Monday, September 29, 2014
Attacking Fort Khiam on 8 JUne 1941
As the 2/33rd Battalion moved north, they approached the village of Khiam. Guarding the village was a classic-looking fort. One company, that of Captain Ferguson, was stopped by fire from Khiam and Bmeriq. The battalion commander, Lt-Colonel Monaghan, ordered Captain Cotton, another company commander, to take the fort at Khiam. The French waited while the Australians moved forward and then started firing when they were about 300 yards away. The Australians were able to move forward to within fifty yards of the fort. A small group actually reached the wall of the fort. They climbed the fort's wall and jumped down.. The leader fired his sub-machine gun. A French machine gun on the other side of the fort returned fire and caused the men to have to go under cover. They sought cover in the fort's bastion, where some French men joined them, saying that they wanted to join De Gaulle's force. With some help from the men outside, the men inside made a hole in the wall. Captain Cotton wanted to attack through the hole in the fort, but the fort was so strongly defended, that he decided to wait for the next morning to attack again. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.