Gabes

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Objective

Capture of the terminal station of the 185 mile long narrow gauge railway that ran from Tunis to Gabes.

The intention was to enable the railway to be operated in support of the retreating Afrika Korps.

Image:Tunisia.jpg

Plan

A suprise landing of 150 Ju 52s, carrying german troops, at the Gabes airfield close to the barracks of the French garrison (a regiment of the "Bare" Division).

A bomber force of approximately 180 aircraft was also available.

All Ju 52s would be landing fully loaded as there were no paratroops available.

The French garrison actually outnumbered the airlanding force. Therefore, there was a large reliance on suprise and bluff.

Image:gabes_local.jpg

Operation

The operation began during the night, being timed so that the landings took place at dawn.

Two Ju 52s arrived early and were subjected to French AA fire but returned safely to Tunis.

Shortly after the commencement of the attack the french forces, believing that the Axis force was larger than it in fact was, retreated to the west.

Two days after the successful conclusion of the operation, the first trains arrived from Tunis and their supplies were then transfered to trucks for delivery to the Afrika Korps in Libya.

Links

Gabes map


References

    Morzik, Fritz - German Air Force Airlift Operations, ARNO Press

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