Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A fight in the moutains in the east along the Beit ed Dine road on 5 aand 6 July 1941

Two companies from the 2/14th Battalion moved forward late on 5 July 1941. They started at Kramdech. The infantry led the group. Behind them were the mules with mortars and bombs. Last were the signalers, reeling out telephone wire. Captain Russell's company moved across the ridges until they arrived at the Beit ed Dine road. The road, at this point, was cut into a ledge on the ridge side. This was where the men had piled up rocks to block the road. A lieutenant and 12 men were sent up a hill to see if the French were there. They came under fire from a French position in a low point between hills. They had two men captured and withdrew. Captain Russell then attacked, but the French rolled grenades down the hill and put a stop to the attack. By 8:30am on 6 July, three French armored cars drove up to within 200 yards of the stones and stopped. One car was attacked with a sticky bomb, but the bomb failed to stick. The bomb fell off and exploded. Still, the cars pulled back about a mile. The cars carried two-pounder-sized guns and they started firing. Presumably, they were 37mm guns. With the cars present, French infantry tried attacking the road block. A combination of small arms fire and mortars beat back the attack. Three attacks by Captain Russell's company ultimately took Hill 567. The battle continued. The French infantry were mostly Senegalese with French officers and senior enlisted. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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