Operation Crumpet

This was a British attack by elements of Lieutenant General K. A. N. Anderson’s Allied 1st army on the Djebel Mansour and Djebel Alliliga, above the Wadi el Kebir and overlooking the Kebir Reservoir in Tunisia, in the immediate aftermath of ‘Eilbote’ (2/5 February 1943).

The task was entrusted to Brigadier E. W. C. Flavell’s 1st Parachute Brigade of Major General C. F. Keightley’s 6th Armoured Division but transferred on 28 January to Général de Corps d’Armée Marie Louis Koëltz’s French XIX Corps in the Bou Araba area. The British brigade was given command of several French units, and was stationed between Brigadier B. Howlett’s British 36th Brigade and Brigadier F. A. V. Copland-Griffiths’s 1st Guards Brigade of the 6th Armoured Division.

On 2 February the 1/Parachute was ordered to take the Djebel Mansour and Djebel Alliliga, supported by a single company of the French Foreign Legion. The battalion launched its attack during the night and by the next morning had captured both features against fierce opposition. The battalion’s casualties were so heavy, however, that it was compelled to fall back from the Djebel Alliliga and concentrate its remaining strength on the Djebel Mansour. Here it was cut off from supplies and almost all reinforcements, and the 6th Armoured Division’s counterattacks failed to reach the battalion. The 3/Grenadier Guards of the 1st Guards Brigade was able to capture most of Djebel Alliliga on 4 February, but both battalions then came under increasingly heavy German attack, and by 11.00 on the following day it was decided to withdraw both of these units.