£ 15.00

The War That Never Was


AUTHOR – A. G. Dudgeon


FORMAT – Hardback

PAGES – 186


ISBN – 1 85310 256 3


Out of stock

Category: Product ID: 20856


Sir Winston Churchill wrote in his history of World War II: ‘The spirited defence of Habbaniya by the Training School was a prime factor in our success.
What success? Which school?
This book tells the true but largely unknown story of a RAF air-victory against all the odds, and the events leading up to it. It has been researched from British, Iraqi and German records, both personal and official.
In 1941, seven months after the Battle of Britain the Iraqis, supported by their modern Air Force and encouraged by the Germans, sent a very powerful formation from their Army with guns, tanks and thousands of soldiers to surround the RAF air base at Habbaniya and demand our capitulation. Their force should have been unstoppable. An air-battle ensued, fought by a small team of pilots, most of them unseasoned instructors from No. 4 Flying Training School based there. Using their hastily armed training planes and in spite of being machine-gunned, fired at, strafed, bombed —and shelled throughout the 24 hours — they fought without respite.
The cost was grave — a quarter of RAF pilots gone on the first day alone and far more than that before the end. After five days and nights of ceaseless attack the Iraqi Army fled. Moreover, the School had even made the time and found the effort to neutralise the Iraqi Air Force as well. Hitler sent in Messerschmitt-110 fighters and Heinkel-111 bombers from the Luftwaffe to help the Iraqis, but by then they were too little and too late; they also were mopped up.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder said, later on: ‘If the School had been overcome, the Germans would have got a foothold in Iraq . . . We might then well have lost the War.’ The book ends with a validation of Churchill’s and Tedder’s comments, and an estimate of the value of the School’s success to the overall war-effort.

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