La Linea del Mareth in Tunisia, 1943

La Linea del Mareth in Tunisia, 1943

This diagram of the Mareth Line shows the deployment of Italian e German divisions of Heeresgruppe Afrika defending the line in front of Toujane, Mareth e Zarat in western Tunisia. La 8th armata britannica advanced against the Mareth Line on 17th febbraio 1943, encountering little opposition. The town of Medenine was occupied the following day e preparations for the attack began. On 6th marzo, tre German Panzerdivisions, due light divisions, ed elements of tre Italian divisions launched a preemptive attack from the Matmata mountains in the direction of Medenine, but they were repulsed by unusually heavy e very effective artiglieria fire. Rommel lost 55 of his remaining 150 carri armati in this action. Montgomery launched his own attack, code-named "Operation Pugilist", against the Mareth Line in the night of 19th/20th marzo 1943.

Elements of the 50th Division britannica (Major General Kirkman) penetrated the Mareth Line ed established a bridgehead west of Zarat on 20th/21st marzo, but a determined counterattack by 15. Panzerdivision (Generalmajor Borowietz) destroyed the pocket ed established the line once again in the course of 22nd marzo. On 26th marzo, General Horrock's X Corps britannico flanked the Mareth Line west e northwest of the Matmata Mountains, crossing the Tebaga Valley e capturing the town of El Hamma. This flanking movement made the Mareth Line untenable. The following day, German e Italian units managed to check Horrock's advance con well-placed cannoni anticarro, in an attempt to gain time for a strategic withdrawal from the Mareth Line. Within 48 hours the defenders of the Mareth Line marched 60 kilometers northwest ed established new defensive positions at Wadi Akarit.

The town of Toujane in the Matmata Mountains

The town of Toujane in the Matmata Mountains

View from the Toujane-Mareth road into the valleys below

View from the Toujane-Mareth road into the valleys below

Entrance to the Museum of the Mareth Line

Entrance to the Museum of the Mareth Line

Musée Militaire de la Ligne Mareth

Musée Militaire de la Ligne Mareth

Cannone anticarro 2pdr inglese outside the Museum of the Mareth Line

Cannone anticarro 2pdr inglese outside the Museum of the Mareth Line

Garmin GPS Waypoints Latitudine Longitudine Altitudine
Matmata, Tunisia N 33°32′54.9″ E009°57′00.8″ 321 m
Mareth, Tunisia N 33°35′46.0″ E010°18′39.3″ 63 m
Medenine, Tunisia N 33°21′21.9″ E010°28′35.0″ 121 m
Punti di riferimento GPS in formato WGS-84, assunto con un sistema palmare GARMIN eTrex Summit di posizionamento globale.

The concrete emplacements of the Mareth Line can still be seen alongside the road from Toujane to Mareth. Apparently, these bunkers are considered Tunisian military installations today, e tourists are not permitted to photograph them.

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Battaglie della Guerra Desertica, 1940–1943