European Theater of Operations Football Championship (1942-1944), US Armed Forces Football (World), World Gridiron

European Theater of Operations Championship 1942-1944

Autumn 1942

DateVenueWinnersRunners-Up
14.11.1942Ravenhill Stadium, BelfastHale9Yarvard7
21.11.1942Inver Park, LarneYarvard14Tech0
PWLTPFPAPct
Hale1100971.000
Yarvard2110219.500
Tech1010014.000

Reference: [1-5, 12-14]

ETO Championship Spring 1943

DateVenueWinnersRunners-Up
08.05.1943White City Stadium, LondonYarvard Crimson Tide19Tech Fighting Irish6
10.06.1943Ninian Park, CardiffYarvard Crimson Tide14Hale Blue Devils0
26.06.1943Eastville Stadium, BristolYarvard Crimson Tide40Hale Blue Devils0
PWLTPFPAPct
Yarvard Crimson Tide33007361.000
Tech Fighting Irish1010619.000
Hale Blue Devils2020054.000

Reference: [11]

ETO Autumn 1943

DateVenueWinnersRunners-Up
10.10.1943PodhsBall Toters
17.10.1943Elm Park, ReadingRed Tornado14Gremlins0
24.10.1943WellingboroughEngineering Bulldozers0Ball Toters0
31.10.1943Elm Park, ReadingSkytrain0Red Tornado0
28.11.1943Oxford UniversityArmy Blues0Army Greens0
05.12.1943White City StadiumCentral Base Pirates88th Air Force Commandos 0
12.12.1943St. Helen’s Stadium, Swansea101st Screaming Eagles6Invaders6

Reference: [11]

ETO Championship Winter 1944

DateVenueTeam 1Team 2
Arab Bowl
Oran, AlgeriaArmy10Navy7
Northern Ireland Championship
01.01.1944Lone Star Field, NewryNavy Galloping Gaels0Army Wolverines0
Bowl
06.02.1944Eastville Stadium, Bristol4th Infantry Blues28Invaders7
Tea Bowl
13.02.1944White City StadiumCanadian Mustangs16US Pirates6
Fog BowlUS Air Force Title
19.02.1944US Air Force TitlePhoto Lighnting14Ordnance Mustangs0
ETO Semi-Final
27.02.1944“SW Town”4th Infantry Blues32US Navy Seabees0
ETO Championship
12.03.1944“SW Town”4th Infantry Blues208th Air Force Lignting0
Coffee Bowl
19.03.1944White City StadiumUS Blues18Canadian Mustangs0
Bowl
26.03.1944“SW Town”4th Infantry Blues27Invaders0

References: [1-5, 11]

ETO Championship Autumn 1944

DateVenueWinnersRunners-Up
Army-Navy Grid Classic
12.11.1944White City Stadium1st Air Depot Shuttle-Raders20Navy Sea Lions0
Thanksgiving Bowls
23.11.1944Norwich348th Bomb Group Kiwis0445th Bomb Group0
23.11.1944NottinghamBerger’s Bouncers6Henley’s Hurricanes0
23.11.1944Moore’s Maulers6Bearcats0
23.11.194478th Fighter Group Greyhounds6434th Troop Carrier Command Greyhounds0
26.11.1944Shuttle-Raders33398th Bomb Group Blue Blazers0
26.11.1944Helton’s Hellcats14356th Fighter Group Tukey’s Terrors 6
26.11.1944Air Force Command Warriors28Photo Lightnings0
Bowls
03.12.1944Air Force Command Warriors23Cowboys0
03.12.1944Shuttle-Raders25Ramblers0
Championship3rd Bombardment Division
03.12.194494th Bomb Group Fighting Eagles3Helton’s Hellcats0
“Turkey” Bowl
10.12.1944Air Force Command40Berger’s Bouncers0
Championship8th Air Force Command
10.12.1944Shuttle-Raders183rd Air Depot Liberators0
“Turkey” Bowl
10.12.1944Moore’s Maulers0Doughter’s Fighting Eagles0
Army-Navy Grid Classic II
17.12.1944Navy Green Waves13Army Red Raiders7
Tea Bowl II
31.12.1944White City stadiumAir Force Command Warriors138th Air Force Shuttle-Raders0

References: [11]

Note: Only Major “Turkey Bowl” Style games played in Stadiums in front of the British & Irish Public in aid of the Red Cross are shown above. From Autumn 1943-Autumn 1944 there were Championships organised in various Divisions, with teams playing as many as 10 games before the playoffs.

Report

From 1942-1943 the US Army played a series of American Football matches in Northern Ireland, Wales & England in aid of the Red Cross. Teams were named Tech (Engineering), Hale (Infantry) and Yarvard (Artillery).

Irish and British newspaper readers would have been familiar with reports in the papers of US College Football, and the team names reflect this (Yarvard and Hale are not mis-spellings, but the names reflect the Ivy League Colleges of Harvard and Yale, similarly Tech is a nod to the big American Tech Colleges.

Starting in Northern Ireland in 1942, matches were played at the home of Ulster Rugby, Ravenhill (Hale winning 9-7) and Larne (Yarvard getting a 14-0 win over Tech). 8, 000 turned up to see the Ravenhill game, and a full capacity 2,000 for the Larne match.

The next year, the European Theater of Operations Championship was organised in England & Wales, with the teams given the nicknames Fighting Irish (Tech – a nod to Notre Dame), Blue Devils (Hale – after Duke University) and Crimson Tide (Yarvard – in honour of Alabama University).

The Crimson Tide won all three matches played in front of the public, attracting crowds of 25,000 (London), 7, 000 (Cardiff), and 6, 000 (Bristol).

Autumn 1943 is notable for the appearance of the Bulldozers, an African-American Engineering team.

In 1944 Army & Navy (not the US Colleges, but Army & Navy Personnel stationed in Europe), played a 0-0 Tie in Newry, dubbed the Northern Ireland Championship. Navy were nicknamed the Galloping Gaels for the day.

There were also numerous Championships for various Divisions as well as two Army-Navy Grid Classics and Two Tea Bowls and a Coffee Bowl in 1944 as the tide turned on the war and opportunities for playing in large stadiums for the benefit of both the Red Cross and the citizens of Britain increased.

An interesting footnote to this era is the very first American Football game played in Africa, the Arab Bowl, played in Oran, Algeria, which Army won 10-7 over Navy.

Yarvard Team at Sandy Bay, Larne, 1942 [14]

References

_________________________________________________________

Websites

[1] Irish American Football Association (2016) Journey to Thirty [Internet] Available from: http://www.americanfootball.ie/journeyto-thirty/ [Accessed 08 August 2016]

[2] Irish American Football Association (2016) History of US Teams playing in Ireland [Internet] Available from: http://www.americanfootball.ie/history-of-us-teams-playing-in-ireland/ [Accessed 22 November 2016]

[3] Irish American Football Association (2016) History [Internet] Available from: http://www.americanfootball.ie/iafl/history.htm [Accessed 26 October 2016]

[4] Lucky Show (2016) American Football in Ireland [Internet] Available from: http://www.luckyshow.org/football/Shamrock%20Bowl.htm [Accessed 5 June 2017]

[5] Dublin Town – Article by Gerry Farrell (2016) College Football Classic Ireland’s Relationship with American Football [Internet] Available from: http://www.dublintown.ie/irelands-relationship-with-american-football/ [Accessed 7 May 2018]

Sources.

[6] Anon. (1942) . “Photo caption: American Football att Ravenhill”. Belfast News-Letter. 16 November 1942. pg. 6.

[10] Magee, Damian. “English Beer and American Football: Exporting American Football as a Cultural Commodity to the British Isles.” Irish Journal of American Studies, vol. 7, 1998, pp. 121–148. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/30002410.

[11] Foglio, Massimo & Ford, Mark L. (2017) Touchdown in Europe How American Football Came to the Old Continent. pg. 47-82. Published by the author.

Social Media

[12] Belfast Blitzers | Faacebook (2019) Post 22 August 2019: “ So this is the last of the photos in the archive, it’s of the Yarvard team at Sandy Bay, Larne Harbour on the 21st November 1942. “ [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/belfastblitzers/photos/pcb.2260513057393170/2260507127393763/?type=3&theater [Accessed 23 August 2019]

[13] Belfast Blitzers | Faacebook (2019) Post 22 August 2019: “So this is the last of the photos in the archive, it’s of the Yarvard team at Sandy Bay, Larne Harbour on the 21st November 1942. “ [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/belfastblitzers/photos/rpp.454643317980162/2260507354060407/?type=3&theater[Accessed 23 August 2019]


Images

[14] Belfast Blitzers | Facebook (2019) Photo 22 August 2019 [Internet] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/belfastblitzers/photos/pcb.2260513057393170/2260507127393763/?type=3&theater [Accessed 23 August 2019]

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Todd Zboyan & Tim Leadingham.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 2 November 2019

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2019

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.

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