Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Near El Boum on 7 July 1941

The 2/3rd Battalion straggled into El Boum by about 8:30am, even though the first company arrived as early as 5:30am. The 2/3rd Battalion commander, Major Stevenson, had found the phone wire that they were following by climbing straight up the hill. The commander of the 2/5th Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel King, would coordinate the two battalions. Stevenson only found King at 9:30am, so they could decide on a plan. The 2/5th Battalion only reached El Boum between 7:45am and 8:45am. A mule train arrived with the wireless equipment. King was able to communicate with Brigadier Savige and give him the current status. The battalions were able to move out by 10:30am in "diamond formation". Once Lt-Col. King arrived at the "start line", he decided that they should wait until the next day, 8 July, to attack, due to the amount of French machine gun fire. He hoped to call in artillery support against the French forces. Major Stevenson learned that there was a French battalion about an hour-and-half-march away on the right. They eventually saw about 100 men and mules arrive and start to unload. They held their fire until they were about 600 yards away. They then opened fire on the French and the mule train, and dispersed the men and mules that survived. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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