Thursday, June 25, 2015

Orbat Syria 1941

Here’s a picture of the Souffleur.

In June 1941, 3 French submarines of the 9e DSM (Submarine Division) were based in Syria: Caiman, Souffleur and Marsouin.

The 9, Caiman was seriously depth-charged. At 12:48 pm, Souffleur was detected on surface (charging batteries) and sunk by HMS Parthian with 4 torpedoes.

Exporter was the British code-name for their invasion of Vichy French Syria in June 1941. The attack was prompted by the recent Vichy decision to supply the anti-British rebels in Iraq with arms and to allow German aircraft transit rights in support of the operations of these rebels. It seemed that the Germans were on their way to gaining control of the territory -- a prospect obviously intolerable from the British point of view. For their part, the French were uninterested in ceding control of their colony to Britain, and were also concerned to demonstrate to the Germans that they would defend their possessions vigorously if attacked by the British, thus justifying continued French -- as opposed to German -- control of France's overseas possessions. Ironically, both sides would be fighting at least partially to ensure a Syria free from German control.

At the beginning of June, Britain managed to scrape together what she considered as sufficient force to overwhelm Vichy resistance. It was hoped that the presence of a Free French column among the invaders would soften the blow and render serious fighting unnecessary -- as late as 21 May Churchill was describing the proposed operation as a 'armed political inroad' and indeed the invasion itself began with usually futile attempts to induce the French to give up without fighting.

British expectations notwithstanding, several factors combined to make French resistance both vigorous and effective. The first was that the commander in Syria until May 1940 had been General Weygand, who in spite of his failure to reverse the collapse of France when summoned home at the time of the German invasion in 1940, was both an energetic officer and a powerful figure in the French army. During his tenure in French Syria, he had conceived the idea of landing in Salonika with the forces at his disposal, and with that end in view, had formed out of the French Army of the Levant a small but relatively powerful and battle-ready force of all arms numbering about sixteen thousand men, the Groupement des Forces Mobiles du Levant. This was aside from a numerically roughly equal force of less impressive native auxiliaries, levies, and police forces of various types.

In spite of the disarmament clauses of the armistice, the French force remained largely intact and moreover, had been been thoroughly purged of British sympathizers in the wake of Mers el Kebir, Dakar, and England's various efforts to bring the French colonies over to the Free French cause. Those who remained regarded the Free French as traitors, had been embittered by the various British attacks on French forces and possessions, and were motivated to redeem the honor of France. What Britain had hoped would be a relatively bloodless demonstration of force turned into a small but hard-fought little campaign. Three Commonwealth battalions were virtually wiped out, and Commonwealth and Free French losses totalled 4600 men, while for their part, the French suffered six thousand casualties before deciding that their position was hopeless, that honor had been thoroughly satisfied, and that they could lay down their arms. To put these figures into perspective, British losses suffered in the concurrent Operation Battleaxe conducted against Rommel totalled only 969 officers and men. At a time in the war when Britain was deploying only very small forces overseas, Exporter was one of her bloodier fights.

Ordre de bataille au 8 juin 1941 - VICHY
Armée de l'air
Groupes de Chasse
G.C. III/6 Dewoitine 520 : 25 Rayack (Liban)
G.C. I/7 Morane 406 : 12 Alep-Nerab (Syrie) + 6 Estabel (Liban)

Groupes de Bombardement
G.B. I/39 Glenn-Martin 167 F : 10 Rayack (Liban) + 2 Madjaloun (Liban)
E.B. 3/39 Bloch MB 200 : 6 Madjaloun (Liban)

Groupes de Reconnaissance / Observation
G.R. II/39 Potez 63.11 : 12 Damas-Mezzé (Syrie)
G.A.O. 583 Potez 63.11 : 5 Alep-Nerab (Syrie)
E.O. 592 Potez 25TOE : 6 Rayack (Lebanon)
E.O. 593 Potez 25TOE : 6 Alep-Nerab (Syrie)
E.O. 594 Potez 25TOE : 6 Damas-Mezzé (Syrie)
E.O. 595 Potez 25TOE : 6 Palmyre (Syrie)
E.O. 596 Potez 25TOE : 4 Deir ez-Zor (Syrie)

Escadrilles de l'Aéronautique Navale
Esc. 19S Loire 130 : 5 Tripoli (Liban)

2 DD : Valmy , Guepard ( Beyrout )
3 S/M : Souffleur , ? , ? ( Beyrout )
quelques petits navires ( 1 patrouilleur , 1 corvette ? - A VERIFIER )

Armée de Terre
-6e REI ( Homs ) ( 4bns+3 batteries d'artillerie de la legion )
-24e RMIC(Tripoli )(3bns)
-22e RTA(Liban )(3bns)
-29e RTA(Liban )(3bns)
-16e RTT(Syrie du sud )(3bns)
-17e RTS(Syrie du sud )(3bns)
-1e RTM ( Syrie ) ( uniquement le Ve Bn ))
- 3 Bns de Chasseurs Libanais ( Liban )
- 8 Bns du Levant (Syrie )

-4e RST (Liban )
-1e RSM (Syrie )
-8e RSA (Liban )
-50 escadrons de cavalerie irreguliere ( druzes , libanais , kurdes etc ) regroupés en 4 groupes d'escadrons de ligne , 6 groupes d'escadrons Druzes et 8 escadrons Circassiens/Tcherkesses ) ( tous en syrie )
-3 Cies meharistes ( Syrie )

-6e RCA ( 45 R35 ) 2 esc chars + 2 esc automitrailleuses ( Liban )
-7e RCA ( 45 R35 ) 2 esc chars + 2 esc automitrailleuses ( Syrie )

- RAC Levant ( Liban )
- 1e RAM ( Syrie )
- Groupe d'Alepp ( Syrie )

Ordre de bataille au 8 juin 1941 - Forces Franco-Anglo-Australo-Indiennes

Force "Gent"
Commandant ; General Legentilhomme
Chef d'etat major : lt-Col Koenig
Cie QG50 : Cap Bélan

-1e Bde FFL ( Col cazaud )
1e Bataillon de Légion Etrangère : Commandant Amilakvary
Bataillon de Marche n°1 : Commandant Delange
Bataillon de Marche n°3 : Commandant Garbay

-2e Bde FFL ( Col Génin )
1e Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine : Commandant de Chevigné
Bataillon de Marche n°2 : Commandant de Roux
Bataillon de Marche n°4 : Commandant Bouillon
1e Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins : Capitaine Corv. Détroyat
1e Batterie Artillerie : Capitaine Laurent-Champrosay
1e Esc. Spahis.Marocains : Capitaine Jourdier
1e Cie de Chars ( et motards ) Capitaine Volvey
Section de Sapeurs-Mineurs : Lieutenant Desmaisons

- Groupe d'escadrons Tcherkesses : Colonel Collet ( 453h)

-1e Cie Transmissions : Capitaine Renard
-101e Cie Auto : Lieutenant Dulau
-Intendance : Intendant Bouton
-Gr. Exploitation : Lieutenant de Guillebon
-Service de Santé : Méd.Cap. Delavenne
-Ambulance chirurgicale : Méd.Cdt Vernier
-Hôpital de campagne : Hadfield-Spears Méd.Cdt Fruchaud

- 5e Bde Indienne ( General Lloyd )
1st Royal Fusiliers

4/6th Rajputana Rifles
3/1st Punjab Rifles
1st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery:
9th Field Battery, Royal Artillery
11th Field Battery, Royal Artillery
171th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery
18th Company, Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners

-2 bns britanniques- A IDENTIFIER
-Un Escadron des Royal Dragoons (en automitrailleuses) .numero non specifié - A IDENTIFIER
-Un Bataillon d'infanterie Australien - A IDENTIFIER , probablement le 2/25
-Une Compagnie lourde de mitrailleuses Australienne -2/3rd Australian Machine-Gun Battalion
-Un Escadron de Scouts Australien (automitrailleuses) -6th Australian Divisional Cavalry Regiment (light tanks)
-Un groupe d'artillerie Britannique- A IDENTIFIER

7th Australian Division ( Major-General J D Lavarack)
-25th Australian Infantry Brigade
2/25th Battalion
2/31st Battalion
2/33rd Battalion
-21st Australian Infantry Brigade:
2/14th Battalion
2/16th Battalion
2/27th Battalion
-2/3rd Australian Machine-Gun Battalion ( moins 1 Cie )
-2/2nd Pioneers
-2/4th Australian Field Regiment
-2/5th Australian Field Regiment
-2/6th Australian Field Regiment
-2/2nd Antitank Regiment: 6th AT battery et 7th AT Battery
-170th Light Anti-Aircraft battery
-6th Australian Divisional Cavalry Regiment (light tanks) ( moins 1 sqd )
-2/5th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers
-2/6th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers
-2/5th Field Park Company, Royal Australian Engineers
-9th Australian Divisional Cavalry Regiment .

Forces aeriennes
No. 11 Squadron Blenheim IV
No. 80 Squadron Hurricanes
No. 3 R.A.A.F. Squadron Tomahawks
No. 208 Army Co-operation Sq. Hurricanes
X Flight Gladiators
detachement du 815 Sq., Swordfish
No. 84 Squadron Blenheim

Presents mais non assignés a Exporter
803 Squadron, Fulmars
829 Squadron, Swordfish/Albacore

Forces navales
Force B:
Croiseurs legers Phoebe et Ajax
Destroyers Kandahar , Kimberley , Jackal , Janus

Force C:
Croiseur AA Coventry
Transport d'assaut Glengyle
Destroyers Ilex , Isis , Hotspur , Hero

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