Monday, December 08, 2014

9 and 10 June 1941 with the 25th Australian Brigade

By later in the day on 9 June 1941, the situation for the 25th Australian Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Cox, was going to be difficult. The French were in strongly defended positions, while the Australians were on open ground without a lot of cover. Not only that, but after 11pm on 9 June, the moon was lighting up the area. All the Australians had were light tanks, which could not advance against the French anti-tank guns. The French even had stone markers set up to help French aim their guns, as they were a known position. General Lavarack became involved and took control of the artillery. A key French position in the defense was Fort Merdjayoun. General Lavarack had seen how a strong artillery barrage had helped take Fort Khiam, and he hoped that the same could be done for Fort Merdjayoun. The General wanted time for preparation, so he set the attack for 11 June. The artillery commander, Berryman, had suggested that they send a light tank and carriers forward to draw French fire. The Australian artillery was ready to fire in support as they drew French fire. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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