Photo: Ausborn via Vincent


Captain Charles E. Wilson of the 309th FS/31st FG, in front of his Spitfire Mk. Vc EP912 ‘WZ-C’.

Rommel Takes the Kasserine Pass,

20-21 February 1943

Generalfeldmarschall Rommel’s forces had

probed Kasserine Pass on 19 February, and on

20 February they secured that vital position by

late afternoon, albeit at heavy cost. At this point,

it seemed the battle had been won by the Axis.

Stukas and fighter-bombers were meant to assist Rommel’s Kasserine Pass attack, but once

more, bad weather intervened, and there were



Photo: NARA

Bad Weather Prevails, 18-19 February


By 18 February, Rommel felt confident that

a full-scale advance into Algeria would succeed, and he sought approval for it from his

superiors. The weather deteriorated during the

day, and morning showers and overcast gave

way to an afternoon sandstorm. As a result, the

last mission by either side occurred at 14:45,

and Rommel’s troops received very limited air

support for their advance. Fliegerkorps Tunis

committed just 25 sorties to central Tunisia,

most of which were by reconnaissance Bf 109s

of 2.(H)/Aufklärungsgruppe 14 and 4.(H)/Aufklärungsgruppe 12.

The full-scale German offensive began on the

morning of 19 February, but there would be

no Luftwaffe support for it due to horrendous

weather throughout the day. Neither air force

was able to get airborne, as rain fell across

central Tunisia. George J. LaBreche of the 307th

FS/31st FG later wrote: “During this period the

weather was poor for aerial operations. Heavy rain made our unhardened fields difficult to

operate from, and low ceilings and fog kept us


Personnel of the 5th FS/52nd FG seen in February 1943. The unit was rushed to the front after the German offensive

began in the middle of that month.

INFO Eduard - October 2021