Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Troop movements into Iraq in April 1941

The British decided to increase their strength in Iraq, following Rashid Ali's coup. On 13 April 1941, the cruiser Emerald arrived, followed by the aircraft carrier Hermes and then another cruiser. On 16 April, under the guise of moving troops through Iraq to Palestine, the British started to move troops into Iraq. The first was the 1st King's Own Royal Regiment on 17 April. On the 18th, "the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Field Regiment R.A., and the Headquarters of the 10th Indian Division" started to move into Iraq. the 10th Indian Division's commander, Major-General W.A.K. Fraser, was put in charge of the troops in Iraq. A second Indian brigade was to move into Iraq, as well. When Rashid Ali found that the British were going to ignore his demands, he decided to move against Habbaniya. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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