Hostis – 3
Authors: Andrea Santangelo, Corrado Re
Mareth 1943. Decisive battle in Tunisia.
March 1943. The Italian First Army, led by general Messe, after a 5 months long retreat began from El Alamein in Egypt, finally entrenched itself on the Mareth Line, in southern Tunisia.
Here, the Italian Army faced its enemy, the mighty British Eight Army. The ensueing battle, the so called battle of the Mareth Line, will have two winners: the German-Italian army won a tactical victory, while the Allies won a strategic victory.
Despite the imbalance of forces, all in favour of Montgomery’s Eight Army, the Italian First Army succeded in resisting enemy attacks for a week, and also avoided to be surrounded by the Allies (including the American II Corps, which attacked from the rear). By retreating on the Wadi Akarit Line, however, Axis’ forces signed their defeat, allowing the Allies to finally end the Tunisian campaign.
The Allied High Command could finally prepare the invasion of Europe.
The Tunisian campaign, as the third battle of El Alamein, was the best trial of the Italian soldiers during Worl War II. This was proved by the many battles, often victorious, against an enemy greatly superior in numbers, resources and weapons.
8 coloured plates
Complete order of battle
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