American troops invaded North Africa in November 1942, but did not face serious resistance until the following February, when they finally tangled with Rommel’s Afrika Korps—and the Germans gave the inexperienced Americans a nasty drubbing at Kasserine Pass. After this disaster, Gen. George Patton took command and reinvigorated U.S. troops with tough training and new tactics. In late March, at El Guettar in Tunisia, Patton’s men defeated the Germans. It was a morale-boosting victory—the first American success versus the Germans and the first of Patton’s storied World War II career—and proved to the enemy, the British, and the Americans themselves that the U.S. Army could fight and win.
Leo Barron holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and has served with the 101st Airborne. He saw two tours of active duty in Iraq as an infantry and intelligence officer. He has written for Infantry, WWII History, and World War II magazines. He is co-author of No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle for Bastogne (NAL, 2012) and author of Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne (NAL, 2014) and High Tide in the Korean War (Stackpole, 2015). He works for General Dynamics as an instructor of military intelligence officers and lives with his family in Arizona.