Fredendall was an instructor at the Infantry School from 1920 to 1922. He graduated from the Command and General Staff School in 1923 and the Army War College in 1925. Following a tour as professor of military science and tactics at the University of Minnesota, Fredendall commanded the 57th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines from 1936 to 1938. From August 1938 to December 1939, he served in the office of the chief of infantry.
Promoted to brigadier general in December 1939, Fredendall served with the 5th Infantry Division. In October 1940, Fredendall won promotion to major general. He then commanded the 4th Division from October 1940 to July 1941. Known as an effective troop trainer, he took charge of II Corps in August 1941 and XI Corps on its activation in June 1942. Again heading II Corps that October, Fredendall commanded the U.S. landing at Oran, Algeria, on 8 November 1942. Reportedly, he did not leave his command ship until the fighting was over. By early 1943, elements of his corps held the exposed right flank of a combined British, French, and U.S. force facing eastward into Tunisia. Short of troops, Fredendall foolishly ignored the advice of Major General Orlando Ward, commander of his 1st Armored Division, with whom he was barely on speaking terms; Fredendall scattered widely the combat elements of Ward's division. Fredendall himself remained some 70 miles behind the front at his fortresslike command post. On 19 February, German columns under Major General Hans von Arnim and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel initiated an offensive against Fredendall's forces that resulted in the Battle of Kasserine Pass. This first major clash for the Americans with German troops resulted in a major U.S. defeat. Fredendall apparently suffered a temporary breakdown during the battle. The Allied forces rallied, however; the Germans were unable to exploit their victory and soon withdrew.
This defeat, combined with Fredendall's abrasive manner and his habitual absence from the front, cost him the confidence of subordinates and superiors alike. On 6 March, General Dwight D. Eisenhower replaced Fredendall with Major General George S. Patton Jr. Sensitive to public opinion, the War Department decided not to disgrace Fredendall. Instead, he was recalled to the United States, promoted to temporary lieutenant general in June 1943, and assigned first as deputy commanding general and then commanding general of the Second Army from March 1943 until his retirement in March 1946. Fredendall died in La Jolla, California, on 4 October 1963.
Richard G. Stone
Blumenson, Martin. Kasserine Pass. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967.; Bradley, Omar N. A Soldier's Story. New York: Henry Holt, 1961.; Howe, George F. United States Army in World War II: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations: Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1957.; Truscott, Lucian K., Jr. Command Missions: A Personal Story. New York: Dutton, 1954.