OPERATIONS IN IRAN (PERSIA)-1941 Owing to its geographical situation Iran with the U.S.S.R. on the north Iraq on the west and Baluchistan (now part of Pakistan) and Afghanistan on the east was strategically of the greatest importance to the defence of both India and the Middle East. For a longtime the German High Command had thought of it as a focal point from which British Common wealth communications could be severed and had coveted its rich mineral oil deposits. To gain control of the country they had adopted their usual technique: skilful infiltration of secret agents often in commercial guise together with financial assistance in Iran s efforts to bring herself speedily to the economic level of western nations. By June 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union there was in Iran a well organised German community of 3000 who could be relied upon to work for the furtherance of Germ anys interests. Great Britain and her ally the Soviet Union accordingly requested the immediate expulsion of those Germans whose political activities were known to be hostile to them, and when diplomatic pressure failed it became necessary to send troops into the country. The Iranian Army had been well supplied by Germany with modern weapons their senior commanders included officers who had been trained at European academies such asSt. Cyr and considerable resistance was to be expected. A series of simultaneous operations based on Iraq was planned. Our troops were to enter from the Ahwaz-Abadan area and from Khanaqin and the Russians were to enter from the north. The advance into Persia commenced on 25th August 1941. A naval force H.M.S. Enterprise H.M.S. Hermes and R.F.A. Pearleaf including two companies of the 3rd Battalion 10th Baluch Regiment on board the Armed Merchant Cruiser H.M.S. Kanimbla approached Bandar Shahpur harbour in the early morning o f that day. One company was landed at 0715 hours and had secured Bandar Shahpur with only slight opposition by the time (0830 hours) the second company had landed. At Haft Kel one company of infantry in six Valentia aircraft landed to protect the oilfields there and to escort the British and Indian women and children from the main oilfields at Masjid-i-Suleiman to Haft Kel. The 24th Indian Infantry Brigade (less one battalion) landed at Abadan at 0410 hours. Resistance was encountered from some well sited machine gun posts along the wharves and street fighting occurred. It was difficult to dislodge the Iranian troops without damaging the refinery buildings which were not completely cleared until 1700 hours. The following day the whole of Abadan island was cleared. From Tanumah the 18th Indian Infantry Brigade (less one battalion) which had with it one battalion of the 24th Indian Infantry Brigade a squadron of the Guides Cavalry and a battery of Field Artillery advanced on the night of 24/25th August across the desert to Khurramshahr arriving at 0410 hours on the 25th. After the establishment of a ferry
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