Panzer Army Africa

Seal of the German Afrika Korps

Seal of the German Afrika Korps

This article is about a Axis military unit in the North African Campaign of the Second World War.

The Panzer Army Africa was a military unit of the Wehrmacht, operating in North Africa during the Second World War.

The commitment of the Wehrmacht was in support of the Italian military operations in North Africa grew steadily in intensity ever since (on 19 February, 1941) German High Command (OKW) decided to send some armored units (the Afrika Korps) in this theater.

During the summer of 1941, the OKW stronger as the command structure in Africa by creating a new headquarters called Panzergruppe Afrika. On August 15, the Panzergruppe Afrika was born officially in command with General Erwin Rommel. It remained under his direct command units previously framed in Afrika Korps plus some additional German units and other Italian who had been sent to Africa to support operations.

On 30 January, 1942, it was renamed the Army armored Panzergruppe Afrika Afrika. After the defeat of El Alamein and the Allied invasion of North-West Africa, the OKW further increased the German presence in Africa by creating the XC Corps in Tunisia on 19 November, 1942 and subsequently gave birth to a new headquarters the Fifth Army Armored on Dec. 8.

After the defeat in the Second Battle of El Alamein and the retreat from Egyptian-Libyan border to Tunisia in the winter of 1942-1943, on 23 February, 1943 the remains were framed Afrika Armored Weapon in the new Italian First Army, under the command of Italian general Giovanni Messe, Rommel was placed in command of such a new armed group, to coordinate the activities of units operating in North Africa. This new command was renamed Panzer Army Africa.

The main objective of the OKW was proposed by the use of this new Army Group Afrika was to protect the positions of the Axis in the Tunisian territory, considered of great importance and operational tactics. The Italian First Army would defend their positions in the south of Tunisia (along the line of Mareth), the Fifth Army of German, however, would defend the northern area.

British Crusader tank passes a burning German Panzer IV tank

British Crusader tank passes a burning German Panzer IV tank

The campaign in Tunisia saw the Panzer Army Africa engaged in a long series of defensive operations, the most important and famous of which was the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Thanks to the skills of their operational departments, German and Italian units were able to create a stalemate that lasted for many months, thus preventing an immediate break-through of their lines by the Allied forces.

However, the lack of men, vehicles and supplies especially marked the fate of the forces operating in Tunisia. Having broken through the Italian and German positions on the line Mareth, in May of 1943 the Allies ended the resistance of the Axis forces in Africa, 275 000 prisoners by soldiers of Panzer Army Africa. Together with them, was taken prisoner, General Hans-J├╝rgen von Arnim, who succeeded on 9 March, 1943 to Rommel in command of Army Group.

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