Operation Hostage (i)

'Hostage' (i) was a British tactical deception undertaking in Tunisia to aid the 'Wop' US attack from Gafsa toward Gabs, and thus support the breakthrough by General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s British 8th Army of the Mareth Line defences farther to the south on the border between Tunisia and Libya (March 1943).

'Wop' was undertaken by elements of Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s US II Corps, and was intended to hold German armoured formations and units so that they could not redeploy against the British as they undertook 'Pugilist-Gallop' and 'Superchange II'.

The 'story' promulgated by 'Hostage' (i), created and implemented by Colonel David Strangeways’s 'R' Force by means of dummy tanks and spurious radio traffic, was that the US II Corps' actual plan was to attack from Maknassy toward Mahares, well to the north of Gabs.