|The Tunisia Campaign Replay By ER Bickford
15-18 November 1942
Italian ships from Sicily docked at the port facilities at Tunis. The Superga Division’s 1st Assault Gun battalion was unloaded along with its personnel and supplies. [2T] The German A.20 battalion and supplies debarked at Bizerte. [2T]
Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica aircraft based in Sicily were used to bring supplies across to Tunis and Sfax. A squadron of Ju-52 transports landed at Tunis with supplies, [1T] and a squadron of SM.82’s landed with cargo at Sfax. [1T]
A British squadron of Spitfires and a USAF squadron of Spitfires from the airbase at Bone were sent on a fighter sweep mission against the Italian aircraft at Ferryville. A squadron of Fiat CR.42’s scrambled and engaged the British aircraft. The biplanes ended the battle by aborting to their base. The British Spitfires attacked a squadron of G.50’s. The G.50’s also landed safely after aborting the engagement.
Both squadrons of Spitfires were refueled and rearmed by the ground crews at Bone. [1T] Supplies were shipped from Algiers to Philipeville, Bone and Tabarka. [3SP] C-47 transports landed at Bone with supplies from Algiers. [2T]
The 6th Armored Division’s 38th Irish Brigade and 10th Rifle Brigade fueled and moved through Algeria across the border and captured the airbase at Souk el Arba. The 140th and 152nd artillery battalions joined them. 1st Commando battalion moved along the primary road to the airbase at Bin Beida, and then it continued to march onward to Meskiana.
Charcoal trucks from Bone, carried supplies to the village at Constantine. [1SP] The 1st Derby Armored car battalion and the 17/21 Lancers armored battalion advanced on the road along the Oued Medjerda to link up with the rest of the 6th Armored Division at Souk el Arba.
Brigadier Cass advanced with the 11th Infantry Brigade to Djebel Abiod. The 36th Infantry Brigade and the 138th Artillery battalion took up a position to the right flank of 11th brigade, behind the river. The US 175th Artillery battalion advanced to Souk Ahras.
Two squadrons of Spitfires from Bone received orders to sweep the Luftwaffe at Bizerte. The Luftwaffe responded by engaging the British Spitfires with a squadron of Bf-109’s. Both sides terminated before incurring significant losses.
The airforce received orders to sweep the Luftwaffe airbase at Tunis. A squadron of Focke Wulf 190’s was on patrol there. The German pilots pounced on the British Hurricanes, which subsequently aborted. A squadron of USAF P-40 Warhawks also entered battle with the Focke Wulf’s. The P-40’s were forced to abort.
Noticing that General Evelegh’s 78th Division advanced to Djebel Abiod, the Italian 10th Bersaglieri Regiment was released from reserve and advanced to Djefna. Kampfgruppe Witzig pulled back along the road behind the Oued Sedjanane.
19-21 November 1942
A squadron of Bf-109’s and a squadron of Henschel 129’s were refitted at the airbase in Bizerte. A squadron of Ju-52 transports were refueled and loaded with supplies at one of the airbases in Sicily. The Regia Aeronautica refitted a sqaudron of SM-82’s at Sicily. Additionally, ground crews at Ferryville hurried to overhaul their fighters. [1T]
The Italian 5th Artillery Regiment (Superga) and the 90th Corps HQ debarked after arriving on Italian ships in Tunis. German and Italian transport aircraft landed at Bizerte with supplies from Sicily. [3T] Me-323’s from Sicily landed at Tunis with supplies. [1SP]
A squadron of Fiat G.50’s received orders to strafe the airbase at Bone. The Italians evaded enemy flak and barraged the airbase. None of the enemy aircraft were damaged. A squadron of CR.42’s took off at Ferryville and went to barrage the Allied airbase at Philipeville. The biplanes encountered flak but continued the mission, but were unable to find the target. They returned to their home airbase.
The ground crews at Bone serviced two squadrons of Spitfires, which had recently survived the strafing of enemy aircraft. [1T] The aircrews at Philipeville refitted a squadron of Hurricane Mk-II fighters and another of USAF P-40’s. [1T]
The 5th Corps HQ arrived at Bone. Lt. General Allfrey set up his operation in the village. Major-General Ward was ordered to fuel the US 1st Armored Division and advance in reserve along the highway toward the Tunisian border.
Two squadrons of Spitfires from Bone received orders to sweep the Luftwaffe at Bizerte. A single squadron of Messerschmitts engaged in battle with them, but both sides aborted without losses.
Another fighter sweep was order against the Luftwaffe stationed at Tunis. The Luftwaffe pilots shot up the Hurricanes, which aborted the mission and returned to Philipeville. A squadron of USAF P-40’s also engaged the Messerschmitts and were forced to terminate the mission.
C-47 transports were loaded with supplies for Bone. They safely arrived and the cargo was unloaded. [1SP] A squadron of Spitfire Mk-V fighters re-based from Algiers to the airbase at Bone.
The 1st Commandos advanced along the highway and captured abandoned airbases at Youks les Bains and Tebessa. They stopped to bivouac between el Kouif and Haidra.
British ships dropped anchor at the port in Bone with personnel replacements, equipment and supplies. [2SP1T]
The US 1st Armored Division continued to advance along the highway and railroad to the intersection to the northwest of Kalaa Djerda. The 701st Antitank battalion advanced farther to the rail line southwest of Ebba Kasour.
22-25 November 1942
It rained heavily and there was no flight by aircraft on either side. Two squadrons of fighters were overhauled at the airbase in Philipeville. [1T] Two squadrons of Spitfires were refueled and rearmed at the airbase in Bone. Ground crews at Algiers overhauled the USAF C-47 transports.
Charcoal trucks moved supplies to Constantine. [1SP] The US 5th Artillery battalion fueled and advanced to Thelepte. The 27th Artillery battalion fueled and advanced to Le Kef. The 2-13th Armored battalion fueled and advanced to Le Sers. The 62nd Artillery battalion and the 601st Tank Destroyer battalion fueled and advanced to Bedja, where they met the French Melange Zouves et Tirailleurs regiment.
The British 56th Heavy artillery battalion fueled and advanced through Las Calle to the rough terrain southwest of Tabarka. The British 1st Commando battalion moved through Thala to the river banks north of Kasserine. Charcoal trucks loaded supplies at Bone and delivered them to Tabarka. [2SP] British truck convoys loaded cargo at Bone and transferred it to Bedja. [1SP] The 2nd Lothians Armored battalion arrived at Bone and the troops disembarked while their equipment was unloaded.
Three squadrons of Luftwaffe transport aircraft were refitted at Sicily base one. A squadron of Italian SM.82 transports was overhauled at Sicily airbase two. Two squadrons of Fiat fighter planes were refitted at the airbase at Ferryville. [1T] Aircrews at the Luftwaffe airbase in Bizerte worked on a squadron of Bf-109’s and Hs-129’s. [1T]
Personnel and equipment replacements boarded Italian ships in Sicily. The 10th Reconnaissance battalion and the 501st Panzer battalion joined them. All arrived at Tunis and unloaded along with cargo. [1T]
26-28 November 1942
The 81st Reconnaissance battalion, 2-1 armored battalion, 3-1 Armored battalion, 3-13 armored battalion fueled at Aime-M L’ila and advanced to Le Sers to link up with the rest of the US 1st Armored Division.
The French Oran Division marched through Oumel Boughi in Algeria. The French 1st Legion marched through Bin Beida. The Groupement Bergeron and Jurion police brigades advanced through Oued Zenati. The French 19th Corps HQ fueled and advanced to Tebessa. Groupement Mazoyer fueled and joined the HQ at Tebessa. Trucks moved supplies from Bone to Le Kef. [1SP]
The British 1st Commando battalion occupied Kasserine. 56th Heavy artillery battalion advanced to Djebel Abiod. The British 1st Guards Infantry arrived at Bone aboard British ships and debarked. The British 2nd Lothians armored battalion fueled at Bone and advanced to the rail junction in Bedja. 5th Corps HQ advanced to Las Calle.
Brigadier Cass’s 11th Infantry Brigade moved along the Oued Sedjanane to the fork. British 36th Infantry and 136th artillery moved in reserve to the south of Djebel Abiod. The 4th MZT regiment advanced around the mountain to meet the Italian 557th.
5th HQ ordered two squadrons of fighters to sweep the Italian fighters at Ferryville. A squadron of Spitfires tangled with a squadron of biplanes. The battle went poorly for the Italians, who lost a number of CR.42’s before giving up. The Spitfires also manhandled the Italian G.50,’s which also aborted.
The British sent two squadrons of Spitfires on a sweep mission against the Luftwaffe at Tunis. A squadron of Focke Wulf 190’s attacked the Spitfires, which aborted after losing a number of aircraft. The USAF Spitfires attacked the Fw-109’s and both sides took heavy losses before terminating the mission.
A squadron of USAF Spitfires re-based to Bone. C-47’s landed at the airbases at Bone and Souk el Arba, where cargo was unloaded. [1SP1T]
Three squadrons of bombers were escorted by a squadron of P-38 Lightnings on a barrage mission against the Italians at Sidi Nsir. A squadron of Bf-109’s intercepted the mission. The P-38’s were forced to abort. The USAF lost a number of B-26 Marauders and A-20 Havocs, but the Messerschmitts were also hit hard. The British Wellingtons found the target and struck the Italian armor with a barrage, which left them disorganized.
The German 190th Panzer battalion was released from reserve to assist the Italian assault gun battalion. The panzer battalion fueled up and Captain Knoche advanced to Sidi Nsir.
Brigadier Kent-Lemon was ordered to move the 36th Infantry Brigade forward to reinforce the French Infantry’s attack. The 138th artillery followed suit.
Colonel Hull was also ordered to move forward with a number of units from the 6th Armored Division. The 138th artillery issued a barrage against the Italio-German force, but it had inconsequential effects. The British and French forces attacked the Axis at Sidi Nsir. The French MZT was wrecked, but the German 190th took the brunt of the battle and was destroyed. The Italian 557th Assault Gun battalion was forced to retreat. In the end the British captured Sidi Nsir.
Two squadrons of Italian fighters were refueled and rearmed at the Axis airbase at Ferryville. [1T] A squadron of Messerschmitts at Bizerte and a squadron of Focke Wulfs at Tunis were refitted by ground crews. [2T]
The 190th Panzer battalion was rebuilt at 90th Corps HQ. The Bersaglieri motorcycle battalion arrived at Tunis. The 2-7 Panzer battalion arrived at Tunis aboard Italian ships from Sicily and debarked at the port facility. A squadron of Bf-109’s from Sicily flew in to patrol the airbase at Bizerte.
The Italian 10th Bersaglieri Infantry regiment pulled out of Djefna to occupy Mateur. The 557th AG fueled and pulled back into the mountain pass across the Oued Tine. The Italian Grado Marine battalion and the German T.2 battalion joined the 10th Bersaglieri at Mateur. An Italian squadron of MC.202s re-based to the airbase at Djedeida.
Me-323 Cargo planes from Sicily landed at Tunis with supplies. [1SP] Ju-52s landed at Enfidaville with cargo from Sicily. [2T] Italian SM.82 transports landed at Bizerte with supplies, which were unloaded to the stockyards. [1SP]
501st Panzer battalion fueled and advanced to Djedeida. The 10th Reconnaissance battalion fueled at Tunis and advanced to Medjez el Bab, where it reinforced the 1-5 Fallshirmjager battalion.
29-30 November 1942
Two squadrons of C-47 transports and a squadron of P-38’s and A-20’s were overhauled at Algiers airbase two. A squadron of Wellingtons was refitted at Algiers airbase one. The Spitfire fighters based at Bone were refitted. [1T] A squadron of Hurricane Mk-II fighters was refueled at Philipeville. [1T]
Ships arrived at Tabarka with supplies from Algiers, which were unloaded. [1SP] The Oran Division advanced along the highway to Souk les Bains. The French Groupement Police battalions advanced with the Corps Franc d’ Afrique to Souk Ahras.
The British 3rd Parachute battalion and the 6th Commando battalion advanced along the road to La Tarf. C-47’s from Algiers landed at Bone and Souk el Arba with supplies. [1SP2T]
Two squadrons of Spitfires were ordered to sweep the Luftwaffe at Tunis. A squadron of Focke Wulf 190 fighters met them while on patrol. All of the German aircraft were shot down. Two squadrons of Spitfires from Bone were ordered to sweep the Italian aircraft at the Axis airbase at Djedeida. A squadron of MC.202 Folgores engaged in battle with them and a number of the Italian fighters were shot down.
Two squadrons of fighters from the Philipeville airbase were ordered to sweep the Italian fighters based at Ferryville. A squadron of CR.42s scrambled and was attacked by USAF P-40’s. Both sides aborted before taking losses. A squadron of British Hurricanes attempted to engage the Fiat G.50’s at Ferryville. The Italians lost a number of aircraft before they decided to break off contact.
6th Armored Division fueled and advanced to Sidi Nsir and the position between the village and Mateur. The 36th Infantry Brigade advanced to meet the Axis units at Mateur. Artillery moved forward. The US 1st Armored Division fueled and advanced to Medjez el Bab.
The 56th Heavy Artillery was ordered to fire a barrage against the Axis units at Mateur. The Italian units became disorganized. The 138th and 12th RHA artillery battalions began a barrage against the Italians across the river near Tebourba. The 557th AG battalion became disorganized. The US 62nd and 27th Artillery battalions were ordered to barrage the 10th Panzer units at Medjez el Bab. The artillery fire had no effect.
The British ‘Blade force’ commenced with an attack against the Axis units holed up in Mateur. The 17/21 Lancers armored battalion was wrecked and the Italian 10th Bersaglieri regiment and Grado Marine Battalion were eliminated. The German Tunisia 2nd March battalion held out at Mateur.
The British attacked the Italian 557th, which was hiding out in a mountain pass across the river issuing from Mateur. In a seeming miracle, the British had tactical surprise and the 557th was eliminated.
The Americans were ordered to attack the Axis units across the river at Medjez el Bab. The US were repulsed and retreated. The 81st Reconnaissance battalion was wrecked.
The ground crews at the airbase at Fayetteville scurried to repair the two Italian fighter squadrons. [1T] The MC.202 fighters at Djedeida were also refitted. [1T] And transport aircraft based in Sicily were overhauled as well.
The Italian 10th Bersaglieri Infantry Regiment was rebuilt at 90th Corps HQ. The 90th Panzerjaeger battalion and the 1-7th Panzer battalion and 10th Panzer Divisional transports boarded Italian ships at Sicily and arrived and unloaded at Tunis. Me-323’s based in Sicily landed at Bizerte with needed supplies. [1SP] SM.82’s from Sicily landed at the airbase in Tunis with cargo, which was unloaded. [1SP] And Ju-52’s landed at Enfidaville with cargo for the German army. [2T]
A squadron of Hs-129’s from Bizerte was ordered to perform interdiction near Medjez el Bab. The Tunisia 3rd March battalion at Bizerte advanced to take the position along the northern coastal road where KG Witzig had been holding an intersection to the north of Garaet el Ichkuel. Major Witzig moved his Kampfgruppe to reinforce the March battalion at Mateur.
The Bersaglieri MC battalion advanced from Tunis to Djedeida. Charcoal trucks traveled to Enfidaville and loaded cargo. [1SP] The loaded trucks returned to Tunis.
The British 56th Heavy Artillery was ordered to make a preemptive barrage on the Axis units bivouacked in Mateur. The German units, including the Witzig Kampfgruppe, became disorganized but took negligible losses.
The 10th Bersaglieri regiment was released from reserve and advanced to Bizerte.
1-4 December 1942
The Hs-129 bombers returned to Bizerte after an uneventful interdiction mission, where they subsequently refitted. [1T] All of the transports stationed in Sicily were refitted.
A squadron of British Hurricanes and USAF P-40 Warhawks were overhauled at Philipeville. [1T] Four Squadrons of Spitfires were overhauled at the airbase at Bone. [1T] Ground crews, despite foul weather conditions refitted the C-47’s in Algiers.
The British 132nd Artillery (78 Div) debarked with supplies at Tabarka. [2T] Cargo from Algiers arrived in port at Bone and was unloaded. [2SP]
Cargo shipped from Sicily arrived and was unloaded at Bizerte. [1SP] Italian 91st Infantry regiment arrived at Tunis with the Superga Divisions transports.
5-7 December 1942
The Milmart antitank battalion boarded Italian ships in Sicily and was moved to Bizerte along with cargo. [2T] The 69th Panzer grenadier and the 86th Infantry regiments arrived by ship and disembarked at Tunis.
The 10th Bersaglieri Regiment joined KG Witzig at Mateur. The British 56th Heavy artillery was ordered to barrage the Germans in Mateur, The Axis force became disorganized.
The 501st Panzer battalion was released from reserve and advanced to Tebourba.
The 17th Artillery battalion arrived at Tabarka with cargo and supplies. [2T] British transports transferred supplies from Bone to Bedja. [2SP] The British 6th Commando and 3rd Parachute battalions advanced to Roum Essouk.
Groupement Bergeron and Jurion advanced along the highway to the airbase and supply dump at Souk el Arba. The French CfdA regiment resumed movement along the highway to the west of Le Kef. The British 23rd Artillery Battalion advanced through Ain Abid. The 56th Heavy artillery continued along the highway to Rhardimaou. The French 1st Legion Regiment advanced to Haidra, and the Oran Division arrived at Dernia.
The US 1st Armored Division fueled and moved the 6th Regiment, the 1-1 Armored battalion and the 1-13 battalion to Bou Arada. The British 2nd Lothians armored battalion moved to join the 6th Armored outside of Mateur.
The 56th Heavy Artillery was ordered to barrage Mateur and the Axis units bivouacked there. The Axis forces became disorganized. Both the 27th and 62nd Artillery were ordered to barrage the German units at Medjez el Bab. The artillery fire had negligible effect.
The 6th Armored division attacked the German units in Mateur, but the attack fell apart on the British. Major Witzig gained battlefield surprise and the British lost the 2nd Lothians Armored battalion and the 1st Derby armored car unit.
The US 1st Armored Division attacked the Axis units at Medjez el Bab. In heavy fighting the Americans lost the 2-1 and 2-13th armored battalions, while the Germans lost the 10th Reconnaissance battalion. A German Fallshirmjager battalion held on to the strategic village.
8-11 December 1942
Heavy rains turned the theater into soup. The British rebuilt the 17/21st Lancers armored battalion at 5 Corps HQ. British personnel replacements, equipment and supplies arrived by ship at Tabarka. [2T] British Supply ships entered the Golfe De Bone and unloaded cargo at the port facilities in Bone. [2SP]
10th Panzer’s divisional trucks were unloaded on supply ships at Tunis. Italian and German troops arrived in port at Bizerte and disembarked. The Italian 111th Territorial and 5th Bersaglieri motorcycle battalions unloaded their personnel and equipment at Bizerte. Also the Afrika 2nd artillery battalion and the 1-54th Panzerjaeger battalion camped at Bizerte.
12-14 December 1942
The weather cleared up a little and allowed for some activity. The US 2-1 armored battalion and the French MTZ Infantry regiment were rebuilt at 5th Corps HQ. The US 18th Infantry Regiment came through Algeria and bivouacked at Meskiana. US 58th Artillery battalion and 70th armored battalion fueled and advanced to the vicinity of Kasserine. The Algiers Division and the Coutz regiment advanced along the highway to Oued Zenati.
British artillery units continued to move along the highways toward Medjez el Bab. The 54th Heavy artillery passed through Souk el Arba. The 23rd artillery battalion went through Guet Ma. The Jurion Police battalion moved from Souk el Arba to La Kef.
The 17/21st Lancer battalion at Corps fueled and advanced to Sidi Nsir. The MTZ Infantry regiment advanced through Tabarka. The US 2-1 armored battalion fueled at HQ and advanced on Highway 50 to the riverbanks on west of Medjez el Bab. Allied supplies, equipment and personnel replacements landed at Tabarka. [2T] The 132nd and 17th Artillery battalions (78 Div) moved through Djebel Abiod. The 3rd Parachute battalion and 6th Commandos moved through Tabarka on foot.
The US 1-1 armored battalion fueled and advanced to cut off the Fallshirmjager unit at Medjez el Bab.
The 90th Corps HQ released the 190th from reserve, which subsequently fueled and reinforced the 1-5 Fallshirmjager at Medjez el Bab. The Italian 1st Assault Gun battalion was also released and moved to cover the rear supply line of the German units in Medjez el Bab.
The US 27th and 62nd Artillery battalions issued a barrage against the garrison in Medjez el Bab. The US 1st Armored followed up with an attack. The Germans repulsed the US attack and the 2-1 armored battalion was wrecked again.
The Afrika-24th and Afrika-26th March battalions landed by ship at the port of Bizerte. Additionally the 756th Mountain infantry regiment and the Barenthin Fallshirmjager regiment landed at Tunis.
Col.-General Von Arnim at 90th Corps HQ ordered Major Witzig and his force to attack the British infantry brigade outside of Mateur. The parachute engineers and the 10th Bersaglieri regiment overran the British 36th Brigade, under the command of Brigadier Kent-Lemon, which was decimated. Major Witzig returned to Mateur to maintain the garrison there.
The Italian 111th Territorial battalion and 5th Bersaglieri motorcycle battalion moved from Bizerte to garrison the airbase at Ferryville.
15-17 December 1942
The torrential rain transformed Tunisia into a large bowl of soup. The US 1-36th and 2-36th Artillery battalions arrived near Constantine but were bogged down by the mud. British surface ships dropped anchor at the port facilities at Bone where the cargo was unloaded. [2SP2T] British ships also landed at Tabarka with personnel and equipment replacements.