Monday, August 25, 2014
Run up to the attack on Syria and Lebanon in June 1941
The units that were to attack Syria and Lebanon moved into position on the nights of 5th and 6th June and 6th and 7th June 1941. The Australian Official History described the situation as being like the Germans, moving forward in secrecy, ready to attack a peaceful frontier. So far in the second war and never in the first war did British soldiers do such a thing. One group was hidden under olive trees in a grove. They were careful to only move vehicles by road, if at all, and to sweep the tire marks from view where they were under cover. Typical of the level of thinking from General Wilson's staff was a suggestion to change the shape of the Australian hat to hide that they were Australians. That was described as dismal failure of a measure, because the French knew very well who they were fighting. They were up against Australians, primarily. June 7 was spent relaxing, under cover to pass the time. The attack would commence before midnight and the men switched from their comfortable clothes to what they would wear to fight. There was skepticism about the idea that the French would fold when attacked. That was wishful thinking motivated by politics, not reality. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.