Monday, September 01, 2014

A sharp fight in the morning on the first day of the attack on Syria and Lebanon in June 1941

Australians had thought that the road to the south of Ras el Bayada had demolition charges set. A few men were left to block the road from traffic from the north. The rest headed south, still looking for mines and demolition charges. At 5am, they were fired on from a strong point. The Australians charged the strong point and took it. The men left behind to block the road heard shots fired and arrived at the scene. Increasing numbers of French troops were drawn by the fighting. They were able to stop a machine gun from firing and took a mortar. One group put the mortar and a machine gun on the roof of the post and fired on traffic on the road. They were able to successfully deal with two armoured cars that appeared next. After that, twelve men on horseback approached. They scattered when they were fired upon. By 7am, they heard what they guessed to be a demolition charge that would have destroyed the road north. A small group was sent by car towards Iskandaroun. They were fired on and returned fire. At that point, the road was blown up. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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