Wednesday, September 09, 2015

More action on 7 July 1941 with the 2/3rd, 2/5th, and 2/14th battalions

While Lt-Col. King of the 2/5th Battalion had hoped to wait until the next day to attack, Brigadier Savige decided that the men needed to move forward to Deir Mar Jorjos that night, rather than waiting. Three lines of men moved across the wadi, single file. They reformed into a more normal formation once they had crossed. As the sun was setting, the men moved across the Wadi Daqoun. They had to be careful crossing the steep slopes. The men were so tired that when they stopped to rest, the men fell asleep. The 2/5th moved through the position where the 2/3rd Battalion was located. Major Stevenson, commanding the 2/3rd Battalion wanted to stay in place, because he was concerned with the possibility of accidentally fighting the 2/5th Battalion in the dark.

All day long on 7 July 1941, the 2/14th Battalion was moving to the west, where they would move into Damour on the east side. They would make connection with the 2/2nd Pioneers. They advanced untii they were 400 yards from Damour and stopped for two hours. One company on the ridge to the south ran into French troops with machine guns. The commander had asked for mortars to fire in the machine guns, but got two Vickers machine guns from the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion. They quickly dominated the French guns so that the infantry was able to advance. Men from another Australian battalion, the 2/27th, attacked the French from the southwest. They had been pinned down by machine gun fire, but a runner had alerted an artillery observer, who called in fire on the French. By sunset on the 7th, the French defenses were starting to disintegrate. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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