The battle of El Alamein saw the shattering of Germany's hopes for victory in North Africa and from this point on the end was inevitable. In the six months that passed before the final surrender there was much hard fighting, as the defeated German and Italian armies sought to hold off the encroaching Eighth Army. Rommel, his health suffering, fought a number of major actions during this campaign before his forces settled into the pre-war French defensive position the Mareth Line. All the way he was pursued by an increasingly confident Eighth Army under the command of General Montgomery, although he was unable to outflank the retreating German and Italian forces decisively, and Rommel was even able to divert forces to inflict a sharp defeat on the newly arrived US forces at Kasserine Pass in February 1943. This was one of Rommel's last acts in the Desert War as his health problems forced his return to Germany shortly afterwards. The stage was now set for the last great battle of the Desert War as the veteran formations of the British Eighth Army took on their foes in the Afrikakorps for one last time in the major set-piece battle for the Mareth Line.