Of all the U.S. Army units to serve in Czechoslovakia during 1945, none was as combat experienced as the 1st Infantry Division. From the assault landing at Oran, Algeria on 8 November 1942 to V-E Day in north-west Czechoslovakia on 8 May 1945, the “Big Red One” spent an astonishing 443 days in combat across two continents.
From December 7, 1941 through the spring of 1942 the armed forces of Japan enjoyed overwhelming success in not only locking up control over much of Southeast Asia and the Central and Southwest Pacific, but also defeating Allied military forces at nearly every turn. That said, this did not mean that, at times, these victories were not hard earned.
The Battle for Kasserine Pass began on February 14, 1943 and to this day ranks as one of the worst American military performances in the twentieth century. That said, as bad as the Battle for Kasserine Pass went it could have been a lot worse. Instead, and saving the Allies from a more significant defeat, the Germans undermined their own chances to create a significant operational and even strategic level success because, in part, and as was all too common during the Second World War, they failed to create a unified command with clearly defined and agreed upon objectives.