2nd NZ Divisional Cavalry Regiment

div-cav-1stThe Div Cav, as they were known, were the light armoured, forward reconnaissance regiment that was always the first to scout new ground and gather intelligence for the battles that New Zealanders fought. They carried orders and essential communications through the thick of battle. And they were often the last to leave the battlefield.

Formed in September 1939 with men from New Zealand’s famous Mounted Rifles units, along with new volunteers, the Div Cav established a reputation for bravery, courage, initiative, resourcefulness, and accomplishment in battle.

The NZ Div Cav Regiment is the only unit that carries the distinction of being the first to be raised and equipped with armour in NZ and the first NZ armoured unit to be deployed operationally overseas. It also had the longest active service history of any NZ armoured unit, from its first contact with German forces in Greece in 1941 to its eventual conversion to infantry in late 1944.

For more info have a look at these excellent websites: http://www.nzdivcav.org/ http://antipodeanarmour.blogspot.co.nz/p/brief-history-of-div-cav.html#!/p/brief-history-of-div-cav.html

My beautiful wife got me these first two items for my birthday this year. Have been after an example of Deruta ceramic pottery for a while so was ecstatic to get these two great items made up for servicemen of the NZ Div Cav. (see more “trench art” items on my page here:- Trench Art )

First up is this mug. div-cav-mug-1

The sides show the unit serial number 77 (changed from 81 to 77 in July 1943) and the shoulder Div Cav battalion patch (9th Brigade red diamond introduced in 1945).

And this nice little ashtray div-cav-ashtray-1The central design shows the universal “Onward” badge with the green felt backing worn on the black beret and other headwear of the Div Cav.  (see my page on the onward badge here:- NZ Onward Badge ).

The front and base marking on this ashtray

A few more NZ Divisional Cavalry items that I have had for a little while.

This small photo shows a universal carrier (T7708) of 4 Troop B Squadron, Div Cav about to leave Helwan Camp in 1941 for the move to Greece.div-cav-photo-2

div-cav-photos-1This small group photo is taken in front of the Italian Memorial in Sidi Barrani. The people in the photo are from left to right; Major Russell (Officer Commanding ‘B’ Squadron), Lieutenant Somerville, Lieutenant Fleming, Captain Bell, Lieutenant Jim Wynyard and Lieutenant A.V. Neal. John Tinsley Russell (DSO,MID) died 9 September 1942 as Commanding Officer of the 22nd Battalion (more information on JT Russell can be found here: http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph).

Have always enjoyed collecting cloth patches and over the years have managed to collect a few that show the transition from early to late for the Div Cav.

Starting with this one div-cav-early-badgeThis is an example of the so called Type Two system. Introduced after 2 September 1940 it was made up of the cloth black and white NZ shoulder title and the formation sign, in the case of the Div Cav this was a green disk. These formation signs were worn on the shoulders of the Battle Dress blouse, Service Dress Jacket and some were worn on right side of the sun helmet.

In late January 1945 an increased need for infantry forced 2NZ Division to form another Brigade. 9 NZ Brigade was formed with Divisional Cavalry (converted to infantry in November 1944), 27 (MG) Battalion and 22 Infantry Battalion. The new patch was based on the red diamond of the 9th Brigade and looked like this: div-cav-late-badgesThis particular little group all belonged to one individual.

This type of patch continued to be used when the 9th Brigade troops formed the core of NZ’s involvement with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan from 1946 to 1948.

My patch is an Japanese made silk thread example div-cav-j-forceMore examples of my J Force silk patches can be found on my page: “J” Force & “K” Force badges .

I have a few 2nd NZEF Christmas Cards but this one is one of my favourites.div-cav-xmas-1Just really like the art work on this one, cartoonish but with a touch of realism, particularly with the shabby looking kiwi troopers and the beaten up Staghound.Was drawn by Ted Lewis of 2NZ Div Headquarters drafting office.

Inside of the card.div-cav-xmas-2My second Div Cav Christmas card and the last of my Div Cav items.


US Third Army, Allied Occupied Austria 1945.

us-ao-austria-fullHave this nice little group that all belonged to one individual . The cut of the Field, Jacket, Wool (Ike Jacket) is very similar to the British/Commonwealth 37 Pattern Battle Dress Blouse, though normally looks much more colourful with the different shoulder sleeve insignia and other badges that seem to festoon the examples of these jacket that I have seen. This one was of particular interest to me because of the badge on the left pocket.us-ao-austria-badgeThis particular badge was worn by members of the Allied Austrian Occupation Force.

The Allied occupation of Austria lasted from 1945 to 1955. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Austria, like Germany, was divided into four occupation zones and jointly occupied by the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and France. Vienna, like Berlin, was similarly subdivided but the central district was administered jointly by the Allied Control Council. Early in the summer of 1945 the US Government decided to accept a zone of occupation and participate fully in the occupation of Austria. After the decision had been made, the European Theater Commander was directed to provide a “balanced force of approximately two divisions” for the occupation of Austria. In July the Allies set the borders dividing the country into four occupation zones with the US assuming control of a zone that included Salzburg and most of Upper Austria. Theater Headquarters accordingly set the troop level for Austria at 28,038 but made no final decision on the composition of the forces. At this time, consideration was being given of using one corps headquarters with one or two infantry divisions.

By mid-August 1945, however, the trend of thought at Theater Headquarters was in favor of employing only one division in Austria, together with lesser combat elements within the troop ceiling of 28,000. General Mark Clark, CG and US Commissioner for Austria, expressed the opinion that, until about 1 April 1946, the forces in Austria should include two infantry divisions, two cavalry reconnaissance squadrons, and two tank destroyer battalions. He believed that, after the date mentioned, an troop level of one reinforced division would suffice.

During the first six months of 1946, the authorized strength of US Forces, Austria, was 29,000. The only large combat unit included in its troop list was the 42nd Infantry Division.

Along with the badge for the Austrian Occupation force, is the medal ribbon bar which is made up of the ribbons for; Bronze Star, Army Good Conduct Medal, European-African & Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal & WW2 Victory Medal.us-ao-austria-badge-ribbon-bar

The Bronze Star 150px-bronze_star_medalis awarded to members of the US Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

The Army Good Conduct medal is awarded to any active-duty enlisted member of the United States military who completes three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service”. Such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishment, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses.


European-African & Middle Eastern Campaign Medal is awarded for any service performed between December 7, 1941 and March 2, 1946,dates inclusive, provided such service was performed in the following geographical theater areas: West boundary. — From the North Pole, south along the 75th meridian west longitude to the 77th parallel north latitude, thence southeast through Davis Strait to the intersection of the 40th parallel north latitude and the 35th meridian west longitude, thence sough along that meridian to the 10th parallel north latitude, thence southeast to the intersection of the equator and the 20th meridian west longitude, thence along the 20th meridian west longitude to the South Pole. East boundary—From the North Pole, south along the 60th meridian east longitude to its intersection with the eastern border of Iran, thence south along that border to the Gulf of Oman and the intersection of the 60th meridian east longitude, thence south along the 60th meridian east longitude to the South Pole.us-ao-austria-eto-victory-ribbonOn the ribbon you can see four little bronze stars, each of these bronze stars are worn to indicate participation in a campaign or operation. Other items that could be worn on this particular ribbon were silver stars (indicates participation in 5 campaigns/operations) and an bronze arrowhead (indicates participation in an initial assault landing).

The requirements for the American Campaign Medal were for service within the American Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946 under any of the following conditions:

  1. On permanent assignment outside the continental limits of the United States.
  2. Permanently assigned as a member of a crew of a vessel sailing ocean waters for a period of 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days.
  3. Outside the continental limits of the United States in a passenger status or on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days.
  4. In active combat against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration or furnished a certificate by the commanding general of a corps, higher unit, or independent force that the Soldier actually participated in combat.
  5. Within the continental limits of the United States for an aggregate period of 1 year

The WW2 Victory medal was awarded to any member of the United States military, including members of the armed forces of the Government of the Philippine Islands, who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946.

us-ao-austria-ike-fullus-ao-austria-ike-backIn the Autumn of 1943, Gen. Eisenhower wrote to Gen. Marshall suggesting that a wool jacket along the lines of the British battle jacket but with a distinctive style should be considered. It took another year to iron out all the design compromises. Although it was announced in May of 1944 that a new wool field jacket would be issued to soldiers in the European theater of operations, it was not until 2 November 1944 that the wool field jacket was classified as the standard of issue and the wool serge Service Coat reclassified as limited standard. Since the Service Coat was not issued to soldiers with an Ike Jacket, the Ike jacket was often treated as a dress item. As a result, the men often had it fitted so snugly that they could not wear it in the field as intended.us-ao-austria-ike-tagThe label of this jacket shows that it was manufactured around 23 December 1944 by Albert Turner & Co.us-ao-austria-ike-rightThe right sleeve shows the “combat patch”. This patch recognizes former wartime service in this case with the 7th Army (“Seven steps to hell”). The shoulder sleeve insignia for the Seventh Army was approved on 23 June 1943. The letter “A” (for “army”) is formed by seven steps indicating the numerical designation of the unit. The colors suggest the three basic combat branches which make up a field army – blue for infantry, red for artillery, and yellow for armor (cavalry).

On the left arm is the patch for the Third Army


And on the lower sleeve is the overseas service bar. Each bar indicates 6 months overseas service during the period 1941-45. Soldiers’ Overseas Service was calculated from the day they disembarked in Britain or France. In 1953, the Overseas Service Bar adopted its current name and the patch was now worn on the lower right sleeve, instead of the left.us-ao-austria-ikeservice-stripes

On the collar are US insignia for the Engineers Branchus-ao-austria-ike-engineers-collarThese are thin stamped brass attached to the collars with clutch backs

The backs of these clutch backs show that these are the 1943 Ballou type. The clutch was invented by Frederick A. Ballou, Jr. and Melvin Moore. The B. A. Ballou Company of East Providence, Rhode Island began producing clutches in 1942, having applied for its patent on May 13, 1942. It received patent number 2,308,412 for a securing device on January 12, 1943.

With the Ike jacket off you can see the shirt, tie and trousers of this group.

The Shirt, Flannel, OD, Coat Style was a fully opening shirt adopted in 1934, with seven buttons down the front and two large chest pockets closed by buttons. During World War II (adopted November 1941) this style was augmented with a convertible collar (i.e. could be buttoned up with a tie or could be worn open) and buttoned gas flaps in the cuffs and inside the front — with these features the word Special is included in the nomenclature. The Special pattern also included buttons at the back of the collar to attach a gas hood.

Unbuttoned you can see where the gas flap use to be, it has been rather crudely cut out, the buttons securing the flap were left in place.us-ao-austria-shirt-gas-flapThe manufacture tag is washed out but you can just make out the word “Special”. us-ao-austria-shirt-tag

In 1938 wool trousers for enlisted personnel were standardized in olive drab, light shade based on a 1937 pattern. These had conventional side and hip pockets (2 each), a watch pocket, and a button fly. The nomenclature was “Trousers, Wool, Serge, OD, Light Shade”. An 18 oz. wool was adopted as optimum for weight, warmth, and ease of production. In 1942 a gas flap was added behind the fly (the word Special is added to the nomenclature).us-ao-austria-trousers-full

The gas flap is still present in these trousers unlike the shirt above.