Thursday, March 05, 2015
Attack in the east in Syria on 15 June 1941
With General Legentilhomme wounded and out of action, he had been replaced in the east of Syrla by Brigadier Lloyd, who had commanded the 5th Indian Brigade. Brigadier Lloyd's plan for 15 June 1941 was that the 5th Indian Brigade and a Free French Marine battalion would attack north along the west side of the road to Damascus. Assuming that they would succeed in capturing Moukelbe, Tel Kiswe, and the village of Kiswe, the Free French brigade would attack to the on the right and take Jebel Abou Atriz and Jebel Kelb. The French defenders were thought to be stronger than the attackers. There were Moroccan and Tunisian battalions near Kiswe. The defenders of Tel Kiswe and Moukelbe were two French Foreign Legion battalions. On the Free French side, there were problems with Senegalese troops and French Foreign Legion troops facing their own people in combat. The attack on the left started at 4:30am. The 1st Field Regiment fired in support and the Indian troops advanced across the wadi and into the village. An Indian company on the flank wheeled and caught the village from a different side. The Indians had taken the village by 8:30am. They were partly just lucky in that they had caught the French troops during the process of relieving troops. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.