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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 (World War II Liberation Trilogy, #1)
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THE SECOND WORLD WAR > 11. AN ARMY AT DAWN ~ November 18th ~ November 24th ~ 8. A BITS AND PIECES WAR - "This Can't Happen to Us" "The Mortal Dangers That Beset Us," "A Good Night for a Mass Murder," and PART THREE - 9. KASSERINE - A Hostile Debouchment (312 -347) No-Spoilers

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Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

The eleventh week's reading assignment is:

Week Eleven - November 18th - November 24th
Part Two - 8. A Bits and Pieces War - "This Can't Happen to Us," "The Mortal Dangers That Beset Us," "A Good Night for a Mass Murder," and Part Three - 9. Kasserine - A Hostile Debouchment - pages 312 - 347

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off on September 9th.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, local bookstore or on your Kindle. Make sure to pre-order now if you haven't already.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Bentley will be leading this discussion and back-up will be Assisting Moderators Christopher and Jerome.

Welcome,

~Bryan

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

An Army at Dawn The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson by Rick Atkinson Rick Atkinson

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.

Notes:


It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations:

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Introduction Thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Table of Contents and Syllabus

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary:

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

Glossary - Part One - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary - Part Two - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary - Part Three - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Bibliography:

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author used in his research or in his notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations. No self promotion, please.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts - SPOILER THREAD:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

An Army at Dawn The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson by Rick Atkinson Rick Atkinson


message 2: by Bryan (last edited Nov 19, 2013 12:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Chapter Overviews and Summaries

Part Three

8. A Bits and Pieces War

"This Can't Happen to Us"


The Allies push on Maknassey, but they use a fractured division. Combat Command C (CCC) was marching everywhere and there was a lot of logistical confusion. They attacked Sened Station again, thinking it would be an easy target. However German Stukas planes attacked the Americans and a day-long pitch battle ensued.

On February 2, the Americans moved to Maknassey, but the Germans attacked causing the Americans to flee, returning to Gafsa. Eisenhower ordered the men to hold all existing territory.

"The Mortal Dangers That Beset Us

Meanwhile, Rommel's nerves were frayed and he felt depressed. He had a great career, rising quickly and having good success in Europe in the first part of the war. He went to Africa and lost to the British at El Alamein. However, he was eager to fight the Americans.

Rommel had men to command, although one half was at full strength. He also commanded the Italian armies, but they were poorly trained and led.

Rommel and Arnim devised a new plan. Operation Fruhlingswind (Spring Breeze) would have the Axis attacking through Faid Pass. Operation Morning Air would include Gafsa and points south.

The Americans believed that Faid Pass would not be attacked. General Ward commanded this area and he entrenched his men as he waited for troop replacements.

"A Good Night for a Mass Murder

Eisenhower faced a difficult situation when three British deputies handled the daily air, sea, and ground operations. He was promoted to full general, giving him equal parity with them, but the principle of unity of command under a single authority was not followed.

Eisenhower went to the front in a series of meeting with commanders. He met with Anderson, Fredendall, Ward, and Robinett. There was intelligence about the Germans near Faid pass and Gafsa and Ike told his officers to hold Sadi bou Zid at all costs.

Eisenhower did not interfere with tactics, and it was difficult to truly ascertain what the Germans would do, because their plans changed frequently and without radio communications. However, many small errors would mean larger ones and more lives lost.

Part Three

9. Kassarine

A Hostile Debouchment


The Germans attacked on February 14 at Faid. The Americans were surprised and were taken easily. Then the German force split into three segments heading west with more and more American units falling.

The Americans were ill-prepared and green. They panicked and retreated as German planes moved in to support the armored force.

The Germans hit Lessouda, the area commanded by John Waters. Waters, Patton's son-in-law, was captured and sent to a Bavarian prison camp.

Col. Drake tried to hold at Djebel Ksaira near Sidi bou Zid. Eisenhower was returning to headquarters, stopping at the ancient Rome town of Timgad. The information he was getting was sketchy, and American command at Speedy Valley did not see any urgency so far.


Mark Mortensen The author put forth a blunt snapshot assessment of Eisenhower: “In trying to serve as both supreme commander and field general, he had mastered neither job. The fault was his…” pg. 335


Bryan Craig Thanks, Mark, you really appreciate the difficulty Ike and the Allies are having in working together in this war.

You don't get the impression Ike is getting all the information sent up to him.

What would he say when the CCC was marching somewhere, turned around, and marched back...crazy.


Bryan Craig On that same page: "No one asked whether it was not less delicate to permit the destruction of his {Eisenhower's] men."


Bryan Craig Are you surprised Eisenhower did not chastise Fredendall, especially doing all this engineering at HQ?


Bryan Craig Do you get a sense Germany is becoming more burdened by North Africa, especially in light of how weak Italian forces are?


Phillip (philbertk) | 55 comments What a fiasco!! Was it arrogance or just lack of experience that led to the initial stages of this debacle? The image of Ike touring ancient ruins while the front collapses on Sunday is particularly disturbing.


Bryan Craig Me, too, Phillip. You really get a sense of Ike's isolation as commander. He is away from the battlefield and his communications are poor.

I don't know if this isolation every goes away for him.
But right now, I wanted him right at the front and yelling and motivating his troops. Really a bad, bad situation.


message 10: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new) - added it

Jerome | 4310 comments Mod
Germany must have been starting to feel some heat at this stage at the war, fighting on two fronts and lacking reliable allies.


Bryan Craig I agree, Jerome. I think Germany is realizing how unreliable Italy is becoming. This is a real problem.


message 12: by Bryan (last edited Nov 22, 2013 10:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig What are your impressions of the first parts of the February fighting? Do you think the author is doing a good job in telling the heroic moments (like Drake trying to hold the line)to balance a little of the chaos?


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments I am overall a great fan of Ike but I think he failed to get to the action - failed to know enough to fire people - he was assuming (I think) that his responsibility to have harmony with our allies (really the Brits at this point) had more priority but as the scene left London planning and went to African fighting he should have been more aggressive in taking actions.
The retributions taken by the Americans when they could (pg 331 para 4) in killing most Italians trying to surrender "good night for a mass murder" were indicative of the inexperience of our young officers and made me think of Lt. Calley of Vietnam fame.


Bryan Craig Well said Vince, there are many officers up the line who show inexperience


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