Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This Day in the Short History of American Defeats by Nazis

On this day in 1943, German troops of the Afrika Korps, who had broken through our lines at Kasserine Pass, in Tunisia, the day before, continued to defeat, for a while, the U.S., Free French and British forces inexorably closing in on them. Rommel bloodied our nose but didn't have the men and material to exploit his initial advantage and withdrew three days later. We didn't immediately follow.

An MG 34 is pictured above, ready for long range fire.

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It's interesting to compare the response of the US Army at Kasserine to the response of the British army at El Agheila. In the Kasserine battles, the US and allies lost about 20 miles and had recovered their original positions in about two weeks. In El Agheila and its aftermath, the British lost about 350 miles, and couldn't recover the lost terrain for 10 months.

Note that in both cases the principle Allied country involved had been at war for about a year at the time of the battle.

ps. Have you read Rick Atkinson's An Army at Dawn? Well researched and adequately written; I'd recommend it as a history of the US Army in North Africa.
INteresting comparison. I think the Brits were actually less prepared for war than we were. No, but at least I've hear of it. Thanks for the comment.
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