Iraq 1941 - Scenario1



This scenario is a night action that represents the escape of the Regent through the streets of Baghdad to the British Embassy at the beginning of hostilities in Iraq 1941.  The police patrols may be programmed or card driven and so this action lends itself to solo play or a role play.  It can even be run as a Pulp adventure if desired where the free gaming style would be admirably suited to this "cloak and dagger" action.


The Golden Square of four Iraqi senior officers staged a coup and appointed Rashid Ali as Prime Minister early in 1941 deposing the Regent.  Relations deteriorated with Britain which had 2 airbases in the country; at Habbaniya and Shaiba.  These bases were important staging points on the Line of Communication to India.   The relationships deteriorated further when the British landed an Indian Infantry Brigade in Basra to secure the base area there.  The Iraqi government re-opened diplomatic relations with Germany through the Italian Embassy with whom they had maintained relations despite Britain and Italy being at war.  There was a very real danger that the Germans might seek to increase their influence in the region through pro-German Vichy Syria.   The British were told that they were to land no more troops until the first brigade had passed through - a clear breach of the treaty obligations.  The landing of a second Brigade from India a few days later brought matters to new stage and military action seemed inevitable. 

The Golden Square intended to arrest the Regent on 1 April.  He received word that this is about to happen and resolved to escape to the British Embassy on the other side of the Tigris.


The City of Baghdad is divided by the River Tigris.  On the East bank is the old town.  The table is dominated by the large palace has its own set of walls on the outskirts of the city and contains royal apartments, government buildings, various large religious structures, colleges, libraries and parks.  These are surrounded by open parkland dotted with tree lined avenues and shady groves.  Once in the city the terrain becomes a maze of large town houses, shops, hotels and the like.  Simplify the map of Baghdad to suit your table layout.

By the river is the British Embassy.  The river is crossed by two bridges roughly equidistant north and south of the Embassy.  The Embassy is also surrounded by a wall. 

 General Outline

Both forces are preparing for the arrest.  The police have their normal patrols out.  Generally this comprised pairs or fours of policemen patrolling the streets.  The arresting force is to be composed of Iraqi troops loyal to the Golden Square. The action starts just after midnight with Government patrols in the city and the Regent preparing to escape.

Regent’s Briefing

Mission:  To escape to the British Embassy

 Execution:  Making use of disguise and diversions you intend to mingle with the normal life of Baghdad and cross the Tigris to the British Embassy.  You have 6 people that are confident that are loyal to you, 5 men and 1 woman and one car.  You have a pistol for each man.   To preserve the secrecy you may select 2 figures from the civilians at random and mark them as loyal.

 Iraqi Force Briefing

 Mission:  To arrest the Regent if he tries to escape the Palace.

 Execution:  You are the chief of security for the palace area and have your own Sergeant and 2 policemen.  You have 4 patrols of 4 men.  One must be placed at the palace gate.  You have 2 cars each able to carry 4 people.  The policemen are all armed with pistols.  Each car has 4 rifles each with 10 rounds of ammunition.  You must give starting orders to each patrol and deploy them according to the time selected by the Regent for the start of the game.  There are rifles and ammunition in the main armoury.  To improve your chances you may select 2 figures at random from among the civilians as informants.

British Force Briefing

The British are best played by the umpire or another player, though they will not have much to do.

Mission:  To protect the Embassy and prevent interlopers gaining access.

Execution:  You represent the night guard of the Embassy, an NCO in the British Army with 4 soldiers.  One is on guard at the gate and the others are in the guard room.  Every so often you send the Lance Corporal and a Private on a perimeter patrol.  All are armed with rifles with 10 rounds of ammunition.  A box in the Guard room contains a further 100 rounds.   The Guard room has two cells and a telephone connected to the Duty Officer.

Playing the Game

Set out the table so that there are no direct routes from the palace to the Embassy.  You may place boats at the side of the river which should be very wide.  Swimming in it is not an option.   Also set out civilians where they can be seen by the patrols and remove them once they are out of site.

If there additional players then they should represent the police patrols. 

The Regent sets the time of his escape, marks his proposed route(s) on a map and the game starts when his first party starts to move.  He may employ any disguises as required.  

The Police patrols are deployed according to the orders written by the Chief of police.  Any without orders are in the police barracks in the palace area and are deemed off duty and asleep.  Once alerted they take D6+2 turns to get ready to leave the barracks.  

If both players select the same civilian then the figure is a "double agent". 

The streets have a number of groups of innocent civilians, a few beggars, informants (both sides), merchants, street cafes etc.  The only figures required are those that are within sight of a player's party.  

Informants will reveal to their own side the strength and direction of any suspicious groups that they are asked about.  They may attempt to mislead the opposition.  They will be vague about timings.

Any citizen may be questioned and will co-operate with the police depending upon their role within the scenario.  They may give accurate, inaccurate, helpful, confusing or misleading information.

The Regent must first get out of the palace and then cross the city to the British Embassy.  He will need to prepare a plan but cannot communicate with the British by telephone in case the operator listens in.

The British will not shoot anyone without first challenging them to halt.  If they do not a warning shot will be fired and after that they may be shot.  If they halt they will be arrested and the Duty Officer informed.

Winning the Game

The British lose if there is a diplomatic incident without the Regent making it to the Embassy.

 The Iraqis win if they capture the Regent.

The Regent wins if he reaches safety in the British Embassy.

Any other result is a draw.


There is ample scope for role playing in this scenario with players and umpire taking on roles and trying to bluff their opponents.

 The Regent may deploy some of his force as decoys and at different times. 

 Historical Action

The Regent made his escape disguised as a woman, possibly wearing a burqa to the American Lregation.  He later made his way to RAF Habbaniya hidden by being wrapped in a carpet in a car.  He then was transported by air to Basra and thence onto a RN ship.

Sources of Figures and Models

 The Regent and other Arab civilians in 20mm are available from RH Models, B&B Miniatures or by conversion.

 Iraqi Police can be converted from Esci British Colonial Infantry.

 The British infantry can be any WW2 8th Army figures with head swops to give them the “chip bag” type forage cap.

Iraq Scenario Intro Page

The Escape of the Regent

Night Patrol at Habbaniyah

Battle at Sinn el Dibban

Clearing the Port of Ashar

British Assault on Fallujah

Iraqi Counter Attack at Fallujah

The Raid Across the Jezireh

River Crossing at Habib Shawi and Qrmat Ali

The Battle at Kadhimain

The Fort at Khan Nuqta

What If the Arab Legion and Legion Freies Arabien Met?

Mercol in Action

The History

Building Your Forces

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