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Battle of Kasserine Pass (November 1942 - May 1943)

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  • Major General Ernest N. Harmon (1894 - 1979)
    Nason Harmon (February 26, 1894 – November 13, 1979) was a United States Army general. He is best known for his actions in reorganizing U.S. II Corps after the debacle at the Battle of the Kasserine Pa...
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  • Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring (1885 - 1960)
    Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's ...

The Battle of Kasserine Pass was a series of battles of the Tunisia Campaign of World War II that took place in February 1943 at Kasserine Pass, a 2-mile-wide (3.2 km) gap in the Grand Dorsal chain of the Atlas Mountains in west central Tunisia.

The Axis forces, led by Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, were primarily from the Afrika Korps Assault Group, the Italian Centauro Armored Division and two Panzer divisions detached from the 5th Panzer Army, while the Allied forces consisted of the U.S. II Corps (Major General Lloyd Fredendall), the British 6th Armoured Division (Major-General Charles Keightley) and other parts of the First Army (Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson).

The battle was the first major engagement between U.S. and Axis forces in Africa. Numerically superior but inexperienced and poorly led American troops suffered many casualties and were quickly pushed back over 50 miles (80 km) from their positions west of Faïd Pass. This result confirmed a prediction of Winston Churchill, who had strongly advocated that the invasion of France as laid out in the proposed 1942 plan Operation Roundup be delayed until the Allies could support such an ambitious undertaking, which would give the U.S. troops time to get up to speed with the realities of war against the experienced and well-equipped Germans.

After the early defeat, elements of the U.S. II Corps, with British reinforcements, rallied and held the exits through mountain passes in western Tunisia, defeating the Axis offensive. As a result of the battle, the U.S. Army instituted sweeping changes of unit organization and replaced commanders and some types of equipment.