Thursday, June 04, 2015
Attack on the heights southwest of Damascus on 22 June 1941
After resting overnight, a new attack commenced at 9am on the heights to the southwest of Damascus. Major Stevenson oversaw the operations of the 2/3rd Battalion. He was on Fort Goybet with a signaller. A company of Indian troops was on the right. One company moved across the gorge. They eventually reached the northern side of the gorge and climbed to the northern heights. The men on the southern heights were taking fire from the northern side from French machine guns and mortars. An Australian private with a Bren gun moved forward and shot the crews of three French machine guns. At one point, a man saw armored cars on the road that gave the impression that the French might be withdrawing along the road from the roadblock. On the left, there was another company, along with an Indian officer and 20 men. They had moved under cover and took two pinnacles. From there an artillery observer was able to call in fire on the French positions, while Bren gunners were able to fire at long range. There were some 400 men on the ridge south of the gorge. During the day on 22 June, French artillery fired on Mezze and caused casualties. Mezze was attacked by two tanks in the afternoon. They defenders had first thought that they were Free French, not Vichy. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.