Formed in the UK in December 1939, the 2nd Armoured Division took part in in the WW2 North African campaign in Libya and in some elements in Greece. The was disbanded in May 1941 following being captured by advancing forces of Rommel at Mechili, Libya. The image depicted on this t-shirt is the plumbed Knight’s helmet used as the formation’s sign.
Being of a certain age, my brother and I both grew up with Sunday afternoon war films on TV, making Airfix models and playing with toy soldiers. As time passed this has morphed into a slight obsession with tanks, specifically, and WW2 history and kit generally.
This growing interest in tanks led me to a visit to the tank museum at Bovington. It has a magnetic draw for lovers of armoured vehicles and houses over 300 vehicles. It really is a fantastic day out if you have an interest in the subject and I absolutely recommend it. It wasn’t until later that I had the pleasant surprise to find that it was where my earliest memories of tanks were formed over 40 years ago. This was in the days when you could still clamber all over the vehicles left to weather in the rain.
The more I visited the more my attention was drawn to the markings painted onto vehicles signifying (I later found out) the Armoured Division or brigade they belonged to, or at least represented in the museum. They were simple, unfussy and striking images, but I thought nothing more of it than to taking a few photos. At least not until one of the semi-regular visits to the pub with my brother.
I forget how we got onto it, but we were probably having one of our usual arguments over the “proper” colours of Caunter camouflage or whether a Bren gun would fit on the mantlepiece or something equally tiresome to anyone other than a WW2 spod. We’ve had ill/half-informed arguments about most things. This time I got talking about t-shirts and the inability to find designs to my liking – i.e. British WW2 imagery. The internet is awash with WW2 t-shirts, but Churchill and Spitfires aren’t my cup of tea. Don’t get me started on “Keep Calm…” t-shirts.
Where are all the t-shirts that I want to wear?
I wanted bold and historically accurate images like the markings I had seen on tanks at Bovington. The conclusion I came to was that the designs I wanted didn’t exist. I should make my own. The only thing stopping me would be lack of design skills or graphical software, no marketing knowledge, limited money and very little spare time. Oh, and that I’m hardly entrepreneurial and hadn’t a clue if anyone else would buy them. I’ve had other ideas ranging from a stall selling toast with different toppings to inner city roof-top campsites and buying a de-consecrated church for secular and pet weddings. None have gotten past the “talking rubbish” phase. I’m hardly Dragons’ Den material. This idea though had more going for it. The fact that it involved tanks and t-shirts. I’m pretty sure that they always say “do something you love”.
So here I am. I’m just starting up and feeling my way through it all. Making lots of mistakes and learning from each and every one them (I hope). When I get a spare few minutes I’ll try and knock out a few words on my trials and tribulations. If you’d like to take a look at what I’ve achieved so far then go here and take a look.
Ta-ra a bit!
The Guards Armoured Division was formed in June 1941 by combining various existing Guards units. Tanks bearing the “All Seeing Eye”, as represented on the Guards Armoured Division WW2 T-Shirt, were involved in the historic battle for Caen, liberated Brussels and spearheaded the armoured column in Operation Market Garden. The division existed until June 1945.
Formed in September 1940, 6th Armoured Division tanks participated in the WW2 North African campaign as part of Operation Torch and also in Tunisia. The division then moved to Italy and was involved in battles such as Monte Cassino, before finally being transferred to Austria. Involved in several reorganisations, including being part of the British Army of the Rhine, the Division was finally disbanded in 1958. The 6th Armoured WW2 T-Shirt bears their iconic gauntlet markings.
The 79th Division Hobart’s Funnies WW2 T-Shirt bears the black bull’s head with flaring nostrils of the 79th Armoured Division. The unit was comprised of tanks with unusual modifications such as floating DD Tanks, mine clearers and bridge layers to overcome battlefield obstructions. Rather than acting as a single unit, the tanks were distributed across other Divisions as the need arose, playing a significant role in the D-Day landings in Normandy.
Bring up the PIAT! The iconic line uttered during the epic WW2 war film A Bridge Too Far. Enough to strike fear into any enemy tank commander. Depicting the combined airborne and armoured assault of Operation Market Garden, the film focusses on the ultimately doomed attempt to capture 9 bridges in the Netherlands to provide a route into Germany. The PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank) was a British, spring-loaded anti-tank weapon designed to project a shaped charge 100m.
Welcome to UNARMOURED. The home of WW2 themed t-shirts.
At UNARMOURED, we are fascinated by functional WW2 design and love those iconic images created over 70 years ago. Some may be familiar to you and others not, but all have a history. Now we want to share some of that history with you them with our unique t-shirt designs.
Our first range features some of the British armoured Divisions which featured prominently in WW2.
We’re just starting out on this adventure so new designs and ranges will be released all the time. If there is anything in particular you have your heart set on then please contact us. You never know what might happen!