Monday, February 16, 2015

Taking Jezzine on 14 June 1941

About three miles short of Jezzine, Lt-Col Porter, the commander of the 2/31st Battalion was shot through one thigh. Porter said that he could continue and attack with two companies. He was consulting with Brigadier Berryman, the artillery commander. They used a troop of guns and mortars in support of the attack. The hills were terraced in three foot steps, about ten feet wide. They had growing vines, the reason for being terraced. The attack commenced at 6pm. Porter had asked the machine gun platoon commander to let individual Vickers guns to fire independently, as they saw targets. When French machine guns started firing, they were immediately silenced. One infantryman slipped past one machine gun emplacement and killed the crew with rifle and bayonet. The men ran across the flat 100-yard area at the foot of the hill and then climbed to the top of the hill that dominated Jezzine. The men could see some French cavalrymen mounting their horses and then then riding off. They Australians fired on them. Two companies from the 2/31st had attacked. Lt-Col Porter then ordered the other two companies to move forward through the first two and to enter the town of Jezzine. As the men entered the town, they saw horses roaming the streets. They were the horses of French cavalrymen that had been killed, apparently. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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