Thursday, June 12, 2014

General Wavell's plans for Syria

By 22 May 1941, while the forces in Crete were still resisting, General Wavell was making plans for an operation into Syria. He expected to use two brigades from the 7th Australian Division, the Free French forces, and a portion of the 1st Cavalry Division. They would comprise about a division-and-a-half. There were almost no armoured forces involved, even though they would be desirable. Three days later, General Wavell traveled to Basra to meet with General Auchinleck, who was the commander in India. General Wavell thought that his forces could move on Syria by 7 June 1941. General de Gaulle and General Spears arrived in Jerusalem on 29 May. It seems that the British had decided to use the Australians without formally asking permission from the Australian government. General Blamey had given the government notice about what was planned. It was only late on 7 June that Mr. Menzies, the Australian Prime Minister received the word that the attack on Syria would start the next morning. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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