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The Influence of Physical Geography on the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Tunisia 1943

  • Daniel A. GilewitchEmail author
  • Jay D. Pellerin
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Military Geosciences book series (AMG)

Abstract

The first significant WWII encounter between the American 1st Armored Division and German panzer divisions occurred at the Battle of Kasserine Pass in central Tunisia in February, 1943. The battle was a devastating defeat for the Americans and a significant blow to American morale and prestige. Axis forces handled the green American soldiers easily, defeating them in detail at Sidi Bou Zid and again at Sbietla; but as Allied reinforcements arrived and terrain turned more restrictive in the mountain passes around Kasserine, the Axis attack culminated. Eventually, the Allies gained the initiative and did not lose it again in the North African Theater. Both poor preparations for combat operations in the desert environment and an ill-conceived and poorly tested armor force doctrine contributed to the American defeat. This study examines the conduct of the engagements at Sidi Bou Zid, Sbietla and in the vicinity of Kasserine Pass itself. In the end, it was the restrictive terrain west of Kasserine Pass as much as the efforts of the Allied troops that forced Rommel’s forces to culminate short of obtaining his objectives.

Keywords

Kasserine Pass North Africa Desert warfare Physical geography Weather Panzer Operation TORCH 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational OperationsUS Army Command and General Staff CollegeFort LeavenworthUSA
  2. 2.TexasUSA

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