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Tunisia

Tunisia

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Published by Bob Andrepont
United States Army History of the campaign in Tunisia.
United States Army History of the campaign in Tunisia.

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 08, 2011
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06/19/2015

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Introduction
World War II was the largest and most violent armed conflict inthe history of mankind. However, the half century that now separatesus from that conflict has exacted its toll on our collective knowledge.While World War II continues to absorb the interest of military schol-ars and historians, as well as its veterans, a generation of Americanshas grown to maturity largely unaware of the political, social, and mil-itary implications of a war that, more than any other, united us as a people with a common purpose.Highly relevant today, World War II has much to teach us, notonly about the profession of arms, but also about military prepared-ness, global strategy, and combined operations in the coalition war against fascism. During the next several years, the U.S. Army will participate in the nation’s 50th anniversary commemoration of World War II. The commemoration will include the publication of variousmaterials to help educate Americans about that war. The works pro-duced will provide great opportunities to learn about and renew pride in an Army that fought so magnificently in what has beencalled “the mighty endeavor.World War II was waged on land, on sea, and in the air over severaldiverse theaters of operation for approximately six years. The followingessay is one of a series of campaign studies highlighting those strugglesthat, with their accompanying suggestions for further reading, aredesigned to introduce you to one of the Army’s significant military featsfrom that war.This brochure was prepared in the U.S. Army Center of MilitaryHistory by Charles R. Anderson. I hope this absorbing account of that period will enhance your appreciation of American achievements dur-ing World War II.M. P. W. StoneSecretary of the Army
 
Tunisia
17 November 1942–13 May 1943
Victory at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers gave the United StatesArmy and its British ally solid toeholds in the western MediterraneanTheater of Operations. But it offered no guarantee of easy access toItaly or southern Europe, or even to the eastern end of theMediterranean, where the British desperately needed assistance tosecure Egypt and strategic resources in the Near East. The suddenentrance of American forces during 8–11 November 1942 created anawkward deployment in which two pairs of opposing armies fought in North Africa, one in Tunisia, the other in Libya. Neither Axis nor Allies found any satisfaction in the situation; much fighting remained  before either adversary could consider North Africa secure.
Strategic Setting 
Even before the fighting in northwest Africa ended, intensenegotiations between American and French officials began. On themorning of 10 November in Algiers Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, deputyto Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander in Chief, Allied Force, met Admiral Jean Francois Darlan, commander in chief of thecollaborationist Vichy government’s military forces. The differentmotives and needs of the two sides made these sessions difficult for all. The Allies were in a hurry to gain French help in fighting theGermans and Italians before the Axis could reinforce its units inAfrica. On the same day talks in Algiers opened, British Lt. Gen.Kenneth A. N. Anderson began moving his Eastern Task Force into position off Tunisia for the next series of landings. With Clark and Darlan still in the early stages of negotiations, the enemy acted. On11–12 November German submarines fired several near-misses at theAmerican aircraft carrier 
 Ranger
, scored hits against three ships, and sank three transports off Casablanca. Intelligence sources reported Axis aircraft and transports en route to Tunis. Meanwhile, across thenegotiating table General Clark found a frustrating lack of urgency inhis French counterparts.Ever since France had surrendered to Adolf Hitler in June 1940,French officers had been struggling with Nazi demands that they fightthe Allies on the one hand and with their need to retain a measure of 

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