Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The advance on 8 June 1941 in Syria

By 2am, the main advance along the coast road had commenced. At 5am, they had reached the French outpost at Naquora. The Australians exchanged fire with the French. After firing a mortar bomb, the Australians charged and took the post. They also took the village just beyond the outpost. Brigadier Stevens, commander of the 21st Brigade, was mounted on a carrier so he could keep track of the action and communicate with the small units. At this point, Brigadier Stevens was unaware that the road had been blown ahead of him. The hill country to the east of the coast road was very difficult. The men who were to take the Labouna post were late due to their guide being lost. They reached Labouna about 5:30am and took the post. To the east, a company of the 2/14th took a village, Alma Chaab. The initial objective, the three outputs were in Australian hands by 7am on 8 June 1941. To the east, the 2/16th Battalion made progress. They were to attack Bennt Jbail, a village, and then take Ain Ebel, beyond. When they arrived at Ain Ebel, they found the place had been abandoned. Men of the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion quickly built a road from the Palestine side up to the Syrian road at Aitaroun. By 4am, the Australians had moved into Syria. The mayor at Tibnine telephoned the mayor at Tyre and informed the Australians that they would be welcome in Tyre. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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