Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The attention shifts to Beit ed Dine by 25 June 1941

The situation on 25 June 1941 in Lebanon was that the Australian 21st Brigade had pushed eight or nine miles north of Sidon on the coast. By 25 June, General Allen ordered the 2/25th Battalion to move east. The 21st Brigade move north also started on 25 June. Brigadier Stevens, the 21st Brigade commander, had ordered the 2/27th and 2/16th Battalions to move north "to the El Haram ridge". The 2/25th Battalion had only recently arrived at Sidon from Merdjayoun. Brigadier Stevens was concerned because the 6th Cavalry had seen Vichy French troops on the move. The move north to the Haram ridge only started late in the afternoon of 25 June. The men were on foot and the ground was rocky. They reached their objective between 11pm and 4am the next morning. The move by the 2/25th Battalion was augmented by an anti-tank gun and some engineers from the 2/6th Field Company. Brigadier Stevens' plan for the 2/25th was that when they reached Chehim, they would get an artillery observer. The observer would be able to call in artillery fire from "a troop of the 2/4th Field Regiment". The 2/25th Battalion had been depleted in the fighting at Merdjayoun, so one company was broken up and the men were distributed among the other three companies. In the night on 26 June, two companies moved east to a point just prior to reaching Mazboud. The ground was to rough for mules, so they had to leave their mortars at Mteriate. early on 27 June, Lieutenant Macaulay and a small group were fired on by a French armored car. They piled stones across the road and had the Bren gun in place. Two armored cars drove up from the east with many men on them. They outnumbered the Australians. Two men were captured while Lieutenant Macaulay and another man escaped. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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