Iraqforce


Iraqforce

Iraqforce, was a British and Commonwealth formation which fought in the Middle East during World War II. Iraqforce was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Quinan and was variously part of India Command, Middle East Command and finally Persia and Iraq Command.

Iraqforce was initially despatched from Karachi by Army HQ, India Command to seize and secure the port of Basra (which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill saw as a future major supply base for material from the United States), to reinstate a more compliant Iraqi government, and to protect British interests in Iraq, notably the oilfields of which the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company was concession holder. In the ensuing Anglo-Iraqi War Basra was captured from the sea on 18 April. At the same time a force from the British Mandate of Palestine, known as "Habforce", advanced from Transjordan to relieve the British forces besieged at the RAF treaty base at Habbaniya in Iraq and then onwards to capture Baghdad. From early May the troops in Iraq were under the operational control of Army HQ, Middle East Command in Cairo, reverting to India command on 18 June. [Wavell (1946), pp. 1–4 in LondonGazette |issue=37685 |linkeddate=1946-08-13 |startpage=4093 |endpage=4096 |supp=y |accessdate=2008-09-30]

After Iraq was secured, elements of Iraqforce in June and July took part in the Syria-Lebanon campaign and while active in Syria they once more came under Cairo HQ's authority. In late August Iraqforce then conducted the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia in conjunction with forces advancing from the Soviet Union. A new formation, "Hazelforce", based on the 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade was formed within Iraqforce during this effort.

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With the growing threat from the German advance in the Caucasus it was felt in 1942 that the area should come under a GHQ which could bring a heavy focus to the area. Previous experience of controlling the area both from Cairo and Delhi had not proved ideal and both these GHQs were by this time fully committed in the Western Desert and the Burma Campaigns respectively. It was decided therefore in August 1942, as part of the changes made bringing in Alexander and Montgomery to Middle East Command and Auchinleck to India Command, to create a new, separate command, the Persia and Iraq Command, to be led by General Sir Maitland Wilson and based in Baghdad. [Compton Mackenzie, p.591]

Order of Battle - Iraq 1941

Commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Edward Quinan

The Anglo-Iraqi War was fought from 18 April 1941 to 30 May 1941. In Iraq, Iraqforce included:
* Indian 10th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General W.A.K. Fraser until 16 May and then by Major-General William Slim
** Indian 20th Infantry Brigade (arrived at Basra on 18 April), Brigadier Donald Powell
** Indian 21st Infantry Brigade (arrived at Basra in early May), Brigadier C.J. Weld
** Indian 25th Infantry Brigade (arrived in Basra on 30 May), Brigadier Ronald Mountain
* Ground Forces at RAF Habbaniya, Colonel Ouvry Roberts
** 1st bn King's Own Royal Regiment (at Habbaniya from April 24)
** Syrian Levies
** RAF armoured cars
* "Habforce" commanded by Major-General J.G.W. Clark
** British 4th Cavalry Brigade of the British 1st Cavalry Division, Brigadier J.J. Kingstone (Lieutenant-Colonel A.H. Ferguson commanded whilst Kingstone commanded "Kingcol", the mobile force drawn from "Habforce" to lead the drive to relieve Habbaniya)
** 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment
** Arab Legion Mechanised Regiment, Major John Glubb "Glubb Pasha"
** 237th Battery, Royal Artillery (60th Field Regiment)
** A troop of Royal Artillery 2-pounder anti-tank guns

Order of Battle - Syria 1941

Commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Edward Quinan

The Syria-Lebanon campaign was fought from 8 June 1941 to 14 July 1941. In Syria, Iraqforce included:
* Indian 10th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General William Slim
** Indian 20th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Donald Powell
** Indian 21st Infantry Brigade, Brigadier C.J. Weld
** Indian 25th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Ronald Mountain
* Indian 17th Infantry Brigade (from Indian 8th Infantry Division), Brigadier Douglas Gracey
* "Habforce" commanded by Major-General J.G.W. Clark
** British 4th Cavalry Brigade of the British 1st Cavalry Division, Brigadier J.J. Kingstone
** 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment
** Arab Legion Mechanised Regiment
** 237th Battery, Royal Artillery (60th Field Regiment)
** An Australian battery of 2 pounder anti-tank guns
** 169th Light Anti-aircraft Battery

Order of Battle - Persia 1941

Commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Edward Quinan

The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia was fought from 25 August to 17 September 1941. In Persia (modern Iran), Iraqforce (renamed Paiforce as of 1 September) included:
* Indian 10th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General William Slim (who took overall command of the ground forces in the Persia operation)
** Indian 20th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Donald Powell (detached to northern Syria and not involved in Persia)
* Indian 8th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General Charles Harvey
** 17th Indian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Douglas Gracey (detached to northern Syria and not involved in Persia)
** 18th Indian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Rupert Lochner
** 19th Indian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier C.W.W. Ford
** 24th Indian Infantry Brigade (under command until 11 September), Brigadier R.E. Le Fleming
** 25th Indian Infantry Brigade (under command, detached from 10th Indian Division), Brigadier Ronald Mountain
** 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
* "Hazelforce", Brigadier J.A. Aizlewood
** Indian 2nd Armoured Brigade Group, Brigadier J.A. Aizlewood
** British 9th Armoured Brigade, Brigadier John C. Currie
** Indian 21st Infantry Brigade (under command detached from 10th Indian Division), Brigadier C.J. Weld
* Indian 6th Infantry Division (from September 11) commanded by Major-General J.N. Thomson
** 27th Indian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Alan Blaxland
** 24th Indian Infantry Brigade (from 8th Indian Division), Brigadier R.E. Le Fleming

Order of Battle - Persia and Iraq Command 1942

Commanded by General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson
* General Reserve troops
**Indian 5th Infantry Division, Major-General H. Rawdon Briggs
***Indian 9th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier W.H. Langran
***Indian 161st Infantry Brigade, Briagadier D.F.W. Warren
**Polish 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division, Major-General Stanisław Kopański
**British 7th Armoured Brigade, Brigadier John Anstice
* Tenth Army commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Quinan
**British III Corps, Lieutenant-General Sir Desmond Anderson
***British 5th Infantry Division, Major-General Horatio Berney-Ficklin
****British 13th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier V.C. Russell
****British 15th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier H.R.N. Greenfield
****British 17th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier G.W.B. Tarleton
****5th Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
***British 56th (London) Division, Major-General Eric Miles
****British 167th (London) Infantry Brigade, Brigadier J.C.A. Birch
****British 168th (London) Infantry Brigade, Brigadier K.C. Davidson
****British 169th (London) Infantry Brigade, Brigadier L.O. Lynne
**Indian XXI Corps, Lieutenant-General Sir Mosley Mayne
***Indian 8th Infantry Division, Major-General Charles Harvey
****Indian 17th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier F.A.M.B. Jenkins
****Indian 19th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier C.W.W. Ford
***Indian 10th Infantry Division, Major-General Alan Blaxland
****Indian 20th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier L.E. MacGregor
****Indian 25th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier A.E. Arderne
**Army troops
***Indian 6th Infantry Division commanded by Major-General J.N. Thomson
****Indian 27th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier A.R. Barker
****6th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
***31st Indian Armoured Division, Major-General Robert Wordsworth
****Indian 3rd Motor Brigade
****Indian 252nd Armoured Brigade
***Indian 10th Motor Brigade, Brigadier Harold Redman

References

*cite book |author=Compton Mackenzie |authorlink=Compton Mackenzie |title=Eastern Epic |location=London |year=1951 |publisher=Chatto & Windus|pages=623 pages
* officially published in the LondonGazette |issue=37685 |linkeddate=1946-08-13 |startpage=4093 |endpage=4101 |supp=y |accessdate=2008-09-30
*cite web|url=http://www.ordersofbattle.com/UnitIndex.aspx |title=Orders of Battle.com website|accessdate=2008-10-01 |last= |first=

Footnotes

ee also and External Links

*Ravi Rikhye, [http://www.orbat.com/site/history/index.html India: Paiforce 1942-43] , http://www.orbat.com, June 2002
* 1941 Iraqi coup d'état
* Middle East Command


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