When the British turned on the (Vichy) French, 1941 (Readings)
Operation Exporter is that rarely remembered event in World War II, when, worried that the Nazis would have a foothold in the Middle East and encroach on
British interests there, decided to launch their own pre-emptive strike against the neutral Vichy French, who were unwittingly forced to assist the Germans
during the Iraqi uprising in early 1941. Understandably, no one wants to remember the campaign, as to the French it showed the treachery of the British,
the sinking of their fleet by British ships still fresh in their minds.
Here are some interesting accounts of the campaign (it’s very rare, so it’s very valuable):
1. Our Enemies the French – the first book I was able to get about Operation Exporter (after much digging). It’s very comprehensive,
and tells of the campaign in detail. I recommend reading this first before checking out the others.
2. Invasion: Syria 1941 – This is one of the more recent books to tackle about the campaign. It’s a very good read, and goes into detail as far back as the
Anglo-Iraq war and the German participation there.
3. England’s Last War with France: Fighting Vichy 1940-1942 – this is a more comprehensive and expansive account of the British effort to fight Vichy on all the
significant fronts, from their sinking of the French Fleet in 1940, to the Allied landings in French West Africa in 1942. One could find a chapter or two devoted to the fighting in
4. The French Empire at War 1940-45 – This explores both camps of the French empire after the Nazi victory in 1940. Here, the Free French colonies and their struggles
are as much discussed as the Vichy ones. Again, you could find a chapter or two about the campaign in Syria here.