Thursday, February 12, 2015
North from Merdjayoun from 12 to 14 June 1941
The bridge over the Litani to the southwest of Merdjayoun was finished on 12 June 1941 in the afternoon. Carriers were able to travel the road to the west to meet the 21st Australian Brigade on the coast. There was one road north from Merdjayoun to Jezzine. This was a winding road around mountains. A patrol from the Cheshire Yeomanry had probed north for about 500 yards and had found that the road was passable. Brigadier Cox's plan was to send the 2/31st Battalion, with cavalry, artillery and engineers up the road. The objective was Jezzine, but they would first move to the heights south of Rihane. From there, they would move forward to the Kafr Houn ridge. A road went Jezzine to Sidon so that they could connect with the 21st Brigade. One squadron from the Cheshire Yeomanry would move north to Zhalta. They would then be able to travel the road from Jezzine to Sidon. The entire 25th Australian Brigade would then follow the same route. Starting out at 9pm on 13 June, a column of the 2/31st Battalion with a cavalry troop in the lead headed out for Jezzine. The infantry were carried in British three-ton trucks. The road was narrow and they traveled without lights. There were tight turns that required excessive effort to get the trucks and guns through. Some vehicles turned at the Sidon road and had to be called back. Just before Jerme, an extremely sharp turn required the engineers to work for two hours so that the large trucks could pass. Finally at daybreak on 14 June, they reached Kafr Houn where local women cheered the arriving soldiers. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.