Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The 2/14th Battalion moving north along the coast road on 11 June 1941

The Australian 2/14th Battalion followed the cavalry north along the coast road in Syria on mid-morning of 11 June 1941. The French had left a modest rear-guard which had been dealt with by the cavalry. There was little opposition to the 2/14th Battalion, except to the right of the road. They had "killed nine and captured forty-five" French troops. They contiued north "through Es Sakiye, Sarafend and Khan Saada". In the process, they had taken almost 100 prisoners. With the cavalry scouting ahead, they noticed that there were five tanks and machine gun nests "in the Wadi Zaharini". This seems to have been the next position that the French had decided to defend. The plan was for the 2/14th to continue to move north and to cut the road to Merdjayoun. By 6:15pm, six French tanks advanced towards the leading men from the 2/14th Battalion. They had been stopped already by heavy machine gun and mortar fire. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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