Operation Battle of Hill 609

The 'Battle of Hill 609' was fought between US and German forces on the Djebel Tahent in north-western Tunisia during the 'Tunisian Campaign' (27 April/1 May 1943).

The battle was fought for control over the key strategic height of Hill 609 and its surrounding area between the forces of Major General Omar N. Bradley’s US II Corps and General Hans Cramer’s Deutsches Afrika Korps. The battle proved a formative experience for the the US forces in their first clear-cut victory of the campaign, and has been called 'the American Army’s coming-of-age.'

Late in April 1943, Hill 609 was the key to the German defensive line facing Bradley’s US II Corps. Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim, commander-in-chief of the Heeresgruppe 'Afrika, used the hill for artillery fire and observation, and from this hill the Germans could also prevent movement by both Major General Terry de la M. Allen’s 1st Division to the south and Major General Manton S. Eddy’s 9th Division to the north. Hill 609 was deemed one of the most difficult objectives in Tunisia, for it was protected not only by its steep slopes and artillery but also by fire from nearby high ground, which gave the Germans a cross fire on the slopes leading up to it. After rejecting the proposition of bypassing the mountain, Bradley ordered Major General Charles W. Ryder’s 34th Division to take the hill. After heavy fighting and high casualties, the 34th Division managed to take the hill by 30 April and on the following day repelled several German counterattacks.