Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Across the Litani river on 9 June 1941
At the Litani river, the Australians decided to tie a line to the boat and use that to haul it across the river. That actually worked. The first boatload made it to the north side and fanned out. The French were firing mortar bombs at the men on the south bank and caused casualties. There was bamboo along the river and the men pushed through the bamboo to the orchard beyond. They eventually got fifty men across and held about 400 yards. The next step was to put seventy men from Horley's company across. These men were all from MacDonald's 2/16th Battalion. To support their troops on the ground, the Vichy French destroyers Guépard and Valmy closed in and fired on the Australians. They were answered by the 2/4th Field Regiment and the destroyers sought cover with smoke and withdrew. Some British destroyers found the French destroyers off Sidon in the afternoon and exchanged fire. The British destroyer Janus was damaged while the faster French destroyers escaped. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.