Road to BREZINA, ALGERIA, 28 August 1956:
At dawn, the Compagnie Portée
Saharienne du Djebel Amour left Géryville, going east for
15 kilometers before turning due south. After the small village
of Ghassoul, they took the very bad track leading to Brezina.
Along the road, a few vehicles suffered from mechanical breakdowns.
At the point of entering the narrow pass crossing Djebel Ed-Driss,
Captain Dupuis stopped his vehicles, now reduced to Lt d'Arche's
platoon, and ordered them to dismount and enter the pass deployed.
A squad was thus deployed on both sides of the road, while a third
went further away, at the feet of the mountain. The entrance of
the pass was reached without problems but suddenly a couple of
fellaghas armed with machine pistols popped-up from behind a rock
in front of d'Arche asking him to surrender. Reacting swiftly,
the Lieutenant rolled to his side and shot his pistol towards
them. At that moment a hellish fire was unleashed on the Saharians
who got pinned down. The NCO leading the third squad falls mortally
wounded together with the Muslim soldier that was with him. Captain
Dupuis immediately called his other platoons, asking them to leave
their broken vehicles behind to join him as fast as possible.
He also got in touch with the French troops of Brezina, but these
were blocked at the other exit of the pass. Due to the dense small
arms fire, the French were still pinned down when Dupuis had the
chance to contact a pair of T-6 planes that came to his support.
Soon, they arrived on the spot and started strafing. This allowed
Dupuis to deploy his MGs and mortar. After a short while, the
fells disengaged, vanishing in the terrain they knew by heart.
Dupuis tried to pursue them but was frustrated in his efforts.
Some demolition charges placed along the track were found near
the spot where the first Fellaghas appeared, they had to be ignited
after the passage of the vehicles to trap them. At least, the
worst had been avoided.
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