Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Iraq after Habbaniyah in 1941
Iraq was a critical link in shipping oil from the Middle East in 1941. A general from India was appointed to command Iraq to ensure the vital areas were protected. Lt-General Quinan arrived as early as 7 May 1941. There were grand plans to put three infantry divisions into Iraq and possibly an armoured division. Then, Iraq was switched from the India command to the Middle East Command under General Wavell. Wavell had no forces to speak of to put into Iraq. Instead, light forces, including a small force from the Transjordan Frontier Force and a cavalry brigade that attacked and drove Rashid Ali from power. This was a spontaneous uprising, not something planned by the Germans. At the time, Germans were assumed to be involved. By the end of May, the two remaining brigades of the 10th Indian Division arrived at Basra. The one thing that the Germans were able to do is to deploy aircraft to aid Rashid Ali, although they were insufficient for the task. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.