Sunday, March 12, 2006

The second, third, and fourth days of British air attack in Iraq

The British assessment of the first day was that the Iraqi artillery was less of a threat than feared and there seemed to be no imminent threat of attack by the surrounding forces. That allowed the Air Officer Commanding to change his operation plan to include attacks against the Iraqi airforce and the Iraqi supply lines. On 3 May 1941, the British hit "the Rashid airfield", the road connecting Habbaniyah and Baghdad, and the forces besieging Habbaniyah. On 4 May, the effort against the Iraqi airforce, and a small German contingent, intensified. This day, 8 Wellingtons from No.37 Squadron hit Rashid airfield. They were intercepted by Iraqi fighters, but took no losses. Blenheim fighters from No.203 Squadron were used in low-level strafing attacks against Rashid and Baghdad airfields. They had an escort of two long-range Hurricanes sent from Egypt. They also hit Mosul airfield where some German aircraft were based. On 5 May, attention returned to the Iraqi forces besieging Habbaniyah, when one Wellington from No.37 Squadron and four Blenheims from No.203 squadron hit them, along with the aircraft from the training school at Habbaniyah. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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