Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The plan for the 21st Australian Brigade in June 1941

The 21st Australian Brigade was to move north along the coast as well as inland. The planners expected that demolitions by the defenders would greatly interfere with the planned operation. To attempt to prevent demolitions, infantry and engineers were sent north along the coastal road towards Iskandaroun. At the same time, a British commando battalion would be landed north of Litani. The commando battalion commander, Lt-Colonel Pedder was killed in action on 9 June 1941. Another possibility were roads that ran along the border, one to the south and one to the north. Some twenty miles to the east of the coast, the two roads came within a thousand yards of each other. If they could cross to the northern road, they would have an open route to Tyre. The 21st Brigade commander decided to seize French block houses that formed a barrier near the frontier. He also planned to build a road to the northern road that paralleled the border. The best of the battalions, the 2/16th, would be the core of a column that would travel the inland route towards Tyre. The 2/14th Battalion was to capture the French posts on the border. A column consisting of the 2/27th Battalion, light tanks, and engineers would attempt to move north on the coast road. If that was blocked they would move east and follow the other column north. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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