Kasserine Pass

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Vasily, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Vasily

    Vasily Junior Member

    Hello, does anyone know of the number of American casualities of this battle?
     
  2. Wise1

    Wise1 There We Are Then

    the number of casualties was in the region of 6000, cant for the life of me remember if that was all nations or just American though.
     
  3. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    From Frebuary 14th until February 22nd 1943 at Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, the American II Corps lost 10.000 men —killed, wounded and missing. Field marshla Rommel lost 2.000 —killed and wounded. Hope this helps.
     
  4. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Friedrich H@Apr 21 2004, 12:11 AM
    Field marshla Rommel lost 2.000 —killed and wounded.
    Rommel was not in command of this battle, which was conducted by the German 5th Army, although a battle group from his army took part in the attack on the American positions at Gafsa.
     
  5. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Originally posted by Friedrich H@Apr 20 2004, 05:11 PM
    From Frebuary 14th until February 22nd 1943 at Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, the American II Corps lost 10.000 men —killed, wounded and missing. Field marshla Rommel lost 2.000 —killed and wounded. Hope this helps.
    Losses at Kasserine as recorded by the Germans
    Killed: 201
    Wounded: 536
    Missing: 252 (of this number, 73 were taken prisoner)
    Tanks: 20
    Half-tracks: 6
    Artillery pieces: 14
    Vehicles: 62

    The losses sustained by US forces are less accurately stated
    Killed: 285
    Wounded 2,886
    Missing: 4,500 (4,026 were taken prisoner)
    Tanks: 51
    Half-tracks: 61
    Artillery pieces: 26
    Vehicles: 22
     
  6. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Originally posted by angie999@May 30 2004, 05:00 AM
    Rommel was not in command of this battle, which was conducted by the German 5th Army, although a battle group from his army took part in the attack on the American positions at Gafsa.

    Field Marshal Rommel was given command of Fifth Panzer Army, after the recommendation by Kesselring to Commando Supremo, that he be given the position, was accepted. However, Generaloberst von Arnim did not fully comply with the order that he was given, reluctantly only transferring 10th and 21st Panzer Divisions to be under Rommel's command - he did not obey the part of the order to also transfer PzAbt 501. If he had, on Monday, 22nd February 1943, if may not have been necessary for Kesselring to approve Rommel's decision to break off the battle. As it was, PzAbt 501, subsequently, was all but destroyed during the battle for Beja.

    Perhaps the best epitaph to the battle is: "The first defeat that Rommel administered to the Americans at Kasserine was his last triumph on the battlefield."
     
  7. MalcolmII

    MalcolmII Senior Member

    A good book on the whole campaign is ' The Bloody Road to Tunis ' by David Rolf.

    Aye
    MalcolmII
     
  8. Angie999

    Kasserine Pass was the last time Rommel personally led the Afrika Korps into battle. He was not present at Medenine a short time later on 6th March, and he left Afrika for good 3 days later.

    Regards

    MF
     
  9. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    "An Army At Dawn," by Rick Atkinson, "The Road to Victory," by Douglas Porch, "Kasserine," by Charles Whiting, and "Meeting the Fox," are all good books on the Tunisian campaign. Except for Patton's appearance, it has not been covered well by American historians. It was an incredible fiasco for the Americans, and the primary weaknesses were the fact that the troops were green, so were their leaders, and the corps commander, Lloyd Fredendall, who lacked most of the qualities required for high command.

    The highlight of his command was greeting Ike's observer, Ernie Harmon, drunk, and turning over the battle to him. That would be considered cowardice in most armies. o_O
     
  10. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    (Kiwiwriter @ Dec 12 2005, 09:00 AM) [post=43012]"An Army At Dawn," by Rick Atkinson, "The Road to Victory," by Douglas Porch, "Kasserine," by Charles Whiting, and "Meeting the Fox," are all good books on the Tunisian campaign. Except for Patton's appearance, it has not been covered well by American historians. It was an incredible fiasco for the Americans, and the primary weaknesses were the fact that the troops were green, so were their leaders, and the corps commander, Lloyd Fredendall, who lacked most of the qualities required for high command.

    The highlight of his command was greeting Ike's observer, Ernie Harmon, drunk, and turning over the battle to him. That would be considered cowardice in most armies. o_O
    [/b]
    Patton believed that Fredendall should be court marshaled for the state he left the troups in and his refusal to go to the front line to see what was happening. One wonders how a man this devoid of leadership could have made it to the level of a general much less a corps commander.
     
  11. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    (jimbotosome @ Dec 12 2005, 01:11 PM) [post=43027](Kiwiwriter @ Dec 12 2005, 09:00 AM) [post=43012]"An Army At Dawn," by Rick Atkinson, "The Road to Victory," by Douglas Porch, "Kasserine," by Charles Whiting, and "Meeting the Fox," are all good books on the Tunisian campaign. Except for Patton's appearance, it has not been covered well by American historians. It was an incredible fiasco for the Americans, and the primary weaknesses were the fact that the troops were green, so were their leaders, and the corps commander, Lloyd Fredendall, who lacked most of the qualities required for high command.

    The highlight of his command was greeting Ike's observer, Ernie Harmon, drunk, and turning over the battle to him. That would be considered cowardice in most armies. o_O
    [/b]
    Patton believed that Fredendall should be court marshaled for the state he left the troups in and his refusal to go to the front line to see what was happening. One wonders how a man this devoid of leadership could have made it to the level of a general much less a corps commander.
    [/b]
    I'm actually fascinated by Fredendall, because he was such an incredible incompetent. He managed to do everything wrong. HIs speeches were obscenity-strewn knockoffs of Hollywood war and Western movie speeches, which only amused the troops. Patton swore hard, but his material was original or fresh. Fredendall irritated his subordinates, his superiors, the British, and the French. He didn't visit the front. He wasted vast amounts of engineering talent and supplies building a huge bunker at a ravine in Tebessa -- "Speedy Valley" -- and hunkered there. His messages were models of incoherence. He took to his bed and his whiskey at the height of Kasserine.

    Yet amazingly, he was marked before the war, by no less than Lesley McNair, as being one of the top commanders in a future war. I am baffled at how he did it. Sometimes I think he's proof that a man rises to the level of his incompetence.

    When he was sent home, Ike did it gently...a warm personal letter...a third star...command of a training army. It looked like Fredendall was coming home a triumphant warrior. Ike learned many things in Tunisia, and one of them was how to sack people. When he fired a brigadier general in early 1944, for spilling the fact that D-Day was going to be in early June, Ike ignored the fact that the man was a West Point classmate and busted him to colonel.

    Most people remember Ike for the warm grin, flashed at press conferences. But he had a fiery temper, and when he wanted to slam the hammer down, he could do it. He just didn't do it often. That in itself was important...it meant that when he was mad at you, you had better listen, unlike more histrionic generals...like Fredendall. :)
     
  12. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    I think the word one is looking for is, he was diplomatic. He was a great administrator who knew how to get the best out of people. The fact that he is remember for his warm smile etc, gives greater weight to his temper. The fact that he rarely was seen to lose his temper showed that when he did lose it the recipient was well in line for it and made it all the more poignant/ notable. In other words if he gave it you, you must have really been asking for it.

    How Fredendall got away with what he did is a mystery to me. Glowing praise from Lesley McNair is one thing - but how can a high ranking officer get that high up without getting rumbled. Does anyone know if he had combat experience up to the time of taking command of the corps. Patton had war experience fighting with Pershing. The stresses of taking command of a raw unit green as you say, with no combat experience may have been too much for him. Those above Fredendall should be brought to account for this as well as Fredendall himself.
     
  13. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    (Kiwiwriter @ Dec 12 2005, 02:25 PM) [post=43031]Yet amazingly, he was marked before the war, by no less than Lesley McNair, as being one of the top commanders in a future war. I am baffled at how he did it. Sometimes I think he's proof that a man rises to the level of his incompetence.
    [/b]
    I think therein lies the answer. Kassarine was pretty much the Frendendall's first real battle in North Africa and as such his incompetence was not demonstrated for the top brass in peace time. Cronyism is a real problem in peace time and why the good generals could not make much headway until the war started. A socialized general is completely different from a field one.
     
  14. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    (lancesergeant @ Jan 22 2006, 07:56 AM) [post=44673]

    How Fredendall got away with what he did is a mystery to me. Glowing praise from Lesley McNair is one thing - but how can a high ranking officer get that high up without getting rumbled. Does anyone know if he had combat experience up to the time of taking command of the corps. Patton had war experience fighting with Pershing. The stresses of taking command of a raw unit green as you say, with no combat experience may have been too much for him. Those above Fredendall should be brought to account for this as well as Fredendall himself.
    [/b]

    That is exactly what did it...McNair made a lot of good leadership picks in the 1941 maneuvers, but Fredendall was not a good one. Blasting Fredendall would mean blasting McNair, and nobody was going to blast McNair, so Fredendall had to be sent home quietly.

    In addition, it's not good in wartime to publicly hammer your generals...it can weaken public opinion at home, especially in a democracy.
     
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I just read this on Fredendall and thought it might raise a smile:

    Screenshot 2019-06-21 at 01.48.16.png

    From: Colin F. Baxter's The War in North Africa, 1940-1943: A Selected Bibliography
     
    Chris C likes this.
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    The section in wikipedia on Fredendall and Kasserine (assuming it is trustworthy) is well worth reading. There is more about that command post... and worse.

    "Fredendall rarely visited the front lines, and had a habit of disregarding advice from commanders who had been farther forward and had actually reconnoitered the terrain.[9] He split up units and scattered them widely,[10] and at critical defense points had positioned U.S. forces (against advice) too far apart for mutual support or effective employment of artillery, the strongest American arm.[11][12][13]

    During the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Major General Ernest N. Harmon was sent by Eisenhower to report on the fighting, to assist Fredendall and the other Allied commanders, and to determine if Fredendall or his 1st Armored Division commander, Major General Orlando Ward, should be replaced.[14] Harmon thus had the opportunity to observe Fredendall in action as commander of the II Corps, as well as his superior, Anderson. Harmon noticed that the two generals rarely saw each other, and failed to properly coordinate and integrate forces under their command. Fredendall was barely on speaking terms with Ward, whom he had deliberately left out of operational meetings after Ward had repeatedly protested the separation of his command into weaker 'penny packet' forces distributed across various sectors of the front.[2][15]"

    Lloyd Fredendall - Wikipedia
     

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