Churchill wanted to send 18th & 50th Divs to Russia

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Owen, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I can't recall the specifics or track down the reference at the moment, but I believe that at some point in 1941 Stalin asked for some British troops to fight in Russia. I think this request may have been made earlier in the year, not during the winter--by which time the Russians were doing much better against the Germans. I have some books on the Eastern Front, if I'm bored I'll try and get the info.
  2. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Look at the strategic situation and context. By December the expectation and planning was for the Axis to be thrown out of North Africa shortly, while at the same time Middle East Command expected the victorious German armies in Russia to pour out of the Caucasus into Syria shortly, and Turkey to be invaded.

    Supply of the British forces (if posted to the Caucasus) could have been arranged through Iran or Iraq which had been occupied by then into what is now Azerbaijan/Armenia or shipped to Russia via the Caspian and thence to the front (where-ever that might be). Not easy, but probably not more difficult than supplying forces in Ethiopia either, and likely easier.

    Persian Corridor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Doesn't mean it wasn't (another) one of Churchill's mad schemes, but it was not completely without justification and/or impossible either.

    As to whether 18 Division would have liked it? Probably more so than Singapore/Malaya and four years in Japanese POW camps?

    All the best

  3. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Not forgetting that in response to Barbarossa 10th Army/PAIFORCE started forming in Iraq/Persia, with Indian Army formations and the usual British units. MEF formations were also conveniently 'rested' in Syria. These were the contingency forces in the event of a German breakthrough into SW Asia.
  4. F for Freddie

    F for Freddie Junior Member

    Reading - Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    It is interesting to note Stalin was very wary of Winston Churchill and was suspicious of all his motives and the same like wise with Churchill. They new each other too well.
    They new the had a common goal to rid the World of the Nazis. But Stalin new the biggest critic after the war would be Churchill to Communism.. Both supported each other to this end and Winston was prepared to keep Stalin in the war at all costs.
    However Stalin really warmed to Roosevelt and liked him as a man and got on well with him according to his daughter and members of the elite inner circle surviving his purges who were interviewed. He was genuenly sad at his passing in late 1944.
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    In my holiday reading, I stumbled upon this snippet in ‘From the Gazala Line to Behind the Lines – Wartime Memories of John Cowtan’ concerning 50 Div and its intended involvement in the Russian campaign:

    This is anecdotal evidence provided by John Cowtan, who at this time (November/December 1941) served as a Lieutenant in 232nd Field Coy, RE, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. From the text it is clear that, at the time, he didn’t know that 50 Div was destined for Russia. This was something he must have investigated later in his military career, probably using his privileged position as a Major-General.

    John Cowtan won an MC and a Bar to his MC, for his wartime service and an MBE, the latter earned in 1946 for his organisation of rescue work following an explosion in Palestine. I have the citations if anyone wishes to see them.


    Owen likes this.

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