German mechanized units began a spoiling attack in January as part of Operation Eilbote I. The French Oran Division had moved into the
Ousseltia Valley, presenting the Germans with an opportunity to trap them. Major Lueder of
10th Panzer Division moved down the valley from the north with four Tigers, six other
Panzers, some infantry and light AA units. The French colonial troops, with the exception of
the Foreign Legion, went from an unenthusiastic advance to disordered retreat. To restore the
situation, Combat Command B of 1st U. S. Armored Division was put under command of the French. In the meantime, Kampfgruppe Lueder had been reinforced with engineers and another
four Tigers. On 21st January, CCB probed towards the positions previously held by
the French near Ousseltia village, finding the Germans dug-in at the Kairouan Pass to the east.