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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 14th, 1943 - The Battle of Kasserine Pass

Conflict: World War II

Combatants: Anglo-British vs. Germans

Location: Tunisia

Outcome: German victory


By the end of 1942, the combined American, British, and French forces in Africa had struggled to hold a front in central Tunisia. While that winter saw few engagements with the enemy, in February German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's 10th and 21st Panzer divisions launched an attack out of Faid. Their target was the Kasserine Pass being held by the still inexperienced American 1st Armored Division and 168th Regimental Combat Team.


1st Armor Div Kasserine Tunisia 1943 by unknown photographer

Over the course of the next nine days, the Germans scattered the American troops and drove them back twenty-one miles. With Luftwaffe support, Rommel's tanks soon threatened the American supply base at Tebessa. Eventually, growing American resistance and a British attack from the north blunted Rommel's advance. The Germans began to withdraw on February 22nd.


Afrika Korps troops in 1942 by an unknown photographer

The Germans had inflicted nearly 3,000 casualties on the Americans plus another 2,500 missing and taken prisoner before being driven back. But, Rommel had failed to divide the Allied armies as he had hoped. Kasserine Pass also proved to be the last successful German offensive in Africa.


Points of Interest:

  • The Germans at Kasserine Pass employed the Mark VI Tiger tank which had four inches of armor and 88-mm canon.

  • In 1944, Erwin Rommel was implicated in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and allowed to commit suicide rather than face public trial.


Field Marshal Erwin Rommel 1941 by an unknown photographer

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Sources:


Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).


Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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