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Wednesday, October 25th 2006, 4:25pm

Persia, Q1-2 1932

In brief...posted by The Rock Doctor

Persian News - Q1/2 1932

Persia is drawn into the Asir conflict after India invokes A.22 and A.26 of SATSUMA. Indian forces establish a depot at Bandar-e Abbas, and several Indian escorts begin operating out of that location and Bushehr. Meanwhile, Persian torpedo-boats, minesweepers, and submarine chasers begin training in escort group work, employing the two MTBs of the Experimental Group as simulated Saudi small craft.

Persian escorts begin working with Indian ships on active convoy defence starting in May, and are somewhat effective, claiming four of the eleven small Saudi craft sunk during this period. On the debit side, small arms fire from Saudi vessels does inflict light damage and a couple dozen casualties amongst the Persian craft, and in late June, the first tanker convoy commanded by a Persian officer regrettably loses one of its charges to a particularly heavy Saudi strike.

The arrival of the Japanese carrier Hiryu is seen to be an effective deterrent to Saudi speed boat attacks; noting this, Persia orders six surplus AA-3 maritime patrol aircraft from India, and dispatches a group of flight crew for training.

Public opinion - for what it is worth in this monarchy - is generally neutral on the issue of whether Persia should be involved in the conflict. There is no love lost for the Saudis, but the ties to India are new and really only affect the ruling and upper business class of society; for the most part, as long as it's not their own son being killed, the average Persian doesn't really care.

In June, the Shah agreeds to Navy Minister Shapour Zahedi’s plans for naval growth. In the Persian Gulf, two striking groups of four torpedo-boats are to be deployed, mainly for operations in the Gulf itself. The cruiser squadron will work out of Bandar-e Abbas, either to back the lighter craft in the Gulf or to allow limited blue-water ops in the northern Indian Ocean. Four coastal minesweepers and six submarine chasers are deemed adequate for defensive purposes, though a series of small patrol vessels are to be built. The major questions, which remain under study, is whether the small navy requires destroyers to escort its cruisers, and whether there is a need for ocean-going sloops.

For the Caspian Sea, Zahedi is authorized to build up to a force of two torpedo-boats, two minesweepers, and a number of smaller patrol vessels. Since these vessels are not armored or particularly heavily armed, Zahedi also plans for a pair of sturdy gunboats. Something in the 1,000 t range, with Japanese 13 cm guns, is envisioned. Anything larger will tax Bandar-e Anzali’s limited shipbuilding capacity, and might unnecessarily antagonize the Russians. At any rate, they are intended primarily to deal with Azerbaijani vessels such as the armed trawlers used in 1930.

Domestically, Persia braces for the arrival of El Derretir. Inspections along the southern coast catch two cases coming into the country and quarantine the crews of those vessels, with no fatalities outside the crews. No cases are reported elsewhere, it being supposed that the near-complete lack of infrastructure in Afghanistan and British measures in Pakistan have combined to keep infected persons from entering the nation.

Persia declines to attend the Spithead Review, as its limited forces are occupied in the Gulf. An observer is dispatched to the Cowes Naval Conference, but there is no expectation that he will do anything other than take notes; certainly there is no reason to think Persia will find itself committed to a naval arms limitation treaty anytime soon.

The Collaborative SATSUMA Infrastructure Expansion program, or COSINE, concludes it investment in Persia with the completion of [a third factory] in June, 1932. The program had previously developed [a factory] in Pacifica, and the Philippines is to be the third recipient, though investment there is targeted mainly at infrastructure rather than industry. Resources flowing to Persia from France will continue to be invested into COSINE through the life of the program, while the new industrial capacity is to be used mainly in expanding Persia’s own naval infrastructure once 1933 comes round.