Armed Forces of World War II (Near East).
IRAN (PERSIA), Empire of Iran, Keshwar-e Shahanshahi-ye Iran.
Contemporary National Flag: Not available.
Population: 15 000 000 (1938), ~ 16 800 000 (1945). Borders (during WWII) with British India (present-day Pakistan), Afghanistan, Soviet Union, Turkey and Iraq. It also has access to the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Caspian Sea, and the Indian Ocean.
Area: 1 648 000 squared kilometers.
Capital City: Tehran
Overview: In the first years of the conflict, despite of self-declared neutrality, Iran fell under a strong influence of Nazi Germany which aimed at transforming it into a powerbase for German penetration of Near and Middle East. Shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the strategic importance of Iran rose prominently; subsequently, British Commonwealth (East Indian) and Soviet troops entered the country (on 25/08/1941) in order to prevent Iran from falling into the Axis sphere of influence. A small U.S. contingent joined the already present Allied (British Commonwealth in the south of the country, and Soviet in the north) occupation forces in 1942. In September of 1941, following the abdication of Reza Shah, Iran declared war on Nazi Germany. Afterwards, the Iranian territory was used by the Allies as a transit route for shipments of supplies to the Soviet Union. Between 28/11/1943 and 01/12/1943, a conference of the heads of state of Great Britain, U.S., and Soviet Union took place in Tehran. Iran is one of the co-founding members of the U.N.
Armed Forces: By 1937 the Iranian standing army numbered 1 507 officers and 30 872 NCOs and men. By 1939 the army was composed of nine mixed divisions and five independent brigades. There was also one independent infantry regiment, as well as one heavy artillery regiment, one anti-aircraft battalion, one independent transportation squadron, and an air force component consisting of three air regiments (200 machines, mostly British-manufactured Hawkers and De Havillands). The Iranian navy possessed two sloops, five patrol vessels, and some thugs and motor patrol boats on the Persian Gulf / Gulf of Oman, in addition to an imperial yacht and some motor patrol boats for service on the Caspian Sea. Aside from the yacht all vessels were of Italian origin. The sloops suffered considerable damage during the Allied intervention in 1941, but were later repaired and returned to service. In 1940 an independent mechanized brigade made up of anti-aircraft, tank, and mechanized infantry regiments came into being. The number of active army personnel increased to 120 000. All of the armed forces were dispersed into six military districts. The armed police force fielded seven independent mixed regiments and 15 mixed battalions that formed a corps for internal and frontier security duties. During the Allied invasion in late summer of 1941, the Iranian armed forces offered only minimal resistance and the country was rapidly overrun and occupied. Afterwards the Iranian armed forces did not play any combat role during the remaining years of World War II. Major re-organization efforts of the armed forces started to be implemented in 1944.
Captured / Sunk Iranian Ships in 1941.
TURKEY, Republic of Turkey, Turkiye Cumhuriyeti.
Contemporary national flag: Not yet available.
Population: 17 100 000 (in 1938), 19 250 000 (in 1947). Borders with (during WWII) Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Soviet Union. It also has access to the Black and Mediterranean Seas.
Area: 767 100 squared kilometers.
Capital City: Ankara
Overview: Shortly before WWII, the internal and external policies of the Turkish government began to diverge from the progressive course undertaken by K. Ataturk; subsequently to Ataturk's death in 1938, under combined pressure from reactionary domestic elements and from imperialistic powers, Turkey halted the realization of social reforms while in foreign policy it adopted an anti-Soviet stance. After the eruption of World War II, it announced a declaration of neutrality, and on 19/10/1939 it signed a mutual assistance pact with Great Britain and France. Influenced by the early war triumphs of Nazi Germany, Turkey decided to initiate cooperation with the Axis; on 18/06/1941 it signed a pact of friendship with Third Reich. Subsequently, it provided considerable quantities of strategic raw materials to support the German war effort, including 30% of all chrome needed by Germany. Western powers fruitlessly attempted to persuade Turkey to abandon this Axis-friendly neutrality and to join the Allied cause. Not until 02/08/1944, did Turkey sever diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany; it did the same with Japan on 03/01/1945. On 01/03/1945 it formally declared war on both of these countries, althought, it never fought against them. Turkey is a co-founding member of U.N.
Armed Forces: In 1938 the Turkish standing army had 20 000 officers and 174 000 men. Military service lasted for three years. In 1939 the Turkish army was administrationally divided into three army inspectorates, nine corps, and one military governorship; the country's armed forces were composed of 20 infantry divisions, three brigades of mountain troops, one fortress brigade, and five cavalry divisions (including two reserve cavalry divisions) - altogether 132 regiments (60 infantry, six mountain troops, 21 cavalry, eight reserve cavalry, 20 field artillery, 10 heavy artillery, and seven fortress artillery). In early 1941 Turkey established 17 corps headquarters, 43 divisions and three independent infantry brigades, two divisions and one independent cavalry brigade, as well as two mechanized divisions. The armed forces were poorly equipped; weapons shipments from Germany, Great Britain, and U.S. did little to improve that condition. Just before the onset of hostilities the Turkish navy underwent a program of expansion and modernization; two submarines were ordered for construction in Germany, two submarines and four destroyers were ordered for construction in U.K. Lesser vessels were also constructed in home shipyards. After Germany delivered one submarine in 1939, the Turkish navy contained 19 naval vessels and they included one armoured ship, one line cruiser, two light cruisers, two torpedo-boats, four destroyers, five submarines, and four other lesser ships (most vessels were obsolete); with a total displacement of 55 775 tonnes (the number of naval personnel stood at 9 200). The real combat value of the navy was insignificant. By the end of WWII, the navy had one battle cruiser, two cruisers, two gunboats, three minesweepers, eight destroyers, 12 submarines, three motor torpedo boats, five minelayers, a surveying vessel, a depot ship, a fleet tug, a collier, and an oiler. By 1940 the Turkish air force was composed of four air regiments (each regiment contained six air companies), and had in possession a total of 370 aircraft (it had 8 500 personnel). Thanks to British and French shipments one more air regiment, along with five independent air wings, was formed in 1941. Shipments of military equipment from Germany replaced the shipments from Allied countries in the same year. Close to the end of the war, two air force divisions were organized; they together contained 15 air wings (or 30 flights). The Turkish armed forces did not participated in any military operations of WWII."