Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Discussions about augmenting the 7th Australian Division for the Syrian occupation in 1941

General Lavarack commanded the 7th Australian Division in May 1941. His division had been the garrison for Mersa Matruh prior to their inclusion for the Syrian occupation. The division only had two infantry brigades at this time, the 21st and the 25th. The division did have all three of its artillery regiments and had the 6th Australian Division's cavalry regiment, as the 7th Division cavalry regiment had been sent to Cyprus. General Blamey was in Cairo and still had some control over Australian forces. Most of the surviving 6th Australian Division battalions were still in Crete in May. Two battalions were in Palestine, though, so those were allocated to the 7th Division. The battalions were the 2/3rd abd 2/5th. On May 22, General Wilson informed General Lavarack that main objective of the force along the coast road would be Beirut. The British were going to use an elaborate deception scheme to try and hide their operations. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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