Monday, August 06, 2007
A reprieve, but losses anyway
Thanks to President Roosevelt's offer to send Amercian divisions to New Zealand and Australia, the New Zealand Division and the 9th Australian Division were left in the Middle East. The commanders in the Middle East decided that they had to assume that the northern flank was safe, because with the forces at their disposal, they were unable to aid Turkey and defend a German attack through Syria and Iraq. President Roosevelt offered shipping to send two divisions from home to the Middle East or to India, depending on where the need was greatest. Three British divisions were already on the way to reinforce the Middle East. Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier Indomitable was to transport more aircraft from the Middle East to the Far East. The Indomitable arrived back in the Middle East on 23 February 1942 after carrying 48 Hurricanes to the east. They left with another 60 for the squadrons already in transit. No.30 and No.261 Squadrons were sent from the Middle East, as well. Four Blenheim squadrons and two Hurricane squadrons went as well. This was along with 12 Blenheim IVs. Another seven squadrons originally intended for the Middle East were diverted to the Far East, as well. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.