometers northwest and established new defensive positions at Wadi Akarit near Gabes. Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, (September 7, 1895 - January 4, 1985) was a British military officer. ... The X Corps was a British Army formation active in Flanders in World War I and reformed in 1942 during the North African campaign. ... Operation Pugilist was a battle in Egypt during World War II. Categories: | ...


With the best defensive works now in British hands, and no sign that the 8th Army was slowing down, Rommel returned to Germany to attempt to convince Hitler to abandon Tunisia and return the Afrika Korps to Europe. Hitler refused, and Rommel was placed on sick leave. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ...


Gabes

By this point the newly reorganized U.S. II Corp had started out of the passes again, and were in position to the rear of the German lines. The 10th Panzer was tasked with pushing them back into the interior, and the two forces met at Battle of El Guettar on 23 March. At first the battle went much as it had in earlier matchups, with the German tanks rolling up lead units of the US forces. However, they soon ran into a US minefield, and immediately the US artillery and anti-tank units opened up on them. The 10th lost 30 tanks over a short period, and retreated out of the minefield. A second attack formed up in the late afternoon, this time supported by infantry, but this attack was also beaten off and the 10th returned to Gabes. The Battle of El Guettar was a World War II battle that took place during the larger Battle of Tunisia, fought between the Deutsches Afrika Korps under Juergen von Arnim and the Americans under George Patton in south-central Tunisia. ... is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The US was unable to take advantage of the German failure, however, and spent several frustrating weeks attempting to push Italian infantry off two strategic hills on the road to Gabes. Repeated major attempts would make progress, only to be pushed back by small units of the 10th or 21st Panzer who would drive up the road from Gabes in an hour or so. Better air support would have made this "mobile defense" difficult, but coordination between air and ground forces remained a serious problem for the Allies.


Both the 8th Army and the U.S. II Corps continued their attacks over the next week, and eventually the 8th broke the lines and the DAK was forced to abandon Gabes and retreat to join the other Axis forces far to the north. The hills in front of the US forces were abandoned, allowing them to join the British forces in Gabes later that day. From this point on the battle was one of attrition.


Endgame

By this stage, Allied aircraft had been moved forward to airfields in Tunisia, and large numbers of German transport aircraft were shot down between Sicily and Tunis. British destroyers operating from Malta prevented reinforcement or evacuation of Tunisia by sea. Admiral Cunningham, Eisenhower's Naval Task Force commander, issued Nelsonian orders to his ships: "Sink, burn, capture, destroy. Let nothing pass". Image File history File links Size of this preview: 697 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (756 × 650 pixel, file size: 363 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign operations 20 April to 13 May 1943. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 697 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (756 × 650 pixel, file size: 363 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Tunisia Campaign operations 20 April to 13 May 1943. ... Bronze bust of Lord Cunningham, looking at Nelsons column and Whitehall Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (7 January 1883 - 12 June 1963), familiarly known as ABC, was the most famous British admiral of World War II, winning distinction in Mediterranean battles in 1940 and 1941, then...


The final drive to clear Tunisia began on April 19. By this time the German-Italian forces had been pushed into a defensive line on the north-east coast of Tunis, attempting to protect their supply lines, but with little hope of continuing the battle for long. The Allied forces had re-formed. The U.S. II Corps was transferred to the north of the line, and began attacking towards Bizerta. The British First Army (consisting of V Corps and IX Corps) attacked towards Tunis, in the centre. The French XIX Corps held the sector around Pont du Fahs. The British Eighth Army made some attacks north of Enfidaville on the Mediterranean coast, but it became clear that this sector was too strongly held for any breakthrough to occur, and several of Eighth Army's divisions were transferred to the main attack in the centre. April 19 is the 109th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (110th in leap years). ... The British IX Corps was an army corps formation that existed during World War I and World War II. The IX Corps was originally formed in England in 1915 in readiness to make a new landing at Suvla during the Battle of Gallipoli. ... Enfidha (or Dar-el-Bey) is a town in northeastern Tunisia. ...


With the Allies still preparing their next move, the Germans tested the British center in an attack by the Hermann Goering Division the night of 20 April-21 April. Though they penetrated up to five miles at some points, they could not force a general withdrawal, and eventually returned to their lines. On the 22nd the V Corps' 46th Infantry Division struck back; losses were high on both sides but the British inched ahead, capturing, at the start of May, the vital "Longstop Hill" which commanded the road between Medjez el Bab and Tebourba. The next day the entire Allied front attacked. Polizeiabteilung z. ... April 20 is the 110th day of the year (111th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 46th (North Midland) Infantry Division was a 2nd Line Territorial Army Infantry Division during the Second World War. ...


The final assault was launched on May 6 by British IX Corps, now commanded by Lieutenant General Brian Horrocks after its first commander was injured. Two infantry and two armoured divisions concentrated on a narrow front and broke through. On May 7 British armor entered Tunis, and American infantry entered Bizerte. Six days later the last Axis resistance in Africa ended with the surrender of over 275,000 prisoners of war, many of them newly arrived from Sicily and more needed there. The Axis's desperate gamble had only slowed the inevitable by perhaps a season, and the US loss at Kasserine may have been the best thing that could have happened to them. is the 126th day of the year (127th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, (September 7, 1895 - January 4, 1985) was a British military officer. ... is the 127th day of the year (128th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


With North Africa now in Allied hands, plans quickly turned to the invasion of Sicily, and Italy after it.


See Also

The Western Desert Campaign was the primary early theatre of the North African Campaign of World War II. It is sometimes referred to as the Egypt-Libya Campaign. ... During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ...

References

  • Charles R. Anderson. Online Bookshelves WWII Campaigns: Tunisia 17 November 1942 to 13 May 1943. US Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 72-12. 
  • (1943) US Army Center of Military History Online Bookshelves: To Bizerte with the II Corps 23 April to 13 May 1943. Historical Division, War Department (for the American Forces in Action series). CMH Pub 100-6. 
  • Gregory Blaxland (1977.). The Plain Cook and the Great Showman. ISBN 0-7183-0185-4. 
  • Ken Ford (1999). Battleaxe Division. ISBN 0-7509-1893-4. 

Footnotes

  1. ^ Ford, p.15
  2. ^ Ford, p37-38
  3. ^ Ford, p.50
  4. ^ Ford, p.51
  5. ^ Ford, p.53-54

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Tunisia Campaign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3065 words)
The Tunisia Campaign was a series of World War II battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the World War II, between forces of the German/Italian Axis, and allied forces consisting primarily of U.S., British and small numbers of Vichy French.
Most of Tunisia lies on the western edge of the Gulf of Sidra, the inland western border with Algeria being defined by the western line of the roughly triangular Atlas Mountains.
In the center was a new U.S. II Corps, to be commanded by Lloyd R. Fredendall, eventually consisting of the majority of six divisions: the 1st, 3rd, 9th, and 34th Infantry and the 1st and 2nd Armored.
North African Campaign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (966 words)
During World War II the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943.
The Northern African Campaign, was a strategical advantage for both Allies and Axis-Powers, Allies could use the land as a second front against the Axis Powers that were in Fortress Europe, and help the Russian front.
After victory in the North African Campaign, the stage was set for the Italian Campaign to begin.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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