Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Australian Plans for the occupation of Syria

The 7th Australian Division would have three objectives. One was to move to a "line from Merdjayoun along the road to Sidon." The second objective was another line. This one was formed by a line drawn through "Rasheiya, Machrhara, Jezzine, and Sidon." The last objective was the road from Rayak to Beirut. One brigade, the 21st would be in Beirut. The other, the 25th, would hold the airfield at Rayak. There were also the two battalions from the 6th Division. They would be relegated to holding prisoners and providing police for the areas that would be captured.

Only one June 5, 1941 was General Lavarack officially informed that when they had reached the first objective, he would take command of a I Australian Corps and command the entire operation. The logical thing, from the Australian perspective, would have been to give him the command from the beginning, but that was rejected. The 16th Brigade commander, Brigadier Allen would be promoted to command the 7th Australian Division when Lavarack became the Corps commander. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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