I've been preaching maneuver warfare for a long time, but I find myself unable to resist an invite to a good battle of attrition.
This is a continuation of the action described in this blog post.
As you may remember, the 10 PzDiv has a dual task: the frontal push towards Lessouda and the encirclement of it from the north. Any force attempting to encircle Lessouda through a northern approach would have to go around a djebel (range of hills) which commands the approaches to Lessouda from the Faid pass.
My original plan was to just bypass the rocky, hard to negotiate mass of hills. My forces were well suited for rapid maneuver, after all. But my men came into contact near noon.
|The enemy was taking cover in the rocky terrain and with the plenty of German firepower, it was a systematic cleanup|
|The Americans fought bravely, but their losses were very high.|
|A couple of American M3 halftracks made their appearance, but it was too little and too late to rescue the desperate situation of the Americans.|
|A panoramic view of the battle. Note the terrain layout and the troops' disposition. The infantry to tanks ratio was low, much to my dismay. But the work of evicting the Americans from this piece of real estate was more or less done.|
|A squad-sized patrol was sent towards the highest point in the djebel (point 644). They found no resistance. Note the raging fight in the far background.|
|The summit was now in German hands.|
The battle ended with a victory. The enemy lost 264 troops and three M3 halftracks. We lost two tanks (incendiary grenades were responsible for this) and 29 infantrymen.
The noon is bright but OBJ Lessouda is still out of reach.