Monday, August 10, 2015

Brigadier Steven's plan for attacking to the north towards Beirut

When he would be allowed to move back to the offensive, Brigadier Stevens, commander of the Australian 21st Brigade had prepared a plan on 22 June 1941 to attack Damour. Taking Damour would put them in a position to move against Beirut. An important aspect of the plan was artillery fire directed against the French just to the north of the gorge. There was a ridge that ran from Es Saadiyate across to Es Seyar. This was about three miles north of the edge of the Australian positions,. At the time, he had two battalions. One would take Barja. The second battalion would move up the road to the "143 feature". That would give them a commanding position overlooking the Damour Valley. He needed another battalion to move north along the road. They would move over the mountains at El Haram and advance to El Labiye. They would be on a ridge that towered 800 feet above the ravine at Damour. Once that had been achieved, in two days, they could make a successful attack on the French at Damour. They would avoid what he considered to be a mistake at Sidon when they had become involved in a fight in the orange and banana groves. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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