Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Problems in the east of Syria from 8 June 1941

The 21st Brigade was winning their battle along the coast road on 10 June 1941, but to the east, the 25th Brigade was blocked. Interestingly enough, British horsed cavalry was at Kafr Sir and connected with the Australians at Qasmiye. In the east, at Merdjayoun, the 25th Brigade was being reinforced to try and take the place. General Lavarack was concerned and offered more troops to Brigadier Cox. On 9 June, after a heavy barrage, a company had entered Fort Khiam, after it had been abandoned. The 2/31st Battalion was stopped by French artillery fire. The shelling set fire to haystacks and forced the battalion to pull back. The artillery fire was coming from Khirbe and guns sited to the west. Early on 9 June, Sergeant Davis and his patrol were to try and save the bridge over the Litani near Merdjayoun. They succeeded in taking the bridge and removing the detonators. A large French force came up and by the afternoon, they had destroyed the small bridge and then the large bridge. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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