Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The 5th Indian Brigade

I had been critical of General Wilson for interfering with the situation at Kuneitra, but I have changed my mind. The operations of the 5th Indian Brigade in June 1941 in Syria were so badly handled that at least General Wilson cared about their fate. He was too far removed from what was happening to know what to do, as his solution was to send more ammunition to the Royal Fusiliers at Kuneitra. What they needed, instead, were more troops, some field and anti-tank guns. The Fusiliers had been left isolated at Kuneitra, where they were overwhelmed by the Vichy French forces. A relief column was sent, but that was too late. The two Indian battalions were then sent off by Brigadier Lloyd to Mezze, where they were left without adequate strength and without artillery. They were captured by the French on 20 June 1941. Brigadier Lloyd seems to have had very poor judgment about what troops should be asked to do. Fortunately for the battle in Syria, General Evetts became involved and the fortunes of the troops involved became much more positive. General Evetts had been in the Middle East since at least the mid-1930's and knew the area and the people. This based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History

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