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Tunisia 1942 - 1943:

US Divisions

The campaign in Tunisia was the opportunity for the deployment of the first United States Army formations to see active service in the European Theatre of Operations in the Second World War.

The Western Task Force, under the command of Lieutenant General PATTON, sailed direct from the United States to land in Morocco on 8 November 1942. The Centre Task Force, commanded by Lieutenant General FREDENDALL, sailed from the United Kingdom to land around Oran in Algeria; and the Eastern Task Force under RYDER landed around Algiers.

Some American formations and units were used to secure Morocco and Algeria, but others moved forward to the front line as it established itself in Tunisia. The units in Tunisia came under command of the U.S. II Corps, which initially formed part of the British 1 Army. For political and personality reasons, when 18 Army Group was formed, U.S. II Corps left 1 Army and reported directly to 18 Army Group.

The 1 U.S. Armored Division saw significant action in Tunisia. It rarely fought as a complete formation, but was often used in Combat Command Groups (equivalent to a British Brigade Group). The 1 U.S. Armored Division was used to stage counter attacks on 15 February 1943 during the Axis attack through the Kasserine Pass. This division played a major part in restoring the situation by 25 February. The division also participated in the final offensive taking Mateur.

The 1 U.S. Infantry Division also saw action in Tunisia as part of U.S. II Corps. It was joined by the 3 U.S. Infantry Division, 9 U.S. Infantry Division, 34 U.S. Infantry Division and the 45 U.S. Infantry Division.

When the 18 Army Group reorganised in mid April to prepare for the final offensive, the U.S. II Corps was moved from the south of the Allied line to the north. It then comprised:

1 U.S. Armored Division;
1 U.S. Infantry Division;
9 U.S. Infantry Division;
34 U.S. Infantry Division.

The main attack was launched by the British V Corps, but the U.S. II Corps broke through the northern sector of the Axis line, and took Bizerta. The final surrender of Axis Forces in Tunisia took place on 12 May 1943.

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