Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The other three columns of the 5th Indian Brigade on 8 June 1941

The second column of the 5th Indian Brigade was a platoon from the Rajputana Rifiles. There was a famous railroad bridge at Chehab that T. E. Lawerence had tried to destroy in 1918. That was during Allenby's offensive. The bridge, or viaduct, still survived in 1941. The objective of the second column was to take the railroad viaduct and keep it from being destroyed. The platoon commander and one of his men crawled their way forward to the sentry post and shot the occupants. The other men in the platoon attacked the guard post that was on the bridge. Although explosive charges had been set, they were not exploded. The bridge was saved. At the same time, a company of Fusiliers took Fiq without much trouble. The other two columns of the 5th Indian Brigade, one led by the brigade commander, Brigadier Lloyd and the other by a Colonel, a battalion commander, had reached Deraa at 6am. They had surrounded the place and asked the defenders to surrender. They refused. Therefore, the artillery commenced firing at 7:30am. Two Indian battalions attacked and had taken the place by 8:30am. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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