Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The situation at Merdjayoun deteriorates on 15 June 1941
After the route to Captain Hodge's observation post was cut on 15 June 1941, under the French attack, he sent a gunner back to find out the situation. He returned to say that the Royal Scots Greys had withdrawn. Hodge's team was helped by a troop of carriers that crossed the Debbine Valley. The whole front near Medjayoun was now withdrawing in the face of the strong French attack. The 2/33rd commander, Lt-Col. Monaghan, ordered the cavalry commander, Onslow, to supervise the withdrawal of the forward troops. He also suggested to Colonel Todd, the commander of the Royal Scots Greys, that his men should hold the high ground to the immediate north of Merdjayoun. Monaghan's battalion would try and hold Khiam. He hoped to organize a counter-attack near Rachaya el Fokhar. A new unit, a company of the 2/5th Battaiion was operating under the command of the Royal Scots Greys. As the day got later on 15 June, the French were continuing to attack and make progress. The cavalry squadron on the Balate Ridge withdrew into Merdjayoun in the face of the French attack. Rumors were rife of a big French breakthrough with tanks and a collapse of the Australian position. Some troops panicked and fled without orders. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.