Gorkhalis in The Battle of Tunisia

March 28, 2022

The Battle of Tunisia was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces from 17 November 1942 to 13 May 1943. Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa. Three major axis forces were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Similarly, three major Allied forces were The UK, the Soviet Union (Russia), and The USA. Gorkhalis (Gurkhas) fought on the British side as they were part of the British Indian Army.

 

Gurkhas in action with a six-pounder anti-tank gun in Tunisia, 16 March 1943.
The battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces (axis forces) but the massive supply interdiction efforts led to the decisive defeat of the Axis. Over 250,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of the Afrika Korps.
Axis prisoners of war are herded out of the city as Allied armies enter Tunis.

Axis Forces:

The Axis armies suffered casualties of 290,000 to 362,000 men; the losses are uncertain but it is estimated that the German army suffered 8,500 men killed during the campaign and the Italians 3,700 men killed; another 40,000 to 50,000 Axis soldiers were wounded. In British official history, Playfair wrote that the Allies took 238,243 unwounded prisoners; 101,784 German, 89,442 Italian, and 47,017 others.
Allied Forces:

Allied casualties of 76,020 include the losses incurred by the First Army from 8 November 1942 and the Eighth Army from 9 February 1943. British and Commonwealth casualties amounted to 38,360 men; 6,233 were killed, 21,528 were wounded and 10,599 were reported missing. The Free French suffered 19,439 casualties; 2,156 killed, 10,276 wounded and 7,007 missing. American casualties amounted to 18,221 men; 2,715 killed, 8,978 wounded and 6,528 missing.

In total, some 120,000 Gurkhas served in the Second World War, suffering over 20,000 casualties and over 9,000 deaths.