Thursday, January 29, 2015
The French had made a major withdrawal: 15 June 1941 on the coast
After finding Sidon had been abandoned by the French on 15 June 1941, a component of the 9th Australian Cavalry scouted to the north. They had replaced the 6th Australian Cavalry on the coast. They realized that the French had withdrawn. Not very long after that, troops of the 2/16th Battalion moved into the town. The battalion actually marched through the town and advanced to the Wadi Abou Zare. The cavalry probing to the north found that north to Ras Nebi Younes were clear of French forces. To the east, along the east-west roads, they were clear to Salhiye, Jamliye, and Sebline. Even as the situation on the coast improved, the center and east had moved to a crisis situation. Still, we have trouble understanding why the coast could not have been exploited aggressively and the eastern fronts allowed to stall. The situation boded ill for a further advance up the coast, due to the desire to advance in the center and east. The narrative now switches back in time to 10 June 1941 at Merdjayoun and Khirbe. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.