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  1. 9th Waffen SS

    9th Waffen SS Member

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    Looking for some info for my brother-in-law regarding the US/German battle for Hill 609 in Tunisia in Spring of 1943. Have the recent Atkinson book (An Army at Dawn), which spurred this look at the battle that Arkinson claims "molded the American army".

    Anyone have any other books or sources on this battle?

    Thanks,

    9th Waffen SS
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Looks like a place everybody wants to go..like Disneyland... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    HereĀ“s some stuff on it:

    In short:

    "...the hole in the Kasserine Pass was eventually plugged up with reinforcements, and American and British forces were once again united. The key points were Hill 609 and Longstop. They were seesaw battles but Hill 609 was won by the U.S. 2nd Corps, and Longstop was won by the British First Army. On May 7, 1943, Anderson finally broke through to Tunis causing great damage to the Axis effort. The same day, the American 2nd Corps reached Bizerte after taking Hill 609. German and Italian forces surrendered. Unfortunately, General Rommel escaped.

    It was the end of the Afrika Korps. The Mareth line was broken. Italy was devastated, and would never recover. Over 250,000 Germans and Italians were captured in Tunisia. The Allies suffered 70,000 casualties. On May 20, 1943, a Tunis parade was made by the Allies celebrating the victory. "


    And long:

    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/bizerte/bizerte-fm.htm

    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/bizerte/bizerte-addterrstudies.htm

    http://www.milhist.net/34/34fondouk.shtml

    http://www.kwanah.com/txmilmus/36division/archives/443/44339.htm
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    And here's something from 'Danger Forward - The Story Of The First Division In WWII' published in 1947 : -

    'There was to be one more battle for the weary Red One, the final battle for Tunisia....With its initial objectives under control by April 26th, the First then turned to assist the 34th in just as rough an attack, the capture of the redoubtable Hill 609 (Djebel Tahent), key to the Corps front. Two supporting hills, Nos 523 and 545, fell to the 16th RCT, but only after the division for the second time had fixed bayonets for a knife charge. And then, in a fierce counterattack, the Germans came back. They didn't stay long. Hill 609 dominated the terrain, and with its fall to the 34th, the other hills toppled too. The Germans were beginning to fall back in earnest now - April 27th.. all three infantry divisions and the armor were probing their last strongholds..The German line was penetrated on May 3rd by a sharp armoured punch by CCB which carried into Mateur.
    And that was the beginning of the end.'

    ( This is a really great book, by the way ! :cool: )

    [ 03. December 2002, 09:46 AM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
     
  5. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WWII Veteran

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    The capture of Hill 609 (Djebel Tahent) and of Longstop Hill (Djebels el Ahmera and Rhar) were the twin keys that opened the way to the defeat and surrender of the German Army in Tunisia.

    My Regiment took part in the capture of the latter and had the honour of lining up opposite the saluting base during the Victory Parade.

    An US Infantry unit lead the parade, as can be seen:
    http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/addenda/victory-parade.html
    Does anyone know which unit it was?

    Here's a short piece on Longstop:
    http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/addenda/longstop.html
     
  6. Doc Raider

    Doc Raider Member

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    I know my favorite 9th Division saw alot of fighting in Tunisia, especially Bizerte. I recall a history about them fighting on "Hill ###", but cannot recall if it was 609. I"ll look it up in my 9th Div. and 47th Regt. histories when I get home tonight.
     
  7. Military History Network

    Military History Network Registered Member

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    About the leading unit in the Tunis Victory Parade, Rick Atkinson's new book, "An Army at Dawn", ISBN 0-8050-6288-2, says on p. 531:

    "After the French came the Americans. A band crashed through 'The Stars and Stripes Forever', and the 34th Division's 135th Infantry Regiment - chosen for their valor at Hill 609 to represent all American infantrymen - swept past, rubber-soled shoes clapping softly on the pavement. The men had burned their vermin-infested combat uniforms and now wore new, olive-drab wool blouses, buttoned at the collar with the sleeves rolled down. Steel helmets half hid their faces. General Harmon [CG 1st Armd Div] thought that the troops shuffled like 'Arkansas backwoodmen'(1). and Patton complained that 'our men do not put up a good show in reviews. I think that we still lack pride in being soldiers, and we must develop it.'(2) Thousands of spectators disagreed. From the sidewalks and the balconies came shrieks of 'Vive l' Amerique!' and young men dashed into the street to pump the hands of their liberators."

    The picture in the post above also appears in Atkinson, opp. p 397.

    (1) Harmon was wrong. They were Minnesota farmers and small-town folks.
    (2) Personal opinion: Bll Mauldin was right about Patton.
     
  8. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WWII Veteran

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    Thank you, I was incorrect stating that US troops led thw parade. It must be the French contingent in the distance and the 135th in the foreground. After nearly six decades ones memory tends to fade somewhat!
     
  9. Military History Network

    Military History Network Registered Member

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    Gerry Chester -

    Here's some more background abstracted from Atkinson:

    ___First came the French Foreign Legion Band. General Juin led the French contingent, ten abreast, taking an hour to pass the reviewing stand.
    ___Then (see my post above) the unnamed band - possibly the 34th Division's Regimental Bands massed - and the 135th Infantry Regiment.
    ___Batting third, unnamed pipers followed by General Evelegh and 14,000 Brits, "Maoris and Aussies and Sikhs and Coldstreams", nine abreast.
    ___And blessedly finally ending, after two and a half hours by the Sherman Tanks.

    Atkinson takes 3.5 pages to describe the pomp, ceremony, and - to me - humorous sidelights of this parade. It's too much to be posted here.

    I just recently got "An Army at Dawn", have only read a small portion, but find it delightful and insightful. If you have any serious interest in the northwestern African campaigns - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia - this book belongs in your library.
     
  10. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WWII Veteran

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    Thank you for the additional infirmation. By coincidence, I have today received a call advising me that my order for "An Army at Dawn" is ready for pick up.

    Being the theatre where I first saw combat, North-Wewst Africa is of particular interest. I am sure the latest acquisition will join "The Rommel Papers" and "Popski's Private Army" as my favourite books on the war in North Africa.
     

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