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British Army in North Africa


Lloydylloyd
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As a starting point for you , the standard issue shirts & shorts were Khaki Drill .  Humbrol do this colour & theirs is a reasonable representation of this material when new .  Obviously , with repeated wear & washing it faded to a paler colour .  Other Ranks boots were black , whilst Officers wore brown .  Web equipment was the same as that worn in the UK & North West Europe & started off a sort of slightly green-tinged beige with brass fittings .  It got lighter if it was scrubbed clean , or a little more greenish if blancoed .  Why they called it blanco I really don't know because the name suggests  white but it most certainly wasn't .  Puttees were a darker khaki green fabric with a light khaki tape fastening them . 

Another thing to consider is that the desert gets much colder at night , especially in the winter , so it wouldn't be uncommon to see troops wearing serge battledress & even greatcoats .

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One other thing is that tank crews in the desert often wore long corderoy trousers to protect the legs from burns on the tank's metal surfaces - The sun heated the tank's hull enough to fry an egg on it.

 

 

 

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Just an extra on the webbing equipment. I had a collection of WW2 British uniforms and equipment, as well as buying and selling the stuff as I used to deal in militaria. Most, if not all of the issued and un issued un Blanco'd WW2 dated webbing equipment I had was pretty much Khaki Drill in colour, unless it had been previously Blanco'd. I managed to pick up a crate of WW2 un issued Blanco, and used some myself. That was fun (not). Blanco gives a colour somewhere between Humbrol 120 and 78, leaning towards 120 in the mix. Did I say Blanco is nasty stuff already? 🤣 If my dear Grandad was still with us, I'd pick his brains as he loved to talk about his time in the desert (ex 7th Armoured and LRDG, with an MM and two mentions in despatches). He'd certainly agree with rs2man about the freezing desert nights. He often mentioned that, along with never, ever sleep in the shade under a tank in the desert. He lost a couple of friends that way.

 

Steve

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I think the term blanco from an earlier time, Victorian? When it meant whitening the belts. But in fact I'm pretty sure that webbing was whitened in North Africa in some cases. How long it stayed white is another matter. The underlying straw/ sacking colour soon bleeds through.

 

I can say that for certain because I have in front me my own set of '37 webbing which had been issued to me circa 1980. I blancoed it with my tin of fleet at the time. The green has quite faded now and the brasses very dull. Corporal Keogh would be apoplectic. 🤬 In North Africa the fading would have been noteworthy. 

 

 

Edited by noelh
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On 2/19/2020 at 2:13 PM, Niall said:

One other thing is that tank crews in the desert often wore long corderoy trousers to protect the legs from burns on the tank's metal surfaces - The sun heated the tank's hull enough to fry an egg on it.

 

Not very comfortable for these chaps, then?  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miniart-British-Soldiers-Riders-Plastic/dp/B0050IW564

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There may be a whole range of old and new uniform worn in the campaign.

 

I read that the Indian Army was still using webbing and other items from the First World War. 

 

Your best bet would be to study some of the colour photos, but a lot of these were staged and may be rear depot troops

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