We all know history repeats itself. Some does so frequently. One such is Europe and/or USA vs one or more countries in the Middle East. From the Crusades to the present there have been endless battles. Maybe its the oil, maybe its gods, maybe it’s that it is a gateway to African resources or heck maybe it’s sand envy. Whatever it is, ‘we’ can’t stop getting into fights with our nearest Eastern neighbours.
“So Chaps, that over there is Mesopotamia…it contains Mesopotamians”
“Sir…Is it true they don’t wear pith helmets?”
“Yes …Yes Chivers tragically they don’t”
From May 2 to May 31 1941 the Anglo-Iraqui War was one such confrontation. The observent amongst you might realise that this date falls slap bang in the midst of WWII. Mesopotamia, such as Iraq was known, had become independent from the British in 1932. But independent in that paternalistic fashion that we colonials are so good at. That is the British agreement included conditions which allowed military bases so that they could still access the shiny black stuff.
By 1939 the British weren’t hanging about Iraq so much, but then WWII appeared. Iraq’s growing nationalist movement had been making links with the Nazis. The Iraqui Prince fearing arrest, and presumably a whole lot more, fled to the nearest British ship. HMS ummm…erm HMS Cockchafer. Stop laughing now children.
Its an Insect class ship. It was not named after the popular sailor’s ailment.
The British were supported by Australia, New Zealand, British India and British Palestine. Along with Transjordan, which disappointingly wasn’t a horde of drag queens. Which would have been much more interesting.
The Iraq forces were supported by Irregular Arabs (I don’t know if they’re as complicated as irregular verbs), the Syrian Committee (who presumably held a meeting every so often), the Nazis and their tag alongs the Italians.
The British won. Somewhat comprehensively. They had few casualties, with only 60 dead, to the Iraqui and Axis losses of 1750 and 500 dead, and lost 28 aeroplanes. The Iraquis lost most of their aeroplanes, the Germans lost 19 and the Italians lost 3.
However, whilst the British successfully reinstated the Prince their relationship with Vichy France fell completely to pieces. Which led to the Syrian-Lebanon campaign…
Have you played a Anglo-Iraq battle? Or other do you have an interest in other WWII era middle Eastern games? Let us know…or even better send us battle reports and photos.