Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Volume II of the Australian Official History mentions that the Brigadier Lloyd had "quickly won the admiration of the Australians". He was commander of the 5th Indian Brigade, which had been augmented by the 2/3rd Battalion of Australians in June 1941. In retrospect, we can see that Brigadier Lloyd's strategy for the attack on Damascus worked. General Evetts and the British troops were not a factor. The 2/3rd Battalion succeeded on the heights southwest of Damascus on 20 and 21 June 1941. The Indian troops and Free French marines were also ultimately successful at Mezze. Indian troops with the Free French marines had infiltrated into Mezze after the surrender of the two Indian battalions. The French apparently did not occupy Mezze, because they attacked and were driven off, with broken morale, according to a captured French account. When the 7th Chasseurs d'Afrique were repulsed, they turned their attention to the heights and the stone forts. They must have been very strong, although they did take the 2/3rd Battalion headquarters and commander. Two companies of the 2/3rd Battalion ultimately took the forts and freed the battalion commander and headquarters. The task of attacking the stone forts seemed like to much to ask of the two companies on the heights, but they were successful. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.