Tunisian Battlefields and Roman North Africa
“On this famous battleground of the ancient world two armies converged from the west and from the east in the year 1943, to set free North Africa and make open the way for the assault on southern Europe” (Medjez el Bab Memorial) Home of the legendary Hannibal, yet 2,000 years later other great generals would arrive in Tunisia - Patton, Montgomery and Rommel. This small country played host to the largest number of battles fought in the North African campaign. This picturesque tour shows us the contrast between the desert wastes of the south and the green hills of the north. We are combining this battlefield tour with the ancient sites of Tunisia, a fertile country which was once the “Granary of Rome”. We shall be visiting such battlefields as Mareth – where British infantry used scaling ladders for the first time in 150 years and the lightly armoured tanks carrying fascines, a product of WW1, took on the might of the 15 th Panzer Division. Akarit a line of hills protected by the sea and a salt lake, which amazingly fell in just one day. The Kasserine Pass where US troops met Rommel for the first time and learnt a painful lesson. Longstop Hill fought over so many times by British and US troops and the long Madjerda valley. Sidi Nsir where British troops fought a “Rorkes Drift” style defence and where US troops would capture Hill 609 in dramatic style. Fondouk Gap where British cavalry regiments fighting alongside US troops would add yet another battle honour their already long list. Chouigi Pass where US tanks would take on the German panzers in the very first US/German tank battle. We will also visit the Plain of Zama where Hannibal unleashed his elephants for the last time against the Roman Empire, in one of the most famous battles of the ancient world. We shall be using 4x4s for the whole of the tour enabling us to reach the heart of each battlefield.
Day 1 Arrive Tunis, escorted to our hotel, which was the Headquarters of the German General von Arnim, rest of the day at leisure. (D) Day 2 Drive to Sfax via the Enfidaville battlefield and Takrouna the high rocky peak captured by just a handful of Maoris of the New Zealand Division in April 1943. We shall also visit the 3rd century Roman Coliseum at El Djem. Overnight in the former German Headquarters in Sfax (B D) Day 3 Drive to our hotel in Gabes via Sfax war cemetery where 4 Victoria Cross recipients are buried, a record only equalled at El Alamein. On the way we shall visit the April 1943 battlefields of Chaffar, and the Wadi Akarit the 8 th Army’s last battles in southern Tunisia (B D) Day 4 Visit to the exciting battlefield of Mareth and the Wadi Zig Zaou, site of the epic 3-day struggle between the British 50 th Division and the 15 th Panzer Division. Day will also include a visit to the Mareth Line Museum. Return to Gabes. (B D)
Mareth Line Day 5 Drive to our hotel in Gafsa, via the US El Guettar battlefield where Patton turned back the Afrika Korps‘ and “Gumtree Road” the well-known US supply route. We also see Pattons battlefield headquarters. (B D) Day 6 Drive to our hotel in Sbeitla which overlooks the ruins of its ancient city, via the Sidi Bou Zid battlefield where Rommel over-ran US troops during the advance to Kasserine. (B D) Day 7 Morning visit to the ruins of Sbeitla, then onto Kasserine Pass site of the famous confrontation between US troops and the Afrika Korps, a battle that would alter American tactics for the rest of the war. Return to hotel. (B D)
Roman watchtower on top of Djebel Semmama Day 8 Drive to our hotel in Kairouan the 4 th Holiest city in the world. Via the Fondouk Pass battlefield where British and American troops would fight side by side and sour their relationship for months to come. Our hotel in Kairouan is a converted Foreign Legion fort. (B D) Day 9 Drive to our hotel in Tunis via the ancient city of Zama and the Plain of Zama, where Scipio Africanus finally defeated Hannibal and his legions. (B D) Day 10 Visits to the ancient city of Dougga and the British war cemetery and Memorial to the Missing at Medjez el Bab. Overnight in Tunis. (B D) Day 11 Visits to Longstop Hill, Madjerda valley at Bord Toum where US artillery fought a dramatic rear-guard and Chouigi Pass where American tanks fought German tanks for the very first time at “Coxens Farm”. We also visit Tebourba where the 8 th Army met Tiger tanks for the first time. During the day we will visit the spot where the famous Tiger 131 was captured. Return to Tunis. (B D)
Madjerda Valley Day 12 Visits to the “Hunts Gap” and Sidi Nsir battlefields, including the much fought over Hill 609. Return to Tunis via the “Mousetrap” where Nicholas Minue was killed during his Medal of Honor action. We also visit the battle scarred Beja Bridge and the Beja War Cemetery. (B D) Day 13 Visit to Carthage American war cemetery and memorial, where 1 Medal of Honor recipient is buried, alongside 4 sets of brothers and Foy Draper a 1936 Olympic gold medal winner. Opportunity to visit the famous Bardo mosaic museum, or the ruins of Carthage’s military port. Return to hotel. (B D)
Carthage US Military cemetery Day 14 Transfer to airport for your flight home (B)
Date of Tour 10 th - 23 rd May Price of Tour TBC Single Supplement TBC Included in the Price: Airport transfers. All hotels. All meals as stated on itinerary. (B L D) All transport in Tunisia. Mineral water during the day. Battlefield Guide. Battlefield booklet. Not included in the Price: Hotel services, telephone, laundry, drinks etc Tips to drivers and staff.