Ernie Pyle, a reporter known for offering a view of the war from the average soldier's perspective, describes U.S. troops arriving in Tunisia.
"Our Army is a green army, and most of our Tunisian troops are in actual battle for the first time against seasoned troops and commanders."
Men who bring our convoys from America, some of whom have just recently arrived, tell me the people at home don't have a correct impression of things over here.
Merchant Marine officers who have been here a couple of days are astonished by the deference between what they thought the situation was and what it actually is. They say people at home think the North African campaign is a walk-away and will be over quickly; that our losses have been practically nil; that the French here love us to death, and that all German influence has been cleaned out.
If you think that, it is because we newspapermen here have failed at getting the finer point over to you.
Because this campaign at first was as much diplomatic as military, the powers that be didn't permit our itchy typewriter fingers to delve into things internationally, which were ticklish enough without that. I believe misconceptions at home must have grown out of some missing part of the picture.
It would be very bad for another wave of optimism to sweep over the United States. So maybe I can explain a little bit why things over here, though all right for the long run, are not all strawberries and cream right now.
In Tunisia, for instance, we seem to be stalemated for the moment. The reasons are two. Our Army is a green army, and most of our Tunisian troops are in actual battle for the first time against seasoned troops and commanders. It will take us months of fighting to gain the experience our enemies start with.
In the second place, nobody knew exactly how much resistance the French would put up here, so we had to be set for full resistance. That meant, when the French capitulated in three days, we had to move eastward at once, or leave the Germans unhampered to build a big force in Tunisia.
So we moved several hundred miles and, with the British, began fighting. But we simply didn't have enough stuff on hand to knock the Germans out instantly. Nobody is to blame for this. I think our Army is doing wonderfully – both in fighting an army as tough in spirit as ours, vastly more experienced, and more easily supplied.
So you must expect to wait a while before Tunisia is cleared and Rommel jumps into the sea.