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Encyclopedia > Middle East Campaign

The Middle East Campaign was a part of the Middle East Theatre of World War II. The Middle East Theatre of World War II is defined largely by reference to the British Middle East Command, which controlled Allied forces in both Southwest Asia and eastern North Africa. ...

Middle East Campaign,
part of Middle East Theatre of World War II
Palestine – Iraq – Syria & Lebanon – Iran

Contents

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (642x801, 114 KB) Egypt-Libya 11 June 1942-12 February 1943 was prepared in the U.S. Army Center of Military History by Clayton R. Newell File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (642x801, 114 KB) Egypt-Libya 11 June 1942-12 February 1943 was prepared in the U.S. Army Center of Military History by Clayton R. Newell File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev... The Middle East Campaign was a part of the Middle East Theatre of World War II. // Overview This campaign included: The British police actions in Palestine. ... The Middle East Theatre of World War II is defined largely by reference to the British Middle East Command, which controlled Allied forces in both Southwest Asia and eastern North Africa. ... Flag The approximate borders of the British Mandate circa 1922. ... Combatants Australia U.K. British India British Palestine  Czechoslovakia Government-in-Exile Free France Vichy France Commanders Henry Maitland Wilson Henri Dentz Strength Approximately 35,000 troops Australian: 18,000 British: 9,000 Indian: 2,000 Free French: 5,000 Between 35,000 and 40,000 troops French: 8,000...

Overview

This campaign included:

  • The British police actions in Palestine.
  • The British suppression of a revolt in what is now Iraq.
  • The short but bitter conflict between Allied and Vichy French forces in Lebanon and Syria.
  • The British and Soviet invasion and occupation of Persia.

In March 1942 the Indian 10th Infantry Division was in Iraq. It had fought Iraq, and in the invasions of Syria, Lebanon and Persia. As its soon to be promoted commander Major-General William Slim wrote: "We could move we could fight and we had begun to build up that most vauable of all assets a tradition of success. ... it was stimulating to be at what we all felt was a critical spot, waiting for the threatened German invasion of Turkey." [1] Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Henri Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval Legislature National Assembly Historical era... Motto Esteqlāl, āzādÄ«, jomhÅ«rÄ«-ye eslāmÄ« 1(Persian) Independence, freedom, Islamic Republic (introduced 1979) Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān 2 Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Establishment  -  Proto-Elamite Period 3200-2700 BCE... The Indian 10th Infantry Division was a war formed Indian division during the Second World War . ... Field Marshal Sir William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC (6 August 1891 – 14 December 1970) was a British military commander and the 13th Governor-General of Australia. ...


Although Southwest Asia was destined to remain a strategic backwater for the duration of World War II, in late 1941 and early 1942 the Allies were not certain that it would remain so. Before the turning points of the Battle of Stalingrad (June 1942 to February, 1943) and the Second Battle of El Alamein (October to November 1942), the fear was that the Germans might attack the area either through Turkey, or via Cyprus into Lebanon; or through defeating of the British 8th Army in Egypt. If the anticipated attack came through Turkey or Lebanon, then not only could the Axis Powers threaten British controlled Egypt and the strategically important Suez Canal via an advance through Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula, it would also allow the Germans an alternative route to attack the Soviet Union from Southwest Asia north through the USSR's southern frontiers. In the slightly longer term the British feared that the German might follow in Alexander the Great's footsteps and attack British controlled India from Persia in the west as Japan simultaneously attacked India from the east through Burma. This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Combatants Germany Romania Italy Hungary Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Friedrich Paulus # Erich von Manstein Hermann Hoth Petre Dumitrescu Constantin Constantinescu Italo Garibaldi Gusztav Jany Vasiliy Chuikov Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy Georgiy Zhukov Semyon Timoshenko Konstantin Rokossovskiy Rodion Malinovskiy Andrei Yeremenko Strength Army Group B: German Sixth Army German Fourth Panzer Army... For the Battle of Alam Halfa, which is also often termed the Second Battle of El Alamein, see Battle of Alam Halfa Combatants British Eighth Army: United Kingdom Australia New Zealand South Africa India Panzer Army Africa: Nazi Germany Fascist Italy Commanders Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Strength 220,000 men... The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations in World War II, fighting in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Suez Canal, seen from Earth orbit, NASA. Ships moored at El Ballah during transit The Suez Canal (Arabic: , transliteration: ), is a large artificial canal in Egypt west of the Sinai Peninsula. ... Sinai Peninsula, Gulf of Suez (west), Gulf of Aqaba (east) from Space Shuttle STS-40 For other uses of the word Sinai, please see: Sinai (disambiguation). ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history. ... Anthem God Save The Queen/King British India, circa 1860 Capital Calcutta (1858-1912), New Delhi (1912-1947) Language(s) Hindi, Urdu, English and many others Government Monarchy Emperor of India  - 1877-1901 Victoria  - 1901-1910 Edward VII  - 1910-1936 George V  - January-December 1936 Edward VIII  - 1936-1947 George...


Command structure

Commonwealth forces in the region were for the most part under the Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East Command based in Cairo. The exception was Persia which for some of the time came under the command of the Commander-in-Chief in India. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... During World War II The British Middle East Command was based in Cairo with responsibility for the Middle East theatre which included North Africa, East Africa, Persia, the Middle East, and the British forces in the Balkans and Greece. ... Nickname: Egypt: Site of Cairo (top center) Coordinates: Government  - Governor Dr. Abdul Azim Wazir Area  - City 214 km²  (82. ... This article is in need of attention. ...


Palestine

See also British Mandate of Palestine

As in most of the Arab world, there was no unanimity amongst the Palestinian Arabs as to their position regarding the combatants in WWII. Many signed up for the British army, but others saw an Axis victory as their best hope of wresting Palestine back from the Zionists and (as they saw it) their British protectors. Some of the leadership went further, especially the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini (by then expelled from Palestine), who on November 25, 1941, formally declared jihad against the Allied Powers. Even though Arabs were only marginally higher than Jews in Nazi racial theory, the Nazis naturally encouraged Arab support as much as possible as a counter to British hegemony throughout the Arab world. Flag The approximate borders of the British Mandate circa 1922. ... The title Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is predominantly used to refer to Mohammad Amin al-Husayni. ... Mohammad Amin al-Husayni Mohammad Amin al-Husayni (ca. ... is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ...


The Holocaust—the killing of approximately six million European Jews by the Nazis—had a major effect on the situation in Palestine. During the war, the British forbade entry into Palestine of European Jews escaping Nazi persecution, placing them in detention camps or deporting them to other places such as Mauritius. Avraham Stern, the leader of the Jewish Lehi terrorist gang, had advocated an alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, believing these ties would assist the nationalist effort in Eretz Yisrael. The Jewish Irgun gang were implicated in the assassination in Cairo on 6 November 1944 of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State. Fighting Jewish terrorists on one hand and the Germans in North Africa on the other did not endear the British to the Jews in Palestine at this critical stage of the war. For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ... The Nazi party used a right-facing swastika as their symbol and the red and black colors were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). ... Avraham Stern Avraham Stern (Hebrew: אברהם שטרן Avraham Shtern), alias Yair (Hebrew: יאיר) (December 23, 1907 - February 12, 1942) was the founder and leader of the Zionist underground organization later known as Lehi and also known as the Stern Gang. Stern was born in Suwalki, Poland, immigrated to Israel in 1925, and studied... Lehi emblem Lehi (IPA: , Hebrew acronym for Lohamei Herut Israel, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, לחי - לוחמי חירות ישראל) was an armed underground Zionist faction in the Palestine Mandate that had as its goal the eviction of the British from Palestine to allow unrestricted immigration of Jews and the formation of a Jewish... Irgun emblem. ... November 6 is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne (29 March 1880 - 6 November 1944) was a British politician. ...


The British considered it more important to get Arab backing, due to their important interests in Egypt and other Arab lands. The influx of Jewish refugees had already caused severe problems in Palestine, and the British did not wish to further exacerbate the situation. The British authorities were also concerned about the possibility of German agents entering Palestine on a refugee boat. Irgun opposed British control of Palestine and the restriction on refugees in particular which was an opposition that would continued after the end of World War II.


Iraq

See main article Anglo-Iraqi War

Iraq had been officially granted independence by the United Kingdom in 1932, under a number of conditions, including the retention of British military bases. This caused resentment within Iraq and a pro-Axis prime minister, Rashid Ali, assumed control. In early 1941, Ali ordered British forces to withdraw. Combatants Kingdom of Iraq United Kingdom India Commanders Rashid Ali General Sir Edward Quinan Strength five divisions about two divisions Casualties 2,500 KIA, about 6,000 POWs 1,200 (KIA, MIA, WIA) The Anglo-Iraqi War is the name of hostilities between the United Kingdom and the Iraqi nationalist... Year 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1932 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... El-Gaylani Rashid Ali was the Pro-Axis leader of Iraq who fled to Iran when the Allies invaded Iraq. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ...


The Middle East Command hastily assembled a formation known as Iraqforce — which included the Indian 10th Infantry Division and the Arab Legion — and it arrived on April 18. Iraqforce was a British and Commonwealth unit which fought in the Middle East during World War II. Iraqforce was involved in operations in Iraq (Anglo-Iraqi War), in Syria (Syria-Lebanon campaign), and in Persia (Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia). ... The Indian 10th Infantry Division was a war formed Indian division during the Second World War . ... The Arab Legion (al-Jaysh al-ArabÄ«) was Transjordans and later also Jordans regular army. ... is the 108th day of the year (109th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


There were two main British military bases in Iraq, at Basra and at Habbaniya, north east of Baghdad. On April 30 the Iraqi Army surrounded and besieged the isolated and poorly-defended Royal Air Force base at Habbaniya. Although the base had no offensive aircraft, RAF personnel converted training aircraft to carry weapons, and attacked the Iraqi forces. This article is about the city of Basra. ... The Habbaniya, or Habbania, are a Sunni Muslim tribe of the nomadic Bedouin Baggara people in the plains of Sudans Darfur, North Kordofan, and South Kordofan provinces. ... Baghdad (Arabic: ) is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate. ... is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


Habbaniya was soon relieved by Iraqforce, which defeated the larger but poorly-trained Iraqi Army in a series of battles, even though the Iraqis received direct aid from the Luftwaffe. Iraqforce pressed on from Habbaniya to Baghdad and then to Mosul. Ali and his supporters fled the country and an armistice was signed. Iraqforce was a British and Commonwealth unit which fought in the Middle East during World War II. Iraqforce was involved in operations in Iraq (Anglo-Iraqi War), in Syria (Syria-Lebanon campaign), and in Persia (Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia). ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... Baghdad (Arabic: ) is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate. ... Mosul (Arabic: , Kurdish: موصل Mûsil, Syriac: NînÄ›wâ, Turkish: Musul) is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate. ... A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ...


Syria and Lebanon

See main article Syria-Lebanon campaign

A Luftwaffe aircraft was shot down over Iraq during the advance on Baghdad. Since the nearest Axis bases were on Rhodes, the Allies realised that the plane had refueled in Vichy French- controlled Syria or Lebanon. This confirmed suspicions among the Allies regarding the "armed neutrality" of Vichy territories. Combatants Australia U.K. British India British Palestine  Czechoslovakia Government-in-Exile Free France Vichy France Commanders Henry Maitland Wilson Henri Dentz Strength Approximately 35,000 troops Australian: 18,000 British: 9,000 Indian: 2,000 Free French: 5,000 Between 35,000 and 40,000 troops French: 8,000... Deer statues in Mandraki harbor, where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood This article is about the Greek island of Rhodes. ... Vichy France (French: now called Régime de Vichy or Vichy; called itself at the time État Français, or French State) was the French state of 1940-1944 which was a puppet government under Nazi influence, as opposed to the Free French Forces, based first in London and later...


Australian, Free French and Indian units invaded Syria and Lebanon from Palestine, to remove the Vichy officials. Vigorous resistance was put up by the Vichy in Lebanon. However, the Allies better training and equipment, as well as the weight of numbers eventually told against the Axis, and when this combined with an advance on Damascus by Iraqforce, the French surrendered. The Free French Forces (Forces Françaises Libres in French) were French fighters who decided to go on fighting against Germany after the Fall of France and German occupation and to fight against Vichy France in World War II. General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French Cabinet... Nickname: The Seal of the Damascus Governorate Syria Syria Governorates Damascus Governorate Government  - Governor Bishr Al Sabban Area  - City 573 km²  (221. ...


Iran

Main article: Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran

The final major military operation in the war in the Middle East campaign took place shortly thereafter. The Soviet Union desperately needed supplies for its war against Germany. Supplies were being sent round the North Cape convoy route to Murmansk and Archangel, but the capacity of that route was limited and subject to enemy action. Supplies were also sent from American to Vladivostok in Soviet-flagged ships. However, yet more capacity was needed, the obvious answer was to go through Iran. The Shah of Iran was deemed as pro-German; he would not allow this free access. Consequently British and Soviet forces invaded and occupied Iran. The Shah was deposed and his son put on the throne. Combatants Allies (UK, India and USSR) Persia/ Iran The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia was the invasion of Iran by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, codenamed Operation Countenance, from August 25 to September 17 of 1941. ... North Cape is the name of several capes: North Cape is a cape in Prince Edward Island, Canada North Cape is a cape in northern New Zealand North Cape is a cape in northern Norway, also known as Nordkapp The North Cape was a barge which ran aground in Rhode... Murmansk coin Murmansk (Russian: ; Finnish: (archaic); Northern Sami: ; Skolt Sami: ) is a city in the extreme northwest part of Russia with a seaport on the Kola Bay, 12 km from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russias borders with Norway and... Archangels are superior or higher-ranking angels. ... Vladivostok (Russian: ) is the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated close to the Russo-Sino border and North Korea. ... Shah or Shahzad is a Persian term for a monarch (ruler) that has been adopted in many other languages. ...


See also

Iraqforce was a British and Commonwealth unit which fought in the Middle East during World War II. Iraqforce was involved in operations in Iraq (Anglo-Iraqi War), in Syria (Syria-Lebanon campaign), and in Persia (Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia). ... The Insignia of the Polish II Corps. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Defeat Into Victory by Field Marshal William Slim, Page 3.
Campaigns and theatres of World War II
Europe
Poland  – Phoney War – Denmark & NorwayFrance & Benelux – BritainEastern Front – North West Europe (1944–45)
Asian and Pacific
China – Pacific Ocean – South-East Asia – South West Pacific – Japan – Manchuria
Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa
Mediterranean Sea – East Africa – North Africa – West Africa – Balkans (1939-41) – Middle East – Yugoslavia – Madagascar – Italy
Other
Atlantic – Strategic bombing – North America – Arctic
Contemporary wars
Chinese Civil – Soviet-Japanese Border – Finland – French-Thai – Anglo-Iraqi – Invasion of Iran – Greek Civil – Sino-Japanese – Ecuadorian-Peruvian

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