Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Events of 20 June 1941 in Syria

Brigadier Lloyd had hoped to be able to push through to relieve the Indian troops in Mezze on 20 June 1941. One column consisted of machine gunners and artillery, while a new column was formed from the 2/3rd Battalion (Australians) who had been added to augment the depleted 5th Indian Brigade. The Australians were to attack to the left of the road leading to Mezze. The situation in Mezze had deteriorated greatly. By the afternoon of 20 June, the French had been firing field artillery at point blank range at the Mezze House. By the time the Indian troops had repelled the attack, they ran out of ammunition. They could hear the firing of the relieving troops. They tried to ask for a ceasefire to recover wounded, but their white flag was interpreted by the French as a surrender flag and they rushed and captured the survivors. Brigadier Lloyd only learned of the situation later on 20 June. Brigadier Lloyd now ordered one company of the Australians to block the road leading from Damascus to Beirut. The others were to move to the ridge that was part of the Mount Hermon foothills. The French had fortified the ridge, so that would likely be an issue. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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