The Bloody Battle for Hill 609
27th April 1943: The US 34th 'Red Bull' Infantry Division begin a three day battle that will redeem their reputation
On 9th April, in the battle for Fondouk, the US 34th Infantry Division had failed in a frontal assault on a hilltop position. The German anti-tank guns remained on the hill - and the British armoured brigade lost 39 tanks in the valley below when they were ordered to take the Fondouk Pass ‘at any cost’.
Humiliatingly the 34th Division had then been ordered out of the line for ‘further training’. Whether they deserved such implied criticism is a moot point, some would argue that it was the overall strategy and tactics that were at fault. But the harsh reality of war imposed immediate judgements.
“Get me that hill and you’ll break up the enemy’s defenses clear across our front. Take it and no one will ever again doubt the toughness of your division.”
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