Friday, March 10, 2006

Preparations for combat at Habbaniyah in April 1941

The British, at Habbaniyah in Iraq, fully expected to be engaged in combat in a short time. Three aircraft types were fitted to carry bombs. Hawker Audaxes were originally intended to carry the small 20-lb. bombs, were modified to carry two 250-lb. bombs. The Fairey Gordons received the same modification. The Oxford trainers were not intended to carry bombs, but they were fitted to carry the 20-lb. bombs. The Royal Air Force had 18 of the 1924 pattern Rolls Royce armoured cars, and those were used to patrol the road to the east, towards Falluja. Aircraft carried out reconnaissance to the east.
Despite the impending disaster Greece, a further 6 Gladiators were sent to Habbaniyah, so that there were a total of 9 available. British women and children were evacuated from Baghdad and first taken to Habbaniyah. From there, they were flown to Shaibah. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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