North African Campaign
June 1940 - May 1943
Patton, Rommel, and Montgomery are all names associated with the North African Campaign. The fighting in North Africa spanned across Algiers, Eygpt, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia. The United States entered the war in North Africa with the launch of Operation Torch--the amphibious landings in Morocco and Algiers. The U.S. also participated in the Tunisian Campaign--which included the infamous Battle of the Kasserine Pass during which U.S. troops first encountered Rommel's German Afrika Korps.
WWII U.S. M1 Helmet with Camouflage Net
This is an early U.S. McCord M1 front seam, fixed bale helmet. The helmet possesses an early Hawley fiber liner, camouflage painted major insignia, and early camouflage net. This helmet is an example of what troops in North Africa were issued for combat. This particular helmet was worn by LTC Joseph D. Eisenbrown in North Africa while serving with the 213th Coast Artillery at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. More information on LTC Eisenbrown can be found in our Heroes section.
WWII German Souvenirs from North Africa
Photo (left) depicts common WW2 German souvenirs from North Africa which include: Afrika Korps hats (caps), dust goggles, tropical style belts and buckles, and cuff titles. Other common items brought home from North Africa by U.S. veterans include:
Afrika Korps steel helmets, pith helmets, uniforms, tropical patches and insignia, rifles, pistols, bayonets, canteens, and other German Afrika Korps items.
The cap (below) is a Kriegsmarine tropical M41 cap, which was probably picked up somewhere in the Mediterranean.
German M35 Afrika Korps Camouflage Helmet
This is a very rare German M35 Afrika Korps camo helmet. This helmet was brought back by an Australian veteran. The veteran passed away around 2000, and an Australian collector purchased the helmet from his widow when she took it to her local Returned Services club. Her husband had brought back this helmet along with an Imperial Japanese Navy helmet; however, she never liked them and wanted to get rid of them. Australians played a vital role in the Allied fighting in the North African Campaign. Upon victory in North Africa, most Australian infantry divisions were called back in order to defend against Japan's aggressive expansion in the Pacific. This explains why the veteran had an Afrika Korps and a Japanese Navy helmet.
The helmet is a Luftwaffe M35, which received an application of rough textured camo overpaint along with desert tan paint. The skirt was also painted for reasons unknown to collectors. German helmets from the Western Desert Campaign are quite rare. This one displays all the right characteristics.
German 49th Panzer Pioneer Battalion M35 Tan Camouflage Helmet
The photos below show a helmet worn by a German soldier who was attached to the 49th Panzer Pioneer Battalion. The 49th Panzer Pioneer Battalion was sent to North Africa and ultimately destroyed in Tunis in 1943. The tan paint is a common camouflage color for German soldiers fighting in and around Tunisia. This helmet appears to have received a coat of grey textured paint (reissue or repaint) prior to the tan camo paint application. The decal was carefully masked and painted around, which is uncommon and very desirable.
German Reissued M35 Afrika Korps Camouflage Helmet
This is an example of an original late campaign German Afrika Korps helmet. This Heer helmet was reissued with a new liner at some point and displays a tan / brown / green camo pattern--unique to the Tunisian Campaign. The helmet is beautifully named to Unteroffizier (Corporal) Martin Störzer. Unfortunately, 22-year-old Störzer did not survive the war. Störzer was killed in action around 4/30/1943 and now resides in a military cemetery in Bordj-Cedria, Tunisia. Störzer was only days away from the end of fighting in North Africa. This piece is a reminder of how war takes the lives of so many young men.