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British 7th Armoured Division

The 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) of the British Army was, during World War II, part of the Western Desert Force (WDF). The unit had arrived in the Middle East in 1938 (See: the Munich crisis). The unit was intended to possess 220 tanks; however, at the outbreak of war they 7th Armoured Division had only 65. Most of the unit's troops had already been deployed for 2 years by 1940 and it could take as long as three months for mail to arrive.

During the 1941 Italian retreat, WDF commander Major-General O'Connor ordered the Desert Rats to travel south of the Jebel Akhdar and cut off the Italian forces at Beda Fomm[?], while Australian forces continued to push the Italians west. As the tanks were unable to travel fast enough, the maneuver was led by a brigade of armoured cars[?], towed artillery, and infantry, which completed the trip in 30 hours, cutting off the Italian retreat and effectively destroying the Italian Tenth Army[?]. The rest of the force arrived sometime later.

Notable Members of the 7th Armoured Division



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