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Kheffiyeh/helmet badge of the Arab Legion ('Al Jeish al Arabi')
Item code: 0010200

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Metal insignia badge of the Arab Legion, for headwear. This relatively heavy metal badge features a representation of the crown of the Hashemite Kingdom flanked by two crossed swords and the Arabic legend "Al Jeish al Arabi" (meaning: "The Arab Army" - popularly known in English as "The Arab Legion"). The reverse is incuse, exhibiting sharp detail. There is no maker mark. The fastening is composed of an original hook on the right and a soldiered replacement hooked piece of metal on the left. A lovely badge with surface wear but excellent detail - and a rich history. It would have been worn on the front of "Keffiyeh' cloth head-dress or on the front of peaked helmets (illustrations are provided).

The Arab Legion was born out of Trans-Jordan Reserve Mobile Force (formed by the British in 1920) in 1923 when it merged together with the Trans-Jordan civil police. Originally led by Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Gerard Peake, the Arab Legion initially comprised around 1,100 men formed into infantry, cavalry, artillery, machine gun and signals units. Together with light British forces the Legion beat back an invasion from the area of what would become Saudi Arabia, in 1924.

Tribal unrest in 1926 led to the creation of a separate force called the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force (TJFF), which drew part of its strength from the Legion, and was tasked with guarding the borders of the territory; the TJFF served both in areas of the Palestine Mandate (it was founded at Sarafand - today's "Tzrifin" IDF base), and included Moslem, Jewish and Circassian soldiers.

The now-weakened Legion, unable to cope with tribal unrest, was bolstered by the subsequent creation of the mobile Desert Patrol in 1931 by Captain John Bagot Glubb. The Patrol took over operations in the desert areas from the TJFF, and the rest of the Legion - police and gendarmerie units - maintained order in urban areas. During that decade Glubb successfully pacified the various tribes, and by 1936 the Legion numbered 1,200 men.

Additional units were added to the Legion in response to the Arab Revolt in Palestine (1936-39) and civil disturbances in Syria - a "Reserve Combat Force" and a "Desert Mechanized Force". Glubb took over command of the Legion from Peake in 1939, and in 1940 the Mechanized Force was enlarged to battalion size and retitled the "Mechanized Regiment" of the Legion. During the War the Legion dispatched units to assist the British: the "1st Infantry Company" of the Legion guarded the Aqir aerodrome in Palestine; the Mechanized Regiment participated in Britain's re-conquest of Iraq (after the 1941 pro-Nazi coup by Rashid Ali) and also in the liberation of Syria from Vichy France, in 1941.

The Mechanized Regiment distinguished itself so well that later in 1941 it was expanded into 3 regiments and turned into a brigade. Although well trained and equipped, circumstances and politics prevented the Legion from being employed more actively in Iraq, Persia, Normandy and Greece - as the British would have wanted. Nevertheless it maintained a guard presence in Palestine, Persia, Egypt, Trans-Jordan and Iraq and by the end of the war the Legion numbered 8,000 men.

With Trans-Jordan's independence in 1946, the British-led Legion became that Hashemite Kingdom's army. In 1948 the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force was disbanded with much of its strength joining the Legion, and the Legion distinguished itself as Israel's toughest Arab military adversary during the 1947-49 War of Independence: it successfully held the West Bank, captured the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem (effectively keeping Israel out of East Jerusalem, including the Old City - until 1967), and maintaining control over Latrun - a strategic location on the road to Jerusalem (although Israel circumvented this thorn during the war with a make-shift route called the "Burma Road"); the Legion's presence there however did not prevent Israel from capturing Lydda (Lod) and Ramle - a significant israeli victory.

The Arab Legion existed under Glubb's command until 1956 when he and other British officers were dismissed by the King, and the Legion became the Jordanian Army.

מילות מפתח: מיליטריה מיליטאריה סמלי סמל כובע ברט סיכות סיכה יחידות יחידה שירות זרוע אגף חיל פיקוד חולצה צבאות ערב מזה"ת