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Kasserine Pass Timeline (February 19th, 1943)


North Africa burst into flames of war as Rommel and his Afrika Corps sought to annihilate the inexperienced and confused Allies.

German General Erwin Rommel suffered a defeat against British General Bernard Law Montgomery at the Battle of El Alamein and the Allies' fighting spirit was bolstered by the arriving American forces during Operation Torch. While all seemed lost for Rommel and his Afrika Corps, plans were drawn up for a new offensive to hold the Allies in North Africa. Hitler approved of the offensive and committed new men and equipment to the Theater. The Allied force consisted of Montgomery's 8th Army, French forces, and the largely inexperienced Americans. Rommel enacted 'Operation Spring Breeze' during mid-February in 1943 in an attempt to wipe the Allied forces from North Africa.

The French element was defeated and forced into retreat which allowed the Germans to move on the green American forces. They too were driven into confusion and disarray which was made all the more worse by the flood of refuges from surrounding areas. General Rommel's forces met up with General von Arnim at Kasserine on February 18th and pushed forward to Kasserine Pass which they took from the Americans by February 20th. Once there Rommel paused his advance to await the Allied counter-attack that inexplicably would not come. It was not until the arrival of British General Harold Alexander, along with reinforcements through the British 6th Armored Division and the American 34th Infantry Division, that order was finally restored among the American ranks.

As the situation for the Allies began to stabilize and more reinforcements were added to shore up losses and increased fighting strength, Rommel reeled in his offensive and called off his attack plan. Despite some gains, the German objectives were not met. In the fighting, the Allies counted 10,000 casualties to the Axis' 2,000 losses. Kasserine fell back into Allied hands and General Rommel was now to turn his attention towards General Montgomery in the East who was firmly engaged - and making steady progress - against the Germans at the Mareth Line. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com

February 14th
1943
At 4AM, elements of the 10th Panzer Division and 21st Panzer Division under General von Arnim, launch their attack at Allied forces near Sidi Bou Zid and Bir el Hafey.

February 15th
1943
German General Erwin Rommel commences with his assault through Operation Morgenluft. His attack takes him towards Gafsa, Feriana and Thelepte.

February 18th
1943
General von Arnim and General Rommels forces finally meet at Kasserine.

February 19th
1943
American armored forces hold up the German advanced at Kasserine Pass.

February 20th
1943
Allied units move from Le Kef for the counter-attack.

February 20th
1943
The British 6th Armored Brigade moves towards Thala and Sbiba.

February 20th
1943
US forces move in to stop the German advance around Tebessa.

February 20th
1943
The Americans fold under the immense German assault and Kasserine Pass falls to the invaders.

February 21st
1943
The German forces at Kasserine Pass under Rommel await the Allied counter-offensive that never materializes.

February 22nd
1943
Allied forces hold the Germans in check at Sbiba, Tebessa and Thala, inflicting 2,000 German casualties and forcing Rommel to call for a retreat.

February 25th
1943
Kasserine is now firmly in Allied control, the Germans having retreated and Rommel's attention now elsewhere.

February 25th
1943
Rommel relocates his forces east and plans his defense against Montgomery and his 8th Army at the Mareth line.