Aspects of the event
In February 1943, there was combat in two areas of Tunisia. Rommel's Afrikakorps was fighting in the south while Von Arnim's Panzer Army 5 faced Operation Torch in the north. On the 24th, Kesselring ordered Von Armin to launch a major attack, Operation Ochsenkopf, although Panzer Army 5 didn't have adequate forces for such an effort. The entire front line in Northern Tunisia was to be pushed far to the west. Rommel, busy in southern Tunisia, was not involved in Ochsenkopf and considered it stupidly overambitious.
Von Armin quickly assembled a force, Kampfgruppe Lang, that included elements from 10 and 21 Panzer Divisions and the third battalion of Panzer Regiment 7. The latter was the old s.Pz.Abt. 501 with eighteen Tigers. A total of 77 Panzers were assigned to this force, which was supposed to push through the Sidi N'sir valley and take Beja, cutting off the Allied armies from their ports.
The route to Beja was a single secondary road running for 30km through a broad valley. After entering the valley at Sidi N'sir, the tanks would have no alternative routes (just one reason why Rommel was appalled by the plan).
The operation began on 26 February 1943. Kampfgruppe Lang was assembled on route C64. Fourteen of the Tigers participated. Official German photographers covered the event, including Herr Appe who walked 2.5 kilometers along the line of parked vehicles.
The battle group moved out in the morning, crossed a ridge to enter the valley, and were halted at the battle of Sidi N'sir.
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