Monday, September 07, 2015
More fighting at Damour on 6 July 1941
By the afternoon on 6 July 1941, the fighting near Damour continued. The French staged a series of attacks against the Australians. The Australians had multiple companies of infantry in the fight. They attacked Russell's company, of the 2/14th Battalion, and shouted as they attacked. The Australians were able to stop the attackers and left 20 men dead with no Australian casualties. The French attacked again, but were not as energetic. They were repulsed. There were now two companies in control of El Mourhira. When Brigadier Stevens learned of their success, he ordered the 2/14th less the companies at El Mourhira, to move out to a line north of Daraya. They arrived after midnight on the night of 6 to 7 July. They discussed whether the 17th Brigade should advance to El Boum. Brigadier Stevens cautioned against making such a move in daylight due to the accurate French artillery fire. The plan for the 17th Brigade seems to have been overly ambitious, even as modified. The men were to be heavily loaded, as they would travel over ground too difficult for mules. While the men were moving down to the river, they got rain. The rain made the rocks very slippery and difficult. Men slipped on their backs, down the rocks. The two 17th Brigade battalions were the 2/3rd and the 2/5th. The first men from the 2/3rd Battalion arrived at the Beit ed Dine road after 3am. On 7 July, they men were to follow signal wire to El Boum, but the men of the 2/3rd lost track of it in the dark. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.