KADHIMAIN (BAGHDAD) -
-28 MAY 1941
This scenario represents the a deliberate attack on defensive positions attempt to break through the Iraqi defences by the northern column.
The British column crossed the Euphrates on the night of 26/27 May and drove across the Jezireh to the Tigris cutting the Mosul Baghdad road and rail links by the afternoon of that day. The column missed the chance to drive straight in to Baghdad because they bivouacked about 6 miles north of the city.
The Iraqi Government was taken by surprise but deployed a strong infantry force to block the road with some supporting forces at Al Kadhimain.
Al Kadhimain is (in 1941) a suburb about 3 miles north of Baghdad. The principal features are the brickworks, the mosque (one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam) and the River Tigris. The area is dotted with settlements for the workers and farmers. As usual the main road and the railway run along elevated embankments. There are also the usual bunds of the irrigation system. As yet these have not been cut.
Both forces have moved into contact in the late afternoon, neither have prepared positions. The action starts just after dawn as the advance guards clash.
British Force Briefing
Mission: To clear the road to Baghdad for future operations.
Execution: The force is divided as shown below.
The main force is to advance on Baghdad with the Mosul Baghdad road as the axis. The close country to the left between the road and the Tigris is to be covered by the Arab Legion.
The Mosque is holy ground and must not be shelled or attacked. The local population do not support the Iraqi Government but an attack on the Mosque is likely to bring out the militia against us.
You are likely to be outnumbered as more Iraqi forces arrive. Speed is essential. Propaganda has been spread ahead of you that your forces are much larger than they are.
Iraqi Force Briefing
Mission: To block the Mosul Baghdad Road.
Execution: The British are to be held in the Al Kadhimain area. The Mosque is sacred to the Shia and must be protected at all costs. The mosque itself is holy ground and must not have troops or weapons deployed there.
The enemy are advancing in strength, the advance guard is mainly truck mounted but the main body behind them has tanks and medium artillery. Your troops are nervous.
The enemy air forces are active. Our air force has been virtually eliminated but our German Allies have promised support. Your forces are formed as follows:
Communications are difficult and rely upon the local telephone system which
connects the railway station, police station, brickworks and the mosque.
Otherwise field telephone lines need to be laid.
Troops moving cannot be contacted except by messenger.
Playing the Game
If either side occupies or attacks the mosque the local militia made up of up to 3 groups (dice 1 = 1 group, 2-5 = 2 groups, 6 = 3 groups) of 1 Leader and 8 x rifles join other side dispersed as snipers within 12 of mosque.
The Iraqi troops are adequate for defence only. However, if they attempt offensive action even counter attacks they must test morale as poor and unenthusiastic troops.
The Iraqis have two companies and up to 2 batteries deployed with OP parties at the beginning of the game.
RAF support may arrive following a request from the liaison team. It will arrive 3 turns plus a D6 roll later. The request should specify target type. The aircraft allocated depends on the table below:
1 x Audax with 8 x 20 lb bombs
2 x Audax each with 2 x 250 lb bombs
Blenheim IV with 8 x 250 lb bombs
2 x Blenheim IV with 8 x 250 lb bombs
1 x Blenheim IVF
1 x Audax with 8 x 20 lb Bombs
1 x Gladiator
RAF attacks on the Iraqis should have a significant effect in reducing morale and even causing the troops to flee their positions.
The Luftwaffe will appear in any turn that the Iraqi player rolls a 10 on a D10.
This will be a single Messerschmitt Bf-110 with guns only (no bombs).
It will attack targets of opportunity only. At this time of year
the pilots often flew without the rear gunner to save weight and increase
performance in the hot desert air.
At this time of year the pilots often flew without the rear gunner to save weight and increase performance in the hot desert air.
The brickworks should be represented by several strong buildings, furnaces, chimneys and piles of bricks. Each is surrounded by a wall too high to fire over but which can be loopholed.
Iraqi forces must be given orders at the beginning of the game and these can only be changed by telephone or the arrival of a messenger with further written orders. If the messenger is killed or intercepted the orders do not arrive. Shell fire may cut telephone lines on a d6 roll of 4-6.
Winning the Game
The British win if they exit the table to the south. In this case the Arab Legion does not count as British.
Any other result is a draw.
I have set this action earlier in the day to give a more playable game.
The actual defenders increased to brigade strength during the morning. This may be played but could make the game too unbalanced unless some severe morale and communication problems are given to the Iraqis.
I have given the British some Bren Carriers to be the tanks reported to the Iraqis.
In the historical action the Northern Column advanced down the road with the Arab Legion leading. In playing out this game the British commander may Bring on the Arab Legion on his left flank or he may use either or both the alternative entry points. The former represents early warning of the Iraqi Deployment and the latter allows for the direct approach from the desert. If the latter is played then the Iraqis have only a company in the Brickworks and another at the station. The remainder arrive by train and road from turn 3, thus representing the rapid British advance rather than the delayed one.
The British stopped for the night and lost the element of surprise. Despite a series of spirited actions the British could not penetrate the Iraqi line with only a troop of artillery and 700 men against a brigade of infantry supported by artillery. The Arab Legion made some progress but could press home their advantage against the strengthening Iraqi forces.
On the far side of the Tigris was an Iraqi horsed cavalry Regiment keeping watch and preventing the Arab Legion from crossing and outflanking the position.
Sources of Figures and Models
The armoured trucks are bit of a problem as I have yet to find a picture of them. Perhaps they were old Lancia bodies on newer chassis? I used a couple of Airfix Austin K-2 chassis, the ambulance from the emergency set, with bodywork styled on a cross between the Lancia and the American White Scout Car. I made them deliberately simple and slab sided to resemble something home made.
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
Building Your Forces
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