Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ)
Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) controlled all Allied operational forces in the
Mediterranean Theatre of Operations from Aug 1942 to the end of the war
AFHQ was established in the UK in August 1942 under General Dwight D.
Eisenhower (titled Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Force), with
control over forces committed to Operation TORCH, the Allied invasion of
North Africa. Shortly after the establishment of the headquarters,
"expeditionary" was deleted from its title for reasons of operational
security. Eisenhower thus became Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force.
After the US and British landings in western North Africa, the need to unify
all Allied forces in the theatre (including British forces advancing on
Tunisia from Libya) was apparent. In February 1943, AFHQ assumed control of
the British Eighth Army as well.
Eisenhower remained in command of AFHQ until January 1944, overseeing the
Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and the landings on mainland Italy in
September 1943. He was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson,
who assumed the title Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theatre of
Wilson went to Washington in December 1944 and was replaced by Field Marshal
Sir Harold Alexander, who remained in command until the end of the war.
AFHQ was inactivated on 1 August 1945.
The formation patch (called Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, or SSI in American
practice) is described as a blue disk 2 1/2 inches in diameter with a 1/8
inch red border, on which the letters AF appear in white, all members 3/16
inches in width, the outside outlines of the letters conforming to the
The colors red, white and blue represent the colors of the United States and
Britain. The letters are the abbreviation for Allied Force.
The insignia was approved on May 14, 1943. It was authorized for wear by
members of Allied Force Headquarters (American and British) and by personnel
of separate units assigned to Headquarters Command or Allied Force