Friday, November 21, 2014

Afrikakorps POWs at El Guettar Valley

 German POWs receive water ration in an Allied-controlled prison camp at El Guettar Valley, Tunisia, 1943. in mid-February 1943 the Axis forces launched a strong counter-attack against the US II Corps in south-western Tunisia. The 1st Armored Division's counter-moves ended in a complete disaster, the division losing two of its tank battalions in two days, with over 2,500 American soldiers being taken prisoner on February 16 and 17. After 22 days of tough fighting at El Guettar the US Army were regenerated after its unfortunate setback. Now under George S Patton's energetic command, the self-confidence and offensive spirit of the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry Divisions returned and the 9th Infantry Division had gone from being a green, inexperienced outfit to a combat-experienced and able fighting unit. The Battle of El Guettar was fought between elements of the Heeresgruppe Afrika under Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim - along with Italian forces under General Giovanni Messe - and U.S. II Corps under Lieutenant General George S. Patton in south-central Tunisia. It was the first battle in which U.S. forces were able to defeat the experienced German tank units, but the followup to the battle was inconclusive. The picture was made by LIFE photographer Eliot Elisofon 


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