Monday, April 20, 2015

More of the French counteracttack on 16 June 1941 in Syria and Lebanon

A French company attacked the Australians at Khiam fort in the afternoon of 16 June 1941. The attack was strong enough that the company that was attacked withdrew some 300 yards farther south. Another Australian company came up in support and they took a position in a ravine. The battalion commander then ordered them to fall back to a position about a mile-and-a-half farther south. On their left, there were some Royal Scots Greys cavalrymen, a company of the 2/5th Battalion, with a company of pioneers moving up to reinforce them. They had not been further challenged since the morning.

The plan approved by General Lavarack was to attack at Merdjayoun to relieve some pressure at Khiam. General Lavarack not only approved Brigadier Berryman's plan, but gave he command of a greater number of troops. The new force included three battalions, 22 field guns, and cavalry (6th Australian and Royal Scots Greys). The French counterattack had gotten a quick response.

At Jezzine, in Lebanon, the 25th Brigade was attacked as well. The first movements were seen early in the day on 15 June. They could see trucks and horsed cavalry moving forward. The attackers also had some artillery. The first attack happened late on 15 June. The Australians were able to call in artillery fire sufficient to halt the attack and to cause the attackers to withdraw. Another group of French troops moved forward early on 16 June. The defenders knocked out French armored cars and took prisoners. French cavalry tried to attack along a northern road and lost almost all their men and horses to machine gun fire. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

No comments:

Amazon Ad