Skip to comments.RUSSIANS 11 MILES FROM KHARKOV; BRITISH REPULSE TUNISIAN ATTACK (2/14/43)
Posted on 02/14/2013 4:25:18 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Prime Minister to Premier Stalin 14 Feb 43
The series of prodigious victories which to-night brings us the news of the liberation of Rostov-on-the-Don leaves me without power to express to you the admiration and the gratitude which we feel to the Russian arms. My most earnest wish is to do more to aid you.
Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate
The News of the Week in Review
Strategy for 1943-As Seen by Roosevelt and Churchill (map) 14
Twenty News Questions 15
The Area of Conquest Japan Must Defend (map) 16
Value of Guadalcanal to be Proved (Hurd) 16-17
India Stays Calm as Gandhi Fasts (MacDonald) 17
The Battle for Tunisia Nears Its Climax (map) 18
Eisenhower Preparing to Rout Axis in Tunisia (Middleton) 19
Luftwaffe Must Fight it Out Soon (by Raymond Daniell) 20
Answers to Twenty News Questions 20
Axis offensive strikes Americans in Tunisia
Sunday, February 14, 1943 www.onwar.com
German tanks advancing in Tunisia [photo at link]
In Tunisia... A major Axis offensive falls on the US 2nd Corps positions, west of Faid. Leading the attack are the German 10th and 21st Panzer Divisions from 5th Panzer Army (General von Arnim). General Zeigler is in immediate command.
In Burma... The Chindits cross the Chindwin River in two groups at Auktaung and Tonhe. General Wingate leads the larger northern group.
On the Eastern Front... Rostov and Voroshilovgrad are captured by Soviet forces. They also take Drasny Sulin, north of Shakhty.
February 14th, 1943 (SUNDAY)
GERMANY: No. 15 Squadron RAF tonight operate the Short Stirling Mk III in it’s first operation when they attack Cologne. (22)
ITALY: 142 RAF bombers attack Milan tonight.
U.S.S.R.: Soviet troops re-occupy Voroshilovgrad and Rostov-on-Don.
TUNISIA: Axis forces launch an offensive, taking Sidi Bou Zid and driving a wedge into the Allies.
The 10th and 21st Panzer Divisions attack the US II Corps west of Faid.
Battle of the Kasserine Pass
On this day, German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps launch an offensive against an Allied defensive line in Tunisia, North Africa. The Kasserine Pass was the site of the United States’ first major battle defeat of the war.
General Erwin Rommel was dispatched to North Africa in February 1942, along with the new Afrika Korps, to prevent his Italian Axis partner from losing its territorial gains in the region to the British. Despite his skill, until this point Rommel had been unable to do much more than manage his own forces’ retreats, but the Battle of Kasserine Pass would finally display the “Desert Fox’s” strategic genius.
In the Battle of El Alamein in August 1942, British General Bernard Montgomery pushed Rommel out of Egypt and into Tunisia, behind the Mareth Line, a defensive fortification built by Vichy French forces. After taking several months to regroup, Rommel decided on a bold move. Rommel set his sites of Tunis, Tunisia’s capital and a key strategic goal for both Allied and Axis forces.
Rommel determined that the weakest point in the Allied defensive line was at the Kasserine Pass, a 2-mile-wide gap in Tunisia’s Dorsal Mountains, which was defended by American troops. His first strike was repulsed, but with tank reinforcements, Rommel broke through on February 20, inflicting devastating casualties on the U.S. forces. The Americans withdrew from their position, leaving behind most of their equipment. More than 1,000 American soldiers were killed by Rommel’s offensive, and hundreds were taken prisoner. The United States had finally tasted defeat in battle.
BURMA: The Chindits cross the Chindwin River at Auktaung and Tonha.
Submarine USS Thresher attacks submarine I-162 off the Lesser Sundas in position 06.05S, 105.47E. Thresher fires two torpedoes, unfortunately one is a dud and the other misses.
Submarine USS Trout torpedoes and damages the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Hirotama Maru at south entrance to Makassar Strait in position 04.11S, 117.45E. Trout surfaces to sink the ship with gunfire but 7 of her crew were wounded by gunfire from the Japanese ship. Trout then finished off the Japanese ship with a torpedo. (Dave Shirlaw)
USS PC-1237 laid down.
USS PC-1201 launched.
Fleet tug USS Chippewa commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: SS Duchess of York Canadian-owned, British-registered CPR passenger liner was heavily damaged off Cape Finisterre when she was bombed by Luftwaffe a/c. She was sunk later in 1943 in another air attack in the same general area. (Dave Shirlaw)
"After their humiliating defeat at the hands of German forces in February 1943, U.S. forces, reinforced by the British troops of General Harold Alexander, rallied to retake the Kasserine Pass and block the German effort to capture Tébessa, Algeria.
If the Germans had succeeded, they would have kept British and American troops from joining forces, a tactic key to winning the battle for Tunisia. Here, American soldiers salvage equipment."
Here's a little more on the topic: http://www.karl-doenitz.com/newsweekmagazine1943.pdf
As I prepare future threads I just came across the photo you posted in the NY Times of March 18. The caption is “U.S. soldiers with spoils of war taken in successful counter-attack in Kasserine Pass Feb. 22 and 23.”
FYI, the Tunisian town of Foum Tatahouine is where George Lucas got the name for his desert planet, Tatooine.