Monday, October 05, 2015

Near the coast on 11 July 1941 approaching Beirut

Early on 11 July 1941, French fire had slowed and stopped. Lt-Col. King ordered men to probe north from the roadblock. The men did not see any French forces, but they found that the French had merely allowed the probing men to pass through their lines and return without disturbing them. During the early afternoon, the French were active and present again. They also sent a tank squadron out along the sand dunes. This was just beyond the wireless antenna. Brigadier Savige, on hearing the news, told Lt-Col. King to stay in place in their current positions. Brigadier Savige was planning an attack for the morning of 12 July. At the same time, Brigadier Savige, commander of the 17th Australian Brigade, had ordered the 2/3rd Battalion to move forward onto the ridges that dominated the land near Aramoun. The land was so rough that supplying the forward troops with food was a problem. They survived on goat and also got horse meat from the local villagers. Hutchison's company, now of only about thirty men, came under French fire. They pulled back and set up a mortar that they used to fire back at the French machine guns. On the right, the 2/14th Battalion moved forward. They found four French 155mm guns and 200 rounds at Daqoun. They eventually moved forward to Ain Kaour. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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