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Tunisia 1942-43:

Overview and Higher Formations

The Tunisian Campaign is particularly interesting to military historians as it is the first occasion where U.S. land forces were deployed alongside British and Commonwealth forces on the ground. The German High Command decided to send German forces to Tunisia, as prior to the Allied invasion of French North Africa, their were only Vichy French troops in Tunisia.

The British attempted to send a armoured column to seize Tunis (Blade Force), but although they reached the outskirts of Tunis, they were unable to hold it. In essence, the Axis forces were able to reinforce Tunisia quicker that the Allies, which led to a hard fought campaign. The British had to send reinforcements to Tunisia above and beyond what was first anticipated.

Order of Battle and Command Structure

The command structure for the campaign is illustrated on the attached structure chart. This is the situation for the final offensive, by which time the Allies had achieved a degree of superiority in terms of personnel and materiel. The Axis forces were by mid-April increasingly short of supplies, and in particular, fuel was very limited.

Higher Formations

The higher formations of the British Army employed in the Tunisian campaign were the 18 Army Group, 1 Army, 8 Army, V Corps, IX Corps, XIII Corps and XXX Corps.

The 1 Army landed in Tunisia, and took under command British, French and U.S. forces in Tunisia.V Corps and IX Corps came under command of 1 Army, as did U.S. II Corps and a French Corps. 8 Army was advancing into Tunisia from Libya in the east, with XII Corps and XXX Corps under command. In order to coordinate the activities of both armies, 18 Army Group was formed, its number being an amalgamation of 1 and 8.

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