1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, Italy 1943

British Army – World War II

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (Scottish Highlanders)

1st Battalion (8th Indian Division attached)

Italy 1943

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The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders have a storied history. From his ancestors holding the line at the Battle of Balaclava, to the Dunkirk evacuation. Today I am representing the A&SH in the 1st Battalion form, which was attached to the 8th Indian Division in Italy, 1943. The Highlanders’ Battalions served in many locations and battles throughout the war, and were considered a top ‘Highlanders of Scotland’ unit in the British Army.

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Uniform

The uniform i chose to replicate is one of warm weather fighting order. The standard ‘Ammo’ boots are worn. Trousers are the Pattern 1940, Austerity. Austerity meaning they changed the pattern of the Battle Dress uniform (Pattern 1937) into something more easily mass produced. A standard British army Jumper or ‘Sweater’ in wool is worn. Underneath the jumper, however, is something odd. The Argylls were issued a large number of US Army woolen shirts. reference material points out they preferred a collared shirt, for walking out dress – worn with a tie. The shirt is the US M1942 wool field shirt. This type of shirt seems to be the most prevalent.

Equipment

Light equipment is seen in the MTO (Mediterranean Theater of Operations). Pattern 1937 webbing consisting of 2x Basic pouches are worn, for holding the sections Bren light machine gun magazines. along with cross straps holding up the belt. A water bottle with skeleton carrier, and finally to round out battle order, the Gas Cape. The Gas Cape is commonly seen tied to the back of the belt to use as a quick raincoat, although officially forbidden it was a common practice to wear it. On the back the Small Pack is worn with normal issued contents (spare water bottle, mess tin, holdall with toiletries, blanco, spare rifle magazine, Ground sheet). In this case, sandbags are worn stuffed in the pack for quick fighting postions. The equipment has been ‘Blancoed’ with the tan Number 64 color, to help protect and camouflage it (when the units were in the Western Desert, Northern Africa)

The Helmet is the South African model MK II ‘Tin Hat’. These are spotted with 3 holes in the skirt of the helmet for attaching a cloth sun flap. It is adorned with a standard tan mesh netting and bandage.

About this time the Lee-Enfield Number 4 Mark 1 (No.4 Mk.1) is seen being issued to troops. Many men carry the

older Number I Mark 3 rifles still.

Based on this photo

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Photos of the 1st Battalion with the 8th Indian Division.

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