Monday, September 08, 2014

The 6th Australian Cavalry reach Tyre on 8 June 1941

A group of the 6th Australian Cavalry (the 6th Division divisional cavalry regiment) was led by Lieutenant Mills. They had been at Tibnine, which had an old Turkish castle. After learning that they would be welcome in Tyre and after being joined by two troops of armoured cars from the Royal Dragoons, they drove to Tyre. The cavalry group had 13 carriers as well as the armoured cars. As they neared Tyre, they could see British warships off the port that were being bombed by French aircraft. The ships had neared the coast at 6:45am and saw the road demolition at about 7am. Led by the armoured cars, the cavalry group reached a road block just south of Litani. The French defenders had field guns, anti-tank guns, and mortars. Two armoured cars were disabled by gunfire. The force had two field guns from the 2/4th Field Regiment, so they set up to return fire. The armoured cars were quickly damaged, so that only one remained operational. The 2/16th Battalion had sent out patrols that found that there seemed to be no French troops south of the river. As Brigadier Stevens, commanding the 21st Brigade was not hearing news about the road condition, he sent forward the 2/14th Battalion to the north, towards the demolition. That force included the tanks from the 6th Australian Cavalry regiment. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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