Monday, March 28, 2005
The decision to aid Greece in November 1940
When Italy attacked Greece in late 1940, the Greeks were in trouble, as while they had a good-sized, well-trained army, they were abominably equipped. The British responded by sending troops to the island of Crete and aircraft to mainland Greece. The British hoped to send three Blenheim and two fighter squadrons. They would be supported by two AA batteries. A convoy embarked at Alexandria on 15 November, bound for Greece. The result of diverting resources to Greece was that General O'Connor's offensive in North Africa was to be slowed and then halted. This allowed time for Germany to send Rommel and the leading elements of what became the Deutsche Afrika Korps, which had arrived by February 1941. The forces sent to Greece were mostly lost, except for the men, when the Germans came in to save the Italians. Units like the 3rd RTR left their A9 and A10 tanks in Greece. Robert Crisp, in Brazen Chariots, gives a short summary of his experience in the Greek debacle and withdrawal.