RIR’s Iraq commander looks again to Middle East…

COLONEL Tim Collins is presenting a show on BBC1 tonight (10.35pm) looking at the role of Ulster Generals in World War 2, as they defended Britain’s Middle Eastern front line in 1941. The BBC’s blurb is below the fold.Ulster Generals

By the summer of 1942, the Middle East was Britain’s front line. During the Second World War, the British Army was being punched back towards Egypt at such speed that Rommel would take Cairo within a week.

The Allies would lose the Mediterranean, the Far East, the Iraq oilfields and possibly its US ally.

The defeat of Rommel under Ulster Generals Alexander and Montgomery at Alamein was considered by Churchill the hinge moment of the War, yet the Battle for Egypt 12 weeks earlier under another Ulsterman, General Claude Auchinleck, was the real turning point, and this “first” battle of Alamein has been forgotten.

Colonel Tim Collins was keen to get an inside picture of the forgotten battle for Egypt while reassessing Montgomery’s tactics.

These Generals turned the tide of the war, and did so when the Allied war effort faced catastrophe.

Six Ulstermen would become Field Marshals – Auchinleck, Montgomery, Alexander and Alan Brooke among them.

Using CGI and dramatic re-enactment, the Ulster Generals, presented by Colonel Tim Collins, is a two-part series which tells the story of these extraordinary men and conveys the desert battle tactics that defeated the Panzer Army.

Tim Collins’ command of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq placed him in an alliance of Northern Irish, Irish, British and Commonwealth troops.

It was a similar coalition that made up the 8th Army in 1942, but facing a terrible task where the consequence of failure was almost beyond contemplation.

Fortunately for Europe, in this context at least, Ulstermen don’t like going backwards in a fight.

For the first time, this series shows what really happened in the scorching North Africa sands during 1941 and 1942.

Ulster Generals is an About Face Media production for BBC Northern Ireland.