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Kasserine Pass 1943: Rommel's last victory (Campaign) Paperback – May 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Highly visual guides to history's greatest conflicts, detailing the command strategies, tactics, and experiences of the opposing forces throughout each campaign, and concluding with a guide to the battlefields today.

About the Author

Steven J Zaloga was born in 1952, received his BA in history from Union College, and his MA from Columbia University. He has published numerous books and articles dealing with modern military technology, especially armored vehicle development. His main areas of interest are military affairs in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in World War II, and American armored forces.


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Product Details

  • Series: Campaign (Book 152)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (May 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841769142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841769141
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Zaloga is a senior analyst for Teal Group Corp., an aerospace consulting firm. His professional specialization is the commercial and technological aspects of the international trade in missiles, precision guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. He also serves as an adjunct staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank.

Mr. Zaloga has published numerous books and articles on military technology and military history. His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Polish, Czech, Romanian, and Russian. He has been a special correspondent for "Jane's Intelligence Review" and is on the executive board of the "Journal of Slavic Military Studies". From 1987 through 1992, he was the writer/director for Video Ordnance Inc., preparing their TV series "Firepower" that aired on The Discovery Channel in the US.

Mr. Zaloga was born in 1952 and received his BA in history from Union College, Schenectady, NY. He received an MA in history from Columbia University specializing in modern East European history, and did graduate research and language study at Uniwersitet Jagiellonski in Krakow, Poland.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on July 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
The battle of Kasserine Pass in February 1943 is typically remembered as both the initial baptism of fire of US troops in Europe in the Second World War and as a US tactical defeat that led to much-needed reforms - a theme that was well covered in Rick Atkinson's excellent "An Army at Dawn" in 2002 . However, in Osprey Campaign #152, veteran author Stephen J. Zaloga argues that, "contrary to the popular image, Kasserine Pass was in the end an Allied victory." This is a very hard-sell argument and if it was not a historian of Zaloga's caliber making it, this thesis would probably be dead on arrival. Zaloga argues that the tactical setbacks in the opening days of the campaign caused Eisenhower to heavily reinforce the US II Corps in Tunisia and then ordered it to adopt a more offensive posture than had been contemplated before the German attack, which then led to the quick collapse of the Axis position in southern Tunisia. Zaloga makes a decent case, but in the end it is not that convincing - the plain fac ts about US and German comparative losses in the campaign are rather difficult to get around and still claim that the affair was a US triumph. Indeed, Zaloga's subtitle - "Rommel's last victory" - seems to refute his hypothesis that Kasserine was a US victory. Nevertheless, Zaloga's narrative is clear and well argued as usual, and this volume deserves its place on the bookshelf with Zaloga's earlier volumes.

Zaloga's opening section on the background to the campaign in Tunis and Operation Torch is clear and succinct. The section on opposing commanders - never Zaloga's forte - is a bit weak, particularly in that the focus is mostly on army-level commanders, rather than the actual tactical commanders (for a campaign that essentially only involved a couple of divisions on each side).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on July 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This campaign by noted author, Steven Zaloga, is really more than the battle for Kasserine Pass. The author begins his introduction with history concerning the Anglo-French friction caused by issues of June and July 1940, of Rommel arriving in Africa in Feb, 1941, of the German defeat at El Alamein in Oct 1942 and moves on to discuss the American landing in Western Africa in Nov 1942. Though this intro takes up five pages, it will give the new student a good foundation from which to learn of the campaign that leads to the surrender of the Germans in May 1943.

In traditional Osprey format, a one page chronology follows this background info and it covers the time when Rommel arrives in Africa until the German surrender.
Of the next three chapters the "Opposing Commanders" was the shortest and weakest. Mr Zaloga covers the top people on each side but not any of the lower officers which will take part in the campaign. On the German side Rommel, Arnim and Kesselring are discussed. There is much friction between Rommel and Arnim and it will have a major negative impact on their offensive. On the American side Eisenhower, Patton, Fredenhall and to a less extent Bradley are covered. Giraud and Juinis are discussed for the French forces.
Opposing Armies has more space and is more informative. It contains coverage of the German, Italian, American, French forces and includes brief Orders of Battle. Though the British played a secondary role in this campaign, it was an important backup role but they are not covered in this chapter. Their coverage is part of the campaign.
I liked the Opposing Plans chapter the best.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
At the beginning of the movie Patton he is shown at the site of an American defeat. This was Kasserine Pass. This was the first time that American forces came into contact with the Germans in World War II, and a lot of the American ideas were found wanting.

The battle itself was really quite simple. The Germans under Rommel were retreating from the British. The Americans intended to cross through Kasserine and block his retreat. Rommel decided to teach the upstart Americans a lesson and sent a force to attack the advancing Americans. This is sometimes called Rommel's last victory. The Americans were hurt badly, but because of Arnim's refusal to help and the advancing British, Rommel's forces could not exploit his victory.

The critical points about Kasserine were in the aftermath of the battle.

General Fredendall, the commander of the American II Corp had established an excellent reputation in training his men. Taking them into combat proved to be a different proposition. He was releived and replaced by Patton.

The British generals, especially Montgomery looked at the American defeat and developed the opinion that the American army was not good. At that time they were not as good as his 8th Army. But he forgot that his own introduction to combat had been at a place called Dunkirk. British General Anderson's performance was also found wanting and he was sidelined for the rest of the war.

Some American equipment, the 37 mm anti tank gun and the M3 medium tank were definitely found to be obsolete. The M4 Sherman tank was found to be the equal to what the Germans were using and the decision was made to put it into high volume production. The Army was very slow about improving the Sherman, the Germans went on to the Panther and Tiger.
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