Posted 4 years ago
Super rare British 8th Army desert cammo helmet. South African made steel helmet, issued to 8th Army fighting in North Africa. Helmet has three holes in rim for attaching a cloth or some material to protect neck from the sun. Rare to find a cammo helmet with original paint.
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns.
It was a British formation, always commanded by British officers, however its personnel came from throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth; complemented by units composed of exiles from Nazi-occupied Europe. Subordinate units came from Australia, British India, Canada, Free French Forces, Greece, New Zealand, Poland, Rhodesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Significant formations which passed through the Army included: V Corps, X Corps, XIII Corps, XXX Corps, I Canadian Corps, Polish II Corps.
The Eighth Army was formed from the Western Desert Force in September 1941 and put under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Alan Cunningham. It got its number from the fact that the French had fielded seven armies previously in the same war, the British had fielded the British Expeditionary Force.
At its creation Eighth Army comprised two Corps: XXX Corps under Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie and XIII Corps under Lieutenant-General Reade Godwin-Austen. XXX Corps was made up of British 7th Armoured Division (commanded by Major-General William Gott), the South African 1st Infantry Division (commanded by Major-General George Brink) and the 22nd Guards Brigade. XIII Corps composed of the 4th Indian Infantry Division (commanded by Major-General Frank Messervy), the 2nd New Zealand Division (commanded by Major-General Bernard Freyberg) and the 1st Army Tank Brigade. Eighth Army also included the Tobruk garrison (the British 70th Infantry Division, under Major-General Ronald Scobie), and the Polish Carpathian Brigade. In reserve Eighth Army had the South African 2nd Infantry Division making a total of 7 divisions.
By the time the army was fighting the Second Battle of El Alamein it had reached a size of over 220,000 men in 10 divisions and several independent brigades.