5th Infantry Brigade (South Africa)

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5th South African Infantry Brigade
Active13 Aug 1940 – 24 Nov 1941
DisbandedDestroyed by Axis forces at Sidi Rezegh: 24 Nov 1941.
Officially disbanded 1 Jan 1943
Country South Africa
AllegianceUnion of South Africa
BranchSouth African Army
Commander November 1941Brigadier Bertram Frank Armstrong

The 5th South African Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the army of the Union of South Africa during World War II. The Brigade formed part of the South African 1st Infantry Division and was formed on 13 August 1940. It served in East Africa and the Western Desert and was disbanded on 1 January 1943.

Order of battle[edit]

East Africa[edit]

Officer Commanding: Brigadier Bertram Frank Armstrong[nb 1][1]

Western Desert[edit]

The 5th Brigade was almost totally wiped out by the German 15th Panzer and Italian Ariete Divisions at Sidi Rezegh on 23 November 1941.[2] Although partially re-staffed and re-equipped, the Brigade never served operationally after this defeat.


  1. ^ Armstrong was captured at Sidi Rezegh on 23 or 24 November 1941 and was flown directly from North Africa to Germany for interrogation. Matthews, D. Capt. With the 5th South African Infantry Brigade at Sidi Rezegh. South African Military History Journal – Vol 10 No 6.


  1. ^ Orpen Appendix B
  2. ^ Agar-Hamilton Pg253


  • Agar-Hamilton, J.A.I. & Turner, L.F.C. The Sidi Rezeg Battles: 1941. 1957, Oxford University Press, Cape Town.
  • Orpen, N. East Africa and the Abyssinian Campaigns: South African Forces World War II: Volume I. 1968, Purnell, Cape Town.