How Imperial was Eighth Army in 1941

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Andreas, Jan 9, 2022.

  1. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    So its half and half give or take
    A number of Imperial divisional troops showing
    Great piece of work.
     
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  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Depending on the politics of the author, they may have counted anyone from the north of Ireland as 'Imperial troops'.
     
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  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Are the Indian Brigades the right way round? You've got two British battalions to one Indian.
     
  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Very interesting. I have read that large numbers of West Indians, Indian Indians, Africans, Cypriots, and Palestinians (Jews and Arabs both) served on 8th Army's lines of communication and in the base areas. I don't know what the proportion of such troops was in 1941 compared to later, but if they had been counted then 8th Army might have looked even more 'imperial.'

    I must demur, though, about your assessment of non-British troops as the best in 8th Army. I did a lot of work on 9th Australian Div, and excellent though that formation became the process of attaining that excellence was a slow and painful one with many costly mistakes along the way, even as late as First Alamein. These days I am very reluctant to proclaim one formation, let alone troops of one nation, as 'best.'
     
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  6. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Thanks for the catch. Fixed now! Gave me the opportunity to fix some more errors as well.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  7. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    It's someone else's work to look at that in detail I think, if that is even possible with the extant records. I noted when I looked again today that a lot of the engineering units were Imperial, but I have no idea where e.g. the truck drivers and fitters for the vast amount of RASC units came from.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  8. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    That's a fair point.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    What % of kit non British built was used in North Africa and could the Brits and the Imperial armies managed without it
    Assume much of it was American built and supplied
     
  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    There were a lot of CMP (thus, Canadian) trucks used in North Africa but I am unable to find exact numbers or even production per year.
     
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  11. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Not just the British, the Axis would also not have managed without North-American built vehicles. :bandit::bandit:

    I haven't seen percentages, but key items in 1941 were trucks, planes, tanks, without which Operation CRUSADER simply would not have been possible.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  12. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    This thread could potentially produce some interesting material but lets not forget that the 8th Army was not only fighting in North Africa. It carried on fighting long after Montgomery had left.
    There's were not the only British & Commonwealth forces fighting in Italy. Between them and the Americans there was an almost forgotten force. Void of the American 5th and British 8th Army media machines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
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  13. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    These files provide a detailed view from the Australians, both downloadable. 7593871 is a 109 MB file, 7593872 is an 86 MB file.

    A2671 44/1942 PART 1 War Cabinet Agendum - No 44/1942 - Operations in Libya
    Access status: Open Location: Canberra
    1941 - 1942 7593871
    A2671 44/1942 PART 2 War Cabinet Agendum - No 44/1942 - Operations in Libya
    Access status: Open Location: Canberra
    1942 - 1942 7593872

    NARA has these:

    NARA 6012222.jpg

    National Archives Identifier: 6012222

    General Note(s):The war in Europe had entered its second year and escalating costs of building a war machine had nearly bankrupted Britain. The United States could produce the arms and supplies Britain needed, but the debt default act of 1934 required the U.S. to trade with warring countries only on a cash basis. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman highlights Britain's plight as John Bull, pointing to his empty satchel, seeks credit from Uncle Sam. President Franklin Roosevelt and his advisors would soon devise a "lend-lease" system to meet the wartime needs of Britain and other allied countries while requiring a future repayment.


    NARA 196324.gif

    Fitters are at work assembling an American light tank which has just arrived at an English ordnance depot from the US as part of a lend-lease shipment.


    National Archives Identifier: 196324

    Subjects Represented in the Archival Material(s):Lend-lease operations (1941-1945)

    NARA 196322.gif

    American-built 155 mm howitzers shipped to England as lend-lease reach an ordnance depot on their way to action.

    National Archives Identifier: 196322

    Subjects Represented in the Archival Material(s):Lend-lease operations (1941-1945)

    NARA 196325.gif



    National Archives Identifier: 196325

    Subjects Represented in the Archival Material(s):Lend-lease operations (1941-1945)


    NARA 196323.gif

    National Archives Identifier: 196323

    English girl members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service move armfuls of American rifles just arrived from US under lend lease.
     
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  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    What a great picture. I bet those are M1 Carbines. Winchester made a lot of them. The boxes look like the same style as the ones they used to ship their hunting rifles to stores.
     
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  15. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Thanks for all of these!

    The 155mm were the French Schneider Modéle C design, and the Axis used them too.

    http://rommelsriposte.com/2011/02/23/french-155mm-schneider-guns-revisited/

    http://rommelsriposte.com/2009/07/22/canon-de-155-mle-1917-schneider-c-who-used-them/

    When they arrived in early 1942 they filled a critical need in the Empire artillery park, which was extremely weak on the medium artillery side.

    http://rommelsriposte.com/2011/06/15/8th-army-medium-artillery-stats-12-february-1942/

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  16. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Rare picture of an M2A4 in Empire service I guess. There were three also sent to North Africa. Based on the vehicle list, this is T27945 'Al Capone' of 3rd Armoured Recce Regiment, Governor General's Horse Guard, 5 Canadian Armoured Brigade.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  17. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I doubt they are carbines. The photo clearly belongs in the same sequence with the one showing the women working on the Vickers guns. Those would be Vickers M1915s in .30-06, a US weapon which we passed to the British as surplus to our own requirements. I can't recall exactly when that was done but it was either under cash-and-carry or early in Lend-Lease, so 1940-41. The carbine did not enter production until 1942.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
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  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I know this area is in your wheelhouse but those boxes don't look big enough to hold a Vickers. A stack of five would also be pretty heavy, no? Could be empty boxes, of course. Also, weren't the US ones made by Colt?
     
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  19. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Winchester Model 67, 69, and 74 rifles in .22 were imported to Britain during the war, primarily for training purposes though a few were set up as sniping weapons. Winchester Winder and Auto models in British wartime use.

    As to the M1915 Vickers, that was indeed made by Colt. Some saw service with the AEF in WWI and with our forces in the Philippines in 1941-42, but most went to the British in WWII as aid. They were perfectly good guns, if anything a little better than the standard .303 Vickers because of the rimless .30-06 cartridge. Once in Britain, they were allotted to the Home Guard. Gun Jesus has done a video about them.
     
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  20. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Reverting to the subject of the the thread it's interesting to note that British 1st Army (the OTHER army which fought in Africa) was almost wholly composed of troops from 'home,' or at least the fighting formations were. I believe a number of Canadian officers from 1st Canadian Division were posted to some British battalions of 1st Army to gain battle experience, but I am not aware that any complete imperial units saw service with 1st Army.
     

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