History For A Sunday: Kasserine Pass

Another Sunday and I want to share a little personal stuff…..nothing to personal just a thought or two…..and a little history (is that an eye roll?)

First, how many know what Kasserine Pass is?

My favorite uncle was in the US Army in World War Two…..1st Army Division….he was there when America invaded North Africa and fought his way across Africa then onto Sicily and up the nation of Italy where he was wounded and taken prisoner at Casino…..

He use to tell me about the fighting as forces tried to enter the German stronghold in Tunisia….the worse fighting was for the Kasserine Pass in May of 1943……

It all went very wrong.

Beware a Desert Fox when he’s cornered.

It was North Africa, in the winter of 1943, and American soldiers were feeling cocky as they prepared for their first ground battle against the Germans in World War II. So far, it hadn’t been a bad war for the U.S. Army. The GIs were well fed, well paid and well equipped, especially compared to their threadbare and envious British allies. Even better, their baptism by fire had been to splash ashore in Algeria and Morocco in November 1942, where the defenders had been unmotivated Vichy French soldiers who soon capitulated.

Maybe defeating Hitler wouldn’t be so hard, after all.



Just what did the green troops learn from the battle for Kasserine Pass?

The February 1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass marked the first serious confrontation between America’s amateur army and Germany’s professional Wehrmacht— specifically the elite Afrika Korps— so it should come as no surprise the Allies got beat. But what is surprising is that everybody from General Dwight Eisenhower down to platoon leaders made so many mistakes that defeat was inevitable.

Least guilty of incompetence were the draftees. As war correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote: “There is nothing wrong with the common American soldier.…The deeper he gets into a fight, the more of a fighting man he becomes.” Unfortunately, Maj. Gen. Lloyd Fredendall and his unit commanders stuck the American fighting man so deep into this scrap there was no way out.


My uncle would only talk to me after Vietnam about his time in North Africa and Italy…..we had some very similar experiences……

This battle is not one historians like to teach or even talk about because it was such a fiasco in the beginning.

That is it for me for the day……hope everyone is having a good weekend and I will be back in force tomorrow…..peace out!


2 thoughts on “History For A Sunday: Kasserine Pass

  1. I know that battle well. One of the single biggest defeats of American arms in modern warfare. Bad leadership, funneling troops into a carefully prepared ambush, and insufficient regard for the qualities of the German military. It was always going to end in disaster.
    The Germans suffered a similar catastrophe during the Normandy fighting in 1944, in The Falaise Pocket.
    Best wishes, Pete.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.