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The Info List - Anglo-Iraqi War





Allies:  United Kingdom

'Abd al-Ilah
'Abd al-Ilah
loyalists Assyrian Levies  British Palestine[1] Transjordan India

 Australia[nb 1]  New Zealand[nb 2]  Greece[nb 3]

Axis:  Iraq  Germany[5]  Italy[6] Supported by: Vichy France

Commanders and leaders

Claude Auchinleck Archibald Wavell[9] Edward Quinan[10] William Fraser[9] William Slim H. G. Smart[11] Ouvry Roberts John D'Albiac Abdul Illah Rashid Ali Mohammed Amin al-Husseini[12] Salah ed-Din es-Sabbagh Kamal Shabib Fahmi Said Mahmud Salman Fawzi al-Qawuqji Werner Junck

Strength

1 infantry division[13] 2 brigade groups[nb 5] 100+ aircraft[nb 6] 4 divisions[14] 60,000 troops[16] 116 Iraqi aircraft[17] (50 – 60 serviceable)[10] 21–29 German aircraft[5][18] 12 Italian aircraft[6]

Casualties and losses

Casualties slight[19] At least 60 killed[20] 28 aircraft[21] 1,750 casualties, including 500 killed[19] Most of the serviceable Iraqi aircraft[22] 19 German aircraft[6] 3 Italian aircraft[6]

v t e

Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre

Adriatic North Africa East Africa Mediterranean Sea Gibraltar Malta Bahrain Balkans Yugoslavia Iraq Syria–Lebanon Palestine Iran Sicily Italian mainland Dodecanese Corsica Dragoon

The Anglo–Iraqi War (2–31 May 1941) was a British military campaign against the rebel government of Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
in the Kingdom of Iraq
Iraq
during the Second World War. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq
Iraq
by the British Empire
British Empire
and the return to power of the ousted British imperial ally the Regent
Regent
of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah.

Contents

1 Background

1.1 Mandatory Iraq 1.2 Coup d'état 1.3 Iraqi forces 1.4 British Imperial Force 1.5 British Imperial response

1.5.1 Operation Sabine 1.5.2 First arrivals in Basra 1.5.3 Additional arrivals 1.5.4 Reinforcement of Habbaniya

1.6 Iraqi moves and escalation to war

1.6.1 Iraqi demands 1.6.2 Situation at RAF Habbaniya 1.6.3 Further exchanges 1.6.4 Decision to launch air strikes made

2 Battle

2.1 2 May 2.2 Siege
Siege
of Habbaniya

2.2.1 Iraqi forces, 2 May 2.2.2 Iraqis
Iraqis
abandon escarpment 2.2.3 Iraqi reinforcements attacked 2.2.4 Churchill praises Smart

2.3 Axis intervention

2.3.1 Fliegerführer Irak 2.3.2 Vichy French
Vichy French
supplies from Syria 2.3.3 Italy

2.4 Advance from Palestine

2.4.1 Rutbah 2.4.2 Habbaniya Force 2.4.3 Kingcol 2.4.4 Arrival at Habbaniya

2.5 Battle of Fallujah

2.5.1 Iraqi counterattack 2.5.2 Jezireh

2.6 Basra

2.6.1 Ashar 2.6.2 Operations Regulta and Regatta

2.7 Iraqi collapse

2.7.1 Baghdad

3 Aftermath 4 Battle honours 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References

7.1 Books 7.2 Websites

8 Further reading 9 External links

Background[edit] Mandatory Iraq[edit] See also: Mandatory Iraq
Iraq
and Relations between Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and the Arab world The Kingdom of Iraq
Kingdom of Iraq
(also referred to as Mesopotamia) was governed by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
under a League of Nations mandate, the British Mandate of Mesopotamia, until 1932 when Iraq
Iraq
became nominally independent.[23] Before granting independence, the United Kingdom concluded the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930. The treaty included permission to establish military bases for British use and provide the facilities for the unrestricted movement of British forces through the country, upon request to the Iraqi government.[24][25] The conditions of the treaty were imposed by the British to ensure control of Iraqi petroleum. Many Iraqis
Iraqis
resented these conditions because Iraq
Iraq
was still under the control of the British Government.[26] After 1937, no British troops were left in Iraq
Iraq
and the government had become solely responsible for internal security.[27] The Royal Air Force (RAF) had been allowed to retain two bases; RAF Shaibah, near Basra
Basra
and RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
( Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
H. G. Smart, also Air Officer Commanding RAF Iraq
Iraq
Command), between Ramadi
Ramadi
and Fallujah.[28][29] The bases protected British petroleum interests and were a link in the air route between Egypt and India.[28] At the beginning of the Second World War RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
became a training base, protected by No. 1 Armoured Car Company RAF, Iraq
Iraq
Levies and locally raised Iraqi troops, the RAF Iraq
Iraq
Levies.[30][31] In September 1939, the Iraqi Government broke off diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.[27] In March 1940, the nationalist and anti-British Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
replaced Nuri as-Said
Nuri as-Said
as Prime Minister
Prime Minister
of Iraq. Rashid Ali made covert contacts with German representatives in Ankara
Ankara
and Berlin, though he was not yet an openly pro-Axis supporter.[32] In June 1940, when Fascist Italy joined the war on the side of Germany, the Iraqi government did not break off diplomatic relations.[27] The Italian Legation in Baghdad
Baghdad
became the chief centre for Axis propaganda and for fomenting anti-British feeling. In this they were aided by Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who had been imposed by the British in 1921. The Grand Mufti had fled from the British Mandate of Palestine shortly before the war and later received asylum in Baghdad.[33] In January 1941, Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Taha al-Hashimi
Taha al-Hashimi
amidst a political crisis and a possible civil war.[34] Public opinion in Iraq
Iraq
became less favourable to Italy after it suffered defeats in Greece, Albania, North and East Africa during 1940.[citation needed] Coup d'état[edit] Main article: 1941 Iraqi coup d'état

HMS Cockchafer

On 31 March, the Regent
Regent
of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, learnt of a plot to arrest him and he fled Baghdad
Baghdad
for RAF Habbaniya. From Habbaniya he was flown to Basra
Basra
and given refuge on the gunboat HMS Cockchafer.[34] On 1 April, Rashid Ali, along with four senior army and air force officers (the Golden Square), seized power via a coup d'état, and Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
proclaimed himself "Chief of the National Defence Government".[34] The Golden Square deposed Prime Minister Taha al-Hashimi[35] and Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
again became Prime Minister of Iraq. Ali did not overthrow the monarchy and named a new Regent
Regent
to King Faisal II, Sherif Sharaf. Faisal and his family took refuge in the home of Mulla Effendi. The leaders of the National Defence Government began to arrest pro-British citizens and politicians but many managed to escape through Amman
Amman
in Transjordan. The new regime intended to refuse further concessions to Britain, retain diplomatic links with Fascist Italy and to exile prominent pro-British politicians. The putschists considered Britain to be weak and that its government would negotiate with the Golden Square.[36] On 17 April, Ali, asked Germany for military assistance in the event of war with the British.[37] Ali also tried to restrict British rights under Article 5 of the 1930 treaty when he insisted that newly arrived British troops be quickly transported through Iraq
Iraq
and to Palestine.[38] Iraqi forces[edit]

Map of Iraq
Iraq
during Second World War

Before the war, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
provided support to the Royal Iraqi Army (RIrA) and to the Royal Iraqi Air Force (RIrAF) through a small military mission based in Baghdad, commanded from 1938 by Major-General
Major-General
G. G. Waterhouse.[39][40] The RIrA was composed of approximately 60,000 men, most in four infantry divisions and one mechanized brigade.[14] The 1st and 3rd Divisions were stationed near Baghdad.[39][14] Also based within Baghdad
Baghdad
was the Independent Mechanized Brigade, composed of a light-tank company, an armoured-car company, two battalions of motorised infantry, machine-gunners and an artillery brigade. The Iraqi 2nd Division was stationed in Kirkuk
Kirkuk
and the 4th Division in Al Diwaniyah, on the main rail line from Baghdad to Basra.[17] Unlike the modern use of the term "mechanized", in 1941 "mechanized" for the RIrA meant motorised (moving in lorries, fighting on foot).[17] The Iraqis
Iraqis
fielded police units and about 500 irregulars under Arab guerrilla leader Fawzi al-Qawuqji, a ruthless fighter who did not hesitate to murder or mutilate prisoners. For the most part, Fawzi operated in the area between Rutbah
Rutbah
and Ramadi, before being chased back into Syria.[41][42] The RIrAF had 116 aircraft in seven squadrons and a training school; 50 to 60 of the aircraft were serviceable.[17][10] Most Iraqi fighter and bomber aircraft were at "Rashid Airfield" in Baghdad
Baghdad
(formerly RAF Hinaidi) or in Mosul. Four squadrons and the Flying Training School were based in Baghdad. Two squadrons with close co-operation and general-purpose aircraft were based in Mosul. The Iraqis
Iraqis
flew an assortment of aircraft types including Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Gladiator
biplane fighters, Breda 65
Breda 65
fighter bombers, Savoia SM 79 medium bombers, Northrop/Douglas 8A fighter bombers, Hawker Hart
Hawker Hart
(Hawker Nisr) biplane close co-operation aircraft, Vickers Vincent
Vickers Vincent
biplane light bombers, de Havilland Dragon biplane general purpose aircraft, de Havilland Dragonfly biplane general purpose aircraft and Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth
biplane trainers. The RIrAForce had another nine aircraft not allocated to squadrons and 19 aircraft in reserve.[17] The Royal Iraqi Navy (RIrN) had four 100 long tons (100 t) Thornycroft gunboats, a pilot vessel and a minesweeper. All were armed and were based in the Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
waterways.[43] British Imperial Force[edit] Further information: Iraqforce On 1 April 1941, the British forces in Iraq
Iraq
were small. Air Vice Marshal Harry Smart commanded British Forces in Iraq, a multi-service headquarters. Ground forces included Number 1 Armoured Car Company RAF and six companies of Assyrian Levies, composed of indigenous Eastern Aramaic speaking Christian
Christian
Assyrians about 2,000 officers and other ranks strong, under the command of about twenty British officers.[44] The armoured-car company had 18 ancient Rolls Royce armoured cars built for the RAF in 1921 on converted chassis of World War I design.[45] The armoured car company had two large tanks (HMT Walrus & Seal based on Dragon Mk 1 artillery tractors[46]) and a Carden-Lloyd Mk VI tankette.[47] At RAF Habbaniya, No. 4 Flying Training School RAF
No. 4 Flying Training School RAF
(4FTS) had a miscellany of obsolescent bombers, fighters and trainers. Many of the 84 aircraft were unserviceable or were not fit for offensive use. At the start of hostilities, there were about 1,000 RAF personnel but only 39 pilots.[48] On 1 April, the British had three Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters used as officers' runabouts, thirty Hawker Audax biplane close co-operation aircraft, seven Fairey Gordon
Fairey Gordon
biplane bombers, 27 twin-engine Airspeed Oxford
Airspeed Oxford
trainers, 28 Hawker Hart biplane light bombers (the bomber version of the Hawker Audax), twenty Hart trainers and a Bristol Blenheim
Bristol Blenheim
Mk1 bomber. Audaxes could carry eight 20-pound bombs (9.1 kg) and twelve were modified to carry two 250 lb (110 kg) bombs. The Gordons could each carry two 250 lb bombs and the Oxfords were converted from carrying smoke bombs to carrying eight 20 lb bombs. The Hawker Harts could carry two 250 lb bombs. The Hawker trainers were unarmed and the Blenheim departed on 3 May. There was also an RAF Iraq
Iraq
Communications Flight at Habbaniya with three Vickers Valentia
Vickers Valentia
biplane flying boats.[49] At RAF Shaibah
RAF Shaibah
there was 244 Squadron with some Vickers Vincent bombers.[50] The naval forces available to support British actions in Iraq
Iraq
were part of the East Indies Station
East Indies Station
and included vessels from the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
(RN), the Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
(RAN), the Royal New Zealand
New Zealand
Navy (RNZN) and the Royal Indian Navy
Royal Indian Navy
(RIN). British Imperial response[edit] The British Empire's perspective was that relations with Rashid Ali's "National Defence Government" had become increasingly unsatisfactory. By treaty, Iraq
Iraq
was pledged to provide assistance to the United Kingdom in war and to permit the passage of British troops through its territory. There was a British Military Mission with the Iraq
Iraq
Army, and the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
had stations at Habbaniya and at Shaibah.[51] From the outset, British Prime Minister
Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
advocated the non-recognition of Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
or his illegal "National Defence Government."[52] On 2 April, Sir
Sir
Kinahan Cornwallis, the new British Ambassador to Iraq, arrived in Baghdad.[37][51] He had much experience in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and had spent twenty years in the country as the advisor to King Faisal I. Cornwallis was highly regarded and he was sent to Iraq
Iraq
with the understanding that he would be able to hold a more forceful line with the new Iraqi government than had hitherto been the case. Unfortunately, Cornwallis arrived in Iraq
Iraq
too late to prevent the outbreak of war.[29] On 6 April, AVM Smart requested reinforcements, but his request was rejected by Air Officer Commanding in the Middle East Sir
Sir
Arthur Longmore.[37] At this point in the Second World War, the situation developing in Iraq
Iraq
did not figure highly in British priorities. Churchill wrote, "Libya counts first, withdrawal of troops from Greece second. Tobruk shipping, unless indispensable to victory, must be fitted in as convenient. Iraq
Iraq
can be ignored and Crete worked up later."[53] The British Chiefs-of-Staff and the Commander-in-Chief, India
Commander-in-Chief, India
General Claude Auchinleck, were in favour of armed intervention but the three local Commander-in-Chief, already burdened by the Western Desert Campaign, East African Campaign and the Battle of Greece, suggested that the only force available was an infantry battalion in Palestine and the aircraft already in Iraq.[54][nb 7] The Government of India had a long-standing commitment to prepare an infantry division to protect the Anglo-Iranian oilfields and in July 1940, the leading brigade of the 5th Indian Infantry Division, was ordered to Iraq.[55] In August the division was placed under the control of Middle East Command and diverted to the Sudan.[56] Since then, India Command had been investigating the move of troops by air from India to RAF Shaibah. Operation Sabine[edit]

Gloster Gladiators of No. 94 Squadron RAF
No. 94 Squadron RAF
Detachment, guarded by Arab Legionnaires, refuel during their journey from Ismailia, Egypt, to reinforce Habbaniya

On 8 April, Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
contacted Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India, and asked him what force could be quickly sent from India to Iraq. Amery contacted General
General
Auchinleck and Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy and Governor- General
General
of India, the same day.[57] The response from India was that most of a brigade group due to set sail for Malaya on 10 April, could be diverted to Basra
Basra
and the rest sent ten days later; 390 British infantry could be flown from India into RAF Shaibah and when shipping was available, the force could quickly be built up to a division.[10] On 10 April this offer was accepted by London, and the move of these forces was codenamed.[55] On the same day General Archibald Wavell, Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
of Middle East Command, informed London that he could no longer spare the battalion in Palestine and urged diplomacy and possibly a demonstration of air strength, rather than military intervention.[10] On 10 April, Major-General
Major-General
William Fraser assumed control over Iraqforce, the land forces from India headed for Basra
Basra
with orders to occupy the Basra-Shabai area to ensure the safe disembarkation of further reinforcements and to enable a base to be established in that area.[10][nb 8] The attitude of the Iraqi Army and local authorities was still uncertain and attempts might be made to oppose disembarkation. Fraser was closely to co-operate with the navy commander. If the landing was opposed, Fraser was to defeat the Iraqi forces and establish a base but Fraser was not to infringe Iranian neutrality.[58] In early April, preparation for hostilities began at Habbaniya, aircraft were modified to carry bombs and light bombers such as the Audaxes were modified to carry larger bombs.[59] On 12 April, Convoy BP7 left Karachi.[60] The convoy was composed of eight transports escorted by the Grimsby Class sloop HMAS Yarra. The forces transported by the convoy were under the command of Major-General
Major-General
Fraser, the commanding officer of the 10th Indian Infantry Division. The forces being transported consisted of two senior staff officers from the 10th Indian Division headquarters, the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade, the personnel of the Royal Artillery's 3rd Field Regiment;[10] but without their guns,[61] and certain ancillary troops.[58]

HMS Hermes aircraft carrier

On 13 April, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
force of four ships in the Persian Gulf were reinforced by the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and two light cruisers, the HMS Emerald and the HMNZS Leander. The HMS Hermes carried the Fairey Swordfish
Fairey Swordfish
torpedo bombers of 814 Squadron.[60] The naval vessels which covered the disembarkation at Basra
Basra
consisted of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, the light cruiser HMS Emerald, the light cruiser HMNZS Leander, the sloop HMS Falmouth, the gunboat HMS Cockchafer, the sloop HMS Seabelle, the minesweeper sloop HMIS Lawrence, and the sloop HMAS Yarra. On the morning of 15 April, Convoy BP7 was met at sea by HMS Seabelle from Basra. Later in the day the escort was reinforced by HMS Falmouth. On 17 April, the convoy was joined by HMIS Lawrence and then proceeded towards the entrance of the Shatt al-Arab. On 18 April, the convoy moved up the Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
and arrived at Basra
Basra
at 0930 hrs. HMS Emerald was already in Basra.[2] On the same day, the HMNZS Leander
HMNZS Leander
was released from support duties in the Persian Gulf. On 16 April, the Iraqi Government was informed that the British were going to invoke the Anglo- Iraq
Iraq
treaty to move troops through the country to Palestine. Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
raised no objection. First arrivals in Basra[edit] On 17 April, the 1st Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment (1st KORR) was flown into RAF Shaibah
RAF Shaibah
from Karachi
Karachi
in India.[33] Colonel
Colonel
Ouvry Roberts, the Chief Staff Officer of the 10th Indian Infantry Division, arrived with the 1st KORR.[62][63] By 18 April, the airlift of the 1st KORR to Shaibah was completed. The troop-carrying aircraft used for this airlift were 7 Valentias and 4 Atalantas supplemented by 4 DC-2s which had recently arrived in India.[2] On 18 April, the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade landed at Basra.[10] Brigadier
Brigadier
Donald Powell commanded this brigade. The 20th Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
included the 2nd battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles, 2nd battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles, and the 3rd battalion 11th Sikh Regiment. The landing of the force transported by Convoy BP7 was covered by infantry of the 1st KORR[64] which had arrived the previous day by air.[33] The landing was unopposed.[38] By 19 April, the disembarkation of the force transported by Convoy BP7 at Basra
Basra
was completed.[2] On the same day, seven aircraft[nb 9] were flown into RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
to bolster the air force there.[14] Following the landing of the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade, Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
requested that the brigade be moved quickly through the country and that no more troops should arrive until the previous force had left.[65] Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, the British Ambassador to Iraq, referred the issue to London and London replied that they had no interest in moving the troops out of the country and wanted to establish them within Iraq. Cornwallis was also instructed not to inform Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
who, as he had taken control of the country via a coup d'état, had no right to be informed about British troop movements.[59] On 20 April, Churchill had written to Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary, and indicated that it should be made clear to Ambassador Cornwallis that the chief interest in sending troops to Iraq
Iraq
was the covering and establishment of a great assembly base near Basra. It was to be understood that what happened "up country", with the exception of Habbaniya, was at that time on an "altogether lower priority." Churchill went on to indicate that the treaty rights were invoked to cover the disembarkation, but that force would have been used if it had been required. Cornwallis was directed not to make agreements with an Iraqi government which had usurped its power. In addition, he was directed to avoid entangling himself with explanations to the Iraqis.[66] Additional arrivals[edit] On 29 April, having sailed from Bombay, the remaining elements of the 20th Infantry Brigade
Brigade
arrived at Basra
Basra
on the three transports of Convoy BN1.[38][67] On 30 April, when Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
was informed that ships containing additional British forces had arrived, he refused permission for troops to disembark from them and began organising for an armed demonstration at RAF Habbaniya.[59] He did this while fully anticipating German assistance would be forthcoming in the guise of aircraft and airborne troops.[64] Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
decided against opposing the landings at Basra.[38] Also on 29 April,[14] the British Ambassador, Sir
Sir
Kinahan Cornwallis,[34] advised that all British women and children should leave Baghdad; 230 civilians were escorted by road to Habbaniya and during the following days were gradually airlifted to Shaibah.[14] A further 350 civilians took refuge in the British Embassy and 150 British civilians in the American Legation.[68] Reinforcement of Habbaniya[edit] By the end of the month, Colonel
Colonel
Roberts and 300 of the 1st KORR had been flown from RAF Shaibah
RAF Shaibah
to RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
to reinforce the latter base.[14] Other than the 1st KORR, there were no trained British troops at Habbaniya bar the Number 1 Armoured Car Company RAF.[49] Iraqi moves and escalation to war[edit] At 03:00 hours on 30 April, RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
was warned by the British Embassy that Iraqi forces had left their bases, at Baghdad, and were heading west.[14] The Iraqi force was composed of between 6,000[69]–9,000[70] troops with up to 30 artillery pieces.[69] Within a few hours of RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
being warned, Iraqi forces occupied the plateau to the south of the base. Prior to dawn, reconnaissance aircraft were launched from RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
and reported that at least two battalions, with artillery, had taken up position on the plateau.[nb 10] By 1 May, the Iraqi forces surrounding Habbaniya had swelled to an infantry brigade, two mechanised battalions, a mechanised artillery brigade with 12 3.7-inch howitzers, a field artillery brigade with 12 18-pounder cannons and four 4.5-inch howitzers, 12 Crossley six-wheeled armoured cars, a number of Fiat light tanks, a mechanised machine gun company, a mechanised signal company, and a mixed battery of anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns. This totalled 9,000 regular troops along with an undetermined number of tribal irregulars and about 50 guns.[71] Iraqi demands[edit] At 06:00 hours, an Iraqi envoy presented a message to the Air Officer Commanding, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
H. G. Smart, stating that the plateau had been occupied for a training exercise.[72] The envoy also informed Smart that all flying should cease immediately[14] and demanded that no movements, either ground or air, take place from the base.[72] Smart replied that any interference with the normal training carried out at the base would be treated as an act of war.[14] Sir
Sir
Kinahan Cornwallis, the British Ambassador located at the British Embassy in Baghdad
Baghdad
and in contact with RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
via wireless, fully supported this action.[14]

Crossley six-wheeled armoured car

British reconnaissance aircraft, already in the air, continued to relay information to the base; they reported that the Iraqi positions on the plateau were being steadily reinforced, they also reported that Iraqi troops had occupied the town of Fallujah.[14] At 11:30 hours, the Iraqi envoy again made contact with Air Vice-Marshal Smart and accused the British of violating the Anglo-Iraqi treaty. Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart replied that this was a political matter and he would have to refer the accusation to Ambassador Cornwallis.[14] Meanwhile, Iraqi forces had now occupied vital bridges over the Tigris
Tigris
and Euphrates
Euphrates
rivers as well as reinforcing their garrison at Ramadi; thus effectively cutting off RAF Habbaniya except from the air.[11] Situation at RAF Habbaniya[edit] During the morning, Smart and Roberts surveyed the situation, they determined that they were exposed to attack on two sides and dominated by Iraqi artillery; a single hit from an Iraqi gun might destroy the water tower or power station and, as a result, cripple resistance at Habbaniya in one blow – the base seemed at the mercy of the Iraqi rebels. The garrison did not have enough small arms and, apart from a few mortars, no artillery support.[73] Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart controlled a base with a population of around 9,000 civilians[59] that was indefensible with the force of roughly 2,500 men currently available.[74] The 2,500 men included air crew and Assyrian Levies, who were prized by the British for their loyalty, discipline and fighting qualities.[75] There was also the possibility that the Iraqi rebels were waiting for dark before attacking. As a result, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart decided to accept the tactical risks and stick to Middle East Command's policy of avoiding aggravation in Iraq
Iraq
by, for the moment, not launching a pre-emptive strike.[7] Further exchanges[edit] Further exchanges of messages took place between the British and Iraqi forces but none were able to defuse the situation. Air Vice-Marshal Smart again requested reinforcements and this time Air Officer Commanding[11] Sir
Sir
Arthur Longmore[76] ordered 18 [nb 11] Vickers Wellington bombers to RAF Shaibah. The British Ambassador signalled the Foreign Office that he regarded the Iraqi actions as an act of war, which required an immediate air response. He also informed them that he intended to demand the withdrawal of the Iraqi forces and permission to launch air strikes to restore control, even if the Iraqi troops overlooking Habbaniya did withdraw it would only postpone aerial attacks.[11] Decision to launch air strikes made[edit] Also on 1 May, Ambassador Cornwallis received a response giving him full authority to take any steps needed to ensure the withdrawal of the Iraqi armed forces.[11] Churchill also sent a personal reply, stating: "If you have to strike, strike hard. Use all necessary force."[72] In the event that contact broke down between the British Embassy in Baghdad
Baghdad
and the air base in Habbaniya, Air Vice-Marshal Smart was given permission to act on his own authority.[11] Still in contact with the British Embassy and with the approval of Ambassador Cornwallis, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart decided to launch air strikes against the plateau the following morning without issuing an ultimatum; as with foreknowledge the Iraqi force might start to shell the airbase and halt any attempt to launch aircraft.[11] Battle[edit] 2 May[edit] Most combat operations of the Anglo–Iraqi War centred on the Habbaniya area. Starting early on 2 May, British airstrikes were launched against the Iraqis
Iraqis
from RAF Habbaniya.[11] While the largest number of British troops were ultimately assembled in the Basra
Basra
area, an advance from Basra
Basra
was not immediately practicable and did not get under way until after Rashid Ali's government was already collapsing. Initially, the Iraqi siege of RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
and the ability of the besieged British force there to withstand the siege was the primary focus of the conflict. Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart's decision to strike at the Iraqi positions with air power not only allowed his force to withstand the siege, but to neutralise much of Iraq's air power. While the relief force from Palestine arrived in Habbaniya after the siege was over, it did allow an immediate change over to the offensive. Siege
Siege
of Habbaniya[edit] Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart's tactics to defend Habbaniya was to mount continuous bombing and strafing attacks with as many aircraft as possible.[77] At 05:00 on 2 May, 33 aircraft from Habbaniya,[11] out of the 56 operational aircraft based there,[78] and eight Wellington bombers, from Shaibah, began their attack.[11] A few of the Greek pilots being trained at Habbaniya also joined in the RAF attack.[4] Within minutes the Iraqis
Iraqis
on the escarpment replied by shelling the base, damaging some planes on the ground. The Royal Iraqi Air Force (RIrAF) also joined in the fray over Habbaniya.[11] RAF attacks were also made against Iraqi air fields near Baghdad, which resulted in 22 aircraft being destroyed on the ground;[77] further attacks were made against the railway and Iraqi positions near Shaibah, with the loss of two planes.[11] Throughout the day the pilots, from Habbaniya, flew 193 sorties[11] and claimed direct hits on Iraqi transports, armoured cars and artillery pieces;[79] however five aircraft had been destroyed and several others had been put out of service. On the base 13 people had lost their lives and a further 29 wounded, including nine civilians.[11] By the end of the day, the Iraqi force, outside of Habbaniya, had grown to roughly a brigade.[80]

Vickers Wellington
Vickers Wellington
bomber

Three Gloster Gladiators

Iraqi forces, 2 May[edit] The British attack on 2 May took the Iraqis
Iraqis
completely by surprise. While the Iraqis
Iraqis
on the escarpment carried live ammunition, many Iraqi soldiers were under the impression that they were on a training exercise. Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
and the members of the Golden Square were shocked by the fact that the British defenders at RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
were prepared to fight rather than negotiate a peaceful surrender. To compound the surprise and shock, many members of the Muslim
Muslim
Iraqi army were preparing for morning prayers when the attack was launched. When the news reached the Grand Mufti in Baghdad, he immediately declared a jihad against the United Kingdom. In addition, the flow of Iraq Petroleum
Petroleum
Company oil to Haifa
Haifa
was completely severed.[81] On 3 May, the British bombing of the Iraqis
Iraqis
continued; troop and gun positions on the plateau were targeted as well as the supply line to Baghdad. The RIrAF base at Rashid was also attacked[80] and an Iraqi Savoia SM 79 bomber was intercepted and shot down heading for Habbaniya.[79] The following day further air attacks were carried out on RIrA troop positions and the RIrAF. A bombing raid was conducted by eight Wellington bombers on Rashid, which was briefly engaged by Iraqi fighters but no losses were suffered. Bristol Blenheims, escorted by Hurricanes, also conducted strafing attacks against airfields at Baghdad, Rashid and Mosul.[80] On 5 May, due to a car accident, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart was evacuated to Basra
Basra
and then onward to India. Colonel
Colonel
Roberts assumed de facto command of the land operations at RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
after the departure of Smart.[82] Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
John D'Albiac, from Greece, was to take command over aerial forces at Habbaniya[83] and of all RAF forces in Iraq. Further aerial attacks were conducted against the plateau during the day and following nightfall[80] Colonel
Colonel
Roberts ordered a sortie by the King's Own Royal Regiment (1st KORR) against the Iraqi positions on the plateau. The attack was supported by the Assyrian levies, some RAF armoured cars and two First World War-era 4.5-inch howitzers. The 4.5 in howitzers had been put in working order by some British gunners but had previously been decorating the entrance of the base's officers' mess.[62][84] Iraqis
Iraqis
abandon escarpment[edit]

An RAF officer investigates wrecked artillery on the plateau above Habbaniya

Late on 6 May, the Iraqis
Iraqis
besieging Habbaniya pulled out. By dawn on Wednesday 7 May, RAF armoured cars reconnoitred the top of the escarpment and reported it to be deserted. The Iraqi force had abandoned substantial quantities of arms and equipment; the British garrison gained six Czechoslovakian-built 3.7 inch howitzers along with 2,400 shells, one 18-pounder gun, one Italian tank, ten Crossley armoured cars, 79 trucks, three 20 mm anti-aircraft guns with 2,500 shells, 45 Bren light machine-guns, eleven Vickers machine guns, and 340 rifles with 500,000 rounds of ammunition.[85] The investment of Habbaniya, by Iraqi forces, had come to an end. The British garrison had suffered 13 men killed, 21 badly wounded, and four men were suffering battle fatigue. The garrison had inflicted between 500–1000 casualties on the besieging force and numerous more men had been taken prisoner. On 6 May alone, 408 Iraqi troops were captured.[85] The Chiefs-of-Staff now ordered that it was essential to continue to hit the Iraqi armed forces hard by every means available but avoiding direct attacks on the civilian population. The British objective was to safeguard British interests from Axis intervention in Iraq, to defeat the rebels and discredit Rashid's government.[9] Iraqi reinforcements attacked[edit] Meanwhile, Iraqi reinforcements were approaching Habbaniya. RAF armoured cars, reconnoitring ahead, soon discovered the village of Sin el Dhibban, on the Fallujah
Fallujah
road, occupied by Iraqi troops. The 1st KORR and the Assyrian levies, supported by the RAF armoured cars, assaulted the position driving the Iraqis
Iraqis
out and taking over 300 prisoners. The Iraqi force retreating from Habbaniya met with an Iraqi column moving towards Habbaniya from Fallujah
Fallujah
in the afternoon. The two Iraqi forces met around 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Habbaniya on the Fallujah
Fallujah
road. The reinforcing Iraqi column was soon spotted and 40 aircraft from RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
arrived to attack; the two Iraqi columns were paralysed and within two hours, more than 1,000 Iraqi casualties were inflicted and further prisoners were taken.[62][80] Later in the afternoon Iraqi aircraft carried out three raids on the airbase and inflicted some damage.[80] Churchill praises Smart[edit] Also on 7 May, apparently unaware of Smart's injury, Churchill sent the following message to Smart:

Your vigorous and splendid action has largely restored the situation. We are all watching the grand fight you are making. All possible aid will be sent. Keep it up![86]

Over the course of the next few days, the RAF, from Habbaniya and Shaibah, effectively eliminated the RIrAF. However, from 11 May, German Air Force (Luftwaffe) aircraft took the place of the Iraqi aircraft.[83][nb 12] Axis intervention[edit] Further information: Führer Directive No. 30 During the time leading up to the coup d'état, Rashid Ali's supporters had been informed that Germany was willing to recognise the independence of Iraq
Iraq
from the British Empire. There had also been discussions on war material being sent to support the Iraqis
Iraqis
and other Arab factions in fighting the British.[citation needed] On 3 May, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
persuaded German dictator Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
to secretly return Dr. Fritz Grobba to Iraq
Iraq
to head up a diplomatic mission to channel support to the Rashid Ali regime. The British quickly learned of the German arrangements through intercepted Italian diplomatic transmissions.[87] On 6 May, in accordance with the Paris Protocols, Germany concluded a deal with the Vichy French
Vichy French
government to release war materials, including aircraft, from sealed stockpiles in Syria and transport them to the Iraqis. The French also agreed to allow passage of other weapons and material as well as loaning several airbases in northern Syria, to Germany, for the transport of German aircraft to Iraq.[88] Between 9 May and the end of the month, about one-hundred German and about twenty Italian aircraft landed on Syrian airfields.[89] Fliegerführer Irak[edit] Also on 6 May Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Colonel
Colonel
Werner Junck received orders that he was to take a small force to Iraq, where they were to operate out of Mosul. Between 10 and 15 May the aircraft arrived in Mosul
Mosul
via Vichy French airbases, in Syria, and then commenced regular aerial attacks on British forces. The arrival of these aircraft was the direct result of fevered consultations between Baghdad
Baghdad
and Berlin in the days following Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
Smart's strikes on the Iraqi forces above Habbaniya. The Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
force, under the direction of Lieutenant General
General
Hans Jeschonnek, was named "Flyer Command Iraq" (Fliegerführer Irak)[nb 13] and was under the tactical command of Colonel
Colonel
Werner Junck. At least 20 bombers were initially promised however in the end Junck's unit consisted of between 21 and 29 aircraft all painted with Royal Iraqi Air Force markings.[5][18][87][nb 14]

Iraqi aircraft marking, 1941

On 11 May, the first three Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
planes arrived at Mosul
Mosul
via Syria. On 15 May, an aircraft carrying Major Axel von Blomberg flew from Mosul
Mosul
to Baghdad. Axel von Blomberg was part of the military mission to Iraq
Iraq
which had the cover name " Special
Special
Staff F" (Sonderstab F) commanded by General
General
Hellmuth Felmy. Axel von Blomberg was tasked with heading up a Brandenburgers
Brandenburgers
Commando reconnaissance group in Iraq that was to precede Fliegerführer Irak.[91] Axel von Blomberg was also tasked with integrating Fliegerführer Irak
Fliegerführer Irak
with Iraqi forces in operations against the British.[87] On its approach to Baghdad, the aircraft was engaged by Iraqi ground fire. As a result, von Blomberg was shot and was found to be dead when the aircraft landed.[92] During this time, Germany and the Soviet Union were still allies (due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939) and this was reflected in Soviet actions regarding Iraq. On 12 May, according to Time magazine, the Soviet Union recognised Rashid Ali's "National Defence Government."[93] On 18 May, the New York Times
New York Times
indicated that an Iraqi-Soviet exchange of notes at Ankara
Ankara
established diplomatic relations between the two governments.[94] Vichy French
Vichy French
supplies from Syria[edit] On 13 May, the first trainload of supplies, from Syria, arrived in Mosul
Mosul
via Turkey. The Iraqis
Iraqis
took delivery of 15,500 rifles, with six-million rounds of ammunition, 200 machine guns, with 900 belts of ammunition, and four 75 mm field guns together with 10,000 shells. Two additional deliveries were made on 26 and 28 May, which included eight 155 mm guns, with 6,000 shells, 354 machine pistols, 30,000 grenades, and 32 trucks.[95] On 14 May, according to Winston Churchill, the RAF was authorised to act against German aircraft in Syria and on Vichy French airfields.[96] On the same day, two over-laden Heinkel 111
Heinkel 111
bombers were left in Palmyra
Palmyra
in central Syria because they had damaged rear wheels. British fighters entered French air space and strafed and disabled the damaged Heinkels.[95] By 18 May, Junck's force had been whittled down to 8 Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters, 4 Heinkel He 111
Heinkel He 111
bombers, and 2 Junkers Ju 52 transports. This represented roughly a 30 percent loss of his original force. With few replacements available, no spares, poor fuel, and aggressive attacks by the British, this rate of attrition did not bode well for Fliegerführer Irak. Indeed, near the end of May, Junck had lost 14 Messerschmitts and 5 Heinkels.[97] Italy[edit] On 27 May, after being invited by Germany, 12 Italian Fiat CR.42s of the 155a Squadriglia (renamed Squadriglia speciale Irak) of the Regia Aeronautica Italiana (Royal Italian Air Force) arrived at Mosul
Mosul
to operate under German command.[6] Also present were a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 and Savoia-Marchetti SM.81
Savoia-Marchetti SM.81
acting as pathfinder aircraft, which were stationed in Aleppo; personnel and equipment were brought in on three Savoia-Marchetti SM.82s.[98] By 29 May, Italian aircraft were reported in the skies over Baghdad.[99] According to Churchill, the Italian aircraft accomplished nothing.[100] It was reported that on 29 May near Khan Nuqta the Italians intercepted a flight of Hawker Audaxes escorted by Gloster Gladiators of No. 94 Squadron. In the resulting combat, two Gladiators were lost for one CR.42 shot down by Wing Commander Wightman. This was the final aerial battle of the Anglo-Iraqi War.[98] The SM.79 was destroyed on the ground in Aleppo by RAF bombers. Three CR.42s were damaged and had to be abandoned during the Axis withdrawal from Iraq. The remaining Italian aircraft were evacuated at the end of May and used to defend Pantelleria.[101] Plans were drawn up to supply troops but the German high command was hesitant and required the permission of Turkey for passage. In the end the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
found conditions in Iraq
Iraq
intolerable, as spare parts were not available and even the quality of aircraft fuel was far below the Luftwaffe's requirements. With each passing day fewer aircraft remained serviceable and ultimately, all Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
personnel were evacuated on the last remaining Heinkel He 111.[citation needed] Advance from Palestine[edit] On 2 May, the day AVM Smart launched his airstrikes, Wavell continued to urge for further diplomatic action to be taken with the Iraqi government to end the current situation and accept the Turkish government's offer of mediation. He was informed by the Defence Committee that there would be no accepting the Turkish offer and that the situation in Iraq
Iraq
had to be restored. Rutbah[edit] Before Smart launched his airstrikes on 2 May, members of the Iraqi Desert Police had seized the fort at Rutbah
Rutbah
for the "National Defence Government."[102] On 1 May, the police opened fire on British workers in Rutbah.[103] In response to these Iraqi actions, Major-General Clark had ordered the mechanised squadron of the Transjordan Frontier Force (TJFF), which was based at H4 pumping station, to seize the fort for the British. When the members of the TJFF refused, they were marched back to H3 and disarmed.[102]

The fort at Rutbah
Rutbah
under attack from H4-based Bristol Blenheims, 9 May 1941

By the end of the first day of airstrikes, there had been reports that elements of the Royal Iraqi Army (RIrA) were advancing on the town of Rutbah.[64] C Company of the 1st Battalion The Essex Regiment
Essex Regiment
were ordered to travel from Palestine to H4, between Haifa
Haifa
and Iraq; from here the company would join a detachment of RAF armoured cars and defend the position from the Iraqi rebels.[104] On 4 May, Churchill ordered Wavell to dispatch a force from Palestine.[105] On 5 May, Wavell was placed in command of operations in northern Iraq
Iraq
and General
General
Maitland Wilson was called back from Greece
Greece
to take command of forces in Palestine and Transjordan. The Defence Committee and Chiefs-of-Staff rationale for taking military action against the Iraqi rebels was that they needed to secure the country from Axis intervention and considered Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
to have been conspiring with the Axis powers.[106] The Chiefs-of-Staff accepted full responsibility for the dispatch of troops to Iraq.[9] On 8 May a column of the Arab Legion, under Glubb Pasha, reached the fort at Rutbah.[1] They picketed the ground surrounding the fort, to wait the RAF bombardment. The fort was defended by approximately 100 policemen, the majority of them being Iraqi Desert Police.[107] The H4-based Blenheims of 203 Squadron arrived and bombed the fort, and thinking that they had surrendered, left. The fort did not surrender and the RAF returned twice that day to bomb the fort without success. The next day, the RAF continued to bomb the fort at intermittent intervals. One plane sustained such heavy small-arms fire that it crashed on the way home, killing the pilot. That evening, 40 trucks armed with machine guns arrived at the fort to reinforce the garrison. Half of the trucks were irregulars under the command of Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the other half were Iraqi Desert Police. Glubb decided to withdraw the troops back to H3 to await the reinforcement of the main column. The Arab Legion
Arab Legion
returned to H3 on the morning of 10 May, and found No. 2 Armoured Car Company RAF under Squadron Leader Michael Casano waiting there. They had been sent up ahead of the main column to assist the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
in taking Rutbah. Casano took his RAF armoured cars to Rutbah
Rutbah
whilst the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
replenished their supplies at H3. Casano's armoured cars fought an action against al-Qawuqji's trucks for most of the rest of the day, and although the result was not decisive the trucks retired to east under the cover of dark to leave the garrison to its fate. That night the RAF succeeded in a night bombing, with several bombs landing inside the fort. Following the withdrawal of al-Qawuqji's trucks and the successful bombing by the RAF, the garrison withdrew from the fort under the cover of dark. In the morning, the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
column arrived and garrisoned the fort whilst Casano's armoured cars continued to fight remnants of the Iraqi Desert Police's forces.[108] Habbaniya Force[edit] The force put together in Palestine by Wavell was codenamed Habforce, short for Habbaniya Force.[109] The force was placed under the command of Major-General
Major-General
George Clark. Clark was already the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division which included the 4th Cavalry Brigade, the 5th Cavalry Brigade, and the 6th Cavalry Brigade. After Wavell complained that using any of the force stationed in Palestine for service in Iraq would put Palestine and Egypt at risk, Churchill wrote Hastings Ismay, Secretary of the Chiefs-of-Staff Committee, and asked: "Why would the force mentioned, which seems considerable, be deemed insufficient to deal with the Iraq
Iraq
Army?" Concerning the 1st Cavalry Division specifically, he wrote: "Fancy having kept the cavalry division in Palestine all this time without having the rudiments of a mobile column organised!"[110] On balance, Wavell wrote that the 1st Cavalry Division in Palestine had been stripped of its artillery, its Engineers, its Signals, and its transport to provide for the needs of other formations in Greece, North Africa, and East Africa. While one motorised cavalry brigade could be provided, this was only possible by pooling the whole of the divisional motor transport.[111] It was after the TJFF refused to enter Iraq
Iraq
that Clark decided to divide Habforce into two columns.[102][112] The first column was a flying column[103] codenamed Kingcol. Kingcol was named after its commanding officer, Brigadier
Brigadier
James Kingstone,[109] and was composed of the 4th Cavalry Brigade, two companies of the 1st battalion The Essex Regiment, the Number 2 Armoured Car Company RAF, and a battery of 25 pounder howitzers from the 60th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.[113] The second column, the Habforce main force, under the command of Lieutenant- Colonel
Colonel
J. S. Nichols, was composed of the remaining elements of the 1st battalion The Essex Regiment, the remainder of the 60th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, one anti-tank battery, and ancillary services. In addition to Kingcol and the Habforce main force, there was available to Major-General
Major-General
Clark a 400-man strong detachment of the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
(al-Jaysh al-Arabī)[1][114] in the Emirate of Transjordan. The Arab Legion consisted of three mechanised squadrons[72] transported in a mixture of civilian Ford
Ford
trucks and equipped with home-made armoured cars.[115] Unlike the TJFF, the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
was not part of the British Army. Instead, the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
was the regular Army of Transjordan and it was commanded by Lieutenant- General
General
John Bagot Glubb, also known as "Glubb Pasha."[116] Kingcol[edit] During the morning of 11 May, Kingcol departed from Haifa[114] with orders to reach Habbaniya as quickly as possible.[103] The occasion was the last all-horse operation in British military history.[117] On 13 May, Kingcol arrived in Rutbah
Rutbah
but found no military presence there. Glubb Pasha
Glubb Pasha
and the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
had already moved on. The flying column under Brigadier
Brigadier
Kingstone then conducted maintenance at Rutbah
Rutbah
before moving on themselves. On 15 May, the first contact was made with the Iraqi military when a Blenheim bomber strafed the column and dropped a bomb; no damage was inflicted and no casualties were sustained.[118][nb 15] On 16 May, further bombing attacks were made against the column when it was attacked by the Luftwaffe, again no damage was sustained but there were a few casualties.[83][119] Also on 15 May, Fraser went sick and was replaced as the commander of the 10th Indian Division.[120] His illness had led to him losing the confidence of his own staff and he was replaced by the newly promoted Major-General
Major-General
William Slim. Slim would go on to show himself as one of the most dynamic and innovative British commanders of the war.[63] Also in early May, Longmore was replaced as Air Officer Commanding in the Middle East by his deputy, Sir
Sir
Arthur Tedder.[29] Arrival at Habbaniya[edit] During the late evening of 17 May, Kingcol reached the vicinity of Habbaniya. The next morning the column entered the RAF base[119][121] and throughout the day the remainder of the 1st battalion The Essex Regiment were airlifted into the base.[122] The force dispatched from Palestine to relieve the Iraqi siege of RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
arrived about 12 days after the siege was lifted.[99] Battle of Fallujah[edit] With Habbaniya secure, the next objective for British forces was to secure the town of Fallujah
Fallujah
as a preliminary objective before being able to march on Baghdad.[83] An Iraqi Brigade group was holding the town and bridge of Fallujah
Fallujah
denying the road to Baghdad; a further Brigade group was holding the town of Ramadi, west of Habbaniya, barring all movement westwards.[123] Colonel
Colonel
Roberts dismissed the idea of attacking Ramadi
Ramadi
because it was still garrisoned heavily by the Iraqi Army and was largely cut off by self-imposed flooding. Roberts would leave Ramadi
Ramadi
isolated and, instead, secure the strategically important bridge over the Euphrates
Euphrates
at Fallujah.[124]

British firing party near isolated Ramadi

In the week following the withdrawal of the Iraqi forces near Habbaniya, Colonel
Colonel
Roberts formed what became known as the Habbaniya Brigade. The brigade was formed by grouping the 1st battalion The Essex Regiment
Essex Regiment
from Kingcol with further infantry reinforcements that had arrived from Basra, the 2nd battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles, and some light artillery.[122][125] During the night of the 17–18 May, elements of the Gurkha battalion, a company of RAF Assyrian Levies, RAF Armoured Cars and some captured Iraqi howitzers crossed the Euphrates
Euphrates
using improvised cable ferries.[nb 16] They crossed the river at Sin el Dhibban and approached Falluja from the village of Saqlawiyah. During the early hours of the day, one company of the 1st battalion KORR were air transported by 4 Valentias and landed on the Baghdad
Baghdad
road beyond the town near Notch Fall. A company of RAF Assyrian Levies, supported by artillery from Kingcol, was ordered to secure the bridge across the river. Throughout the day the RAF bombed positions in the town and along the Baghdad
Baghdad
road, avoiding a general bombardment of the town because of the civilian population. On 19 May 57 aircraft began bombarding Iraqi positions within and around Fallujah
Fallujah
before dropping leaflets requesting the garrison to surrender; no response was given and further bombing operations took place. The RAF dropped ten tons of bombs on Fallujah
Fallujah
in 134 sorties.[127] During the afternoon a ten-minute bombardment of Iraqi trenches near the bridge was made before the Assyrian Levies
Assyrian Levies
advanced, covered by artillery fire. Facing little opposition they captured the bridge within 30 minutes, they were then met by an Iraqi envoy who offered the surrender of the garrison and the town. 300 prisoners were taken and no casualties had been sustained by the British force.[128][129][130] The Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
responded to the British capture of the city by attacking the H airfield, destroying and damaging several aircraft and inflicting a number of casualties.[131] On 18 May, Major-General
Major-General
Clark and AVM D'Albiac arrived in Habbaniya by air. They determined not to interfere with the ongoing operations of Colonel
Colonel
Roberts.[125] On 21 May, having secured Fallujah, Roberts returned to Shaibah and to his duties with the 10th Indian Infantry Division.[127] Iraqi counterattack[edit] On 22 May, the Iraqi 6th Infantry Brigade, of the Iraqi 3rd Infantry Division, conducted a counter-attack against the British forces within Fallujah. The Iraqi attack started at 02:30 hours supported by a number of Italian-built L3/35
L3/35
light tanks. By 03:00 the Iraqis
Iraqis
reached the north-eastern outskirts of the town. Two light tanks, which had penetrated into the town, were quickly destroyed. By dawn British counter-attacks had pushed the Iraqis
Iraqis
out of north-eastern Fallujah. The Iraqis
Iraqis
now switched their attack to the south-eastern edge of the town. But this attack met stiff resistance from the start and made no progress. By 10:00 Kingstone arrived with reinforcements, from Habbaniya, who were immediately thrown into battle. The newly arrived infantry companies, of the Essex Regiment, methodically cleared the Iraqi positions house-by-house. By 18:00 the remaining Iraqis
Iraqis
had fled or were taken prisoner, sniper fire was silenced, six Iraqi light tanks were captured, and the town was secure.[132] On 23 May, aircraft of Fliegerführer Irak
Fliegerführer Irak
made a belated appearance. British positions at Fallujah
Fallujah
were strafed on three separate occasions. But, while a nuisance, the attacks by the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
accomplished little. Only one day earlier an air assault coordinated with Iraqi ground forces might have changed the outcome of the counter-attack.[133] Jezireh[edit] During this period of time, Glubb Pasha's Legionnaires dominated the tribal country north of Fallujah
Fallujah
between the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris, an area known as Jezireh. Lieutenant- General
General
Glubb had been instructed to persuade the local tribes to stop supporting Rashid Ali's government. Using a combination of propaganda and raids against Iraqi government posts, his actions proved to be remarkably successful.[134] The British also used this period of time to increase air activity against the northern airfields of the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
and to finally crush the German effort to support the Iraqis.[135] Basra[edit]

Rolls Royce armoured car

In response to the initial Iraqi moves, the 10th Indian Infantry Division, under Major-General
Major-General
Fraser, occupied Basra
Basra
airport, the city's docks, and the power station.[68] Elements of the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade, under Brigadier
Brigadier
Powell, were used to occupy these sites. Between 18 and 29 April, two convoys had landed this brigade in the Basra
Basra
area. 2nd battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles guarded the RAF airfield at Shabaih, 3rd battalion 11th Sikh Regiment
11th Sikh Regiment
secured the Maqil docks, and 2nd battalion 7th Gurkha Rifles were held in reserve.[136] Otherwise, no major operations took place in the Basra area. The principal difficulty was that there were insufficient troops to take over Maqil, Ashar, and Basra
Basra
City concurrently. While the Iraqi troops in Basra
Basra
agreed to withdraw on 2 May, they failed to do so.[99] On 6 May, the 21st Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
under the command of Brigadier
Brigadier
C. J. Weld arrived and disembarked at Basra. This was the 10th Indian Infantry Division's second brigade to arrive in Iraq.[136] The 21st Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
included 4th battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles,[nb 17] 2nd battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles, and 2nd battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles. Ashar[edit]

General
General
Wavell (right) and Lieutenant- General
General
Quinan, April 1941

Starting on 7 May and ending 8 May, elements of the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
and the 21st Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
captured Ashar, near Basra. Ashar was well defended and the Iraqi defenders inflicted a number of casualties on the British attackers. The British units involved were A, B, C, and D companies of 2nd battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles and a half section of Rolls Royce armoured cars from 4th battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles. 2nd battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles were held in reserve. As a result of the successful action against Ashar, Basra
Basra
City was secured without a fight. However, armed resistance from Iraqi police and Army units continued until 17 May.[137] While the Basra
Basra
area was now secured, it was flood season in Iraq, and the difficulty of northward movement from Basra
Basra
by rail, road, or river towards Baghdad
Baghdad
stifled further operations. In addition, Iraqi forces occupied points along the Tigris
Tigris
and along the railway to further discourage northward movement.[48] On 8 May, operations in Iraq
Iraq
were passed, from under the control of Auchinleck's India Command, to the command of Wavell's Middle East Command.[9][138] Lieutenant- General
General
Edward Quinan
Edward Quinan
arrived from India to replace Fraser as commander of Iraqforce. Quinan's immediate task was to secure Basra
Basra
as a base. He was ordered by Wavell not to advance north until the co-operation of the local tribes was fully assured. Quinan could also not contemplate any move north for three months on account of the flooding of the Tigris
Tigris
and Euphrates.[9][139] Directives were issued to Quinan prior to his assuming command. On 2 May, he had been directed as follows: "(a) Develop and organise the port of Basra
Basra
to any extent necessary to enable such forces, our own or Allied, as might be required to operate in the Middle East including Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, to be maintained. (b) Secure control of all means of communication, including all aerodromes and landing grounds in Iraq, and develop these to the extent requisite to enable the Port of Basra
Basra
to function to its fullest capacity." Quinan was further instructed to "begin at once to plan a system of defences to protect the Basra
Basra
Base against attack by armoured forces supported by strong air forces, and also to be ready to take special measures to protect: (i) Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
installations and personnel at Habbaniya and Shaiba. (ii) The lives of British subjects in Baghdad
Baghdad
and elsewhere in Iraq. (iii) The Kirkuk
Kirkuk
oilfields and the pipe line to Haifa." Lastly, Quinan was directed "to make plans to protect the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's installations and its British employees in South West Iran if necessary." Quinan was informed that "it was the intention to increase his force up to three infantry divisions and possibly also an armoured division, as soon as these troops could be despatched from India."[2] Operations Regulta and Regatta[edit] On 23 May, Wavell flew to Basra
Basra
to discuss further reinforcements and operations in Iraq
Iraq
with Auchinleck. Additionally, he instructed Quinan, commanding the Indian forces there, to make plans for an advance from Basra
Basra
towards Baghdad.[48] On 27 May, the forces from Basra
Basra
started to advance northwards. In Operation Regulta, the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade, known as the " Euphrates
Euphrates
Brigade", advanced along the Euphrates
Euphrates
by boat and by road. In Operation Regatta, the 21st Indian Infantry Brigade, known as the " Tigris
Tigris
Brigade", advanced up the Tigris
Tigris
by boat to Kut.[41][140] On 30 May, the 10th Indian Infantry Division's third brigade, 25th Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
under Brigadier
Brigadier
Ronald Mountain, arrived and disembarked at Basra. The 25th Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
included 3rd battalion 9th Jat Regiment, 2nd battalion 11th Royal Sikh Regiment, and 1st battalion 5th Mahratta Light Infantry.[141] In June 1941, additional British forces arrived in Basra
Basra
from India. On 9 June, the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade arrived and, on 16 June, the 24th Indian Infantry Brigade
Brigade
arrived.[41] Iraqi collapse[edit]

An RAF Fordson Armoured Car waits outside Baghdad
Baghdad
while negotiations for an armistice take place

The British forces from Habbaniya pressed on to Baghdad
Baghdad
after the defence of Fallujah. Major-General
Major-General
Clark decided to maintain the momentum because he expected that the Iraqis
Iraqis
did not appreciate just how small and just how vulnerable his forces actually were. Clark had a total of about 1,450 men to attack at least 20,000 Iraqi defenders. However, Clark did enjoy an advantage in the air.[142] Baghdad[edit] On the night of 27 May, the British advance on Baghdad
Baghdad
began. The advance made slow progress and was hindered by extensive inundations and by the many destroyed bridges over the irrigation waterways which had to be crossed.[100] Faced with Clark's advance, the government of Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
collapsed. On 29 May, Rashid Ali, the Grand Mufti, and many members of the "National Defence Government" fled to Persia. After Persia, they went on to Germany. On the morning of 31 May, the Mayor of Baghdad
Baghdad
and a delegation approached British forces at the Washash Bridge. With the Mayor was Sir
Sir
Kinahan Cornwallis, the British Ambassador, who had been confined to the British Embassy in Baghdad for the past four weeks.[19] Terms were quickly reached and an armistice was signed.[143][144] The Iraqi armed forces in the vicinity of Baghdad
Baghdad
still greatly outnumbered the British and the British decided not to occupy Baghdad
Baghdad
immediately. This was done partly to disguise the weakness of British forces outside the city.[145] On 1 June, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah
'Abd al-Ilah
returned to Baghdad
Baghdad
as the Regent
Regent
and the monarchy and a pro-British government were put back in place. On 2 June, Jamil al-Midfai
Jamil al-Midfai
was named Prime Minister.[145] Aftermath[edit] Further information: Gocol and Mercol In the immediate aftermath of the fall of Rashid Ali's "National Defence Government" and the armistice, Baghdad
Baghdad
was torn apart by rioting and looting.[99] Much of the violence was channelled towards the city's Jewish Quarter. Some 120 Jewish residents lost their lives and about 850 were injured before the Iraqi police were ordered to restore order with live ammunition.[145] At least two British accounts of the conflict praised the efforts of the air and ground forces at RAF Habbaniya. According to Churchill, the landing of the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade at Basra
Basra
on 18 April was "timely." In his opinion, the landing forced Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
into premature action. However, Churchill added that the "spirited defence" of Habbaniya by the Flying School was a "prime factor" in British success.[146] Wavell wrote that the "gallant defence" of Habbaniya and the bold advance of Habforce discouraged the Iraqi Army, while the Germans in their turn were prevented from sending further reinforcements by "the desperate resistance of our troops in Crete, and their crippling losses in men and aircraft."[19] On 18 June, Lieutenant- General
General
Quinan was given command of all British and Commonwealth forces in Iraq. Before this, Iraqforce
Iraqforce
was more or less limited to the forces landed at and advancing from Basra.[99] After the Anglo- Iraq
Iraq
War, elements of Iraqforce
Iraqforce
(known as Iraq
Iraq
Command from 21 June) were used to attack the Vichy French-held Mandate of Syria during the Syria-Lebanon campaign, which started 8 June and ended 14 July. Iraq
Iraq
Command (known as Persia and Iraq
Iraq
Force (Paiforce from 1 September) was also used to attack Persia during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia, which took place in August to September 1941. Forward defences against a possible German invasion from the north through the Caucasus
Caucasus
were created in 1942, and the strength of Paiforce peaked at the equivalent of over 10 brigades before the Russians halted the German threat at the Battle of Stalingrad. After 1942, Iraq
Iraq
and Persia were used to transit war material to the Soviet Union and the British military presence became mainly lines of communication troops. On 20 June, Churchill told Wavell that he was to be replaced by Auchinleck.[147] Of Wavell, Auchinleck wrote: "In no sense do I wish to infer that I found an unsatisfactory situation on my arrival – far from it. Not only was I greatly impressed by the solid foundations laid by my predecessor, but I was also able the better to appreciate the vastness of the problems with which he had been confronted and the greatness of his achievements, in a command in which some 40 different languages are spoken by the British and Allied Forces."[148] British forces were to remain in Iraq
Iraq
until 26 October 1947 and the country remained effectively under British control.[citation needed] The British considered the occupation of Iraq
Iraq
necessary to ensure that access to its strategic oil resources be maintained. On 18 August 1942, General
General
Maitland Wilson was appointed Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
of the Persia and Iraq
Iraq
Command. By 15 September, he was headquartered in Baghdad. Wilson's primary task was "to secure at all costs from land and air attack the oil fields and oil installations in Persia and Iraq." His secondary task was "to ensure the transport from the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
ports of supplies to Russia to the maximum extent possible without prejudicing [his] primary task."[149] While Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
and his supporters were in alliance with the Nazi regime in Germany, the war demonstrated that Iraq's independence was at best conditional on British approval of the government's actions.[citation needed] Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
and the Mufti of Jerusalem fled to Persia, then to Turkey, then to Italy, and finally to Berlin, Germany, where Ali was welcomed by Hitler as head of the Iraqi government-in-exile.[citation needed] Battle honours[edit] The British and Commonwealth system of battle honours recognised participation in the Anglo- Iraq
Iraq
War by the award to 16 units of the battle honour Iraq
Iraq
1941, for service in Iraq
Iraq
between the 2–31 May 1941. The award was accompanied by honours for three actions during the war: Defence of Habbaniya awarded to one unit for operations against the Iraqi rebels between 2–6 May, Falluja awarded to two units for operations against the Iraqi rebels between 19–22 May, and Baghdad
Baghdad
1941 awarded to two units for operations against the Iraqi rebels between 28–31 May.[150] See also[edit]

World War II
World War II
portal Iraq
Iraq
portal

Germany– Iraq
Iraq
relations Iraq–Italy relations Iraq– United Kingdom
United Kingdom
relations World War II

Notes[edit]

Footnotes

^ HMAS Yarra, representing Australia, participated at sea.[2] ^ HMNZS Leander, representing New Zealand, participated at sea.[3] ^ Greek airmen undergoing training at Habbaniya flew sorties against the Iraqis.[4] ^ On 30 May Rashid Ali
Rashid Ali
and his supporters fled to Persia. At 4 am on 31 May, the Mayor of Baghdad
Baghdad
signed an armistice on a bridge across the Washash Canal.[8] ^ See Iraqforce; Habforce constituted one reinforced Brigade
Brigade
group while the force based at RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
constituted the other. ^ 85 aircraft based at RAF Habbaniya.[14][15] 18 bombers were flown into RAF Shaibah
RAF Shaibah
as reinforcements[11] while No. 244 Squadron RAF
No. 244 Squadron RAF
was already based there equipped with Vicker Vincents.[15] No. 84 Squadron RAF was rebased to RAF Aqir, in Palestine, to support British ground forces during the rebellion.[15] Four Bristol Blenheims of No. 203 Squadron RAF were flown to RAF Lydda, also in Palestine, to fly combat missions over Iraq.[15] ^ See Role of Middle East Command
Middle East Command
for further details on the three Commanders-in-Chief based within the Mediterranean and Middle East. ^ Wavell indicates that Fraser commanded the forces being landed at Basra.[58] ^ Six Gloster Gladiators fighters and one Vickers Wellington
Vickers Wellington
bomber, carrying spare parts.[14] ^ Lyman states that on the first day the Iraqi force had in fact deployed three infantry battalions and an artillery brigade on the escarpment.[71] Wavell indicates that, on 30 April, two brigades and some armoured cars took up positions on the escarpment.[2] ^ Eight bombers from No. 70 Squadron RAF were initially dispatched and were later followed by 10 bombers from No. 37 Squadron RAF.[11] ^ The Wellington bombers, based at Shaibah, only took part in these aerial attacks up to the 10 May and returned to Egypt two days later.[83] ^ Some sources indicate that this unit was named " Special
Special
Force Junck" (Sonderkommando Junck)[90] ^ Playfair states this force was made up initially of 14 Messerschmitt 110 and seven Heinkel 111s.[5] Lyman states it was 12 Heinkel 111s and 12 Messerschmitt 110s,[87] while Mackenzie states the force consisted of 15 Heinkel 111s and 14 Messerschmitt 110s.[18] ^ Accounts vary, but there are indications that the "Blenheim bomber" was a German Heinkel 111
Heinkel 111
of Fliegerführer Irak.[37] ^ The cable ferry was fashioned by a section of the Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners flown in from Basra. Loaded barges were hooked onto a fixed wire cable they had stretched taught across the river, which was 750 feet (230 m) wide at the point of crossing.[126] ^ Included two troops of Rolls Royce armoured cars.[136]

Citations

^ a b c Young, p. 7 ^ a b c d e f Wavell, p. 4094 ^ Waters, p. 24 ^ a b Carr, John (2012). On Spartan Wings – The Royal Hellenic Air Force in World War Two. Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-84884-798-9.  ^ a b c d Playfair (1956), p. 195 ^ a b c d e Playfair (1956), p. 196 ^ a b Playfair (1956), pp. 182–183 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 192, 332 ^ a b c d e f Playfair (1956), p. 186 ^ a b c d e f g h Playfair (1956), p. 179 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Playfair (1956), p. 183 ^ Patterson, David (2010). A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad. Cambridge University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-521-13261-9.  ^ Mackenzie, p. 101 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Playfair (1956), p. 182 ^ a b c d Jackson, p. 159 ^ Lyman, Iraq
Iraq
1941, p. 25 ^ a b c d e Lyman, pp. 25–26 ^ a b c Mackenzie, p. 100 ^ a b c d Wavell, p. 3439 ^ "Habbaniya War Cemetery". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 12 August 2010.  ^ Playfair (1956), p. 193 ^ Lyman, p. 48 ^ Peretz, p. 107 ^ Peretz, p. 441 ^ Playfair (1954), p. 14 ^ Peretz, p. 443 ^ a b c Playfair (1956), p. 177 ^ a b Playfair (1954), p. 15 ^ a b c Lyman, p. 18 ^ Lake 1999, p. 106 ^ Lunt 1981, p. 42 ^ Youssef Aboul-Enein, Basil Aboul-Enein. The Secret War for the Middle East: The Influence of Axis and Allied Intelligence operations During WW2. p. 51-54. Naval Institute Press, 2013 ^ a b c Churchill, p. 224 ^ a b c d Playfair (1956), p. 178 ^ Lyman, p. 12 ^ Lyman, p. 13 ^ a b c d Lyman, p. 16 ^ a b c d Lyman, p. 31 ^ a b Lyman, p. 25 ^ Ammentorp, Major-General
Major-General
George Guy Waterhouse ^ a b c Lyman, p. 88 ^ Lyman, p.21 ^ Lyman, p. 26 ^ Lyman, pp.23–24 ^ Warwick, In Every Place, pg. 9 ^ Two Dragons, or a Seal and a Walrus ^ Warwick, In Every Place, pg. 281 ^ a b c Wavell, p. 3438 ^ a b Lyman, p. 22 ^ Lyman, p. 23 ^ a b Wavell, p. 3437 ^ Lyman, p. 15 ^ Thomas, p. 127 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 178 – 179 ^ a b Jackson, p. 148 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 177 – 178 ^ Churchill, p. 225 ^ a b c Wavell, p. 4093 ^ a b c d Playfair (1956), p. 181 ^ a b Lyman, p. 28 ^ Mackenzie, p. 92 ^ a b c Mackenzie, p. 96 ^ a b Lyman, p. 20 ^ a b c Martin, p. 42 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 179 – 180 ^ Churchill, pp. 225–226 ^ Mackenzie, pp. 92 – 93 ^ a b Jackson, p. 149 ^ a b Mackenzie, p. 93 ^ "RAF Museum British Military Aviation in 1941 – Part 2 entry for 30 April". RAF Museum.  ^ a b Lyman, p. 39 ^ a b c d Mackenzie, p. 94 ^ Richards, pp. 314–316 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 181–182 ^ Len Deighton (1993), Blood, Tears and Folly ^ Playfair (1956), p. 367 ^ a b Jackson, p. 151 ^ Mackenzie, p. 95 ^ a b "RAF Valley No 4 Flying Training School". Royal Air Force.  ^ a b c d e f Playfair (1956), p. 184 ^ Lyman, p. 43 ^ Lyman, p. 19 ^ a b c d e Playfair (1956), p. 188 ^ Kiwarkis. "Assyrian R.A.F. Levies: 1941 Habbanyia, Battle for Habbaniya – 1941 War Diary". Archived from the original on 20 December 2008.  ^ a b Lyman, p. 51 ^ Churchill, p. 230 ^ a b c d Lyman, p. 63 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 194–195 ^ Churchill, p. 288 ^ Weal, p. 102 ^ Kurowski, p. 131 ^ Lyman, p. 65 ^ Time Magazine, 30 June 1941 ^ New York Times, 18 May 1941, p. 6 ^ a b Lyman, p. 64 ^ Churchill, p. 289 ^ Lyman, pp. 66–68 ^ a b Thomas 2002, p. 81. ^ a b c d e Wavell, p. 4095 ^ a b Churchill, p. 234 ^ Lembo, Daniele. "La squadriglia speciale Irak." Aerei nella Storia Magazine, Delta editions, Parma, 9/1999, pp. 34–38. ^ a b c Lyman, p. 57 ^ a b c Playfair (1956), p. 187 ^ Martin, pp. 42–43 ^ Lyman, p.16 ^ Playfair (1956), pp. 184–185 ^ de Chair, p. 18 ^ Glubb, p. 263-267 ^ a b Jackson, p. 152 ^ Churchill, 228 ^ Wavell, 3433 ^ Martin, p. 44 ^ Martin, pp. 44–45 ^ a b Martin, p. 45 ^ Lyman, p. 55 ^ Lyman, pp. 54–55 ^ Lyman, p. 53 ^ Martin, p. 46 ^ a b Martin, p. 47 ^ Mackenzie, p. 101. ^ Mackenzie, p. 102 ^ a b Martin, p. 48 ^ Martin, p. 49 ^ Lyman, p. 89 ^ a b Lyman, p. 69 ^ Mackenzie, pp. 102–103. ^ a b Lyman, p. 75 ^ Lyman, p. 74. ^ Martin, pp. 49–50 ^ Playfair (1956), p. 189 ^ Playfair (1956), p. 191 ^ Lyman, pp. 75–76 ^ Lyman, p.76 ^ Lyman, pp. 76–77 ^ Churchill, pp. 233–234 ^ a b c Lyman, p. 32 ^ Lyman, pp. 82–83 ^ Mackenzie, p. 97 ^ Mackenzie, pp. 101–102 ^ Lyman, p. 17 ^ Lyman, p. 36 ^ Lyman, p. 77 ^ Lyman, pp. 84–85 ^ Mackenzie, p. 104 ^ a b c Lyman, p. 86 ^ Churchill, pp. 235–236 ^ Mead (2007), p. 476 ^ Auchinleck, p. 4215 ^ Wilson, p. 4333 ^ Rodger, p. 271

References[edit]

Books[edit]

Auchinleck, Claude (1946). Despatch on Operations in the Middle East From 5th July, 1941 to 31st October 1941. London: War Office.  in "No. 37695". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 20 August 1946. pp. 4215–4230.  de Chair, Somerset (1943). The Golden Carpet (2nd ed.). London: Faber and Faber. OCLC 633936612.  Churchill, Winston (1985) [1950]. "14: The Revolt in Iraq". The Grand Alliance. The Second World War. III. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-41057-6.  Dudgeon, Anthony (2000). Hidden Victory: The Battle of Habbaniya, May 1941. Stroud and Charleston: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2001-1.  Glubb, John Bagot (1948). The Story of the Arab Legion. Mazal Holocaust Collection. London: Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 798611.  Jackson, Ashley (2006). The British Empire
British Empire
and the Second World War. London: Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 1-85285-417-0.  James, Barrie G. (2009). Hitler's Gulf War, The Fight for Iraq
Iraq
1941. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-84884-090-4.  Kiwarkis, Gaby. "Assyrian RAF Levies". Retrieved 1 January 2016.  Kurowski, Franz (2005). The Brandenburger Commandos: Germany's Elite Warrior Spies in World War II. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3250-9.  Lyman, Robert (2006). Iraq
Iraq
1941: The Battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah
Fallujah
and Baghdad. Campaign. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-991-6.  Mackenzie, Compton (1951). Eastern Epic: September 1939 – March 1943 Defence. 1. London: Chatto & Windus. OCLC 59637091.  Martin, Colonel
Colonel
Thomas Alexander (1952). The Essex Regiment, 1929–1950. Brentwood: Essex Regiment
Essex Regiment
Association. OCLC 4045659.  Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A Biographical Guide to the Key British Generals of World War II. Stroud: Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.  Peretz, Don (2004) [1963]. The Middle East Today. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-027594-576-3.  Playfair, Major-General
Major-General
I. S. O.; Stitt RN, Commander G. M. S.; Molony, Brigadier
Brigadier
C. J. C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
S. E. (1954). Butler, J. R. M., ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East: The Early Successes Against Italy (to May 1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Military Series. I. 3rd impression, 1959. HMSO. OCLC 888934805.  Playfair, Major-General
Major-General
I. S. O.; with Flynn RN, Captain F. C.; Molony, Brigadier
Brigadier
C. J. C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshal
Air Vice-Marshal
S. E. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO 1956]. Butler, J. R. M., ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East: The Germans come to the help of their Ally (1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Military Series. II. Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-066-1.  Rodger, Alexander (2003). Battle Honours of the British Empire
British Empire
and Commonwealth Land Forces. Marlborough: The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-637-5.  Saunders, Hilary Adrian St George; Richards, Denis (1953). The Royal Air Force 1939–1945. I. London: HMSO. "The Fight at Odds". OCLC 64981511.  Thomas, Andrew (2002). Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Gladiator
Aces. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-289-X.  Thomas, David A (1972). Nazi Victory: Crete 1941. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0812815599.  Warwick, Nigel W. M. (2014). In Every Place: The RAF Armoured Cars in the Middle East 1921–1953. Rushden: Forces & Corporate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9574725-2-5.  Waters, S. D. (2008). HMNZS Leander. Wellington, NZ: Merriam Press. ISBN 978-1-4357-5892-6.  Wavell, Archibald (1946). Despatch on Operations in the Middle East From 7th February, 1941 to 15th July 1941. London: War Office.  in "No. 37638". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 3 July 1946. pp. 3423–3444.  Wavell, Archibald (1946). Despatch on Operations in Iraq, East Syria and Iran from 10th April, 1941 to 12th January, 1942. London: War Office.  in "No. 37685". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 13 August 1946. pp. 4093–4102.  Weal, John (1999). Messerschmitt Bf 110
Messerschmitt Bf 110
Zerstörer Aces of World War 2. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1855327538.  Wilson, Maitland (1946). Despatch on the Persia and Iraq
Iraq
Command Covering the Period from 21st August, 1942, to 17th February, 1943. London: War Office.  in "No. 37703". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1946. pp. 4333–4340.  Young, Peter (1972). The Arab Legion. Men-at-Arms. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 0850450845.  Lake, Alan. Flying Units of the RAF - The ancestry, formation and disbandment of all flying units from 1912. Airlife Publishing Ltd, Shrewsbury, UK, 1999, ISBN 1840370866. Lunt, James. Imperial Sunset - Frontier Soldiering in the 20th Century. Macdonald, London and Sydney, 1981.

Websites[edit]

Ammentorp, Steen. " Major-General
Major-General
George Guy Waterhouse". Generals of World War II
World War II
website. Retrieved 2 November 2009.  "4 FTS History". RAF Valley. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 1 January 2016.  " Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Museum". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

"Archibald Wavell's Despatch on Operations in the Middle East From 7th February, 1941 to 15th July 1941" (PDF). Supplement to the London Gazette, Number 37638. 3 July 1946. Retrieved 31 October 2009.  "Archibald Wavell's Despatch on Operations in Iraq, East Syria, and Iran From 10th April, 1941 to 12th January 1942" (PDF). Supplement to the London Gazette, Number 37685. 13 August 1946. Retrieved 26 September 2009.  "Claude Auchinleck's Despatch on Operations in the Middle East From 5th July, 1941 to 31st October 1941". Supplement to the London Gazette, Number 37695. 20 August 1946. Retrieved 6 November 2009.  "Maitland Wilson's Despatch on the Persia and Iraq
Iraq
Command Covering the Period from 21st August, 1942, to 17th February, 1943" (PDF). Supplement to the London Gazette, Number 37703. 28 August 1946. Retrieved 6 July 2017. 

External links[edit]

Portch, D. Strategic Insight: The Other "Gulf War" – The British Invasion of Iraq
Iraq
in 1941 RAF Habbaniya
RAF Habbaniya
Association RAF Habbaniya, the Plateau
Plateau
Airfield & Lake

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