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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Thursday 9 August 2012

Hitler's Gulf War

My latest reading has been Barrie James's book, 'Hitler's Gulf War'. This covers the fight for Iraq in 1941.

In 1941 Iraq was in the British sphere of influence, with an army largely trained by the British and a friendly government. This changed following a coup by Axis sympathisers, led by Rashid Ali and the Mufti of Jerusalem, together with politicians and army officers in what was known as the 'Golden Square'. The 1 April coup was to be followed by Italian and German intervention in support of the Iraq army.
Hitler's Gulf War: The Fight for Iraq 1941
The only British forces near enough to Baghdad where at RAF Habbaniya, 55 miles away. They consisted mainly of training aircraft and some poorly equipped soldiers. None the less this force fought off the larger and better equipped Iraqi army until a relief force arrived. This force was a hotchpotch of units and equipment (including Glubb's Arab Legion) that marched over 500 miles of barren desert to relieve the airfield and capture Baghdad. German and Italian intervention came through Vichy Syria in the form of air support (ME110 and HEIII's). However, not in sufficient strength to make a decisive difference. The Germans were otherwise occupied with the invasion of Crete.

The author tells this impressive story with a fast paced narrative. It reads more like fiction than fact. But fact it is. Some great characters as well.

All doable on the tabletop. The Flames of War supplement 'Burning Empires' is a good starting point for units and would be my choice of rules for this campaign. Might struggle with some of the aircraft types that I certainly hadn't even heard of.

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