Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Habbiniyah goes on the offensive: early May 1941
2 May 1941 saw the British go on the offensive at Habbiniyah against the besieging Iraqi troops. The British attacked the Iraqi troops with bombs dropped from training aircraft. The Iraqis opened fire with artillery in return. The British bombed the guns, but only succeeded in knocking out half of them. The British only had two Great War-vintage 18pdr guns, but they were able to aggressively patrol against the Iraqi besiegers. The Iraqis disliked that so much that the pulled back from the perimeter. On 6 May, British troops with Iraqi levies fought and defeated the remaining Iraqi troops. The plateau was now free of enemy Iraqi troops. In the process, 400 Iraqis were captured along with their equipment, which was very useful to the defenders. The RAF flew in four Blenheim fighters to reinforce the base. Iraq started to receive more British attention in the form of a greater air and airbase presence and a new commander. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.