Monday, June 22, 2015

The aftermath of the attack on Jebel Mazar from 27 to 28 June 1941 and further operations

After having taken Jebel Mazar from the French, the subsequent loss by 28 June 1941 was very difficult. The forward artillery observer had lost some essential parts of his radio gear, so that he was not able to call in artillery fire in support. After this, the 16th Brigade, including the 2/3rd Battalion, was withdrawn to "a line from Deir Kanoun to Yafour". The very depleted "5th Indian Brigade was on the Col de Yafour". The French counterattack on Jebel Mazar had first been made by a company of Senegalese. They failed to dislodge the Australians. Two more companies of French colonial troops then attacked. They nearly reached the peak, but had to stop the attack. By morning, they discovered that the Australians had withdrawn and took a few prisoners. Habforce had hoped to stage an attack on Syria from Iraq, but they were stopped in a similar situation to Jebel Mazar. Hapforce had been freed up by the arrival of the 10th Indian Division. They were scattered through Iraq, but were a diverse group of units, where the 4th Cavalry Brigade was the strongest unit. By 18 June, 1941, the decision was made to send two of the Indian brigades from the 10th Indian Division into Syria. They had hoped to easily take Palmyra, but by 28 June, they were still stopped. There was the issue of French bombing attacks on the attackers and their vehicles. Also, the land was rugged and not easily crossed.

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