Monday, August 31, 2015

More action on 6 July 1941 in the battle for Damour in Lebanon

Lt-Colonel Moten, commander of the 2/27th Battalion, came to the river crossing. This was at about 1:30pm on 6 July 1941. He planned to establish his battalion headquarters at El Boum. They now had a phone line to El Boum, so Moten could talk with Captain Nichols, who had arrived at El Boum at 8am. By midnight, the 2/27th Battalion controlled the planned area. That would allow the 17th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Savige, to block the road to the north from Damour. The rear company of the 2/27th, along with the remnants of the fourth company, were spread on a wide front, but were not as far towards Damour has had been hoped.

Another battle was fought at El Atiqa, starting at midnight on 5 to 6 July. There were three weakened companies of the 2/16th Battalion that were attacking. They were supported by an artillery barrage. They had to cross the river and move forward to the Beit ed Dine road. The French replied with their own artillery barrage. The plan included a frontal attack, which seems to be ill-considered. The advance was blocked and they were reduced to exchanging fire with the French. By night, the remnants of the 2/16th Battalion were on the El Atiqa ridge and were holding on to their position.

There was concern that the French might attack along the Beit ed Dine road with armored cars and tanks. As early as 10pm on 5 July, Captain Nichols, commanding one company of the 2/27th Battalion, was in the woods located between the Damour tributary and Ed Dalimiye. Part of the 2/14th Battalion were at Kramdech by 8pm. Another company reached the Beit ed Dine road by 3:15am. They blocked with road with stones and waited for daylight. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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