On Christmas Eve of 1942, Eisenhower admitted he had lost what he would later call the “pell-mell race for Tunisia.” Long distances, they explained, congested railroads, and insufficient trucks had reduced to a trickle the eastward flow of troops and supplies out of Algeria. From the Allied viewpoint, the road leading to the southeast from Constantine to Gabes offered an exceptional opportunity. The American force designated to move into southern Tunisia was the 1st Armored Division. The division commander, Major General Orlando Ward, had fought with Pershing in Mexico and in France. Eisenhower briefly considered sending Clark and his newly activated Fifth Army headquarters to Tunisia, then dispatched them to Morocco. Designated the senior American commander in Tunisia, Ward flew from Oran to Constantine, then traveled by jeep for three days over long and tiring distances to visit his future area of operations.