June
8
Categories 1941

Britain invades French occupied Syria

The invasion of Syria was probably the last time that cavalry units of the British army were engaged on operations - mainly in a reconnaissance role.

The campaign in Syria attracted relatively little attention, partly because it was overshadowed by the invasion of Russia. The Australian 7th Division which led the invasion started to refer to itself as the ‘silent seventh’ because of the lack of publicity it received.

Unexpected resistance was received from French forces loyal to the Vichy regime in France. Fighting was especially bitter when they confronted Free French troops who were part of the invading force.

This is the account of Lt. Gerald Bryan of the No.11 (Scottish) Commando which attacked the French behind the lines at the Litani River:

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2 thoughts on “Britain invades French occupied Syria”

  1. It doesn’t surprise me that troops occupying colonial possessions would support the government in the mother country uncritically. If I consider the government in Vichy to be duly-constituted and worthy of authority, then it is my duty to oppose my government’s enemies, and deny the territory which I occupy to them. From my perspective, the war is already over – we lost, and it’s now time to make the best of it, get on with the Germans as best we can. We still have possession of this colony, which still needs to be governed, and whose occupation is meant to be part of my government’s policy, and presumably brings some benefit to the mother country. And the English have already attacked us at Mers-el-Kebir.

  2. After all this time, I still do not understand why the Vichy soldiers would fight the British or Americans or even the Free French. Maybe some sort of massive “Stockholm syndrome.” did they really think fighting for the Nazi conquerors was an honorable thing?

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