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Tag: Iraq (page 3 of 3)

Apr II 41 Allied Turn

Initial Iraqi force dispositions:

Iraqi:

Kirkuk (21A:3904):

1 x 1-6* Inf XX 2

Baghdad (22A:2825):

Iraq capital marker

1 x 1-2-6 Inf XX 3

1 x 1-6* Inf XX 1

1 x 1-0-8 Lt Arm X 1

1 x Mxd 1A2 1/8

Diwaniya (22A:3623):

1 x 0-1-6* Inf XX 4

Rutbah (21A:5023) [stony desert road crossroads hex, owned by pro-Axis Coup Iraq]

1 cap-permanent airstrip

Note: the Iraqi Rail Cap is 4.

Allied movement, commentary, and end of turn dispositions:

Middle East:

British:

Arrive from East Africa:

1 x transport counter (1 RE)

  • Per Rule 40A3-Allied Reinforcements, this unit arrives at any Red Sea hex “along the east edge of [Western Desert] map 19A.” It then expends 48 naval MPs to arrive at the Allied-controlled major port of Haifia (20A:4710), leaving it with 6 MPs. From Haifia it first admin moves 12 hexes eastwards along transportation lines to Trans-Jordan ravines road hex 20A:5106. In the exploitation phase it spends 10 MPs moving East along the same road to ravines road Trans-Jordan/Iraq border hex 22A:5128, where it ends the turn stacked with the 2-1-8 Cav X 4.
  • Note: This unit is brought in for the necessary conversion done in the special ME/“Iraq Campaign” Scenario.

In Palestine at the beginning of the turn:

Rough terrain road border hex 19A:4608:

1 x 2-1-8 Cav X 4

  • In the movement phase this unit admin moves eastwards along 16 transportation line hexes to ravines road Trans-Jordan/Iraq border hex 22A:5128, where it ends the turn stacked with the newly arrived Reinforcement transport counter (1 RE), which has already moved its maximum overland limit, I believe.

In the Central Iraq region:

Habbaniya (22A:2828) [end of turn dispositions]:

3-cap permanent airfield

1 x 0-1-4 Static II 1 As (Col)

1 x Audax 1A1 1/8

  • Both Allied units become Red U-1 this Allied initial phase. Per Rule 38J4 “if a coup occurs…Iraqi territory is no longer Allied-owned and is treated as being Axis-owned.”

1 x Glad 3F3 0/8 [air transfers to Habbaniya from Egypt near the end of the Allied turn; specially brought in for the special ME/ “Iraq Campaign” Scenario]

In the Southern Iraq region:

Allied Conditional Reinforcements

Iraq Coup Reaction Forces

Coup Turn 2/Apr II 41 Allied turn

Near East:

Arrive:

1 x 8* Inf XX HQ 10 (Ind)

1 x 1-8 Inf X 20 (Ind)

Basra (22A:4313) [end of turn dispositions]:

Allied standard Supply Terminal marker

  • The new Allied standard supply terminal is opened in the movement phase per Rule 12C1a after the Ind 1-8 Inf X 20 disembarks at Basra and thereby gains hex control.

1 x 0-1-4 Static II 2 As (Col) [moves hex from Shaibah (22A:4314) to Basra]

Shaibah (22A:4314):

3-cap permanent airfield [Allied controlled]

22A:4218 [clear terrain secondary rail line hex; end of turn dispositions]:

1 x 8* Inf XX HQ 10 (Ind)

1 x 1-8 Inf X 20 (Ind)

Commentary: Both Conditional Reinforcement units arrive from the south edge of map 22A at Persian Gulf all-sea hex 5109 and spend 11 naval MPs moving to the dot city/major port of Basra (22A:4313). With its remaining 6 MPs both ground units then regular move westwards along the secondary rail line to clear terrain secondary rail line hex 22A:4218. Later in the Allied movement phase Basra is opened up as an Allied standard supply terminal and a WitD “half moon” Supply Terminal” marker is placed there. With the Allied capture/ownership of the Iraq dot city/major port of Basra, pro-Axis Coup Iraq’s rail cap falls to 2, from 4. Beginning next turn the Allies will have a rail cap of 1, with Basra as their rail marshaling yard. See WW Rule 7A5a-Capacity Gain/Loss Due to Rail Marshaling Yard Capture.

Apr II 41 Axis Turn

  • Per the WW Master Sequence of Play, early in the Axis initial phase the Allied player for the first time checks for an Iraqi Coup Collapse by a dice roll done using the Variable Iraqi Coup Collapse Table to determine results. There is a +1 Modifier for the Allied-owned dot city of Basra; but the roll isn’t done, because the best result could only be a 13, still not enough for a Coup Collapse, which requires at least a 14.

Allied dispositions:

In the Central Iraq region:

Habbaniya (22A:2828):

3-cap permanent airfield

1 x 0-1-4 Static II 1 AS (Col)

1 x Audax 1A1 1/8 [operative]

  • Both the above units are still Red U-1 this player turn.

1 x Glad 3F3 0/8 [operative]

  • The Glad becomes Black U-1 this player turn.

In the Southern Iraq region:

Basra (22A:4313):

Allied standard Supply Terminal marker

1 x 0-1-4 Static II 2 As (Col)

Shaibah (22A:4314):

3-cap permanent airfield [Allied owned]

22A:4218 [clear terrain secondary rail line hex]:

1 x 8* Inf XX HQ 10 (Ind)

1 x 1-8 Inf X 20 (Ind)

In Trans-Jordan:

22A:5128 [at the ravines road Trans-Jordan/Iraq border hex]:

1 x 2-1-8 Cav X 4

1 x transport counter (1 RE)

Iraqi movement, end of turn dispositions, and commentary:

In the Central Iraq region:

Baghdad (22A:2825) [end of turn dispositions]:

Iraq capital marker

1 x1-6* Inf XX 2 [admin moves 12 hexes along transportation lines from Kirkuk (21A:3904)]

1 x Mxd 1A2 1/8 [operative; never moved]

22A:2826 [canal intensive major rail line/road junction hex W of Baghdad (22A:2825); end of turn]:

1 x 0-1-6* Inf XX 4 [admin moves along transportation lines from Diwaniya (22A:3623)]

22A:2928 [the hex SE of Habbaniya (22A:2828); end of turn dispositions]:

1 x 1-2-6 Inf XX 3 [regular moves from Baghdad (22A:2825)]

1 x 1-6* Inf XX 1 [regular moves from Baghdad]

1 x 1-0-8 Lt Arm X 1 [regular moves from Baghdad]

Commentary: I’m currently thinking that the key to Iraqi Coup success is finding an end to the initial Iraqi Unsteadiness, rather than relying exclusively on the actions of the WW OB booklet’s Optional Axis Near East Forces. Accordingly, this turn the Iraqi Army first assembles in the Baghdad zone the two Inf XXs from Kirkuk and Diwaniya, respectively. Then from the Baghdad hex an Iraqi attack group stack sallies forth to 22A:2928, adjacent to Habbaniya from the SE. A possible Iraqi alternative strategy this turn would be to somehow maneuver probably the 0-1-6* Inf XX 4 into a blocking position in the Southern Iraq region (say, at one of the two secondary rail line salt marsh hexes) against a possible Allied advance from Basra up the secondary rail line leading to Baghdad.

Allied air unit activity in the Habbaniya zone in the Axis initial and combat phases:

1 x Glad 3F3 0/8 [at Habbaniya; in the initial phase flies the CAP mission over the hex]

1 x Audax 1A1 1/8 [at Habbaniya; in the combat phase flies the DAS mission over the hex]

Iraqi ground attack from 22A:2928 against the Allied stack at Habaniya hes 22A:2828:

  • Allied defense total: 0-1-4 Static II 1As (Col) @ ½ + Audax tac fac @ 1 = 1.5.
  • Axis ground unit attack factors add to a total of 3, halved for Unsteadiness = 1.5.
  • The Iraqi decide not to send their Mxd A type air unit on the GS mission because of the Br Glad air unit on the CAP mission over the Habbaniya hex.
  • Iraqi attack is at 1 to 1 odds. The die roll is 4: AS.

Allied air unit activity in the Habbaniya zone late in the Axis combat phase and at the end of the Axis turn:

  • After the ground combat, the Audax air unit returns to base at the Habbaniya hex (22A:2828).
  • At the end of the Axis turn, the Glad air units returns to base at the Habbaniya hex.

Allied air unit activity in the Basra/Shaibah zone late in the Axis exploitation phase:

Basra (22A:4313):

Allied standard Supply Terminal marker

1 x 0-1-4 Static II 2As (Col)

1 x Bombay 1T2 1-2/15 [air transfers to Iraq from Egypt/Palestine]

  • Optional: F. Watson’s “Iraq” battle scenario Allied OB has the Well 1C NB type air unit “Arriving” from the Middle East along with the Bombay T type air unit on the May I 41 Allied turn. I have the Bombay coming in now in the special ME/“Iraq Campaign Scenario demonstration. Watson’s “Iraq” Allied OB has the Well 1C air unit “Withdrawing” on the May II 41 Allied turn; so here’s another possible Allied air unit for use in this special ME/“Iraq” Scenario attempt. But right now I’d rather keep it in the ER-II Western Desert map group.

Excerpts from “The Background to the Syrian Campaign, May-June 1941

In an effort to bring forth some facts regarding the historical Axis intrigues in Vichy Levant in May and June of 1941 and also the particulars leading to the Allied invasion of the Vichy Levant in June 1941, here are some excerpts from and commentary about a journal article entitled “The Background to the Syrian Campaign, May-June 1941: A Study in Franco-German wartime relations.” The article is written by Jafna L. Cox of the University of Toronto and published in the journal History (Vol 72, #236) Oct. 1987.

From the fall of France until very early May 1941 Nazi German and Vichy French relations were those of the dominant victor to a conquered and subjugated nation whose ultimate fate was not yet ripe for final resolution. From Hitler’s and Ribbentrop’s perspective, there was no reason for haste in doing any binding significant bilateral agreements with Vichy France.  The much more serious pending diplomatic maneuvers with Franco’s Spain, Mussolini’s Italy, and even regarding some kind of hoped for negotiated peace with the English/USA bloc compelled Nazi Germany to stiff any special deals with her, leaving the Vichy French pie wholly available for slicing up and giving away, or for now held hostage pending a peace with the frustrated Allies.

In the spring of 1941, instead of an amphibious/airborne invasion of Britain, Hitler opted for what some call a peripheral strategy against the British in the Balkans, in Libya, and throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean basin. “The Fuhrer was once again ready to exploit temporarily Mediterranean developments when they offered themselves cheaply. Because there was a slight chance that the revolt in Iraq might succeed, and because in the meantime it threatened to provide the British with major difficulties, Hitler decided to intervene directly by bringing military aid to the rebels. It was evident, however, that the only feasible supply route to Iraq was by air through [Vichy] Syria.” (p. 436).

Vichy France did not have to freely conduct negotiations with the Germans with the apparent aim of a general improvement of its relations with Nazi Germany; in May 1941 Vichy could have “washed her hands” by simply waiting for a “diktat” from Hitler, which in hindsight might have been the best policy. However, Vichy French principal “Darlan apparently felt that Vichy was in a position to assist the Germans in making considerable gains [in diplomacy] at little expense.” First, Darlan was summoned to Paris on May 3 by German Armistice Commission head Abetz “who revealed that the Germans were prepared to [finally] renew [bilateral] negotiations.” The issue at hand was “helping Iraq obtain the weapons needed in its struggle against the English. France could eventually allow German planes destined for Iraq to land in Syria.”… “Darlan was eager to comply. But having been kept at arms-length for so long, he resolved to secure a number of concessions…”

[regarding occupied France, French p.o.w.’s, demarcation line passage, and guarantees for the French empire at the end of the war]. Although these French demands were heady, “Berlin wished to act quickly [and] negotiations began at once. Agreements embodying the French demands were signed on May 6.” ( The previous quotes from pp. 439-441).

As a result of these preliminary Vichy French-Nazi Germany negotiations at Paris, “the first German planes arrived at Narab, near Aleppo, on 9 May. Over the next two weeks some 106 planes passed through Syria on their way to Iraq. These included 66 fighters and 40 transports. They landed at Damascus, Palmyra, and Aleppo, and then went into action in the Habbaniya area of Iraq. Syrian ports and railways were also placed at the disposal of the Germans. The first trainload of aviation fuel, arms and ammunition reached Mosul on 13 May. In all, four trainloads of war material crossed the border before the destruction of the bridge near Tel Kotchek put an end to rail traffic.” This war material had to be railed through Turkish territory, but Vichy alibis were given and accepted by the Turks, and all ignored by the Allies at the time. (p. 442).

By May 15th, Anthony Eden informed the House of Commons about the Axis intrigues in Vichy Levant and “warned the Vichy government of the consequences. That same day the RAF attacked German planes on the ground at Palmyra, Rayak, and Damascus. They also commenced a thorough bombing of the Syrian airfields which continued until the end of the month.” By May 19th, the British Chiefs-of-Staff instructed Wavell to “be prepared to move into Syria at the earliest possible date.” (This paragraph from p. 443).

Meanwhile, as the month of May progressed, Darlan had quite bitten the bait of enhanced collaboration with the Nazi Germans, by then having actually realized some preliminary but perhaps minor German concessions through the earlier Levant negotiations. But to an humbled and prostrate Vichy France these were “the first important concessions which the French had obtained since July 1940.” In a sensational subsequent event that likely only further compromised and isolated Vichy France, Darlan was feted with a showy invitation to meet Hitler at Berchtesgarden on May 11-12. (From p 444).

All this May 1941 fascist Vichy French and Nazi German diplomatic schmoozing and carousing led to further “new negotiations … begun in Paris” on May 21 “to formalize the agreements [concerning the Levant] reached earlier in the month. Following six days of discussions, three agreements were signed [eg., on the 27th]; these were the so-called Paris Protocols. Concerned essentially with military questions in the Middle East, they represent the point at which the Vichy regime came closest to entering the war on the Axis side. The first protocol dealt with Syria and Iraq. It gave the Germans access to the French airfield at Aleppo, to Levantine ports, and to any communications necessary in further aid to the Iraqi rebels; three-quarters of the Vichy military supplies stored in Syria were to be ceded to the Rashid Ali government. The other protocols allowed the Germans to use the Tunisian port of Bizerte, and gave them right of passage through Tunisia in order to supply Rommel’s army; eventually a German submarine base was to be built at Dakar. German concessions were similar to those promised three weeks earlier.” (From pp. 445-446).

But events in Iraq put an end to these cloudy Vichy dreams and contrived diplomatic card castles. “British forces had been moving quickly in Iraq and by 19 May they were only 60 kilometres from Baghdad. On 31 May the Iraqi rebels asked for an armistice. With the trouble in Iraq cleared up and a number of British units freed it was possible once again to contemplate the situation in Syria. Failure in Iraq caused the Germans to be cautious about becoming involved in the Levant. … On 4 June Keitel ordered all German personnel to concentrate at Aleppo airport and to evacuate the country quietly. By the following day virtually all the Germans had gone and only a few largely damaged German transports remained.” (p. 447).

On Jun 8 1941 British and Free French forces attacked Vichy France. “London justified its action in a government communique [published in the Times] which stated that ‘The Vichy government, in pursuance of their policy of collaboration with the Axis powers, have placed air bases in Syria and Lebanon at the disposal of Germany and Italy and have supplied material to the rebel forces in Iraq.’” (p. 448).

So, “to the Axis, [Iraq and the Levant] seemed an inconsequential strategic loss. For the French it meant the end of their empire in the Levant. More importantly, …the fall of Syria effectively brought Franco-German relations to a standstill. Simply put, there no longer existed any tactical motivation for maintaining a conciliatory attitude towards the French. Not that the Germans ever ever really expected to abide by their agreements. Only three days after the signing of the Paris Protocols, the German Foreign Minister resolved not to apply them. The collapse of Rashid Ali in Iraq removed any reason for the Germans to fulfill their part of the agreements; the Vichy defeat in Syria provided the excuse to renege on the accords.” (p. 451).

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