I Love The Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning! (Patton at Kasserine, Part 1)
Old Blood and Guts
Major General George S. Patton, Jr., surveyed the pass. "Damn near indefensible," he said. Eisenhower had chosen Patton to command the United States Army's II Corps after sacking the incompetent Major General
Lloyd R. Fredendall, and giving him a staff position. "Yes, sir," Captain
Gary Southard, his aide-de-camp, replied. "What do we do now, sir?"
"Captain Southard," Patton replied. "We put our troops on the high ground."
Southard looked at him. "General," he said. "What about the Shermans?"
"We use them sparingly, Captain Southard," Patton replied. "We'll use the
tank destroyers and antitank guns instead. Let's build up these inadequate
Patton had his combat engineers follow Montgomery's example at the Second Battle of El Alamein, and plant mines in the pass, to hinder the 10th Panzer Division. Men with bazookas were stationed on the high ground surrounding the floor of the pass. 1943 had been a good year for
the Allies. The Mareth Line was tottering on the verge of total collapse.
Rommel had returned from Germany to take over command of the Afrika
Korps. Von Arnim was now back to commanding the Fifth Panzer Army.
"What about the Afrika Korps, sir?" Southard asked.
Patton looked at him. "We'll be ready for him, Captain Southard," he replied. "Fredendall wouldn't."
Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright
Major Joachim von Blucher was in his Tiger Mark I. The Tigers, and Panthers, were at the line of departure, (LD), and were poised to move out. "We have intelligence," Von Blucher began. "That the Americans are
green and unprepared for battle. We can easily defeat them. Mount up!"
The 10th Panzer Division moved out. Little did they know that they were
heading right to the jaws of Patton's trap.
The Trap Is Sprung
Patton stood on the hill overlooking the floor of the pass and watched as the Tigers, Panthers, and Mark IIIs, rolled into the pass. Von Blucher's tank, being the lead tank, was blown up. Fire engulfed the turret as Von
Blucher and his tank crew tried to bail out.
The halftracks of the 10th Panzer Division fared just as badly. Tank
destroyers and M3 Priests opened up with everything they had. Those
infantrymen "lucky" enough to survive, were beginning to envy their dead