During the spring of 1941, on an isolated, indefensible airfield 55 miles from Baghdad a group of poorly armed and outnumbered RAF airman equipped with obsolete aircraft, together with a few soldiers, outfought the much larger and better equipped Iraqi forces who were aided by the Germans and Italians. The engagement would prove to be the first real defeat of the Germans in World War Two.
After an heroic defence, the airfield was finally relieved by a hastily assembled column of trucks, taxis, buses and antiquated armoured cars carrying infantry and Bedouins. The column had fought its way across a 500 mile barren, unmapped desert enduring temperatures approaching fifty degrees C to reach the airfield. In a gigantic game of bluff less than fifteen hundred soldiers supported by the RAF in their obsolete aircraft against odds of twenty to one went on to take Baghdad. They foiled a coup, returned a King to his throne and destroyed Axis aspirations in the Middle East.
This book is based on the research into a wide range of official, academic and public sources. It uses reported American, British, German, Italian and Iraqi dialogue to produce this remarkable account of a thirty day war in Iraq in 1941, how it played out and how it set the scene for Iraq’s turbulent future which has come to haunt the West.
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