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The African Star

El Alamein (First Battle)   July 1-27, 1942
El Alamein (Second Battle)   October 23 - November 4, 1942

The 25-pounder Mark 2 was served by a crew of six.  These were: the detachment commander (No. 1), breech operator/rammer (No. 2), layer (No. 3), loader (No. 4), ammunition handler (No. 5), and a second ammunition handler/coverer who prepared the ammunition and set the fuses. The No. 6 usually served as second-in-command on the gun crew.  The official "reduced detachment" for the weapon was four. Though capable of firing a variety of ammunition, including armour piercing, the standard shell for the 25-pdr was high explosive. These rounds were propelled by four types of cartridge depending on range.  The 25-pdr saw service throughout World War II with British and Commonwealth forces. Generally thought to be one of the best field guns of the war, the 25-pdr Mark 1s were used in France and in North Africa during the conflict's early years.  During the British Expeditionary Force's withdrawal from France in 1940, many Mark 1s were lost. These were replaced by the Mark 2 which entered service in May 1940. Though relatively light by World War II standards, the 25-pdr supported the British doctrine of suppressing fire and proved itself highly effective.

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North African Campaign

Highland Division Photograph

'Second to None'
The 51st Highland Division was officially formed in
1908 in a reshuffle of the Territorial Army, as a collation of all the kilted Highland regiments. Over the years that followed, until its disbandment in 1967, the 51st Highland Division served with great distinction. Their exploits in the Second Word War may have earned them their legendary status, but the Highland Division had been renowned since the First World War for their bravery and ability in combat.

The Division was reborn from its twin, the Territorial 9th Scottish Division, along with many of those that had escaped annihilation in the first war. Changing its name to the 51st Highland Division, it was deployed to North Africa, spearheading Montgomery's attack at El Alamein and pursuing the Axis forces through Tripoli, Medenine, Mareth and Wadi Akarit to final victory in North Africa.

After a brief respite the Division took part in Operation HUSKEY, the Allied invasion of Sicily, where is saw much hard action at Vizzini and Francofonte, Gerbini and Sferro before retuning home to prepare for D Day.

The Division also landed at Normandy on the 7th June 1944 as part of 1 Corps and fought in the breakout from the beachhead and in the return to St ValĂ©ry, conducted operations in the Low Countries, spent Christmas in the Ardennes, and went on to negotiate the Reichswald and the Rhine Crossing en route to final Victory in Europe.

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Imagine pale skinned red haired Scots from 57 deg. north being placed in the Eastern Desert to do battle with Rommel and his Itallian allies when they couldn't stand the heat of an Aberdeen summer where the temperature seldom got above 54 F.

El Alamein Battle


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Last modified: 01/09/2013