Diecast metal with plastic parts
This is a limited edition item which comes with a numbered certificate
The British Army was, in 1939, a volunteer army, that introduced limited conscription in early 1939, and full conscription shortly after the declaration of war with Germany. During the early years of the Second World War, the British Army suffered defeat in almost every theatre of war in which it was deployed. With mass conscription, the expansion of the British Army was reflected in the formation of larger armies and army groups. From 1943, the larger and better-equipped British Army never suffered a strategic defeat (although there were failures, most notably the Battle of Arnhem, part of Operation Market Garden, in September 1944).
The pre-war British Army was trained and equipped to be a small, mechanised, professional army. Its main function was to garrison the British Empire. It became evident early in the war that its initial structure and manpower was woefully unprepared and ill-equipped for a war with multiple enemies on multiple fronts. The British Army, an all-volunteer force until 1939, was small in comparison to its enemies at the start of the Second World War in 1939, as it had been in the First World War. By the end of the Second World War 2.9 million men had served in the British Army,with some 300,000 Military Deaths and 376,239 wounded.
Infantrymen of the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers in the village of St. Mauvieu-Norrey, France during Operation Epsom, 26 June 1944.
The British Army was called on to fight around the world, starting with campaigns in Europe in 1940. After the Dunkirk evacuation, the army fought on in the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre, and in the Burma Campaign. After a series of setbacks, retreats and evacuations, the British Army eventually, with its Allies, gained the upper hand. This started with victory in the Tunisian Campaign, and then Italy was forced to surrender after the invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy itself in 1943. In 1944, the army returned to France, driving the German Army back into Germany, while in East Asia the Japanese were driven back from the Indian border into eastern Burma. Both the Germans and Japanese were defeated by 1945 and surrendered within months of each other.
With the expansion of the British Army to fight a world war, new armies were formed and eventually army groups were created to control even larger formations. In command of these new armies, eight men would be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The army commanders not only had to manage the new armies, but also a new type of soldier in formations like the Special Air Service, Special Boat Service, Commandos and the Parachute Regiment.