Original British WWII Brodie Helmet - 3rd U.S. Engineer Special Brigade
Original Item: One Only. This is a British WWII Brodie helmet used by an American soldier who served in the 533rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, 3rd U.S. Engineer Special Brigade.
Engineer special brigades were amphibious forces of the United States Army developed during World War II. Initially designated engineer amphibian brigades, the first four brigades were redesignated ESBs in 1943.
At the onset of direct American involvement in World War II, it was obvious that the U.S. military would need a large strategic and tactical amphibious capability. In 1941, the United States' amphibious forces were divided into two corps: one Atlantic; one Pacific. Both amphibious corps were combined Army and Marine Corps commands, administered by the U.S. Navy. The Atlantic Corps consisted of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division, and the Pacific Corps consisted of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Marine Division. As this set-up quickly proved itself unwieldy, the Joint Staff surprisingly appointed the U.S. Army, and not the Marine Corps, to develop doctrine for sustained amphibious operations. On 20 May 1942, the Army activated its Amphibious Training Command at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. Subsequently, the Army also activated the Engineer Amphibian Command.
Initially, the Amphibious Training Command (later, Amphibious Training Center) was tasked to train no fewer than 12 Army divisions (including 1 armored division) in amphibious operations. As the war progressed, the Marine Corps expanded to six divisions and the Army and the Navy began to fight over the procurement and assignment of landing craft and other amphibious assault equipment, resulting in the Army's decision to ultimately close the Amphibious Training Center. Per its agreement with the Navy, the Army continued to train Engineer Amphibian Brigades, for while the Marine Corps was adept at the initial waves of amphibious assaults, the Marine Corps had yet to create an effective doctrine concerning subsequent support waves. This task fell to the EABs.
Commanded for almost the entire war by David Ayres Depue Ogden, the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade was activated on 6 August 1942, at Camp Edwards, as the 3rd Engineer Amphibian Brigade. It was transferred to Fort Ord, California, where it was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade. The 3rd ESB landed on New Guinea on 24 February 1944; Biak Island on 30 September; and the Philippine Islands on 24 July 1945. It returned to the United States on 20 December 1945, and was inactivated two days later.
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